Music is one of the few human unifiers. Regardless of age, background, social status or gender, music speaks to us all. More so, I can’t think of any moment where music would be unwelcome. From our highs to our lows, music comes as an embrace for the soul, a mood enhancer, something that expresses our innermost intimate emotions outwardly.

The only thing with music is that you have to get it right, or else you can have a huge mess on your hands. Because it’s packed with so much emotional stimulus, the wrong kind of music can create a ton of bad vibes. Just think of how jolly tunes would go with a funeral, and I’ve proved my point…

That being said, we can now look at music as a sharp, beautiful sword. It can be instrumental in the right hands and catastrophic in the wrong one. When it comes to your wedding, even if we’re talking about the civil ceremony, where things are more official than anything else, you want to make sure that a) there’s music there to serve as a mellow background for the event and b) it’s the right kind of music!

First things first
Let’s take them one at a time and stating with the first point, you need to make sure the venue is equipped to play music in the various stages of the civil ceremony. Rest assured, probably 99% of the time, the right equipment will be there, but you know the saying… “better safe than sorry”.

Ask the hosts about the music and make sure they can play it in all the rooms you and your guests will be in. You don’t need anything fancy, no super high tech equipment, just simple speakers, connected to a music player that can play the music you choose. Basically, if the player has a USB port, you’re fine!

There are four main stages in the civil ceremony, and you have to play different music for each. It’s actually a progression, starting with very relaxed music and reaching a more celebrating tone by the end. First, let’s pinpoint the four stages of the ceremony:

Guests waiting
Entrance music
Signing the register
Exit music
While guests are gathering and waiting for the main event, there should be only relaxing music played, something like a simple piano or a very smooth, laid-back jazz. The same lines can be followed for the entrance music as well, but with a little bit more spark to it. The piano should be more upbeat for example, something that’s fitting to foreshadow a great, exciting event.

During the signing, the excitement mounts, but you should still keep things a little mellow. It’s the signing that needs to take centre stage, not the music, so turn up the rhythm just a little bit more, but definitely not all the way up yet.

The last part, the exit, is where you can celebrate through music the signing that just took place. It’s a moment where everyone is excited and happy for the freshly married couple, emotions are high, and music should accompany those feelings.

This is it, a very simple, yet important guide to get you through the civil ceremony with the right music to match each step. Follow my guidelines, and your guests will respond positively to it, without ever noticing why they’re having such a good time.