Tag Archives: Music

The Ceremony: Before the walk

For our six o’clock wedding, we had to get to the church ridiculously early. The church ladies wanted us there no later than 4:30, and I was supposed to walk down the aisle at precisely six on the dot, come hell or high water. We arrived at the church right at 4:30 during the beginnings of the massive thunderstorm. Boys and girls were segregated in different parts of the church– the girls and I in the bridal suite, JP’s groomsmen in the narthex, and JP, his best man, and Quincy, our reverend/officiant, in the preacher’s office. And we waited.

While JP had some lovely pictures of the bouts taken, I nervously clamped my ink-stained hands downstairs. Oh yeah, and then I decided I was going to burst if I didn’t use the restroom soon. I know a lot of brides go DEFCON 3 over the whole bathroom-while-dress-clad thing, but I decided long before the wedding how I was going to do it. My plan was just to take the dang thing off, hang it up, grab a sheet for a little hippie toga, and go to the bathroom. The closest restroom to the bridal suite was a public one (good planning, church!), and there was no way I was going to drag my train through that. (A field and dirt? Sure. But bathroom? Just couldn’t do it.)

After I had my little restroom party with Laura laughing like crazy outside, I was plunked down to eat a protein bar and drink some water. Then I sat around and paced in my sheet for an hour. During that time, Mom came down and told us the awful tale of how there was a colossal storm going on outside. They had had to play emergency take-everything-back-inside-the-house-so-it-doesn’t-get-destroyed back home, and she was dressed, but a bit frazzled. For some reason, none of this fazed me, but I guess I was just in my  happy zen-bride place. In my toga. Actually, that whole sheet-toga thing was really a great idea in retrospect. It kept my dress from getting even more wrinkled, it let me cool off, and it was comfy and relaxing. If you have a big gap between portraits and the ceremony and you’re in a position to have a quick-change, I highly recommend it.

It came to be time to put on the veil. This was a large task, and somehow, no matter how many billions of bobby pins we put in my hair, it always just slid out. Having your hair down + having fine hair + veil = easy situation. Thankfully, photog Reagan came to the rescue with a magical little twisty hidden hair trick in the back, and we got the veil to stay on.

Upstairs, the musicians were playing as guests began arriving.

The pews were all decked out with our sticks, billy buttons, and twine. I really love what our florist did with all of our arrangements. We didn’t want too much going on decorations-wise at the church because it already was such a grand space.

Programs in use! All of that hard work nailing and sewing was put to good use.

We all lined up, and I was still tucked away at the base of the staircase. I so clearly remember these moments, and looking back on it all is so surreal.

I remember the moment I heard the sounds of Passacaglia trickle down the stairs, and I knew it was time for the parents to start walking.

I imagined my parents carrying the flame, trying not to let the flame go out before they got to the unity candle. Laura reached down and grabbed my hand, and I bit the inside of my mouth to stop the tears from welling in my eyes.

My father walked back down the aisle. He had another lady waiting at the base of the stairs to escort.

With Passacaglia still playing, the bridal party made their way up the aisle, boys and girls alternating.

Then, just as the song was ending, my father and I reached the top of the stairs and entrance to the narthex. The church ladies closed the doors to the sanctuary, and as my father and I readied ourselves behind them, Quincy asked the congregation to stand.

It was time.

*All photographs from Matt Miller of Our Labor of Love.

Need to do some catching up in the recap department?

The Big Ones

On Sunday night, JP and I had a massive dance-party with ourselves and the kitten– we finalized our choices for “the big ones,” as I like to call ‘em. I thought I’d share ‘em with you all, as well as our runners up, just because we had so much fun doing this. Also, way to put this off until the last minute, us. What can I say? Music was super important to us, so choosing it seemed virtually impossible– we didn’t want to cut any of our favorites!

First up, is the song for the bridal party intro. This… well… I lied. This we haven’t decided on. There are two options. One is the cover of “With a Little Help from My Friends” by Jim Sturgess and Joe Anderson from Across the Universe.

For the rest of our songs, keep reading after the jump!

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We can do the tango just for two…

We changed our first dance song.

Yes, yes we did. Oh, didn’t you know that it was good to make big changes a month before the wedding? Well it is.

If you remember, our original first dance song choice was Ingrid’s “The Way I Am.”

It is no less sweet, no less perfect, and no less of an amazing song. We just realized we had a better choice right under our noses. “ORLY?” you ask? “LET ME SEE!” you say? Hokay.

The song that bumped Ingrid from the top spot is “Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy” by Queen.

Why this change?

  1. Um, it’s Queen. JP and I both have a serious love for Queen. Serious. Freddie makes me die.
  2. This song is one we actually listen to. I’m not gonna lie– “The Way I Am” isn’t on our big playlist of life. It’s a great song, great lyrics, etc., but we don’t rock out in the car to it. GOFLB? We do. I turn my fist into a microphone and JP rocks out on the air guitar.
  3. It’s a fun song, lesser-known but (in my opinion) instantly lovable.
  4. Queen. Freddie Mercury. Ok, moving on. Point made.
  5. The lyrics? Get out adorable.

There’s a great beginning…

I can dim the lights and sing you songs full of sad things
We can do the tango just for two
I can serenade and gently play on your heart strings
Be your Valentino just for you

Ooh love- ooh lover boy
What’re you doin’ tonight, hey boy?
Set my alarm, turn on my charm
That’s because I’m a good old-fashioned lover boy

Or how about a mushy middle…

When I’m not with you
I think of you always
(I miss those long hot summer nights)
I miss you
When I’m not with you
Think of me always
Love you- love you

And a strong end…

Ooh love
(There he goes again just like a good old-fashioned lover boy)
Ooh lover boy
What’re you doin’ tonight, hey boy?
Everything’s all right
Just hold on tight
That’s because I’m a good old-fashioned fashioned lover boy

Thankfully MOH Laura is a rock-star dancer, and will teach us how not to fall all over ourselves trying to boogie to this. It’s not exactly a stand-there-and-sway song, so wezagunnahaffta practice. We’re lucky that it’s a fairly short song.

Did you change your first dance song, or were you solid from the beginning? Those who are doing “faster” songs, how are you handling the dance routine?

Our ceremony music is going to be ridiculous.

Ceremony music is something that I’ve been sort-of dreading for months, because I wasn’t sure what to do. I don’t think I’ve ever shared this, but I’ve been playing the violin since I was six. I played in my first wedding when I was 11. I’ve been around the traditional-wedding-ceremony-music block. I think the music is beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve just been there done that. I glaze over a little bit. (Said music will remain nameless, to protect the innocent, or people that haven’t beaten it into the ground yet as I have). Our church also has quite a few rules with respect to what can and cannot be played, so that also made me nervous.

Today, we had our first official meeting with Callie, the girl who is heading up our ceremony music. I’ve known her for what feels like forever, and we played violin together for about 100 years. She’s amazing, super talented, and has fantastic taste. Going into our meeting, I had my list ready, and my “Oh God, please don’t let my ideas be crazy” hat on.

She loved my ideas, and, well, I don’t think it could have gone better. I’ll skip the detailed blabbery parts, and get right down to the meat. For the ceremony, we’ll have Callie, a cellist, and a pianist.

Let’s take a look and a listen at our music, shall we? I’m not going to go down the prelude-music-road today, because, well, I’m just not. We’ll save that for another day. All of this is not set in stone, of course, so if something changes, don’t beat me.

We do not have any grandparents attending the wedding, so the only people being walked down the aisle in the processional will be our two mothers and the three bridesmaids. Two separate songs for the both would be too chopped up, so I suggested one for both– the Handel-Halvorsen “Passacaglia.” It’s for cello and violin, and completely amazing.

This will most likely be shortened and fiddled with a bit, given its length. I think it’s just an incredible piece of music.

For the bridal processional, I wanted something that sort of said, “I’M HERE, Y’ALL! PAY ATTENTION! LOOKATMELOOKATMELOOKATME!” I think the piece of music that best does that is Handel’s “Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” from Solomon. (More Handel, look at that!) We will have only violin, cello, and piano, not the full orchestra that is heard in this version.

The tempo will be slowed some, as well. I’m not going to gallop down the aisle.

The song idea for a during-the-ceremony piece is going to sound strange, but just work with me here. When I watched the Time Traveler’s Wife, aka the movie that partially butchered my favorite book, a song that was played at various points throughout was “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen,” or more commonly known in English as “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.” Yes, it is traditionally a Christmas carol. Pretend this doesn’t have a vocalist in it, and throw in a cello and perhaps piano.

I think it will be lovely, but let’s see what JP says once I run it by him.

Now, for the recessional, I will 100% lose my shit. It will be game over. I will be grinning, crying, and generally flipping the heck out. Remember before how I was worried about being able to have “All I Want is You” played? Well, worries gone, because we have someone to sing it, play the guitar, and play the harmonica. Plus, homeboy sounds like Mr. Polisar. Win win win win win. Just imagine this (again) as we all go back down the aisle.

I can’t think of anything more perfect.

(Okay, maybe I can, but this is just a tiny thing. I’d like to change the “was” parts in the song to “were,” because it should be in the subjunctive, damnit).

So, there you have it! We have our not-quite-as-commonly-used music, along with the ultimate recessional. I am thrilled.

What do you guys think? Did choosing your ceremony music go more easily than you expected? What are you using for your big pieces?


This is probably one of the best mash-ups I’ve ever heard or seen. Beautiful video, awesome music. It made my Monday morning, to say the least.

Listen and watch repeatedly for best results.

Next Halloween…

So, well, this Halloween, the only thing we decorated or dressed up was the cat. Next year, I think P should be the lead singer from this wonderful vid, and I’ll either be present-girl or one of his minions. Wednesday can be the doberman pinscher.

Watch and enjoy. And giggle at an Italian butchering some German.

Guilty-pleasure jam of the day.

So, quite frequently I listen to music that should probably embarrass me in some way, but to be honest, I really don’t care. I love my guilty-pleasure jams, dangit.

This one certainly brightened up this dreary Monday.

Lately I’ve also been getting carried away about thinking of what music to have at the reception. When this came up on my playlist, I (of course) instantly had a “OMGTHISWOULDBESOFUNTODANCETO” moment. I’m having too many of those moments lately. I think it would be prudent for us to have a good mix of the fun songs and the more general-crowd-pleasing songs. (Or as JP calls them, “the after 10pm songs”).

I guess this is why we hired a DJ.

Anybody else get stressed out over the music ratios? I don’t want a boring wedding, but I also don’t want the older crowd to feel alienated and scram after 4 seconds.

All I Want is You

Ever since we’ve been engaged, perhaps even before, I’ve wanted “All I Want is You” by Barry Louis Polisar to be played as we walk down the aisle after we’re married. (Recessional, I think, in fancy-wedding-speak). I just think it’s perfect, magic, and, well, awesome.

Imagine being surprised as a guest as that played at the end of the wedding! Somebody singing the song up front! Instruments popping up (banjo? harmonica?) and playing it! Just fantastic.

We have a little problem though. Our church, on the handout thingy they gave us when we booked the date, clearly states, “No secular music.” Way to rain on my parade. We might be able to get around this, if we beg hard enough, or so I hope.

Has anybody else had the secular/non-secular issue with ceremony music?