Your Wedding Ceremony:
Creating a Powerful Moment Through Music
There are several factors that go into pulling off a successful wedding ceremony. At the top of the list is your ceremonial music. Your choices of music can go a really long way in reflecting your own personality and values.
But even more important than your song choices are their strategic placement of at precise key moments, as well as the manipulation of each respective song track itself. This is known in the industry as a “track edit”.
Together, these 3 tactics form a strategy that is sure to evoke inspired moments within your wedding ceremony that your audience will never forget.
Lets Start By "Defying Gravity"
This strategy is a classic tactic utilized by animation studios and Broadway theater to produce a singular desired effect.
Take the pinnacle moment in the Broadway hit, "Wicked" for instance...
I remember watching this live production for the first time and being deeply impacted. At the end of Act I, Elphaba (aka the "Wicked Witch of the West") and Galinda (later known as "Glinda the Good Witch") come together at a key point in the storyline to sing, "Defying Gravity".
It was an extremely powerful moment in which Elphaba experiences an epiphany about her own life and subsequently refuses to be exploited by The Wizard (or anyone else) ever again. Then, at the perfect moment, she vows to make her own way in life even if it feels as though she’s “Defying Gravity”.
This musical number carried with it a powerful message and a highly charged emotional energy that was transmitted directly into the hearts of each audience member.
I was so moved that I was compelled out of my seat to cheer Elphaba on! I don't think there was a dry eye in the house by the time we were excused for intermission.
The point here is that this moment was not spontaneous or accidental.
It was an intentional pre-planned moment designed by the collective genius of Stephen Schwartz and Joe Montello. Everything came together to make this moment sizzle: the narrative, scenery, lighting, and cast. But at the heart of it was the music.
Music truly is the gateway to the soul and your wedding ceremony is no exception. Once you choose the style of music you want to use, along with the appropriate song titles, then you're at a point where the magic can really begin to take shape.
Let me illustrate my point. One of my proudest moments took place several years ago with my clients Jim and Terry. They decided on a destination wedding right in the heart of Old Town Santa Fe. Needless to say, Santa Fe is an enchanting place in its own right, but what made this wedding so special was how this couple decided to wow their guests during their ceremony.
You see both Terry and Jim were active military (and I believe Terry still is today). She was stationed in El Paso, TX and Jim had just come home after a long deployment overseas. By the time their wedding day arrived, neither of them had spent any quality time with their closest friends or family members. Many of them they had not seen in years.
Therefore this particular destination wedding fulfilled another clear purpose; a long-deserved and overdue reunion.
I was over-the moon- about this opportunity! I knew instantly that we could take advantage of this “double-whammy” celebration by incorporating the 3 key tactics mentioned earlier to create a magical moment for everyone involved.
My team and I decided to hone-in on the Bridal March and treat it as a “Big Reveal” because we knew that the anticipation to see Terry would be at an all time high. It was difficult to keep Terry concealed before the wedding because she was just as excited to see her friends and family as they were to see her.
But the payoff was totally worth it! All the guests were seated and the ceremony commenced. The anticipation in the courtyard grew to be palpable. And then it happened…
The processional started and the wedding party walked through the double doors and down the aisle on cue. They took their mark at the end of the aisle just as the double doors closed.
As this was happening the music level slowly faded and everyone stood up in unison. It is worthy to mention that the guests were not asked to stand. They did it naturally as though under the influence of a spell (perhaps Elphaba was near by).
Several seconds passed. All eyeballs were on the double doors. Then the music swelled into this beautiful crescendo as the doors parted open once again. Terry stood there at the threshold, luminescent and absolutely stunning in her wedding dress. You could hear the collective gasp of release released from the audience!
Most guests were clutching their hearts and there was not a dry eye in the house as Terry floated down the aisle. This was definitely one of my proudest moments as a wedding entertainment specialist because I myself felt goose-pimples running down my spine during the moment of "The Reveal". Terry later described this moment as a “surreal experience” where she like like she “living through a fairytale...”.
Now there were a few other memorable moments (like the father of the bride’s reaction), but I will save that for a future article. What is notable here is that magical moment like this can in fact be manufactured ahead of time. All you need is a bit of guidance and a few crucial resources to get you started. Below I have created a wedding ceremony guide that will offer you:
- A comprehensive list of music recommendations
- The precise moments in your wedding ceremony where you can make the biggest impact
- The song titles I used for Jim and Terry's wedding ceremony
- How I manipulated Jim & Terry’s music tracks to elicit an intentional response
Not only will you receive the above stated guide, but I have included a comprehensive list of music recommendations that have been categorized for easy reference. In addition to these recommendations, you will also learn which music selections you should stay away from.
Tell us what you think...
Wedding trends are constantly changing, and vary from culture to culture. Your insights and ideas are important to us and may even serve as inspiration to another engaged couple who is reading this article. I would love to know your opinion. If you have a creative idea, or feedback for this article, please share them below. I will do my best to respond to each comment made...