Ceremony Music Inspiration from the Royal Wedding (Part 1)

Wasn’t it amazing?  I can’t stop thinking about the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William.  I know many brides to be out there are drawing inspiration from the elegance of the day in all sorts of areas—and I wanted to do a breakdown of the instrumentation and ensembles that performed and offer some ideas on how you could get a similar sound for your day!

For Prince William & Kate:
London Chamber Orchestra
A chamber orchestra is an orchestra comprised of 50 or fewer musicians—strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion with a conductor.  The London Chamber Orchestra is the UK’s longest established professional orchestra and yes, they are available for hire.

Get the Sound:
For a full sound that is elegant and rich but with fewer musicians (since most brides probably aren’t going to be able to have 50 professional performers) opt for a string quartet plus piano and 1 or 2 trumpets.  The piano will help add fullness to the sound while the strings will give the rich tone.  The trumpet(s) lend that exciting formal elegance that is so appealing.  Be ABSOLUTELY sure that these musicians are high quality professionals because poor playing—bad intonation, etc. can quickly turn regal elegance into ear splitting agony.

For Prince William & Kate:
Westminster Abbey Choir
There are many types of choirs but the Westminster Abbey Choir is comprised of 30 boys and 12 professional adult singers.  Choir of St. George’s Chapel in Windsor composed of 23 boy choristers and 12 professional adults.

Get the Sound:
Most cities and some churches have children’s choirs.  It would certainly be a lovely spin on the flowergirl/ringbearer concept to have the children in your wedding be vocalists!  Be careful that you’re not signing yourself up for too much complexity in the midst of the rest of the planning:  this is your big day, but for the families of these children from the local kid’s choir, it is one of many items on the family to-do list. 

If you don’t want to risk that, opting for adult professional vocalists is a good route to go.  The singers in Westminster Abbey Choir & the Choir of St George’s are some of the most talented in the UK in the classical realm.  Having 1-4 classically trained vocalists (perhaps a mix of male and female voices) is going to create a wonderful, robust effect. 

For Prince William & Kate:
Organ by Robert Quinney
The 35 year old sub-organist for Westminster Abbey (the sub-organist is responsible for all events at the abbey.)

Get the Sound:
Many churches have a resident organist.  The songs performed at the Royal Wedding are definitely very technically challenging so make sure that your church organist is comfortable with the musical selections you make.  Showing some enthusiasm and appreciation for the organist’s years of training can go a long way towards getting his or her best efforts! 

Venue:
One thing to keep in mind when contemplating a royal-esque wedding is venue.  Classical instruments and vocalists really benefit from an indoor setting with good acoustics such as a chapel or cathedral.  While one can achieve amazing things these days with sound amplification, you’ll have better results inside than in an outdoor setting such as a garden or vineyard.  If you are having an outdoor wedding, positioning the musicians in front of any sort of wall will help the sound immensely. 

Stay tuned for my next post about the specific song selections Prince William and Kate used for their day.  I will include suggestions of songs similar if you’re looking for something along the same lines without being an exact match. . . . and if you are interested in more ideas and information about professional ceremony music, please visit us on www.effesenden.com!

Blush Bridal Bolsters Make-A-Wish Foundation

  One of the things I value most in other business professionals is authenticity. This a trait that Amy Nuttman, owner of Blush Bridal Consultation Group has in spades. It translates in the angst free, relaxed, confident approach that she and her coordinators exude in the weddings that they facilitate. Recently, Amy has taken the walking of the talk one step further by partnering with Make-A-Wish Foundation to katekellyphotographydonate 5% of her company profits to this amazing charity. I am so impressed!

Amy and I share more than just a passion for beautiful, well organized weddings. We also have daughters almost the exact same age. We love to watch our little ones run and climb and get into trouble. We love to dream about their futures…and every so often muse about their wedding days (40 years from now of course!) I know how much Amy feels blessed to have a growing family and the fact that she wants other families to be supported through unimaginably difficult times makes me think just that much more of her integrity.

I would recommend Blush to anyone. Time and time again I have seen their events go off with happy, relaxed brides and grooms. Thanks Amy for not only being so proficient, but also giving back to the community by supporting Make–a-Wish!

Blush Bridal Consultation Group
home: 503.224.7700
Email: blush@blushbridalevents.com
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More Than Entertainment

It came time to decide how the advertising would go for the coming year.  We do have to advertise… can’t just sit at home dreaming up beautiful wedding music in our bedrooms hoping someone will hear it outside on the sidewalk after all! 

But a funny thing I noticed… where flowers, cakes, and photographers all got their own special category on one prominent wedding resource guide, music was tucked away under the category “entertainment.”  This bothered me—at first I just wasn’t even sure why.  Was it because music is like breathing for me?  Was it because “entertainment” makes me think of jugglers and jazz hands more than a beautiful song?  My answer came back to the heart of what I believe about weddings versus the wedding industry.

“Wedding industry” is a bit of a taboo term amongst some who offer their skills to help make a wedding celebration unfold.  We truly love what we do and we don’t like it put in the terms of “industry.”  We prefer “craft” or “style” or “world.”  It is however technically an industry… a 62.8 billion dollar one back in 2008 according to MSNBC. 

So here we have this sort of scary, cold sounding beast of a concept “industry” butting up against this most intimate and important of choices:  how do you want to celebrate and commemorate your commitment to share your life with one special person?

As couples navigate the world of wedding planning, they can quickly feel overcome by the sense of “we don’t know, we have never done this before!”   This is not a party you are throwing so that you hope people will like you!!!  This is a party you are throwing because you want to share your happiness with your community who already loves you and wants to support and celebrate your love. 

Throughout human history, playing and listening to music has been one wonderful way that people mark momentous times in their lives and in their communities.  It is also a powerful tool of self expression.  With these two important functions in mind which have stood the test of time more than even the wedding ring, I hope that the wedding industry will someday come to give music the same credit it bestows on other elements of the wedding day.

In the end, the level of enjoyment at a wedding is still about the individual couple and their unique definition of a celebration… not a massive industry list of rules and requirements.  The couple who plans their wedding and keeps what the industry says in check might in fact just enjoy the process!