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The music played at your ceremony does set the mood for your ceremony. Whether it’s a traditional hymn or something more personal, picking the perfect music is an important decision, so it is important to be creative in your planning. Here are some tips.

RESEARCH YOUR CHURCH OR SYNAGOGUE’S POLICY for wedding music to find out what is considered acceptable. Don’t set your heart on walking down the aisle to any music until you have determined the policy of the place you have selected.

APPROXIMATELY 20 TO 30 MINUTES of music is played before the wedding ceremony actually begins.

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.

ATTEND A WEDDING AT THE CEREMONY LOCATION prior to yours to listen to the service and/or the organist.

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 musician’s experience and expertise.

SOME BRIDES ARRANGE to have the church choir or the children’s choir sing. The choir usually sings during the ceremony and prelude, and on occasion for the processional.

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.

MANY BOOKSTORES carry a supply of popular music specifically for wedding ceremonies in addition to music stores. You can also create your own compilation by purchasing individual MP3s and burning your own CD.

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.”

TRADITIONALLY, AT THE RECEPTION, the first dance is by the bride and groom to their favorite romantic song, whether it is a slow waltz, a classical piece or a popular current hit song.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT DANCE  in the reception is the father/daughter and mother/son dance. During or immediately after the bride’s dance the groom dances with his mother-in-law and then his mother.