Ceremony music is something that a lot of couples rightly spend a lot of thought time considering. If a couple chooses the right music it can elevate and enhance the wedding ceremony. I've performed at weddings where there have been live singers, string quartets, choirs, soloists and I've been at ceremonies where somebody is given the job to press play on the lowly iPod at the right moment. Whether you go for live or recorded will probably depend on your budget but I alway advise couples to use music in some shape or form.
Your choice of entrance and exit music are probably the most important. The entrance will set the tone for the entire ceremony while the exit is one that will hopefully get toes tapping, guests smiling and uplift the whole gathering. Entrances often tend to be slower and Romantic and exits tend to be lively and boppy. However, this is your ceremony so you choose what is right for you.
Many couples have a song that means something to them, but a word of caution - your song may not necessarily be suitable for the wedding ceremony. The story of the song may not work or the lyrics might not be suitable, if this is the case you're better off leaving it for the band to play later.
How many songs should you have? As a Celebrant I think 3 or 4 songs are good. One at the start, one at the end and then 2 during the ceremony. You might like instrumental music during parts of the ceremony such as the lighting of candles, or sand during sand ceremonies.
I also think it is great if your guests can see the musicians. If your venue has the space, it is good if the musicians can be at the top of the room. This gives something for your guests to focus on during the songs and keeps fidgeting and chatting at bay.
Finally, don't feel that you need to have your singers sing the entire song. Many times, a verse or two and a couple of choruses will do the job perfectly.
If you need some inspiration the great people over at The Knot.com have compiled a great list of suggested songs. Enjoy and happy browsing.