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One of the first steps in planning your wedding ceremony is to research your church or synagogue’s policy for wedding music. Many churches have a set policy for wedding music and it is important to find out what is considered acceptable to avoid future problems that would arise. Don’t set your heart on walking down the aisle to songs that would be considered secular (which may not be allowed) until you have determined the music policy of the place you have chosen

Approximately 20 to 30 minutes of music is played before the wedding ceremony actually begins. If the ceremony is being held in a place of worship this prelude is considered to be an integral part of the worship service and the music must be appropriate. There should be various styles of music to choose from to fit the mood that you want to set for the awaiting guests. Remember that the music played at your ceremony does set the mood for your ceremony so it important to be creative in your planning.

Discuss your choices of music with the musician or organist who will play at your wedding. Be prepared to provide sheet music for any music that is unfamiliar to the musician and allow advance preparation time. You may consider hiring a professional to assist you in the music selections and create a music program to complement your individual desires. Another recommendation is that the bride-to-be come to a wedding at the church prior to the wedding to listen to the service and/or the organist to get ideas on planning her wedding.

A flutist, harpist or stringed instrument player can improve the sound of the music played and enhance your wedding. Expect to pay between $400 to $650 for a string quartet depending on the individual musicians? experience and expertise.

Some brides arrange to have the church choir or the children’s choir to sing. The choir usually sings during the ceremony and prelude and on occasion for the processional. To involve everyone in the church a hymn can be sung which can add to the genuine experience of a church service.

Many churches allow both popular and secular music at a wedding. If you are not familiar with classical and traditional church music a good source to go to is the musician you have hired organist or otherwise. A good organist will have excerpts of various selections for you. Many Christian bookstores carry a supply of popular music tapes specifically for wedding ceremonies in addition to music stores.

Many churches will not allow the two pieces which are most familiar considering them inappropriate for a worship service. The Wedding March from Wagner’s Lohengrin is performed in the opera after the ill-fated wedding of Lohengrin and Elsa and the atmosphere it was meant to evoke is one of hatred and distrust. The correct title is not the wedding march at all but Bridal Chorus. The Wedding March is from Felix Mendelssohn’s music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is the melody used by countless brides as the recessional. It is also the theme music from The Newlywed Game. Churches may refuse to play this piece because it was written for the pagan wedding of the Duke of Athens and the Queen of the Amazons.