For a number of years now in two different parishes I have introduced a Wedding Music Session. When I send out my wedding leaflet and request for a deposit at the end of January for the upcoming weddings, I also send a invitation to the session.
Couples don’t have to book, they can just turn up and bring other family members with them – though I do ask them to tick a box on the deposit form to indicate if they intend coming.
The session takes place on a Friday evening in early March to overlap with the end of choir practice. Couples are welcomed and invited to sit at the front of the church and given two copies of a wedding music tick list. They are invited to select any of the hymns they would like to hear a verse of, and the choir oblige, including the different tunes for All Things Bright and Beautiful and Love Divine etc.
After 15-20 mins of this, the choir go home and the couple are offered refreshments (to fill in the change over) and then move into the choir stalls. The organist then plays through a significant chunk of appropriate ‘in’ and ‘out’ music on the list and the couple are invited to tick what they like. The organist then repeats any special requests and tells them which pieces work best in which particular churches etc. The couples take one copy of the tick list home and give me the other to file.
The couples enjoy meeting each other and the organist. Many of them also opt to have the choir sing at their wedding and of course it saves the organist several ‘after the service’ rushed encounters with couples and enables him to really explain the benefits of the organ compared to recorded music. The turn-out each year is very good and when I next meet the couples they tell me they really enjoyed the experience and we then fine tune their actual choices.
It’s very worthwhile and easy to organise.