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Selecting Your Wedding Ceremony Music

A harp at your wedding will provide you with elegant music played on a beautiful instrument, creating the perfect atmosphere for you and your guests on your wedding day. Don't worry if you aren't sure exactly what music you'd like - that's what we're here for. During your wedding music consultation, we can provide suggestions, and play a variety of selections for you to choose from. Many couples enjoy this opportunity to hear and see a harp up close.

It is very useful to have a good idea of who will be in the processional and the order of your ceremony before you select your wedding music. In many cases, it is best to meet with your officiant before meeting with your ceremony harpist. The meeting with your officiant is also a good time to find out if there are any restrictions on your music selections - for example, some churches don't allow popular music during the wedding service.

Harp Music in the Wedding Ceremony

You might be wondering at what points during your wedding you would like harp music. The short answer is that you can use the harp pretty much anywhere the organ would play in a traditional wedding.

You can think of your wedding as having four "stages" when selecting your harp music. They are:

Prelude

The prelude is harp background music played prior to the wedding ceremony, while the guests are arriving and being seated. It is usually 15 - 30 minutes in length, depending on the wedding ceremony location and the number of guests.

As your guests arrive, they are greeted by the sound - and the sight - of the harp. The prelude music thus sets the tone for the rest of your ceremony, so it should reflect the style of your wedding. A formal church ceremony might have a more formal, all-classical music prelude, and might include hymns. In a less formal setting, the prelude music selection might include popular love songs. Soft, romantic or contemplative music is usually appropriate in either setting.

It's often best to specify the general style of prelude music you would like, and any special songs you may like to include. From there, your harpist can select appropriate pieces from her repertoire, saving you the trouble of picking out the entire 15 - 30 minutes of music.

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Processional

There are usually three parts to the processional:

  • Seating of parents and grandparents
  • Attendants' entrance
  • Bridal processional

The formal seating of parents and grandparents signals to the guests the beginning of the actual wedding ceremony. After the last parent is seated (generally the mother of the bride), the attendants enter. The groomsmen may enter from the side with the groom and officiant, or they may escort the bridesmaids down the aisle. If you have a flower girl or ring bearer, they will enter during this part of the processional.

Depending on the size of the bridal party and the length of the aisle, you may want to select separate pieces for the seating of parents and the attendants' entrance. In either case, the best pieces for this part of the processional are those with a steady beat at an easy walking tempo. You might consider something with a stately air for the attendants' entrance, especially if it is in contrast to something less formal for the seating of the parents. The attendants' processional will end when all attendants are in place at the altar.

The last and most important part of the processional is, of course, the entrance of the bride. This is where she will be making her grand entrance, so for the bridal processional the harpist usually plays the most stately and majestic of the processional selections. As with the attendants' processional, the bridal processional should be at an easy walking pace.

Processional Suggestions

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Ceremony

Depending on the order of ceremony, you may want one or two selections played during the wedding ceremony. This might be a solo of a special song, background music for the lighting of your unity candle, or a meditative piece after a prayer. Many shorter services do not require any harp music during the actual ceremony.

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Recessional

Recessional music is played right after the ceremony, as the newly-married couple walks back up the aisle, followed by the wedding party. This piece is joyful and upbeat, celebrating the wedding that has just taken place. Sometimes the first recessional is followed by a second similar piece, played as the guests are walking out.

Recessional Suggestions

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