Playing in a wedding, need help

April 4, 2007 at 05:02 PM · Hi all,

I am playing for a friend's wedding in November. I'm the ONLY one playing in ceremony which means I have to provide the processional, ceremony, and recessional music. I have played weddings several times in quintets with the standard fare. But now it's just me, and she doesn't want Canon in D and Wedding March.

Any suggestions on music? I know it depends on her taste and I'd like to offer her several options, but I can't think of any solo violin pieces right now that work without accompaniment.

Also, if it matters, I will be playing outdoors, on the beach.

Replies (23)

April 4, 2007 at 06:05 PM · I've played a few solo weddings where I just played the 1st violin parts for Latham's "Weddings for Two" series. Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring might be nice for a processsional, since it is fairly easy to find a good "stopping point" once the bridal party has finished processing. For mid-ceremony music, like the unity candle, you could do ave maria, or meditation from thais, which are easy to find.

At the last wedding I played, the bride requested "all you need is love" for her recessional. We played as a violin and cello duet, but if you're creative you could do a solo.

Good luck!

April 4, 2007 at 06:19 PM · Off the top of my head - you could play the slow movement from 'Winter' alone. Of course it's nicer with accompaniment, but there's no counterpoint and the melody is pretty much the focus of interest anyway. I've done it many times as a processional - although never alone. For recessional music, the Gavotte en Rondeau from the E major partita is someting that might fit, and you can stop or repeat sections as needed - an added bonus. For other music, you might check out the Telemann fantasies - really depends how much you need.

April 4, 2007 at 06:26 PM · I agree with Jesu for the processional, then Bridal Chourus for when the Bride walks down, and then there is La Rejouissance from royal fireworks music by Handel.

Music before the wedding while the guests are sitting down is the easy part. Just play something that is interesting enough alone.

I have played many solo weddings, some short ones and some long before wedding music, during ceremony and after ceremony until the reception was ready.

Some things in my solo wedding repertoire are:

Meditation from Thais

Ave Maria

Bach's Arioso and Air on the G string

Vocalise by Rachmaninoff, works well w/o piano, in my opinion

Entrance from the Queen of Sheba, by Handel

Sicilienne and Rigaudon by Kreisler

Liebesleid by Kreisler

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Mozart, if you like this

All the annoying cliche wedding songs...Trumpet Tune, Trumpet Voluntary, Theme from Brahms' 1st symphony, Hornpipe, Rondeau from Masterpiece Theater

I also find that easy suzuki songs, books 3,4,5 are nice easy filler songs if you have to play for a long time, especially with all the repeats.

April 5, 2007 at 01:10 PM · Thanks so much for your responses thus far! Very helpful.

April 5, 2007 at 07:01 PM · bach always works well at weddings

April 5, 2007 at 11:34 PM · I've used many of the waltzes from: THE WALTZ BOOK collected & edited by Bill Matthiesen. There are some beautiful ones... pre-wedding music.

April 6, 2007 at 12:45 AM · You need to tremolo during the vows. Crescendo up when one of them is supposed to say "I do" then quickly down again, then back up for the other other one. It would be better on a snare drum, but hey.

April 6, 2007 at 05:47 PM · Whatever you do, DON'T play Danse Macabre, Night on Bald Mountain, Pavanne for a Dead Princess, Going Home, Death and the Maiden, Children's Games, or the Mozart Requiem.

:) Sandy

April 6, 2007 at 06:05 PM · Send in the Clowns" would make a nice processional, Sander. It would sound good on a violin too. That soaring melody kinda thing.

April 6, 2007 at 07:20 PM · Aren't you supposed to ask the bride and groom what they want to hear.

I missed the part about being on a bach. My wife said The Hawaiian Wedding Song (as sung by Elvis in a movie) would be good.

Since it's by the ocean "Victory at Sea" is appropriate, theme music from "Finding Nemo," or "The Little Mermaid," specifically, "Under the Sea," as sung by the clam and the crab. And last but not least,the theme music from "Oceans 11."

If you're playing on a beach with abrasive sand and salt blowing around I hope you use a cheap violin.

Good luck.

April 6, 2007 at 10:24 PM · Yes, it should be about what the couple wants to hear which is why whenever she asks what I could play I ask her to tell me more about the wedding, when I'll be playing, what she'd like to hear. She isn't much help though and keeps asking me to suggest things.

April 6, 2007 at 11:25 PM · Ok, I see the problem.

April 7, 2007 at 10:00 AM · Try asking her what kind of feelings she'd like to express. Does she want something romantic at the beginning? Stately? Should the recessional be more joyful? You'll find non-musicians are a lot less intimidated by these sorts of questions, and the digging you do allows you to be confident in your music choices.

April 7, 2007 at 10:22 AM · In addition to playing some of the above selections I have occasionally brought along CD piano accompaniment for a song or two, and even CD orchestra accompaniment. OK, maybe it's not the best idea in the world, but hey, it adds variety. (Your not playing on an ocean beach, are you?)

April 7, 2007 at 11:20 AM · "The Violinist's Wedding Album" for violin and keyboard by Lynne Latham has all of the classic wedding standards we all know and love. You can play the violin part all by itself, and it works just fine.

If you are playing on the beach, please consider the following:

1) Use the cheapest VSO you can find. The salt air is not the best for fine varnishes.

2) If you are going to use sheet music, bring along a heavy stand, and many, many clothespins to keep the wind from blowing your stand over, or stealing the sheet music. Many, many clothespins.

3) Bring the most potent bug spray you can find. Sand fleas are NOT fun. I always use Deep Woods Unscented Off.

4) If the ceremony is during daylight hours, wear copious amounts of sunscreen. Even on a cloudy, overcast day, you can get a nasty sunburn.

I used to play beach weddings when I was in Grad School down at FSU. St. George Island is the only thing I miss about Florida. Have fun!

As for repertoire, just sit down with the bride and play a whole bunch of snippets of the standards (or not-so-standards) and let her pick out what she wants. Quite frankly, most brides either pick their selections off of one of those wedding CDs, or they want you to pick most or all of their music selections. And that is fine. The bride is paying you for your expertise.

April 7, 2007 at 11:42 AM · Your bow hair will also feel pretty soggy by the water.

April 7, 2007 at 08:37 PM · I just re-read my post and would like to add that I didn't mean for my remark about the beach to sound harsh. I live in Oregon and there are lots of days where wind and noise would make playing at an ocean beach next to impossible.

April 8, 2007 at 01:17 AM · I second Jesu... But more importantly, I would play some things that are repeating and will etch themselves in the memory of the ceremony since you'll be playing the entire time.... Rather than 10 songs, I'd choose five or six that will linger. You might even get creative and make a medley that changes keys and positions.

April 8, 2007 at 01:21 AM · How about the Andante from Bach sonata in A minor, BWV 1002? Gorgeous piece, very peaceful and sweet.

April 8, 2007 at 05:16 PM · Gary, I did not take your post as harsh at all, no worries. I am actually playing at an ocean beach, in Florida. I only have one violin, and it's not so expensive in the first place, though I did just get the scrapes and scratches touched up. I did express my concern about the ocean air with my violin and will likely bring it up again.

Also, funny, I grew up in Oregon! So I know the type of coast you are talking about :)

April 8, 2007 at 05:48 PM · Anne, I used to play on St. George Island, which is on the Gulf. If that is where you are going to be, have fun. It is very beautiful there.

Also, keep in mind that November is Primo Hurricane Season.

April 8, 2007 at 11:48 PM · Anne, would you consider popular music (eg. My Heart Will Go On or some Andrew Lloyd Weber)? There are sheet music books with pop standards and wedding songs available from Hal Leonard.

Other suggestions: Fur Elise, Le Plus que Lente by Debussy, or the duo from Lakme.

April 9, 2007 at 01:02 AM · "All I ask of You" from Phantom of the Opera might work well.

Just add your own double stops etc.

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