Guidelines for choosing wedding music

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Guidelines for choosing wedding music

Several folks have asked for a copy of our church’s guidelines for choosing wedding music. If you find the following helpful, feel free to use and adapt it to suit your ministry.

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The wedding ceremony is a display of the goodness of God and the glory of Christ. It is witnessed not only by the Lord, but by friends and family – both believers and non-believers. The music you choose will represent you, your families, your church, and ultimately the Lord. Here are two considerations to help guide your music choices:

Appropriateness

This is a day that is joyful but not frivolous, solemn but not somber. Paul calls marriage a “profound mystery” (Ephesians 5:32) that pictures Christ and the church, and it’s a decision that you have entered into with much consideration and prayer. Your wedding day is the first day of the rest of your life.

Music powerfully influences the tone of the ceremony. Don’t choose music that is cheap and frivolous. Just as you wouldn’t walk down the aisle in jeans and a sweatshirt, you shouldn’t use music that is goofy or casual. Simply put, choose music that is appropriate for the occasion. It’s fine to use a celebratory, contemporary song for exit music, but make sure it sends a message that reflects the life-changing event that has just happened.

Association

Because marriage is a picture of Christ and the church, it’s important to maintain a distinction from the world in how we present the ceremony to those witnessing it. This means considering not only the content of the music itself, but possible cultural associations that might be out of place in such a setting.

Please avoid songs closely associated with contemporary entertainment, especially entertainment that glorifies wickedness. Modern secular songs may not be used during the ceremony. Consider passages like Ephesians 5:5-16. Remember that even though a certain song might be meaningful to you and your fiancée, it may not be appropriate in a larger gathering for such an event. This may not be a matter of right and wrong, and but rather about wisely deferring to others.

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A few more guidelines:

  • Musicians should be scheduled at least two months in advance.
  • The music minister needs to approve all music selections at least one month in advance.
  • It’s preferred (but not mandatory) that music for the processional and bridal entrance be played by live musicians if possible. Prelude, recessional, and postlude music may be pre-recorded.
  • All music selections must have existing sheet music from which the musicians can play.

If you have questions regarding the above guidelines, or need help in choosing music, please contact your coordinator or the music minister. We’re happy to help.