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Making a musical plan for the day

Music is a key ingredient for your wedding day. Selecting an orchestra that can provide for all your musical needs throughout the day's events will help maintain the theme or mood you'd like to create, and result in a lot less organizational hassle for you.

Bobby Schiff and his orchestra are a uniquely experienced full-service music provider that can create the entire day's musical program with you. From an inspirational ceremony, through swinging cocktails and dinner, to a "pack the floor" dance party, we have the musicians, knowledge and experience that delivers.

Below is a typical wedding and reception broken down in terms of musical accompaniment. Use this musical overview to start making your plan. Then, when you sit down at the piano with Bobby, you'll be able to co-create a customized program for your day's special mood and style.

The Ceremony

The Reception

The Ceremony

Many times a professional band contracted for your reception will have musicians appropriate for playing at your ceremony as well. Whether classical, ethnic or contemporary music is chosen; piano, guitar, bass, violin, trumpet, clarinet or flute are popular instruments to use during a service. Take advantage of the professional level of musicianship available and create a perfectly memorable service.

If you'd like a vocalist, you may have to use one the church recommends. However, if you are able, you may want to avoid gambling on the less experienced and less flexible singer provided by the church's choir or organist. Guarantee a beautiful sound by asking your orchestra leader to provide a quality vocalist who sings in the style appropriate for your musical theme and selections.

The Ceremony typically has five parts; Prelude, Processional, Bridal Entrance, Interlude and Recessional.

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Ceremony > Prelude/Seating

The prelude is when guests are arriving and ushered to their seats. The musical choices can be cheerful or solemn, depending on the mood you want to create. Some popular classical choices are listed below:

Air on a G String - Bach   (MP3)
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - Bach   (MP3)
Piano Concerto #21 - Mozart   (MP3)

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Ceremony > Processional

This musical selection is played as the wedding party starts down the aisle. A traditional march keeps the couples well-paced as they proceed down the aisle. Again, cheerful or stately, the mood will be established by the choice. Some good examples are listed below:

Canon in D - Pachelbel   (MP3)
Pavane - Faure   (MP3)
Gymnopedie - Satie   (MP3)
18th Variation - Rachmaninoff   (MP3)

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Ceremony > Bridal Entrance

A bride can use the same music as the wedding party processional or may choose to have a different piece. The mood desired and the bride's personality help in this selection. Several examples are below:

Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride) - Wagner   (MP3)
Etude in E Maj - Chopin   (MP3)
Trumpet VoluntaryClarke   (MP3)
Piano Trio; Second MovementMendelssohn   (MP3)

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Ceremony > Interlude

The number and type of Interlude selections depends greatly on what type of service you are having and how traditional you want it. For instance, in a Catholic Mass there are obvious events like Holy Communion that are usually accompanied by music. The lighting of a Unity candle has become a popular wedding ceremony event and can be accompanied by a musical selection. Consult your officiant and your orchestra leader for suggestions. Some popular selections are listed below:

Wind Beneath My Wings - Henley/Silbar   (MP3)
All I Ask of You - Andrew Lloyd Weber   (MP3)
Ave Maria - Shubert   (MP3)
Because You Loved Me   (MP3)

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Ceremony > Recessional

The last step of the wedding ceremony. The bride and groom, now man and wife, followed by their attendants, proceed down the aisle. Joyous, uplifting, even bouncy, music, are favorites to close the ceremony. There are many popular choices, some are listed below:

Ode to Joy - Beethoven   (MP3)
Spring, The Four Seasons - Vivaldi   (MP3)
Hornpipe, Water Music Suite - Handel   (MP3)
Wedding March, A Midsummer Night's Dream - Mendelssohn   (MP3)
Siman Tov, Mazel Tov - traditional   (MP3)

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The Reception

The Reception > The Cocktail Hour

If you choose to have a cocktail hour before the main meal there are a number of musical options available. A solo pianist, or jazz trio will give a different feel than a classical quartet. Bobby Schiff will personally assemble the duo, trio or quartet that will best meet your needs.

Music is typically played continuously through this pre-dinner stage with the players then taking a break as guests move from cocktails into dinner seating. Many songs are played, but some favorites for a jazz trio would likely include:

All the Things You Are   (MP3)
Days Of Wine And Roses   (MP3)
It Had To Be You   (MP3)
Night and Day   (MP3)

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The Reception > Announcements and Introductions

From introducing the wedding party to announcing the bride and groom's first dance, a professional band will have a professional master of ceremonies that seamlessly hosts the event. A good emcee will be able to read and respond to the audience without "taking over" or interfering with the focus of the party - the bride and groom!

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The Reception > The Dinner Hour

Keeping music in the background, whether contemporary or classical, while dinner is served subtly continues the theme and adds a luster to the venue - not to mention muffling the typical noises that servers can make. Musical selections would be similar in style to your cocktail hour choices.

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The Reception > After Dinner Events

Cutting the cake, tossing the bouquet or the “order of the garter” - these mini events have been around for a long, long time, and it’s totally up to you whether you want to include them in your festivities. If you do want to include these, or arrange for additional toasts before the cake cutting, your live music provider can give you appropriate suggestions for musical accompaniment.

If you choose to have special dances in your celebration, the musical choices can be very personal. Do the bride and groom have a special song already or are they ready to make a selection that may be "their song" for years to come? Does the bride have a special remembrance of her Dad that music is associated with, or does Dad have a song he's always considered his daughter's song? Let these simple questions be your guide as you go through our songlists and you will ensure a meaningful dance segment everyone will enjoy. Below are just a few samples to get you thinking:

Bride and Groom First Dance
Way You Look Tonight, The   (MP3)
When I Fall in Love   (MP3)
A Kiss to Build a Dream On   (MP3)
At Last   (MP3)

Father / Daughter Dance
Butterfly Kisses   (MP3)
Unforgettable   (MP3)
What a Wonderful World   (MP3)
When You Wish Upon a Star   (MP3)

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The Reception > Dance, Dance, Dance!

The after-dinner events warm the room up to the sparkle of a full band on stage. The crowd's excitement grows as the band swings into their intro numbers, let the dancing begin! The actual number of musicians you have will depend on the number of guests you plan on entertaining, the size of the room, and the type of music and the sound quality desired.

Making your list of "must-plays", "don't you dares", and all-time favorites is fun and easy and truly personalizes your party. Bobby Schiff is a walking music anthology, but if he and the band happen not to know something you want - no problem. Bobby's a composer/arranger as well as musician and bandleader. He will transcribe whatever song you're thinking of, create the charts for the band and rehearse the singers and players to replicate the commercial sound - an example of how this professional events band works.

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Download a PDF file of Anatomy of a Wedding


Bobby Schiff Music
The Bobby Schiff Band
363 Longcommon Road
Riverside  Illinois  60546
708.442.3168  phone
708.447.3719  fax
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