The importance of Prelude music

Most of the times when our trios and quartets play at wedding ceremonies, they usually play anywhere between fifteen and thirty minutes of prelude music in different genres.  It is a nice way to make a transition from the “before” the ceremony time into the actual wedding ceremony.  It keeps the guests occupied as they are coming in, and in case if the ceremony runs late ( happens more often then some might think!), there is no awkward silence – the musicians will keep on playing. I work very closely with brides in helping them select the wedding music for their ceremony. However, ninety nine percent of time they ask me to come up with our own choices for the Prelude music. I have an extensive music repertoire for all group combinations, from duo to quartets and it is very easy to put together a program of the music for preludes. 
I mentioned in one of my other posts that Prelude music plays a bigger role in a wedding ceremony than it might seem. It is a period of time when guests are waiting for ceremony to start, either sitting in pews if the wedding is in the church, or simply meandering around if it is an outdoor ceremony.  It is also time when some people meet for the first time – distant relatives and friends from both sides of the wedding party, that can be uncomfortable as well.  Believe it or not, a familiar piece of music can be a start of a conversation. I have observed people listening to us while we play a very familiar piece : “..Oh,I know that! I played that in high school!… It is my mother’s favorite song!  I heard it on the radio and really like it!.. My friend’s daughter played that at her wedding, too..” Comments like that can lead to people opening up and talking to each other, creating a comfortable atmosphere during the rest of the wedding ceremony, making people feel at ease, and make them pay more attention to the ceremony and not their cellphones and I-podes ( I’ve seen that, too!). 
So, what is a good way to choose appropriate Prelude music? It might not be a bad idea to ask some of your wedding guests what their favorite pieces are, may be even include that question in their wedding invitation. When you get the invitations back – make a list of the pieces that guests mentioned in their invitation and then pass it along to us so we can add them in our Prelude music list.  If you really want to please your future in-laws early on – ask them the same question and we will make sure to play their favorite piece as well.