Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ceremony Music: the detail that almost got away

Invitations, table settings, centerpieces, menu, escort cards, table numbers, flowers, dresses, shoes, hair, tuxes, programs........and the list goes onandonandonandonandon for the countless wedding details that go into planning a day. Even with the thousands of little things, I really felt (and somewhat still do- ask me next week though, I'll probably tell you differently) as though I had a good handle on most of them and had planned what I wanted, how to get it (materials, time, $$, etc), and made it happen. However, the ceremony music was not something that was completely on my radar and seemed to consistently miss my to-do list. Now of course I would love a string quartet, a trumpet, a singer, some piano...heck, I would love a full orchestra (I mean, who wouldn't), but let's jump back down to reality and my wallet...and I realized that obviously was not an option. Not really knowing where to start with this one, I kind of passed it on to Jimmy as his to-do. My rationale was, it's your church, you talk to them. Haha. Good thinking Brittany.

So I gave Jimmy the contact information that they provided in the pamphlet from the church with the recommended musicians. He called a guy on the list, asked him if he was available to play the organ/piano on April 10, he said yes, told us his fee, and done. Ok, that was easy. I like strings, so I decided, why not throw in a violinist? I asked my mom, she has a former student that plays at lots of weddings, I emailed him, he gave us a great rate, and done. I had talked to my future sister in law regarding singing a song at our wedding with her sister (not even realizing that you need a cantor too, being not that familiar with the Catholic church), she agreed, and done. All this took place some time in 2009. Probably in the fall. But let's get real, in wedding planning time, 2009 is the equivalent to 10 years ago, so I won't dwell on the exact date.

Cross ceremony music off my list. Done and done. Great feeling.

Fast forward about 49 days before our wedding (if you are keep track, that was just 11 days ago as we are now at 38 days and counting...). We are meeting with the church wedding planner going through the ceremony and any details that she needs to make us aware of. She asks us if we know the readings we are doing. We say yes (secretly smiling because we picked them the night before). She asks us if we picked our music. We say yes....oh wait. I start to have an inner panic attack, but politely smile and tell her no. As we continue to walk through the details of the day and the church and who goes where and that when we say our wedding starts @ two o'clock that means I'm walking down the aisle at two o'clock.....I attempt to listen attentively, while continuing to panic in my head about this music. I have NO idea. No clue. Don't even know where to start. We have 3 different people who don't know each other, good luck finding a time for all of us to meet and talk and agree on anything. We get in the car and I freak out, telling Jimmy we need to call our organist immediately and set up a time to talk. He says he'll call him. Then I ask him 14 times that day if he did. He starts to get angry with my and he says he will, I just need to chill out. Yes, true story. 3 days later, I ask him again...he called him, waiting for a call back. Small panic ensues. FINALLY, Jimmy informs me that he can meet on Monday night after choir practice. Ok. Sweet. It is in the middle of the Bachelor finale and all, but I mean I have to evaluate my life. And it goes like > the Bachelor (gasp!).

Monday rolls around and I have no clue what to expect. No clue what this guy looks like....and furthermore, no clue that St. Joe had a choir! Anyway....we get there and listen to the ending of choir practice and I note in my head that the male director has a great voice. We go up to talk to the organist after and he asks if we have any clue what we want, are we just going to talk about the songs we picked and if he can play them, and how the other folks are involved and if they are up to speed (the vocalists and violinist Jimmy had told him we were having). While I want to blurt out this *yes, of course I already have everything planned and have for months, super bride answer*'s like a deer in the headlights. I'm just staring at him. Then I look at Jimmy. Then back at him. I blurt out the truth: that we have no clue...I haven't even really thought about anything, don't know how anyone is going to be involved, and am just hoping and praying that he will provide us with the magical answer. He laughs. I tell him that there is also a possibility that our vocalists might not be able to do it....and he asks if we heard the choir director sing. Um, yes, loved him, loved his voice, I ask if he can sing at our wedding....super organist runs off to find him and there you have it folks, our new wedding singer. The next 45 minutes consists of them walking through BEAUTIFUL songs, the singer, singing his heart out, the pianist, playing many of these from memory (how---I don't know!). We go through each spot that the "recommend" having a song, and we go with all the recommended spots (reasoning: they have done this probably 50 times more than Jimmy or I have, so their vote wins!) and then pick from the songs. I literally couldn't stop smiling during every song they sang. I probably looked at Jimmy and then the altar and then the aisle in the church like 100 times when we were listening to the music. The music, cheesy or not, was making it oh so real. This will be sung at our wedding. When we are getting married. When we become man and wife before all our closest friends and family. Wow. Yes yes yes, you have to sing these songs at our wedding. As they wrap that up, the choir director asks if we liked it or if we wanted to listen to someone else sing. I blurt out "now that I've heard you sing, I can't imagine getting married without you there". Creepy, I know, but I was in the "in cloud nine" bride mode. Steer clear of me at those times unless you are prepared for ultimate creepiness. Anyway, singer is hired, rate is agreed upon, and everyone is happy. I tear up. Sick, I know.

Then the organ starts bumping. And wow, what a cool organ it is. I was mystified by all the fun things it can do, and also incredibly impressed that anyone can actually figure out how to use all the different buttons and functions and keys to make the music sound as beautiful as he did. We talked preseccional music and exit music. He played it, we loved it, and done. I walked out of the church as happy as can be. Not sure if those musicians realized how much they put me at ease, but I was SO happy. We were going to get married to some pretty awesome music! On a sad note, after talking to him about a violinist and based on his recommendation that it would be really hard to incorporate just one string instrument....we decided the violin would have to go. I felt terrible (and still do) for canceling on him, so if he reads this---again I'm SO sorry!! But hopefully it will clear his schedule a little more because I know he was busy and doing it as a favor to my mom also.

So there you have it. How we wrangled the music craziness back to being actually a check off the to-do list. So excited about it!!

Also, quick question for you brides out there....when you walked down the aisle (as the bride or are going to as the bride to be)....did you walk down to the traditional "here comes the bride" music or to something else?? We listened to the Trumpet in D to walk down to and I loved it, but for some reason I am still stuck on liking the traditional song. For stupid reasons of course, the main one being my sister and I used to hum that incessantly during our Barbie weddings that were always highly attended. But I'm torn, still leaning towards that...but if I had a trumpeter, I feel like it would be another story :) Any thoughts??


  1. When Pat and I got married at St. Joe, no secular music was allowed at all, so The Wedding March wasn't an option for us. You might have more luck if the priest there now is more liberal than Monsignor Bergman, though. I walked to Trumpet Voluntary with a live trumpeter and it was hands down one of the best moments of the entire day and one of the few I remember crystal clearly 8 years later. I think Sue found us the trumpeter through the church.

  2. Hi Brittany! I have been secretly staling your blog for a week or two and thought I'd say hi. Also, I wanted to tell you that when I walked down the aisle we had the organ player do "Canon in D" I don't love the "here comes the bride" song and I think Canon in D is a very recognizable wedding-ish song.

    Anyway, that is my two cents. Congratulations on the wedding by the way, I am so happy for you!

    -Kelly (Buckner) Fox

  3. So I am obsessed with Canon in D. I was so excited when we decided I'd walk down the aisle to that song…but apparently Fred and I jumped the gun because we just went right after Lindsay and Taylor. Yep, didn't even hear the song I'm so obsessed with…but the funniest part is I didn't even know until the next day! So I guess what I'm trying to say is that either are great…but you'll be so excited when you walk through those doors that you won't even notice :) I can't wait!!!!!

  4. Kelly! Oh my gosh!! So good to hear from you! That's great you read my blog and thanks for the feedback- and to Trish & Vanessa. I did listen to both of them this weekend and decided to go with the Trumpet Voluntary. I'm really excited, glad that decision is done and excited to walk down the aisle!