Whether you're planning an indoor or outdoor wedding ceremony, regardless of whether you're inviting a large number of guests or celebrating with a small intimate group of friends and/or family, you should think about music. These days you have several options, ranging from musicians who will perform live, to recorded music stored on your smartphone. As a Celebrant I discuss these options with couples when planning the ceremony, and I make my PA available for music.
1. The 'processional' is the name we traditionally give to the music that is played when the bride arrives and makes her grand entry. It's a long time since I've heard anyone request "Here comes the bride" as this is a perfect opportunity to play a piece of music that is meaningful to the couple - perhaps a favourite love song, some music that was played on their first date (such as the theme from the first movie they saw together), or at a concert where they met, or by a band which they both love.
2. A 'recessional' is the song or piece of music that is played at the end of a ceremony as the bridal party leave. These days, especially for outdoor weddings, the couple often don't leave immediately as they mingle with guests before moving on to the reception, so they don't give much thought to 'leaving' music. But it's still nice to end the ceremony with some appropriate music. An article here gives some suggestions which may help you to think about the ideal song for your special day.
3. Between these two ideal times for music is the short time required for signing the Marriage Register and Certificates. This is often the ideal time if you have a friend or family name who is a gifted singer and you'd like to involve them in your ceremony.
Having music at your ceremony doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. These days it's easy to have music played from a smartphone or USB through the Celebrant's PA system. My PA has bluetooth and I have the appropriate license to use copyrighted material. We just need to organise it before the wedding. I often ask for a friend or family member to be responsible for having the music on their smartphone and arriving early to I can hook them up to my PA. It's their job to play the music when the bride arrives. But if that isn't possible, I can look after it myself.
So if you can't afford a string quartet, or to have your favourite singer or band perform live, you can still have some special musical moments which add another personal touch to your unique ceremony.