Welcome back to the Emily Plans a Wedding series! Thank you so much for your thoughts on my last ceremony post – I loved reading through all of the comments! As promised, I’m back with a few more details about our wedding ceremony.
I think music is hugely important at wedding ceremonies, so John and I have had fun discussing which selections we might use! We haven’t come to too many final decisions yet, but I’m happy to share where we are in the process. Let’s run down the list from beginning to end, shall we?
Both images by Picotte Weddings
We’ll kick off our late-afternoon ceremony with prelude music from a string trio. I’m so excited about this, as I adore the sound of strings! I would have loved to hire a quartet, but a trio fit more neatly into our budget. One quick tip: Lots of wedding resources recommend hiring musicians from a music school, but for us, this would have been a more expensive option than the route we ended up taking (hiring professional musicians from the Coast Guard band). It might work out for you, but make sure to do your research! I believe our trio will be made up of two violins and one cello.
For parts of the ceremony the strings will be joined by a piano to lend a little more weight and variety. I’m super excited that my former piano teacher will be our pianist for the day! Rachel was also my high school choral teacher, and I think it will be fun to have one more familiar face greeting us on the big day. We’ll add piano to the strings for the processional, starting with the seating of our families. I think we’ll use Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” for the seating of our families – it’s so beautiful, and for me, those swells mean nothing other than that a wedding is going to take place!!
We’re considering “Morning Has Broken” for my ladies’ entrance – I really love the pace of the Cat Stevens’ version:
For the recessional, I think we’re going to go with “Ode to Joy” – it’s one of my absolute favorite hymns, and both my parents and my older sister and her husband used it for their recessionals.
Here’s the one I’m stuck on – my processional. I want something with good movement and that really makes me feel something, and so far, none of the more traditional options are doing it for me. We have the go-ahead from our pastor to use a secular selection, since the processional isn’t counted as part of the worship service (at least according to him; some pastors might feel differently!). The only problem is that John doesn’t really like my two top contenders! He says he’s happy to use whichever song I like best, but I want something that we both love – after all, it’s both of our moment!
We’ll also have music during the service, and we are so grateful that one of my best friends has agreed to sing for us! Depending on how the rest of our ceremony shapes up, we might have her sing during communion, or possibly as a stand-alone solo. Our top contenders for her are “Set Me as a Seal” and “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” If you haven’t heard the Sufjan Stevens version of “Come Thou Font,” you’re missing out!
Again, depending on how long our ceremony shapes up to run, we’d love to squeeze in a hymn that everyone sings, as well. Pretty much John’s favorite thing to do is sing hymns in church, so it would only be appropriate!
The last music-related question we’re pondering is whether to have a low undercurrent of music from the string trio while we recite our vows. I’m not sure about you, but the right instrumental music layered under words gets me nearly every time – I guess that’s the power of a soundtrack, you know? For example, whenever my church confirms young adults, they always play “Borning Cry” as the pastor moves down the line and the parents lay their hands on their children for the blessing. Oh my word, I cry every time, and I don’t even know any of these kids!!
So pros? It would likely heighten an already emotional moment. Cons? It would likely heighen an already emotional moment :) Also, one of my biggest pet peeves in all of weddings is ceremonies where you can’t hear the vows, so if we went this route, John and I would probably want to be mic’d (or have a handheld mic) so that the congregation could hear our vows over the music. Anyway, just something we’re considering, but I’d love additional thoughts from y’all if this is something anyone has tried!
Beautiful ring bearer bowls from Paloma’s Nest. We won’t have a ring bearer, but our friend Caroline (she and I grew up in the same town!) has kindly gifted us one of her creations! Now to decide what we’d like to put on it… (Photo on left by Jana Morgan and photo on right by A Bryan Photo)
Lastly, I’d love to tell you about our readings! We’ve already chosen our readers – a dear friend with whom we attended both high school AND college, one of the first friends we made as a couple, and one of John’s aunts – but have yet to assign them pieces. We’ll likely use one from the Bible, and we have several under consideration. Here are a few:
Philippians 2:1-5, RSV:
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my job by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 3:12-17, RSV,
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Austin Warnock via Southern Weddings
Romans 12:9-18, RSV:
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Proverbs 3:1-12, ESV:
My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom we delights.”
Stephen DeVries via Southern Weddings
There’s also a favorite excerpt of ours from C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity that will likely make the cut. I think this excerpt is interesting in that when I first read it several years ago, I really didn’t like it. Now, seven and a half years into a relationship, I think there is almost nothing more beautiful than this sentiment. Here it is:
“Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go. And in fact, whatever people say, the state called “being in love” usually does not last. If the old fairytale ending “They lived happily ever after” is taken to mean “They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,” then it says what probably never was nor ever could be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense-love as distinct from “being in love” is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be “in love” with someone else. “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.”
Lastly, since I was an English major with a concentration in poetry, I’d also like to include a more literary reading, but I haven’t come across the perfect one yet. Suggestions are welcome, and I’ll keep on the hunt in the meantime!
Whew! Thank you so much for reading along! Tell me: What readings are you having at your ceremony, if any? I LOVE hearing what readings others are using or have used, so please don’t be shy, and comment away!
In case you missed a post…
The main characters | Where we’re getting married | I go dress shopping | We choose a photographer | I ponder bridesmaid style | Mini food! | The music | We’re renting a tent! | We discuss bouquets + boutonnieres | We send out our save the dates | I gather hair and makeup inspiration | We talk cake and sweets | I introduce you to our videographer | We create a registry | We buy a tuxedo | We style a reception | I choose accessories | We take engagement photos! | We plan our ceremony
Stephen DeVries is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!
Any suggestions on playing music outdoors?
I’m a church organist and singer and play at weddings all the time. For outside ceremonies, it will depend on what musicians you will have. I heard a string quartet playing Beatles tunes at a wedding and they played “Here Comes the Sun” as the bridesmaids came down the aisle. I’ve heard a recorded instrumental of “Someday My Prince Will Come” at an outdoor wedding. One of my daughters used recorded dulcimer music for her wedding that included the traditional “Here Comes the Bride” and for her recessional, she used “How Sweet it Is (to be Loved by You)” by James Taylor as her recessional. It was perfect.
This is a great reference, I think I will listen to these music before my wedding, and then find out that I feel suitable for my wedding song.
Choosing music had to be one of the hardest things we had to do for our wedding, but once we had the ceremony entrance and first dance songs the rest seemed to fall into place.