Wedding Music – Live or Pre-Recorded?

Will your wedding music  be live, pre-recorded (iPod, iPad, tablet, etc.), or a combination of the two? It’s increasingly common to combine live and pre-recorded. At a recent wedding I played, the majority of the music was pre-recorded – the prelude music, processionals for bride and bridesmaids, recessional songs and other ceremony songs. There were two live songs: a wedding hymn, and a piano/vocal solo.

There are advantages for each option:

  • LIVE: If you have access to great musicians, the budget to pay them, and can locate arrangements for all the songs you want to use, live music is a wonderful way to go. Most musicians and ensembles that play at weddings will have music available, though you will probably need to compromise on songs you wish to include if they don’t have good arrangements. It may be important to you to have friends or acquaintances play at your wedding, even if the performances are not quite perfect.
  • PRE-RECORDED: Using all pre-recorded music ensures that there will be no uncomfortable musical moments/performances. And, there are no limits on your song choices. If you prefer all instrumental music (the most popular option), our site offers many excellent choices, from solo piano to full orchestra, solo violin with various accompaniments, pipe organ, acoustic guitar, flute, and so forth.
  • BOTH LIVE AND PRE-RECORDED: This option allows you the  most flexibility and options. Here are two of many options:
  1. Use pre-recorded music for prelude, processionals, and postlude; music during the ceremony is performed live – soloists, for example, or congregational hymns.
  2. Use live musicians for the prelude and postlude, as these are not so critical. This might be a nice option for those who wish to include friends, or musicians from the church or venue whose skill level is unknown. Processional for the brides and bridesmaids can be live or recorded; pre-recorded is the choice of most these days, and you may be more comfortable knowing that the bridal processional will go down flawlessly. One less thing to worry about!

Another important consideration: adequate preparation and communication with the sound engineer. Make sure to have a safety copy of prerecorded music, if possible. It costs so little to have the extra peace of mind. Make sure the CD is labeled clearly. Create a simple document utilizing a large and readable font, and provide the sound person with their own order of service to help navigate the wedding music easily.

If there will be live musicians for any portion of the wedding, communicate with them well in advance, especially if you have any special requests, while there is still time to make a plan B!

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