Top Ten Worst (and Most Inappropriate) Wedding Songs…The Manor House String Quartet will usually provide music for all sorts of functions, such as corporate events, product launches, birthday parties, military dinners and of course weddings – and the most established, professional groups will always have a large Playlist of music, so that there is something to suit virtually any occasion.
Of course, when it comes to choosing music for a wedding, there are certain pieces of classical music which (although ideal for other circumstances) aren’t appropriate for one reason or another. In terms of pop music, it’s fairly obvious that ‘Thorn in My Side’ by Eurythmics, or ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’ by the Righteous Brothers might cause a few raised eyebrows, as would a bride walking up the aisle to a rendition of ‘Gold Digger’ by Kanye West, or ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’ by the Smiths. Other pieces to avoid may be ‘D.I.V.O.R.C.E’ by Tammy Wynette, ‘Suspicious Minds’ by Elvis, ‘Against All Odds’ by Phil Collins, ‘Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover’ by Paul Simon or ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ by Joy Division… and possibly worst of all ‘I’m Not In Love’ by 10cc….
Thinking about classical music, we do occasionally get requests for pieces that the couple getting married might really love, but that could potentially ruin the atmosphere of a wedding. One example might be a beautiful string quartet in D minor by Schubert called ‘Death and the Maiden’ – which is quite heavy and serious and would probably leave the wedding guests feeling fairly subdued. Likewise, very rousing, stirring pieces such as ‘Night on a Bare Mountain’ by Mussorgsky or ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ by Wagner could have an alarming¬† effect on guests when played prior to the bridal entrance, as guests are being seated and are generally settling down in anticipation of the ceremony. Ideally classical music chosen to set the atmosphere at a wedding should be upbeat, classy, relaxed and not at all sombre or unsettling.
So here’s a list of our ‘Top Ten’ worst classical wedding pieces that – for one reason or another – may not be good choices for a wedding day.
1. Mozart – ‘Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail’ – written about an abduction from a harem.
2. Smetana – The Bartered Bride – for fairly obvious reasons (‘bartered’ as in sold, rather than ‘battered’, which some people mistakenly think it’s called!)
3. Rachmaninov – Isle of the Dead – bit too similar to ‘aisle of the dead’
4. Schubert String Quartet in D minor – Death and the Maiden.
5. Lloyd Webber – Pie Jesu (this is part of a Requiem, or mass for the dead, so more suitable for a funeral).
6. Barber Adagio for Strings – Extremely beautiful but sombre piece of music, often used in films depicting the tragedy of war and written on the eve of World War 2.
7. Purcell – When I am Laid In Earth (from Dido and Aeneas)
8. Wagner – the Ride of the Valkyries (used in the film ‘Apocolypse Now’)
9. Saint Saens – Danse Macabre (written about a skeleton rising up from the graveyard and dancing manically)
10. Elmer Bernstein – Theme from ‘The Great Escape’ (more film music than classical music, but we do have it in our repertoire just in case!)
There are probably lots more, but if clients who have booked our group need any advice about which pieces work well (or not as the case may be!), we’re always very happy to give suggestions or guidance.