Susan Dunstan

Planning the music for your wedding ceremony can present many challenges. Here are some frequently asked questions:

Do I Have To Hire The Church Organist?

Most churches and synagogues have a resident organist/pianist.  Their services are usually not included in the price of renting your venue. Though you are usually encouraged to use them, you are not obligated to use them. Some churches tell you that you cannot bring in outside musicians. Normally this is because they want to give business to their own organist and also because they do not want outsiders to use their organ. Using the piano is usually not an issue.  Many modern brides prefer not to have old fashioned organ music, we avoid the whole problem, by bringing our own keyboard and instruments. One can not always be sure what kind of music the resident church pianist/vocalist will provide, but I assure you that my musicians have rehearsed extensively and I can guarantee top  level performance and quality.


What Is The ‘Liturgy’?

The Liturgy refers to the Order of Worship within a religious service. Each denomination has its own liturgy, which is comprised of readings from scripture or poetry, musical interludes, a sermon/homily, prayers, offertory and exchange of vows and rings.


How Many Songs Will I Need?

This will depend on the length of the service and where you would like the music to be placed. We play for 20 minutes before the ceremony starts, and you may need between 3 to 5 during. Sometimes more songs are needed depending on how elaborate a service you are planning.


Where Should The Songs Be Placed In The Service?

You will need a processional (entrance music, usually instrumental), and a recessional (exit music, usually instrumental). Other selections will depend on the order of the service. It is common to have prelude music before the service (either vocal and/or instrumental) and between readings to add variety and flow. You may also want a song right after the sermon or your exchange of vows and rings. If you choose to have a unity candle lighting, a brief song is also appropriate. All of this will depend on the order of the service.
For Christian services, you may choose to have a song during offertory and communion. Traditionally for Catholic Masses, the parts of the Mass are sung as well.


Are The Lyrics Appropriate For My Ceremony?

(religious or non-religious)
It is important to review the lyrics of a song to be sure they are appropriate for you and if they capture the essence of your celebration. This is a very personal choice. However, there are many pop songs one may enjoy, but which may not be fitting for a religious ceremony. Just as there may be a beautiful song with a religious message that may not fit well in a non-religious ceremony. Again this is a very personal matter.  I have many selections that are appropriate for all kinds of ceremonies.


Are There Restrictions On Music By The Clergy?

The Clergy of many churches feel it is important to maintain the sacredness and solemnity of the ceremony by setting parameters on music selection. Many parishes will provide guidelines for you. On the other hand, there are clergy who are more lenient and place no restrictions. It is recommended that you discuss this with your Pastor or Celebrant first. Even if there are parameters, I have several selections with a modern sound that are acceptable for a religious ceremony.


What Do I Need For A Catholic Service?

Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran and Episcopal denominations often incorporate a Mass in the wedding ceremony. Below is the order for the Catholic Mass. Other denominations may vary but are quite similar. Parts which are traditionally sung for weddings are marked with an asterisk(*).   Together we can discuss what is needed and you can choose what you would like at your wedding.

Processional (instrumental)
Kyrie: Lord Have Mercy
Gloria: Glory to God
Reading from Old Testament
*Psalm Response
Reading from New Testament
*Gospel Acclamation: Alleluia
Gospel Reading
Homily (Sermon)
Exchange of Vows
Blessing and Exchange of Rings
*Sanctus: Holy, Holy, Holy
*Memorial Acclamation
*Great Amen Sign of Peace
*Agnus Dei: Lamb of God
*Communion Meditation (optional)
Recessional (instrumental)