Interludes During the Ceremony
Updated: Oct 24, 2017
Should you have musical interludes during your ceremony?
I’ve played varying traditional ceremonies, including Catholic Mass and Greek Orthodox Mass ceremonies among others. The most common type of ceremony I perform at typically has a Justice of the Peace or Ordained Minister as the Officiate and is less formal.
Traditional masses usually include readings and musical/hymnal interjections. Though less traditional ceremonies typically are much shorter, they can also include these types of interludes. Though not the most common request, there are times a musician is asked to play during the actual ceremony. This could be in unison with another type of symbolic event that the couple decides to use during the ceremony. Interludes can include readings, symbolic gestures that the couple complete, or musical interjections.
Readings from friends and families can include scripture, poetry, or lyrics that are special to the couples relationship. This type of interjection typically happens in both traditional and non-traditional ceremonies. Symbolic gestures that the couple complete during the ceremony range from Unity Candle lightings to Sand ceremonies.
The Unity Candle ceremony is often seen in traditional Catholic weddings, but can also be used in less formal ceremonies. The idea is the couple light a larger candle together by combing their smaller, separately lit candlesticks thus becoming one candle and flame. I’ve recently begun seeing the sand ceremony used in more wedding services. The idea is similar to the unity candle but with sand! The couple have two glass jars filled with brightly colored sand (often to match the wedding colors!) which they combine in one jar to symbolize their union as one.
This past summer one of my weddings incorporated the sand ceremony into their wedding to symbolize their two families becoming one. This was especially pertinent as both sides had younger children. The couple and each child had their own individual sand bottle and together they combined the sand. A symbolic gesture for their family becoming one. It was a very touching part of the ceremony.
Musical interjection during the ceremony generally happens with an action the couple is taking during the ceremony. I’ve been asked to provide musical accompaniment for sand ceremonies, unity candle lightings, and as a reflection period in which the couple dedicate a song to a family member who has passed and could not be there to witness their union.
All in all, these interludes are ways to personalize your ceremony to best reflect and represent your relationship. Though certainly not for every couple, they can add an added charm if they fit the type of ceremony you're looking for! Ideally, for non-traditional ceremonies you want to keep the length down to around thirty minutes (outdoor ceremonies especially). These interludes should only encompass about five to ten minutes of that length.
I hope these examples have given you some inspiration as you go about planning your ceremony! As always, by hiring a professional musician for the ceremony you will be in good hands and the transitions in and out of the musical portions will be seamless.