One of the first questions I ask couples at our first ceremony design meeting is will you be having live music or digital (recorded) music for your ceremony?

Many couples have already decided what type of music, even if they haven’t yet decided on the songs or tunes. But there are also many couples recently engaged who, through being so excited to be making their wedding plans, just haven’t yet had time to give their ceremony music a lot of thought.

Recorded Music

First I’ll talk about recorded music. This can be your best choice if there are certain songs that you dreamed of having in your wedding ceremony which you just can’t reproduce live. Perhaps there is a theme song to your favourite movie, or a song from a band or singer you love which just can’t be replaced.

I use always use a professional quality PA system for ceremonies, and sound quality has never been a problem with recorded music. Many of the bigger hotels will already have a licensed Spotify or other music streaming account and a professional sound system for special events, and a member of staff to play the music.

I have conducted many wedding ceremonies with recorded music simply because the couple wanted certain songs or music which meant a lot to them, which just couldn’t be reproduced live.

One time a particular bride and groom who were both movie fans, chose music from two of their favourite movies – Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, which really created a beautiful effect when played at the appropriate times throughout the ceremony. On conclusion of the ceremony, once they were pronounced married and sealed their marriage with a kiss, as the newlyweds turned to walk back down the aisle holding hands – it was fabulous to hear the Star Wars theme music from the end of the Star Wars movie booming through the hotel’s surround sound system at just the right volume.

Their choice of music really made their wedding ceremony feel like it was part of a Hollywood blockbuster movie, which was exactly the effect the movie-loving couple wanted, you just wouldn’t have had that same effect from live music.

Live Music

If you really can’t decide between live or recorded music for your wedding ceremony, as a musician myself and a qualified sound therapist, I always recommend if you can stretch your budget a little to include live ceremony music you will be glad you did – and here’s my reason why:

There really are healing sound frequencies in live music that you just don’t get from a recorded or digital version of the same instruments. Just like the difference between the sound of a “real” piano versus the sound of an electric stage piano, there is no comparison to the sound of the real thing. Those healing frequencies include the resonance from the instruments themselves, the multi-dimensional qualities of the music. People will tell you it’s “the feeling”, you will definitley notice the difference.

The feeling from live music really adds so much to create the magic and enchantment of the ceremony space, the auspiciousness of the occasion that you just wouldn’t get in a recorded version of the same instruments.

When guests begin to walk in to your ceremony area and the sound of live music is softly echoing through the room, they will definitley feel that something very special is about to begin.

Common choices for live ceremony music include: (in no particular order)

  • Ceremony singer
  • Classical guitarist playing instrumental
  • Irish traditional musician duo, trio or quartet
  • Celtic harpist with or without singing
  • String duos, trios or quartets featuring Cello, fiddle and/or classical guitar

A common choice for ceremony music here in Ireland, with the abundance of musical talent is to ask musical family members and/or friends, who will happily (or sheepishly!) volunteer to add their expertise to provide the ceremony music. This makes the ceremony music even more special for the occasion.

When making your decision to have either live or recorded music for your wedding ceremony, my advice is simply this – think about the feeling that you would like the music to create for your ceremony, by choosing the type of music which is the most meaningful to both of you, music that you both love.

Congratulations to you both!

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