Pop Wedding Songs Trending in 2018 | Have You Chosen Your Music?

Have some fun choosing your wedding songs!

Pop Wedding Songs
Are you looking for something off the beaten path of Canon in D and the Wedding March for your wedding ceremony music? If you’re a little bit nontraditional in your wedding plans, you’ve come to the right place for pop wedding song inspiration.

Pop Songs to Inspire Your Wedding Playlist

Instead of a limited list of classical music, with maybe a Beatles tune here and there, we currently have over 500 custom arrangements of everything from Elvis to Lady Gaga. The best part is that every year our song list grows. You can check out our current repertoire right here on our website. I love saying “sure!” when people come up with all kinds of creative ideas for their wedding music. Yes, we can even arrange Rap and R&B. It just takes a little bit of creativity. . . but we’re musicians and creativity goes with the territory.

Top Wedding Songs in 2018: the Frontrunners

People love an amazing diversity of musical styles but there also seem to be certain songs and musical artists that rise to the top and this year, his name is Mr. Ed Sheeran.

If you’re one of those savvy couples who has chosen Ed Sheeran’s November hit, “Perfect,” for your ceremony processional, I just want to say “Well done!” The music has such a strong melody and that’s one of the key things that determine a great instrumental version of a popular song.

What’s more Ed Sheeran has a reputation for being a bit of a wedding crasher himself. If you haven’t already heard the heartwarming story of his surprise performance for an Australian couple’s first dance in 2016, you can read the story on InStyle‘s website.

If you haven’t checked out Sheeran’s video, grab some kleenexes and settle in.

Coming in at a close second for two years straight is the gorgeous ballad “A Thousand Years,” by Christina Perri from the motion picture, “Twilight.”

Perri’s voice is so haunting and vulnerable. Our arrangement puts a big spotlight on the cello. The rich tones really lend to the haunting melody. I’ve arranged this piece for not only our string trio and string quartet but also our acoustic ensembles with guitar, piano, violin and bass.

Don’t Forget Your Wedding Recessional!

I’m really in love with Katy Perry’s Chained to the Rhythm right now. This song is going to be so awesome with string quartet. I know it might be hard to picture when you’re watching Perry in those awesome Gogo boots and hearing the groovy bass, but it definitely lends itself well to strings.

A second song that is just so fantastic is Maroon Five’s “Sugar.” If you haven’t checked out this video, take a break from your seating charts and check it out. These guys drove all over LA crashing weddings. I wish they would crash a wedding we were performing at!

What about you? What is your perfect wedding music? If you’re having live music at your wedding ceremony, have you chosen your songs yet? If you are still thinking about adding the beauty and energy of live strings to your wedding ceremony, contact us to talk about your special day! We would love to help you out.

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Need some more inspiration? Check out this article on WeddingWire to give you even more ideas for your perfect wedding songs!

Advice on Picking Your Wedding Music

There’s that scary saying “you don’t know what you don’t know!”  With weddings and planning big events, there is a lot to know and a lot to learn.  To be honest, ceremony music often finds itself on the list of last minute additions.  So to help you think about what the wedding ceremony standard musical moments are, we’ve compiled a little list.

PRELUDE aka Music As Your Guests Arrive:

Typically 15-30 minutes of background music.  This sets the vibe of the room.

If you have a more formal ceremony in a church or similar venue, traditional classical music can be a great choice.  String Trios and Quartets know a lot of great repertoire so unless you’ve got the time and desire to spend time with Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart and Dvorak, you are safe telling your musicians to play something formal, classical and beautiful.

If you’d like to set a more casual tone, prelude music is a great way to give your guests a cue that this is a laid back event.  Some of our most popular choices include Beatles, Jack Johnson, etc.

A third option that is particularly great for outdoor weddings or a rustic, organic vibe is acoustic music.  This can include Celtic, Americana, movie themes, basically beautiful music that doesn’t have the formality of classical yet retains its beauty.

SEATING OF FAMILY

The seating of family is usually the transition point from the prelude to the ceremony.  Often cued by the entrance of the officiant and sometimes the groom, this musical moment can be short (1 minute) if only the couple’s parents or longer (up to 3) if seating other family members such as grandparents.  Most people opt for something a little more traditional here but every family is different and we have plenty of Led Zeppelin in our repertoire if needed.

BRIDAL PARTY

The bridal party entrance consists of bridesmaids, groomsmen and flower girl /ring bearer (if using.)  The music for the entrance of the bridal party is often a really fun moment to bring some of your personality into the music.  Few of us will soon forget that bridal party entrance to Chris Brown’s Forever.  In case you missed it, 2009 was the year that changed the idea of walking down the aisle from something very straight forward to the “sky’s the limit.”  With over 90 million views, this video is pretty amazing!

If you’re not quite ready to become the next youtube sensation, there are many wonderful classical choices that have stood the test of time– pieces like Canon in D also known as Pachelbel’s Canon, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, Vivaldi’s Spring and more.  For a nonclassical vibe, some great choices include Viva La Vida or Clocks by Coldplay, Starlafur by Sigor Ros,  La Vie en Rose by Edith Piaf, All You Need is Love or In My Life by the Beatles, My Girl by the Jackson Five and At Last by Etta James.

Here’s a clip of Effesenden’s acoustic trio doing our own rendition of Guns N Roses Sweet Child of Mine:

Another popular choice for bridal party entrance music is a movie theme. One piece that has been gaining traction the last few years is the Game of Thrones theme.  Here’s a clip of Effesenden performing it a few years ago at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Portland.

Other popular movie themes include The Kiss from Last of the Mohicans, SHE from Notting Hill, the theme from Top Gun and more.

BRIDE or COUPLE PROCESSION
We get asked all the time if playing “Here Comes the Bride” is required.  The answer is “nope!”  This classic wedding piece by Richard Wagner is actually played far less frequently for a bride’s procession than you might think.  In all honesty, the most popular bride’s procession in our experience is still Canon in D.  Choose a song that is really meaningful to YOU.  If you’re worried that guests won’t know when to stand, make sure your officiant knows to provide a cue “please rise” or have the guests seated in the very front row given a cue to stand– everyone will follow suit!

RECESSIONAL
Right after you are pronounced as a married couple, this is the piece of music that plays as you, your bridal party and your family exit the ceremony venue.  We typically recommend 2 songs to play so that most guests are serenaded out as well.  The most traditional choice is the Wedding March from Midsummer Night’s Dream by Felix Mendelssohn, but many other songs are frequently played ranging from classical music to pop to jazz.

Above all, when choosing your ceremony music, let it reflect your style and the vibe you want to create.  Don’t do a piece of music just because it’s usually done but if you love the tradition, go for it!  We love helping our clients discover their perfect wedding ceremony music!

A Little Pop Strings For You Today

There’s such a trend now for couples to choose contemporary music for their wedding in addition to or instead of the more traditional classical pieces.  Because there are few things I love more than creating new musical arrangements, it’s a trend I hope stays around!

Today I wanted to share some video from a wedding we performed for at Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Gardens (which by the way is an incredible place to visit if you are exploring our fine city.)

This video features our Acoustic Trio, comprised of Violin, Guitar & Cello playing ithe Guns N’ Roses tune Sweet Child of Mine.

Enjoy!

Ceremony Ideas for Strings (Part II)

 

Today we’re digging deeper into ideas for wedding ceremony music repertoire. Songs sampled and explored include A Thousand Years by Christina Perri, The Kiss from the movie Last of the Mohicans and Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. Movie themes and popular music can make wonderful choices if you’re looking for something a little less on the traditional side.

Effesenden Music’s Current Repertoire

We want you to have creative control over the music that is played at your wedding!  Effesenden Music has an extensive repertoire in a wide range of styles for you to choose from.  The songs range from traditional favorites like Canon in D to movie themes, fiddle tunes, jazz, oldies and our signature sound:  string quartet arrangements of popular music like U2, Coldplay and Kings of Leon.  We also offer options for you to choose anywhere from 6 to 12 new songs that we arrange just for your day.  Our list is constantly growing so if you don’t see what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to ask!

Our Classical Repertoire is designed for the traditional String Trio (2 Violins and Cello) or String Quartet (2 Violins, Viola and Cello.)

Our Acoustic Repertoire is designed for ensembles containing either guitar and strings or piano and strings.  The following are some of our most popular pieces.  For a complete list of our current music, please contact us about your day.

CLASSICAL QUARTET PLAYING ROCK & POP

  1. All My Life (KC & Jo Jo)
  2. Are You Gonna Be My Girl? (Jet)
  3. Augusta (Theme song from PGA Masters)
  4. All You Need is Love (Beatles)
  5. Back in Black (AC/DC)
  6. Beautiful Day (U2)
  7. Big Me (Foo Fighters)
  8. Bittersweet Symphony (Verve Pipe)
  9. Blitzkrieg Bop (The Ramones)
  10. Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
  11. The Book of Love (Peter Gabriel)
  12. Breathe Me (Sia)
  13. Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You (Frankie Valli)
  14. Clocks (Coldplay)
  15. Don’t Stop Believing (Journey)
  16. Fake Plastic Trees (Radiohead)
  17. Flashing Lights (Kanye West)
  18. From This Moment (Shania Twain)
  19. Dust in the Wind (Kansas)
  20. Everlong (Foo Fighters)
  21. Good Life (Kanye West)
  22. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John)
  23. Gypsy (Fleetwood Mac)
  24. Hallelujah (Leonard Kohn)
  25. Here Comes Your Man (The Cure)
  26. Here There & Everywhere (Beatles)
  27. Hey Ya (Outkast)
  28. How It Ends (Devotchka)
  29. I Want to Rock & Roll All Night (KISS)
  30. If I Fell (Beatles)
  31. I’ll Stand By You (Carrie Underwood)
  32. In My Life (Beatles)
  33. Karma Chameleon (Culture Club)
  34. Kids (MGMT)
  35. Linus & Lucy (Peanuts)
  36. Love Song (the Cure)
  37. Love Story (Taylor Swift)
  38. Lovers in Japan (Coldplay)
  39. Marching Bands of Manhattan (Death Cab)
  40. Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters (Elton John)
  41. Moon River (Henry Mancini)
  42. My Girl (Temptations/Michael Jackson)
  43. One & Only (Adele)
  44. Rocket Man (Elton John)
  45. Roxanne (the Police)
  46. Sex on Fire (Kings of Leon)
  47. Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
  48. Something (Beatles)
  49. Starlight (Muse)
  50. Such Great Heights (the Postal Service)
  51. Sugar We’re Goin’ Down (Fallout Boy)
  52. Sunday Bloody Sunday (U2)
  53. Sweetest Tabu (Sade)
  54. Thank You (Dido)
  55. Time to Pretend (MGMT)
  56. Use Somebody (Kings of Leon)
  57. Viva La Vida (Coldplay)
  58. Where the Streets Have No Name (U2)
  59. White Wedding (Billy Idol)
  60. Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
  61. World at Large (Modest Mouse)
  62. You Make Lovin’ Fun (Fleetwood Mac)
  63. You Shook Me All Night Long (AC/DC)
  64. Your Love is King (Sade)
  65. Your Song (Elton John)            

CLASSICAL-Baroque & Classic Era (Traditional, Elegant Classical Music)

  1. Air on the G String (Bach)
  2. Airioso (Bach)
  3. Ave Maria (Bach)
  4. Bist du Bei Mir (Bach)
  5. Badinerie from Suite #2 in B Minor (Bach)
  6. Brandenburg Concertos No 3–First & Third Movements (Bach)
  7. Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring (Bach)
  8. Sheep May Safely Graze (Bach)
  9. Wachet Auf (Bach)
  10. Minuet in G (Beethoven)
  11. Ode to Joy (Beethoven)
  12. Te Deum (Charpentier)
  13. Trumpet Voluntary (Clarke)
  14. Concerto Grosso No. 10 in A Minor (Corelli)
  15. Aria (Handel)
  16. Aria from Xerxes (Handel)
  17. Chamber Suite in D (Handel)
  18. Entrance of the Queen of Sheba (Handel)
  19. Sarabande from Suite #4 in D Minor (Handel)
  20. Water Music Suite in D & Suite in F (Handel)
  21. Presto from String Quartet in F Op 74 (Haydn)
  22. Divertimento No 1 in D Major (Mozart)
  23. Divertimento No 2 in Bb Major (Mozart)
  24. Divertimento No 3 in F Major (Mozart)
  25. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Mozart)
  26. Rondeau (Mauret)
  27. Canon in D (Pachelbel)
  28. Hornpipe (Purcell)
  29. Trumpet Tune (Purcell)
  30. Concerto For Two Violins (Vivaldi)
  31. Concerto Grosso in D Minor Op. 3 (Vivaldi)
  32. Concerto Grosso No. 1 (Vivaldi)
  33. Concerto in D Minor (Vivaldi)
  34. The Four Seasons Spring—Allegros 1 & 3 (Vivaldi)

CLASSICAL –Romantic, Impressionist, Nationalist & 20th Century Era
(Romantic, Lush, Dramatic & Expressive Melodies)

  1. Carmen Entracte (Bizet)
  2. La Troupe (Bizet)
  3. Excerpts from Polovetsian Dance from Prince Igor (Borodin)
  4. Theme from First Symphony (Brahms)
  5. Appalachian Spring—excerpts (Copeland)
  6. Claire de Lune (Debussy)
  7. Divertissement Pizzicati from Sylvia (Delibes)
  8. Flower Duet from Lakme (Delibes)
  9. Apres un Reve (Faure)
  10. Berceuse from “Dolly” Suite, Op. 56 (Faure)
  11. Andaluza (Granados)
  12. Holberg Suite for String Orchestra (Grieg)
  13. I Love Thee (Grieg)
  14. Theme from Jupiter from The Planets (Holst)
  15. Berecuse (Ilyinski)
  16. Waltz from the Waves of the Blue Danube (Ivanovici)
  17. Liebestraum (Liszt)
  18. To a Wild Rose (MacDowell)
  19. Scherzo from Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn)
  20. Wedding March from Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn)
  21. Adagio from Octet in F Major Op. 166 (Schubert)
  22. Andante from String Quartet in A Minor Op. 29 (Schubert)
  23. Ave Maria (Schubert)
  24. Moment Musical from Op. 94 (Schubert)
  25. Traumerie from Kindercenen Op 15 (Schumann)
  26. The Swan (Le Cygne) (Saint’Saens)
  27. Theme from Finlandia (Sibelius)
  28. Czardas from Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky)
  29. Dance of the Swans from Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky)
  30. Scene (Pas de deux) from Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky)
  31. Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin (Wagner)

WORLD MUSIC, JAZZ, MOVIE THEMES

  1. At Last  (Etta James)
  2. Be Thou My Vision (Irish Hymn)
  3. Bicycle Built for Two
  4. Come What May (Moulan Rouge)
  5. Emma Theme (Emma)
  6. Heliotrope (Joplin)
  7. The Kiss  (Last of the Mohicans)
  8. La Vie En Rose (Edith Piaf)
  9. Let Me Call You Sweetheart
  10. Meant to Be (Timer)
  11. Now We Are Free (Gladiator)
  12. Pavane (Orlando)
  13. She (Knotting Hill)
  14. Shine on Harvest Moon
  15. Somewhere Over the Rainbow
  16. Storybook Love (The Princess Bride)
  17. Tango Music: Csardas
  18. Tango Music:  Fandango in D Minor
  19. Tango Music:  Rhumba
  20. Tango Music:  Serenata in G
  21. Tango Music:  “Chromatique” in D Minor
  22. Wedding Processional (The Sound of Music)
  23. You Made Me Love You
  24. Your Song (Moulan Rouge)

END OF CLASSICAL STRINGS SECTION

ACOUSTIC  ENSEMBLE MUSIC

CLASSIC ROCK

  1. All You Need is Love (Beatles)
  2. And I Love Her (Beatles)
  3. The Book of Love (Peter Gabriel)
  4. Don’t Stop Believing (Journey…Glee)
  5. Here, There & Everywhere (Beatles)
  6. In My Life (Beatles)
  7. Jump Jive & Wail (Big Bad Voodoo Daddies)
  8. Have I Told You Lately
  9. How Sweet it is (James Taylor & Marvin Gaye)
  10. Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear (Elvis)
  11. The Longest Time (Billy Joel)
  12. Love is All Around (The Troggs)–from the movie Love Actually
  13. Moondance  (Van Morrison)
  14. Mustang Sally
  15. My Girl (Jackson Five)
  16. Take a Chance on Me (ABBA)
  17. Time After Time (Cindy Lauper)
  18. To Make You Feel My Love (Billy Joel, Garth Brooks, Adelle)
  19. True Companion (Mark Kohn)
  20. Oh Darlin’ (Beatles)
  21. Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll
  22. Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison)
  23. Rock around the Clock
  24. So Happy Together
  25. Stand By Me
  26. Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
  27. With a Little Help From My Friends (the Beatles)
  28. Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton)
  29. You Are the Sunshine of My Life (Stevie Wonder)
  30. You’re My Best Friend (Queen)
  31. Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel)

FOLK & ACOUSTIC

  1. 3×5 (John Mayer)
  2. Babylon (David Gray)
  3. Better Together (Jack Johnson)
  4. The Blower’s Daughter (Damien Rice)
  5. Breathe Me (Sia)
  6. Come on Get Higher (Matt Nathanson)
  7. Daughters (John Mayer)
  8. Divine Romance (Phil Wickham)
  9. Everlong (Foo Fighters)
  10. Fields of Gold (Sting)
  11. For Baby For Bobbie (John Denver)
  12. Hey There Delilah (Plain White T’s)
  13. Lullaby (Billy Joel)
  14. More Than Life
  15. Out of the Woods (Nickel Creek)
  16. Walking After You (Foo Fighters)
  17. When You Say Nothing at All (Alison Krauss)
  18. You’re Beautiful (James Blunt)

POP & ROCK

  1. Accidentally in Love (Counting Crows)
  2. Beautiful Day (U2)
  3. Bittersweet Symphony (Verve Pipe)
  4. Brighter than Sunshine (Aqualung—from A Lot Like Love)
  5. Chasing Cars (Snow Patrol)
  6. Clocks (Coldplay)
  7. Ice Cream (Sarah Maclachlan)
  8. Life in Technicolor (Coldplay)
  9. Lover Lay Down (Dave Matthews Band)
  10. Love of My Life (Dave Matthews Band/Santana)
  11. Lovers in Japan (Coldplay)
  12. One (U2)
  13. The Scientist (Coldplay)
  14. Up and Away (Dave Matthews Band)
  15. Viva La Vida (Coldplay)
  16. Wonderwall (Oasis & Ryan Adams)

Country

  1. Bless the Broken Road (Rascal Flatts)
  2. Cowboy Take Me Away (Dixie Chicks)
  3. Easy Silence (Dixie Chicks)
  4. I Walk the Line (Johnny Cash)
  5. Love Song (Taylor Swift)
  6. Lullaby (Dixie Chicks)
  7. Making Memories of Us (Keith Urban)

Bluegrass/Celtic/Scottish Fiddle

  1. 1B
  2. After the Battle of Aughrim
  3. Ashokan Farwell (from Ken Burns documentary on Civil War)
  4. The Atholl Highlanders/Johnnie Cope
  5. Banish Misfortune
  6. Be Thou My Vision
  7. Big Country
  8. Blacksmith
  9. Bonaparte Crossing the Rockies
  10. The Bricklayer’s Beautiful Daughter
  11. Butterfly’s Day Out
  12. Caldedonia
  13. Charlie is My Darling
  14. Da White Wife
  15. Devil’s Dream
  16. The Geese in the Bog/Jig of Slurs
  17. Irish Medley
  18. Lover’s Waltz (from the movie Legends of the Fall)
  19. Midnight on the Water
  20. My Love is Like a Red Red Rose
  21. Red River Valley
  22. Second Time Around
  23. Short Trip Home
  24. Sliding Down
  25. Star of the County Down
  26. Vagabond Waltz
  27. Wedding Jig
  28. Wedding Song

SACRED

  1.      All Creatures of Our God and King
  2.      Amazing Grace
  3.      Ave Maria
  4.      Be Thou My Vision
  5.      Brethren We Have Met to Worship
  6.      Come Thou Fount
  7.      Divine Romance (Phil Wickham)
  8.      For the Beauty of the Earth
  9.      Here I Am Lord
  10.     Here I Am to Worship
  11.     Holy Holy Holy
  12.     Holy is the Lord
  13.     How Can I Repay
  14.     How Deep the Father’s Love For Us
  15.     How Great is Our God
  16.     I Have Loved You
  17.     I Will Be Here
  18.     I’ll Fly Away
  19.     Joyful Joyful
  20.    The Lord’s Prayer
  21.    They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love   
  22.    The Time is Now (Phil Wickham)
  23.    Mass of Creation (Marty Haugen)
  24.    On Eagle’s Wings
  25.    Psalm 128 O Blessed Are Those
  26.    Psalm 145 The Lord is Compassionate
  27.    Servant Song
  28.    You Are Mine
  29.    Your Love is Extravagant

CASABLANCA/FRANK SINATRA/CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

  1. A Kiss to Build a Dream On
  2. All of You
  3. As Time Goes By
  4. At Last
  5. Bei Mir Bist Du Schon
  6. But Beautiful
  7. Cheek to Cheek
  8. Come Fly With Me
  9. Days of Wine and Roses
  10. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
  11. Dream a Little Dream
  12. East of the Sun
  13. Embraceable You
  14. Fascination
  15. Fly Me to the Moon
  16. How High the Moon
  17. I’ve Got the World on a String
  18. If I Were a Bell
  19. In a Sentimental Mood
  20. It Don’t Mean a Thing
  21. It Had to Be You
  22. Moon River
  23. My Baby Just Cares for Me
  24. My Favorite Things
  25. My Funny Valentine
  26. My One and Only Love
  27. My Romance
  28. Night and Day
  29. Night in Tunisia
  30. On the Sunny Side of the Street
  31. One Fine Day
  32. Our Love is Here to Stay
  33. Round Midnight
  34. So This is Love
  35. Some Enchanted Evening
  36. Someday My Prince Will Come
  37. Someone to Watch Over Me
  38. Somewhere Over the Rainbow
  39. Summertime
  40. Take Five
  41. The Best is Yet to Come
  42. The Way You Look Tonight
  43. Unforgettable
  44. What a Diff’rence a Day Made
  45. What a Wonderful World
  46. When I Fall In Love
  47. Where or When
  48. You are So Beautiful

ADULT CONTEMPORARY

  1. Angel Eyes (Jim Brickman)
  2. Come Away With Me (Norah Jones)
  3. Don’t Know Why (Norah Jones)
  4. I Will Be Here (Steven Curtis Chapman)
  5. The Love of My Life (Jim Brickman/ Michael W. Smith)
  6. Over the Rainbow
  7. The Prayer (Josh Groban)
  8. Time to Say Goodbye/Con Te Partiro (Andrea Bocelli)
  9. Unchained Melody
  10. Valentine (Martina McBride)
  11. You Raise Me Up (Josh Groban)
  12. Your Song (Elton John)

WORLD/ INTERNATIONAL VIBE/ JAZZ VIOLIN

  1. All Blues (Miles Davis)
  2. Autumn Leaves (Stephane Grapelli)
  3. Bei Mir Bist Du Schon
  4. Besame Mucho
  5. Black Orpheus
  6. Caravan
  7. Chan Chan (Buena Vista Social Club)
  8. Charade
  9. Cinama Paradiso (Ennio Marracone)
  10. Corcovado (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
  11. Girl From Ipanema (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
  12. It Don’t Mean a Thing
  13. Kiss Waltz (Johann Strauss)
  14. La Vie en Rose (Edith Piaf)
  15. Lakme (Flower Duet) (Delibes)
  16. Misty
  17. Moon River
  18. Nature Boy
  19. Night & Day
  20. Nuages
  21. Pavane (Faure)
  22. Pavane (Ravel)
  23. Summertime

MOVIE THEMES

  1. A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes (Cinderella)
  2. All I Ask of You (Phantom of the Opera)
  3. Brighter than Sunshine (A Lot Like Love)
  4. Cavatina (the Dqeer Hunter)
  5. Come What May (Moulin Rouge)
  6. The Eternal Vow (Crouching Dragon Hidden Tiger)
  7. The Falls (The Mission)
  8. The Kiss (from the Last of the Mohicas)
  9. John Dunbar Theme (Dances with Wolves)
  10. The Kiss (Last of the Mohicans)
  11. Kisses and Cake (PS I Love You)
  12. Love is All Around (Love Actually)
  13. Lovers Waltz (Legends of the Fall)
  14. My Heart Will Go On (Titanic)
  15. Sunrise, Sunset (Fiddler on the Roof)
  16. Think of Me (Phantom of the Opera)
  17. When I Fall in Love (Sleepless in Seattle)
  18. When You Wish Upon a Star (Pinocchio)
  19. Your Song (Moulin Rouge)

ENSEMBLES WITH VOCALIST

Most of the other selections can be done either instrumentally or with vocals.  The following 2 sections of songs can be performed in one of our groups with a vocalist.

ROCK & FOLK (with vocal groups only)

  1. Beautiful Wreck (Shawn Mullins)
  2. Everything (Lifehouse)
  3. Kind and Generous (Natalie Merchant)
  4. Kiss Me (Six Pents None the Richer)
  5. Lucky (Colbie Calliat/Jason Mraz)
  6. Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond)
  7. Sweet Home Alabama (Leonard Skynrd)
  8. Vienna (Billy Joel)
  9. Wagon Wheel (Old Crow Medicine Show)

COUNTRY (with vocal groups only)

  1. April Showers (Sugarland)
  2. Fishin’ in the Dark (NItty Gritty Dirt Band)
  3. The Fox (Nickel Creek)
  4. If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (Alabama)
  5. Jackson (Johnny Cash)
  6. Meet in the Middle (Diamond Rio)
  7. My Little Girl (Tim McGraw)
  8. My Wish (Rascal Flatts)
  9. Your Everything (Keith Urban)

PROCESSIONALS & RECESSIONALS (popular)

  1. All You Need is Love (Beatles)
  2. Angel Eyes (Jim Brickman)
  3. At Last
  4. Bittersweet Symphony (Verve Pipe)
  5. Book of Love (Peter Gabriel)
  6. Don’t Stop Believing (Journey)
  7. In My Life (Beatles)
  8. In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel)
  9. It Had to Be You
  10. Life in Technicolor (Coldplay)
  11. Over the Rainbow (IZ)
  12. Sliding Down (Edgar Meyer)
  13. Viva La Vida (Coldplay)
  14. What a Wonderful World
  15. With a Little Help From My Friends (Beatles)

ETHEREAL, DREAMY  PROCESSIONALS

  1. Claire de Lune (Debussy)
  2. Entr’acte to Act III from Carmen (Bizet)
  3. Girl with the Flaxen Hair (Debussy)
  4. Meditation from Thais (Massanet)
  5. Nocturne from String Quartet No. 2 (Borodin)
  6. O Mio Babbino Caro from Gianni Schicchi (Puccini)
  7. Pavane Pour une infante defunte (Ravel)
  8. Reverie (Debussy)
  9. Sheherazade (Theme from Part 3) Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov
  10. Sleeping Beauty’s Pavane (Ravel)
  11. The Swan from Carnival of the Animals (Saint-Saens)
  12. Theme from New World Symphony 2ndMovement (Dvorak)
  13. Theme from Polovetzian Dance from Prince Igor (Borodin)
  14. Symphony No 5 2ndMovement theme (Tchaikovsky)
  15. Theme from Lakme (Flower Duet) (Delibes)
  16. Theme from Romeo & Juliet Ballet (Tchaikovsky)

TRADITIONAL PROCESSIONALS
(in order of popularity)

  1. Canon in D “Pachelbel’s Canon” (Pachelbel)
  2. Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin “Here Comes the Bride” (Wagner)
  3. Trumpet Voluntary (Clarke)
  4. Spring from the Four Seasons—Allegro 1 (Vivaldi)
  5. Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring (Bach)
  6. Trumpet Tune (Purcell)
  7. Sheep May Safely Graze (Bach)
  8. Wachet Auf (Bach)

STATELY ELEGANT PROCESSIONAL

  1. Air from Water Music (Handel)
  2. Air on the G String (Bach)
  3. Airioso (Bach)
  4. Appalachian Spring “Simple Gifts” Theme (Copland)
  5. Andante Cantabile from String Quartet No. 1 Op 11 (Tchaikovsky)
  6. Ave Verum Corpus (Mozart)
  7. Bist Du Bei Mir (Bach)
  8. Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin “Here Comes the Bride” (Wagner)
  9. Canon in D (Pachelbel)
  10. Evening Prayer from Hansel and Gretel (Umperdinck)
  11. Finlandia Theme (Sibelius)
  12. Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring (Bach)
  13. Jupiter Choral Theme from The Planets (Holst)
  14. Lascia Chio PIanga from Rinaldo (Handel)
  15. Pictures at an Exhibition Promenade (Musorgsky)
  16. Trumpet Tune (Purcell)
  17. Trumpet Voluntary (Clarke)

RECESSIONALS (Acoustic Groups)

  1. 1812 Overture (Tchaikovsky)
  2. Brandenburg Concerto No 3 Mvmt 1 (Bach)
  3. Gloria in Excelsis Deo (Vivaldi)
  4. Hallelujah Chorus (Handel)
  5. Hornpipe from Water Music (Handel)
  6. Hopak (Musorgsky)
  7. Kiss Waltz (Strauss)
  8. March from the Nutcracker (Tchaikvosky)
  9. Minuet (Boccherini)
  10. Ode to Joy (Beethoven)
  11. Peter and the Wolf Opening Theme (Prokofiev)
  12. Spring from the Four Seasons–Allegro movement 1 (Vivaldi)
  13. Spring from the Four Seasons–Allegro movement 3 (Vivaldi)
  14. Sonata for Violin and Piano 4thMovement Theme (Franck)
  15. Wedding March from Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn)

Classical String Trio and Classical String Quartet Comparison

Effesenden Music is well known for our emphasis on playing music that reflects our brides and grooms own unique style.  Rather than applying a “one size fits all approach,” every single wedding we play has it’s own unique musical plan.  We love arranging popular music for our musicians to perform but we also have great respect for the timeless beauty of traditional wedding pieces such as Canon in D, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring and more and enjoy presenting authentic, quality renditions of these great Classical works.

This blog post features samples from two weddings we played during the summer of 2011.  On a related note, click the link below if you’d like to see a list of our current songs for classical string trio and quartet.

Effesenden Music Classical Menu

The first set of musical samples are from a wonderful outdoor wedding at Garden Vineyards in June with our string quartet.

Canon in D–Pachelbel

Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring–Bach

Air on the G String–Bach

The second wedding was an indoor ceremony at the beloved Old Church in Southwest Portland, Oregon featuring our string trio.  I especially enjoyed this wedding because there were a number of Romantic period and slightly lesser known Classical works along with some more traditional Baroque.

Barcarole–Offenbach

Theme from Jupiter–Holst

I Love Thee–Grieg

Brandenburg Concerto No 3 (Allegro)–Bach

Many of our brides and grooms who are planning to use strings look for guidance on whether to opt for string trio or quartet.  The difference is that the quartet includes 2 violins, viola and cello whereas the trio is either violin, viola and cello or 2 violins and cello.  The quartet has greater richness and a slightly larger repertoire but the two ensembles are very similar in what they offer.

For comparison, I’ve included a recording of our string trio playing an excerpt from Canon in D.

Canon in D (for string trio)

If you’re like most couples, you’re probably making a lot of decisions like this in the planning—“Option A offers just a little bit more but Option B is really nice and saves a bit on the cost.”  My best advice is to work with an ensemble whose music you can tell is high quality and then choose the length of reservation and ensemble size based on your budget.  Maybe you could get an 8-piece band of amateur string players for the same price as a high quality string quartet but quantity doesn’t mean better!

Hymns in the Mix with Acoustic Violin and Guitar

I really do love learning so much new music.  In the past 9 years, I have arranged and played almost every style of music from Catholic masses to Kanye West to Old Crow Medicine Show!  Sometimes though it’s lovely to return to one’s roots.

Our July 31st bride and groom chose a violin and guitar duo and requested a number of hymns in the mix with other styles of music including Classical and Classic Rock.  Since my public playing of the violin really began as a child playing hymns in a small country church, the opportunity to revisit sacred music was so special.  Even better, I was joined again by guitarist Nate Macy who I began playing music with almost 15 years ago while we were in college.

Jordan and Janae’s ceremony was held at a venue that was new to me—the Riverview Restaurant’s Waterfall Estate.  The weather was perfect and our setup under the gazebo for ceremony and cocktail hour offered just enough protection from the breeze and sun.  After the cocktail hour, the guests moved inside for the dinner and reception.  Nate and I continued to play for another hour inside and then spent the rest of the evening facilitating the couple’s i-pod playlist on our sound system.

This was just a gorgeous wedding—the bride and groom are obviously well loved by their family and friends and there were a number of couples in the room approaching their 50th wedding anniversary!

Hope you enjoy listening to a few of the songs we played—please pardon some rumbling wind and the crows “singing” in the background toward the end of Amazing Grace.  Too bad it couldn’t have been a bird with a slightly more elegant voice!  I guess at least this way you won’t question whether this is really recorded live.

Come Thou Fount

Servant Song

Amazing Grace & Midnight

Epic, Beautiful and Unique: Our August 6th Wedding

“Epic” was the word that my August 6th bride kept using as she described the vision for music at her beautiful evening vineyard wedding. It was such a treat to collaborate with Claire because she communicated her ideas and then trusted me with them enough to allow me to make artistic decisions that I knew would achieve her goal.

Our ensemble was comprised of string quartet to which I suggested Claire add vocals and percussion for a few of the numbers.  The following are the live recordings I made at the ceremony:

Seating of Family–August 6th

Processional August 6th

Bride’s Procession August 6th

Recessional August 6th

Our quartet was comprised of:

Violins:  Wendy Goodwin & Noelle Sisk
Viola:  Nelly Kovalev
Cello:  Ashley Peck

Our beautiful vocalist was Bethany Cibolski and we were delighted to have the creativity and energy of Mr. Martin Zarzar of Pink Martini for our percussionist.

**

To better accommodate the different needs of different weddings, we offer 3 different types of song selection options– Basic, Premier and Effesenden.  This wedding was our Premier option and included up to 6 new songs that we arranged specifically for the wedding day plus complete control over the playlist from our current repertoire.

Claire chose to begin her preceremony cocktail hour with classical selections such as Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring and Ave Maria but she spiced things up by taking my suggestion of a few tangos.  Since the wedding had such a cosmopolitan feel to me, I thought that the Tangos would really give a great energy intermixed with the elegance of the more traditional classical selections.

After about a half hour of playing, we moved down to the venue’s lawn where we played Pachelbel’s Canon and a song from the PGA Golf tour called Augusta that is apparently one of the groom’s favorites.  Canon was meant to draw guests towards the ceremony since it is such an iconic wedding song.

Here is our recording of Canon in D from the wedding.

For the seating of the mothers, we played “Vide Cor Meum” from the movie Kingdom of Heaven and Hannibal. Bethany’s beautiful vocals soared over the string lines.  We used just a bit of amplification to give her some reverb since outdoor weddings don’t really offer much in the way of acoustic response.  It was reverent and beautiful.

Our next piece was one that I am an absolute sucker for…I have always wanted to do this one at an Effesenden wedding and when I finally go the chance, I really went for it with the arrangement–” The Kiss” from the Last of the Mohicans could not have been more dramatic and beautiful and special.  I loved the effect of starting with 1 violin and growing and growing until the processional was nearly done when we faded back down to just the lone violin as the children processed down the aisle.

The bride’s entrance song was new to me– “Now We Are Free” from the movie Gladiator.  It is such a cool song. . . and Bethany had the added challenge of figuring out how to sing in a nonsensical language that was used in the writing of the song.  The processional was long.  Instead of rushing down the aisle like so often is the case, Claire knew what part of the song she wanted to enter in and we planned ahead.  She stood at the top of the stairs and waited until the moment before beginning her walk.  While some might feel that the wait was not a good idea in a processional, I really thought it was a wonderful way to soak in the moment.

Our society is SO fast paced… maybe we should be just pausing now and then for 2 minutes to listen to a song and watch a beautiful woman illuminated by smiles and late afternoon summer sunshine have her moment!

During the ceremony, we provided some background music for a sand ceremony and I played with two of the bride’s friends as they performed Eddie Vedder’s amazingly romantic “Longing to Belong.”  For the recessional, we got our “Brit pop on” with “Starlight” by the band Muse.  It was fun, upbeat… and I loved arranging this one and hearing the lyrics “Starlight, I will be chasing this starlight until the end of my life…” even though we played it instrumentally, I always love seeing what the lyrics are to a song and they often effect how I voice things.

After the recessional, our quartet moved back up to the patio and played entirely pop music ranging from Adele to U2, Coldplay, Beatles and Kings of Leon.  It was so awesome to be able to play so many different types of music and to work with such great musicians!

I will glow from the fun of being a part of Claire and Jeff’s day for a long time and wish them every happiness!

Quality Live Ceremony Music: How to Find It?

For almost 9 years now I have conversed with couples about their wedding music.  Over steaming cups of coffee illuminating their joyous faces, they look into my eyes and ask “ I was wondering… well… what I’m really hoping is to walk down the aisle to Canon in D. Can you play that?”  I’m always both happy and a little sad over this interchange:  happy because yes—we can and do play Canon in D with passion.  Sad because I know that the fact that we do play the song doesn’t really tell this bride about our ensemble:  because any musician playing for wedding ceremonies better have the most popular selection of the past two centuries hot on their fingertips…in reality these brides aren’t learning as much as they might think about their options.  So what questions really do distinguish one company from another?  Here are 3 points of discussion to ask  the band leader & company owner that will separate passionate professionals from the musical vultures looking for a quick buck at your expense.

1.  What is your musical background?  Tell me about the other members of the ensemble.  How do you go about adding new musicians to your ranks?

2.  What types of music do you play?  What instruments/combination of instruments do you offer?

3.   Where do you get your music?  Do you do special requests for songs?  Do you arrange the music specifically for your group or do you play off of music from other sources?

As you listen to the answers to these questions, you should be able to tell whether the people have well thought out answers or if they are scrambling to make themselves sound competent.  Beware the person who just gives a blanket yes without explanation and if money is a factor in your decision, be sure and clarify what additional costs might be involved in the various offerings.  Many groups will arrange music but additional fees above the listed price may be involved.

While photos, flashy advertisements and even referrals are handy, you are hiring these musicians to play live music, so there is really nothing you can do that is as important as listening to samples of their music.  I am simply amazed how many times I field calls from brides who want to know how much we charge without having heard our music.  Most companies have audio samples on their websites as well as a CD they can send you to listen to.  Don’t worry if you don’t see a sample of the actual song you want to have played—most musicians try to give a sampling of the various types and styles of music they specialize in—so for example, if you hear a Beatles tune, chances are pretty high that you could have a great rendition of the Beach Boys.  You can also request things like “I’d love to have a fast version of Canon in D” or “I’d like Ave Maria with vocals instead of instrumental.”

Wedding advice columns often tell brides to listen to the musicians performing live before booking.  It certainly doesn’t hurt, but keep in mind that the repertoire and even the conduct of an ensemble in a concert setting is going to be different from how they will be at your wedding.  To cut right to the point, your wedding is about you and your relationship. Everything—music included should be aimed at drawing attention towards that.  Imagine Lady Gaga performing at your wedding ceremony—while just perfect for millions of screaming fans in a stadium, it would be beyond awkward to have someone in a meat dress singing as you walked down the aisle!  The music and the musicians should play in a way that focuses on you.

The bottom line is that you should not be intimidated about the process of finding great live music.  Just because you might not play an instrument yourself does not mean you can’t tell whether something is beautiful. . .and you certainly can tell if you are being treated with courtesy and professionalism.  Live music in the right hands will add the perfect soundtrack to the visual beauty and joy of your day!

So You Don’t Like Classical Music…

Many people mistakenly believe that unless they are wealthy enough to hire Elton John and his piano to be delivered to their ceremony site, that live music will limit them to a range of classical songs that mean nothing to them. When they hold up that option (boring…possibly expensive music they don’t recognize) against having their deejay play a recording of Ben Harper or Etta James, it is easy to see why some would conclude music to be as gratuitous a luxury as hiring in a flock of live swans to waddle through the reception.

 

If you are choosing an ensemble whose repertoire consists almost entirely of Classical music, and you don’t really LIKE classical music, than yes, it probably isn’t worth it. If however, you choose an ensemble with a versatile repertoire and the ability to add songs of your choosing to the playlist, than all of a sudden you’ve upped the style and sophistication of your event 100 fold.

In a nutshell, here are 5 reasons to go live for your ceremony (and beyond)

  1. Live music is better for timing your processional. Maybe your flowergirl gets distracted down the aisle. Maybe you have 9 bridesmaids…or 2. The average recorded song is about 3 minutes and 30 seconds in length. The average length of processional is 1 to 1.5 minutes. A deejay can fade or start in the middle of a song but live musicians can arrange the song to fit exactly with what is actually happening in the moment.
  2. Live music is more interesting than recorded music for you and your guests to enjoy. Anyone who has ever been to a concert knows this! Why would you fork out $75 or more to see your favorite artist from the nosebleed section of a stadium if listening to an mp3 on your earbuds were more enthralling?
  3. Live music is cross generational. By having a range of music played by an ensemble such as a string quartet, you offer a style of music that anyone from your friends to your elderly grandparents will enjoy.
  4. However brief your ceremony may be, the moment you begin walking down that aisle will stay with you forever. The song that is played will remind you every time you hear it in the future so choose carefully and make sure it’s done well!
  5. Live music is more appropriate for outdoor weddings. As you are surrounded by nature, the sounds of birds singing and wind rustling the leaves, how much more organic and appropriate is a beautiful violin than a big black speaker? Very.

The most important…in fact, the only ingredient necessary to have an amazing wedding celebration is the love that you and your partner share. As you think of the elements that will go into reflecting that love, live music is one very special option that can help express the happiness that you feel! For more information and ideas for live music, check out sample live music on the Effesenden Music website!