One of our favourite things about performing at weddings in France is the many cultures and backgrounds that couples come from, and the creativity they bring to the music of their wedding ceremonies.
In many wedding performances we play a song as the bride walks down the isle. These have varied from beautiful old Jazz Standards such as "As Time Goes By" from the movie Casablanca to modern love songs such as John Legend's "You And I (Nobody In The World) and reimagined rock classics such as "Sweet Child O Mine" by Guns & Roses.
So what makes a great "Bride's Entrance" song?
The first thing is to make sure it's a song that's really special to you. The song is a soundtrack to you and your relationship and can really frame your ceremony beautifully.
One thing to consider is deciding what you want the audience to feel. Imagine them sitting in the beautifully decorated space as you make your entrance. One thing we have always believed is that we, the musicians, are only half of any performance - the other half is the audience, how they relate to a piece of music determines how poignant it will be. We've performed everything from gentle, delicate songs like "Songbird" with it's soaring melodies framing a clifftop château setting, to fun, groove laden tunes such as "I Got You" by Jack Johnson, or "For Me Formidable" where the guests are swaying along in their seats and singing along. Think about the vibe you want to create and you'll find the music to make it happen.
Another thing to think about once you've made a list of possible songs, is the lyrics. We've all sung along to that song on the radio in the car thinking it was about one thing and then realising years later it was about something totally different. It's a really good idea to have a listen to the whole song and make sure the lyrics say what you really want to say.
The third thing to consider is how different the original song will sound to an acoustic version. There's not many well written songs that can't be performed beautifully with acoustic instruments and there are amazing acoustic versions of nearly every song you can imagine, from modern dance anthems to big band jazz standards. The acoustic version will sound different, however - how different depends on how the original was recorded, what instruments were used and the underlying song structure. One of our favourite things to do is put our creativity to work in creating the acoustic version of a song and the challenge is to capture an essence of the original song, (which can often be played by a plethora of instruments and modern sampling methods) and create something new, making it musical in it's own way.
A great way to see how your song might sound is to go on to "Youtube" and, for example, if you were thinking of Latch by Disclosure ft Sam Smith, search for "Latch Acoustic Cover". There are also many albums on itunes such as "Radio 1's Live Lounge" which comes out every year and includes famous artists performing creative acoustic covers. The "Dermot O Leary Show" compilations are also great and "Boyce Avenue" do beautiful acoustic covers of many modern pop songs. The "Civil War's" version of "Billie Jean" is an example of an amazing cover conveying a totally different feeling to the original. The original is a bright and upbeat dance classic, whereas theirs is tinged with dark tones and old Americana rhythms.
The real strength of an acoustic version of a song is it's stripped down beauty, there's nothing but the bare melody, some harmony and the essential rhythms, which can make us feel it even more. Think of Adele singing "Someone Like You" with just a piano accompanying her.
Once you've chosen your "Entrance" song, there's also the other parts of the ceremony to think about. The signing of the register is a great opportunity for a beautiful song, and the "Newlywed's Exit" has always been one of our favourites. It's a great opportunity for a fun song, to diffuse all the intense emotion and intimacy that has been shared during the ceremony. One of our favourites was "I got a Woman" by Ray Charles as the groom carried the bride back down the isle to whoops and confetti and another great moment was singing "Here comes the Sun", which bizarrely happened just as the threatening clouds cleared away and the party began.
Finally, if you ever need advice then we will always be here to help. We might even know of a hidden gem that you might like or a version you haven't come across, and we can help you make the music fit the moments of your ceremony perfectly and make them really resonate.