Quickie Question: Make a Joyful Noise

This lady? Is the late, great Etta James whose most famous hit, At Last, has become to modern wedding processionals what Pachelbel’s Canon in D was to the same part of the wedding in the seventies and eighties. Miss James, who died last week, lived long enough to see her song become a wedding classic.

Every decade or two, a new tune becomes the It Tune for wedding processionals. Let’s face it, even Wagner’s famous wedding march had to start off as a newfangled and slightly scandalous choice on someone’s part. Now it’s so traditional that an approximately equal number of couples would never dream of anything else, or would never dream of using it. For the record, I fall into the latter category. I don’t care much for Wagner overall, and I really dislike the idea of using a piece of music from such a disastrous marriage as a way to start off a new one.

And after I’d been to roughly sixty bazillion weddings where the Canon in D was played as the processional, I went right off Pachelbel, too. I still, however, have fond memories of the wedding I attended where the bride was a member of a string quartet who gave her the gift of playing her wedding gratis. They brought in a replacement violinist, and did Pachelbel proud. It was a charming choice between the musicians in question and the intimate backyard setting.

I, however, have never belonged to a string quartet, and the brief period in which I attempted reluctantly – and entirely without a natural talent for it – to learn the violin is an episode best never mentioned again.

So when it came time to plan my own wedding, I needed something different. Oh, also, I was being lead up the aisle by a bagpiper, and frankly, none of the tunes I’d heard other brides use was going to sound right on the pipes other than the theme from Star Wars… which my piper would have flat out refused to play.

In the end, my piper suggested a traditional Scottish tune called Highland Wedding, which was pretty, joyful, and composed with pipes in mind. It was perfect. We recessed to another traditional Scottish tune, Mairie’s Wedding. That one was my suggestion. Those choices still make me delighted. Neither was overdone in my set, but both were written to celebrate weddings and traditional in one of my background cultures. I loved the tunes, the musicians in question knew them well, and the guests seemed to enjoy both selections.

What about you? What would your perfect processional/recessional tunes be? Something traditional or not? Something played on a harp or a kazoo?

Tell me all about it!

5 Responses to “Quickie Question: Make a Joyful Noise”

  1. Ours were perfect! At least in my opinion. 🙂 For the processional we had musician friends play “Vito’s Ordination Song” by Sufjan Stevens. For the recessional, I had planned an Emmiliana Torrini song, played via my iPhone connected to the church’s speakers. Somehow I flubbed up my playlist during setup and out came “Sea of Love” performed by Cat Power instead …it was perfect.

  2. Twistie says:

    @Lisa in Berlin: isn’t it nice when the goofs work out so perfectly?

  3. Katie says:

    I was so tempted to hire a piper, but it was just one more thing to organise and pay for, so I let it go.
    My husband and his men walked up the aisle to We Will Rock You played on the bagpipes by the Red Hot Chilli Pipers (a little group we came across while living in Scotland)
    I walked up to something instrumental by the Corrs, but I don’t remember what as my husband chose it and I don’t remember hearing it at the time.
    Husband says the recessional was something by Vivaldi, but again he chose, and I don’t remember hearing it.

  4. Jenn says:

    I love, and probably will forever, Canon in D. I blame 7 years of school band for it. I even like the songs that make fun of it (Pachohell, anyone?). But I do like something a little different so I’m doing a slight edit on Trans Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas Canon Rock (just to get the lyrics out of the middle of the song) as our processional.

    The recessional, we’ve decided, is going to be Little Wonders as it never fails to make me cry happy tears at the end of our favorite movie, Meet the Robinsons. The message of the song also fits 🙂

  5. Impkitti says:

    We processed in together to “Ode to Joy”, our recessional was a march written for the historic recreation group where we met.

    My most favorite recessional I ever heard was at a friends wedding. They recessed to “Will You Still Love Me When I’m 64?”