Here’s a head-scratcher I encountered last weekend: Say you’re a composer who’s about to get married. You’re planning a wedding ceremony (whether religious or civil) and reception. What do you do about music?
Having entered the period of my life wherein my friends are suddenly tying their respective knots en masse, I’m curious to see how my composer colleagues will deal with this question. Will they opt for the traditional wedding music of their church, ethnic group, etc.? Mendelssohn is pretty popular, and it’s hard to go wrong with Bach. Will they ask their friends to write pieces to be played when they walk down the aisle? (I remember reading about one composer who did exactly that a few years ago, but I’m afraid I can’t recall his name.)
Another obvious possibility is to write one’s own processional and recessional music. I don’t think I’d want to take this route, though. As regular readers have probably inferred, my music isn’t really wedding material, but the problem isn’t the jarring aesthetic disconnect between double-combinatorial quarter-tone hexachords and a lifetime of wedded bliss. I take music very seriously, but I feel that a major life event such as a wedding is somehow too important for me to dilute with my work. I’m only speaking for myself, of course, but I’d rather get hitched in silence. (I also understand that the decision may ultimately not be mine.) On the other hand, what if some bride’s family commissioned me, presumably with no knowledge of my musical leanings, to write some music for their daughter’s ceremony? I’d have to come through with something as a matter of professionalism. Fortunately, my sense is that it’s highly unlikely for a graduate student to be contracted to compose music for a stranger’s wedding—although I’m sure it’s happened!
I’d love to know what music (if any) our married readership chose; please share. I’d imagine that a few of you might have composed nuptial pieces for your own or for others’ ceremonies—how did you feel about that?