Most people don’t see live music on a regular basis. It’s special.

The core experience of weddings is the spiritual and emotional beauty of two people joining their lives together. Couples honor and embrace that experience by creating a beautiful environment, and using sacred and secular rituals. The idea is to create something special and memorable, infused with beauty in every possible way.

A lot of what couples think about as they plan their wedding centers around visual beauty. That’s a good and important thing to do, to be sure. But imagine a wedding ceremony and reception in complete silence, without a sound being heard. There would be an element of beauty missing, one that deserves as much attention as color, form, and texture.

Adding music to the experience changes everything. The sound of music conveys joy and wonder and emotion like no other medium. And when the music is performed live, its impact is exponentially increased.

The sense of presence, authenticity, and immediacy that live music brings to a wedding gives it great value, and especially so for your ceremony. The quality of sound, the custom timing and precise cueing, and the look and feel make for an exquisite and even majestic experience.

The prelude, processional, interlude, recessional, and postlude – which is to say gathering, wedding party walking in, in the middle of the ceremony, wedding party walking out, and guests departing – are all great opportunities for live music.

If your ceremony and reception are both at the same venue, it makes a lot of sense to keep the musicians playing through your cocktail and hors d’oeuvres time, and even into dinner. If you’ve engaged a band, then you’ve got dancing covered, too!

Between the choice of available instruments and performers and their collective musical repertoire, you can create exactly the feeling that you want for your wedding. From classical to contemporary, it’s all available.

A lot of ceremony music is performed by solo musicians. Violin, guitar, and harp, and if you’re in a church, organ or piano, are frequently heard. I also love hammered dulcimer and brass. We had a great ceremonial procession recently at Chase Court, my wedding venue, that was led by djembe (an African hand drum)!

If you’re a wearer of the kilt, there is no better choice for leading your procession than the bagpipes! We’ve also used them at Chase Court to welcome guests (while doing our best not to annoy the neighbors), stationing them at the entrance gate while guests are arriving.

Solo musicians are fabulous, but moving up to groups brings more depth and complexity of sound. Duos, trios, and quartets add a distinct richness to the music, as well as a much larger repertoire. If you’re looking for contemporary music arranged for classical instruments, a group is the best way to go.

By the way, live music in general and groups in particular give you outstanding bang for your wedding budget buck. Among all the things you’ll buy for your wedding, live music offers some of the best value.

Back to the music. I asked violinist Chelle Fulk of Music by Anthem about musical combos. Chelle said, “I love violin and guitar because it’s very versatile. We also do a lot with violin and cello. Two violins are also nice. And flute with any of these combos works well, too.”

This past spring at Chase Court we had a violin, viola, and cello trio – as well as a quartet consisting of two violins, a cello, and an upright bass. Both groups sounded fantastic!

Another consideration is vocalists, either solo or with accompaniment. They’re especially effective for mid-ceremony, and with bands during dinner and dancing.

Live music can be part of what makes your wedding meaningful and unforgettable. The value is high, the cost is low, and the experience is magnificent!

Next time: Great alternatives to a courthouse wedding. 

David L. Egan is the proprietor and steward of Chase Court, a wedding and event venue in downtown Baltimore. Visit, and follow ChaseCourtWeddingVenue on Instagram and Facebook.


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David Egan
David Egan
David L. Egan is the proprietor and steward of Chase Court, a wedding and event venue in downtown Baltimore. Visit, and follow ChaseCourtWeddingVenue on Instagram and Facebook.