Cocktails and Ceremonies – Live Music for Those, Too?

As we know, weddings generally consist of three stages: ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception.  Sure, sometimes the ceremony has taken place on an earlier date, or the cocktail hour is rolled into the reception, etc, but most often, these three separate events progress in order over the course of one’s wedding day.  And each of these events can (and arguably should) have music involved.  The first step is usually to hire a band for the reception – again, generally speaking, a band that plays rock, pop, Motown, etc, with bass, drums, piano, guitars, vocalists, horns, and so on.  But what about the earlier two stages of the wedding?  What kind of music and instrumentation are appropriate?  What works best?


There are a lot of options.  Let’s tackle the ceremony first.  The deciding factor here is which songs you want performed.  Maybe you’d like a pop ballad that has sentimental value for your processional, and a fun tune with fitting lyrics, like ‘Signed Sealed Delivered’, for the recessional.  Perhaps you’d prefer classical music as guests take their seats, and Pachelbel’s Canon for the processional.  Or how about a roaring version of Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’ for the processional and ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ as the bride and groom parade out!  Yes, that last one’s a joke.  But once you choose the songs, or at least the style of music you want, that will determine your instrumentation.  If your songs are mellow pop tunes (or mellow renditions of upbeat tunes), you probably want piano, acoustic guitar, or a combination of those two, whereas if you’re feeling like classical is the way to go, then you might want a string quartet or a combo of trumpet, flute and piano, for example.


Then there’s the cocktail.  Potentially even more configurations here than for the ceremony, and this time, it comes down to the kind of ambiance you have in mind.  A classic choice is jazz – possibly a trio that includes piano, bass and sax, or a quartet that adds drums.  Or maybe you want a beachy feel and would prefer a guitar soloist who sings.  Other common choices include a solo instrumental pianist, or a combo of piano, guitar, and possibly a third instrument for renditions of pop, reggae, and maybe a bit of jazz sprinkled in.  When it comes to the music, the cocktail portion of the wedding is your oyster, so to speak.


The overarching point of all this, though, is that while there are many options to choose from, both for your ceremony and your cocktail, the very first choice you have is whether to opt for live music.  And that shouldn’t be a choice at all.  We’re talking about your wedding day – the day of days, the one day where it’s really all about you and your spouse, and about making that whole experience as special as possible.  And few things elevate an experience like live music can.


So go on and customize the different stages of your celebration!  Pick the songs, pick the musical genres, and pick the instrumentation.  There are no bad choices, as long as you’ve chosen to go with live musicians – in the flesh – who will be instrumental (pun intended!) in making your big day truly special and truly memorable.