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Making Your Wedding Ceremony Special

Weddings must be completed within the hours of 8am to 6pm. They are conducted by a registrar and must be of a strictly non-religious nature. Whilst there are certain words which must be said, we can tailor the ceremony to ensure it is personal to you. You can also choose readings and music which can really make your day special.

Without music a civil ceremony is very short, so music and poetry gives you the opportunity of enhancing your wedding vows, and giving a little more atmosphere, style and substance of your ceremony. It also enables you to ‘settle’ into your ceremony before you actually make your marriage vows.

Although the law does not allow you to have any religious music or readings whilst the registrar is present, the scope for secular music, poetry and prose during a civil wedding ceremony is limited only by your own imagination!

Civil Ceremonies enable you to choose from a wide variety of musical styles amongst which are Operatic arias and Classical songs, possibly in different languages;

Jazz Standards by Gershwin, Porter Kern, Berlin, Sinatra, Nat King Cole and others…
Music Theatre from Rogers & Hammerstein, Lloyd Webber, Sondheim, Bernstein…
Romantic songs by Celine Dion, Barbara Striesand, Bryan Adams, Shania Twain…

Before the Ceremony & the Bride’s Entrance

Beautiful Music can be used to create the atmosphere you want for your own wedding. A soloist singing before or during your entrance gives a definite start to your ceremony and allows you a little more time to compose yourself before taking your marriage vows. You could choose a special song or songs to be sung prior to your entrance to ‘set the scene’, or musicians can play as your guests are seated before the Bride makes a dramatic and moving entrance to a sung piece. Usually, the entrance walk is not a lengthy one! But there is no reason why you can’t have a complete piece or section of music for your entrance with or without bridesmaids. Listening to beautiful music or meaningfully words at the beginning of your ceremony gives you a few moments to settle yourself before the ceremony actually begins!

Before your Vows

Unlike a church wedding where several things happen before you make your vows (opening prayers, a hymn, readings, etc), there is nothing ‘set’ in a civil ceremony before you take your vows. Many people choose one or two readings, possibly separated by a song before you formally make your vows. Or you could start the ceremony with a special song after the registrar’s introduction. Wedding Songs has a special civil ceremony pack which gives many different ideas and themes to consider.

Marriage Vows & Exchange of Rings

This is the perfect place to have a beautiful song sung to reiterate the vows and commitment you are making. You could possibly have a song sung in between taking your vows and the exchange of rings. Or make your vows and exchange rings, and follow this with a song (and possible another reading or poem) to complete your wedding vows, before moving to sign the register.

The Signing of the Register

During the signing of the register, music helps to keep your guests (and you!) focused on the wedding, and should prevent you losing the ‘mood’ of your wedding, even whilst having photographs taken. Rather than ‘filling time’, use this part of your wedding ceremony as an opportunity to enhance the mood you have created in your ceremony.

Religious Songs & Readings after the Signing of the Register

Many couples who choose a Civil Ceremony do so because they have no wish for a religious ceremony, but some couples are simply unable to have a Church Ceremony but would love to have a Spiritual Dimension to their Wedding Ceremony. Whether you are unable to have a church ceremony, or whether you wish to commemorate a loved relative or friend, it is very important to understand the legal requirement that there can be no religious readings or music whilst the Registrar is present during the legal proceedings.

However, once the Registrar has left, you are free to do whatever you would like! If you choose this option it is best to arrange for someone else to take over from the Registrar after the Signing of the Register, and to continue the ceremony as you wish, enabling songs such as ‘Ave Maria’, ‘Pie Jesu’ and other religious music to be sung if wanted. It may also be possible to incorporate a Candle-Lighting Ceremony as part of this, but again it is important to check this with your Registrar as a few Registrars, and indeed even some Venues have restrictions on Candle lighting. However, many are happy to allow this as part of a Civil Wedding Ceremony.

Candle-Lighting Ceremony

Whether you light one candle at the beginning, or two or three candles during the ceremony, there are several songs written specifically for candle lighting ceremonies, including songs of dedication for mothers.

The Couples Recessional

Provides a final opportunity for an uplifting or romantic song, or you may decide to simply have instrumental music played here.

Poetry and Prose

Two or three poetry or prose readings will add so much to your ceremony and can also give an opportunity to directly involve some of your family and friends in your wedding ceremony. Readings can be serious and meaningful or light and humorous, read by adults or even children and could include a specially written dedication unique to you. There is so much poetry and prose to choose from, whether classical Sonnets by Shakespeare or Elizabeth Barrett Browning, to modern poems including song lyrics. You could choose several short readings at different points in your ceremony to compliment your chosen songs, also involving several people.

Musicians and Accompaniment

Much depends on the facilities of the venue and whether accompaniment will be with piano, harp, strings, other instruments, or pre-recorded tracks.

Harpists & String Quartets

String Quartets, Harpists, or Pianists provide wonderful accompaniments for a soloist, and wonderful music in their own right. If your venue has a Piano you could book a pianist, or it may be possible to hire a piano. You could consider booking a Harpist, String Trio or Quartet, or Guitarist to accompany your soloist.

As for your choice of songs, that is really up to you. No two people have exactly the same taste in music. Some people love opera or classical music while others prefer a more contemporary style. The musical suggestions made here are only the tip of the iceberg but they may give you some other ideas, and we can consider any request for a particular piece you would like sung.

Drinks Reception & Wedding Breakfast

Musicians can also be booked for your drinks reception and/or your wedding meal. Other musicians can also be booked for your reception and evening entertainment including Dixie Bands, Jazz Ensembles, Brass Players and Ensembles, Bagpipes and fabulous Dance Bands.

To avoid disappointment it is important to book as early as possible, particularly if your wedding is during the busy spring and summer months.

Jennie Evans runs Hop Till You Drop, a company that provides music of all styles and types for weddings, birthday parties and corporate events in the UK. To find out more about all aspects of wedding music planning and to get up-to-date info on live music for weddings in the UK, why don’t you check out Wedding Music Services

Jennie also runs Wedding Music Secret. It’s the most comprehensive online resource for advice about wedding music and sourcing wedding bands in the UK.

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