The Civil Ceremony:
Your guests arrive, take their seats. The Registrar is all ready, the Groom standing at the front, slightly nervous and then the Bride makes her Grand Entrance (the Processional). Somewhere, someone presses play on a portable CD player or in-house system and a song blasts out, starting at the beginning. The Bride reaches her Groom and the music suddenly stops. The Ceremony takes place, then again, during the Register Signing, more music blares out, but has to be cut half way through because the photographs are over. Then skip over a few tracks so the happy couple can make their exit (the recessional)
“The Professional Solution”
Whilst the guests are getting settled some gentle background music chosen by the Bride and Groom is being played, each song nicely faded into the next. The sound is coming from a discreet but high quality sound system. When the Bride is ready the Registrar gives me the nod and the Bride’s Processional Song starts to play, from a particular point in the song she likes. She makes her Entrance, stops when she reaches her Groom, pauses and the music gently fades away. During the Register Signing more specially selected music is played. This part of the Ceremony can be just a few minutes, or 10 or more minutes, depending on how quickly the photographer gets his shots, and the guests all get the photos they want. Because of this it helps having a professional ensuring the music covers the time needed. When they are ready, the Registrar announces their Exit and up fades their chosen song, again perhaps from a specific verse. The guests give a massive round of applause as the new Mr & Mrs make their Recessional, with their guests following. The music has to soar above the crowd whilst they are applauding, then as the room starts to empty the volume needs to come down to suit the room. As the last guests leave, the music fades away.
With Church Weddings there is usually an organist or a Choir. The room acoustics are suited to the music and it is usually dynamic and powerful. Civil Ceremonies offer the chance for Couples to choose from a wider selection of (non-religious) music and to personalise the proceedings to their own tastes. With this great freedom comes the difficulties of coping with rooms which weren’t designed for this purpose, often no professional sound system or operator and the risk of using a guest or staff member to control whatever equipment is available.
Since offering the option of a managed ceremony music service it has quickly become one of my most popular additional services. It is especially popular at venues such as The Alnwick Garden and others offering Civil Ceremonies as well as the Wedding Breakfast and Evening Reception. If required I can also supply radio microphones for your Ceremony, either handheld or lavalier (clip-on) types. For more complicated layouts I can install a professional conferencing microphone system using high quality condenser microphones to enhance the sound at the point of marriage and also for Readings etc.
Depending on the venue and timings I can either install a separate, discreet sound system or use my main system (without overhead lighting of course!). Usually microphones are not required but the price includes the provision of up to 2 handheld radio microphones. A microphone can be useful if you are having a reading. If your requirements are different just let me know. For more complicated arrangements such as mic-ing each person/area separately please ask for a quote. I can also supply a Lectern for Readings etc.
If you are choosing your own music then I would suggest you cover the following bases as a minimum:
Music for whilst guests gather. Most venues keep the room clear until approximately 15 minutes before the Ceremony so you will need at least that 15 minutes. I’d suggest having more on hand in case of delays or the room becoming occupide earlier. Music can be traditional, classical or modern and upbeat but suitable for background levels. This can reflect your taste in music. Often the Groom will choose these as he is there at this point.
The Processional, or Walking In Song. This is the song the Bride walks up the Aisle to. Generally something elegant and beautiful. If your song has a long introduction or there is a part of it you specifically need playing then speak to your DJ to arrange this. He should also be willing to discuss the timings of your walk with you. In the past I have even been booked to attend rehearsals to help ensure this part is perfect.
Register Signing – I’d suggest choosing 4-5 songs in your order of preference. Sometimes the signing and photos are over almost immediately and you may only get to hear 1 of these songs, but depending on your requirements and your photographer plus your guests taking photos this could take longer.
Recessional, or Walking Out Song. This is the song played once you have been presented to your guests as a married couple. Your guests will be applauding, it’s an incredibly happy moment and your choice of song should reflect this. Something upbeat and happy – again the song may have a great chorus you want to hear or a less upbeat introduction you don’t want to hear. Your DJ should be able to edit or cue the song to ensure the maximum effect for this amazing moment.