The flute is a perfect instrument for weddings with its sweet, soft tone that can carry above a crowd. While many couples have ideas of music they want played during the ceremony, there are others that give the musicians free reign. Music for weddings are best kept to classical, or low-key (no pun intended) arrangements of popular songs. The following suggestions are great pieces for the different parts of a wedding.
The prelude to the wedding is the time where guests arrive, find their seats, meet and greet other attendees, and getting children settled. Music played during this time should be soft, not too fast and subdued. Music played too loud will cause the crowd to grow in volume, and faster, more upbeat music has a tendency to cause guests to become a bit antsy. Keep the music calm to get the guests in the mood.
Most pieces that include the word "Prelude" in the title are useful for weddings. Bach's "Prelude in C Major","Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" and "Arioso" are also pieces that are often played during the prelude. Schubert's "Ave Maria, Op. 52, No.6" is one of the most famous and popular pieces to be played at weddings, and the accompaniment is versatile.
During the procession the bridesmaids begin their walk down the aisle soon to be followed by the bride. Preludes can be continued for the bridesmaids and flower girls. The following pieces: Bach's "Air on a G String" and "Sheep May Safely Graze", Franck's "Panis Angelicus", and Pachelbel's "Canon in D" are great pieces that can easily be shortened for a fast moving bridal party or bride, or lengthened if they take their time walking down the aisle.
While Wagner's "Bridal Chorus" is the most popular song for the bride's entrance, Clarke's "Prince of Denmark March" is a regal and elegant choice for the flute and a bass instrument. For weddings with a long aisle or are in a cathedral, the bride can walk down the aisle to Wagner's "Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral", a dreamy and goosebump-inducing piece that gains volume and momentum from beginning to end."
Weddings vary when it comes to exchanging vows, rings, lighting unity candles, or other events the bride and groom choose to include in the ceremony. Shorter pieces should be used here such as the traditional tunes of "Amazing Grace", "Morning Has Broken", Brackett's "Simple Gifts" or Beethoven's "Ode to Joy". The recessional occurs after vows, rings, "I do's", kisses, and the pronouncement. Upbeat, joyous, and celebratory music should be played, such as: Mendlessohn's "Wedding March", Vivaldi's "Spring" or "Autumn" from The Four Seasons, or Stanley's "Trumpet Voluntary".
The postlude occurs after the bride has left the building, and pieces that are bright and upbeat will get the guests moving from their seats and out the door. Selections such as: Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik", Handel's "Alla Hornpipe" and "La Réjouissance" from Music for the Royal Fireworks are beautiful pieces with which to conclude the ceremony.