Phoenix Wedding and Event Music, wedding music

Phoenix Wedding Ceremony Music – Most Popular Songs

With all the decisions brides have to make when planning their wedding ceremonies, selecting the songs for their ceremony can be one of the most difficult but also the most fun. Couples get to decide:

  • Live ensemble or recorded music
  • What style of music
  • What exact songswedding ceremony music Phoenix

Once a couple selects who will play the music and what style, they get to decide on music for the wedding party, the bride’s processional and the recessional.

Below are some of the most common songs for each of these portions of the wedding, both classical style and contemporary.


A Thousand Years, Christina Perri

Autumn, Vivaldi

Ave Maria, Schubert

Bitter Sweet Symphony, The Verve

Canon in D, Pachelbel

Clair de Lune, Debussy

I’ll Be There, Jackson 5

Make You Feel My Love, Adele

Marry Me, Train

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Of these songs, we have had requests for A Thousand Years, Canon in D and Somewhere Over the rainbow. While this music is often used for the wedding party, they are also great choices for other parts of the ceremony.

The music for the bride’s entrance is perhaps the most important choice. This is the moment that everyone is waiting for, so it must be the most memorable! Below are the top choices of brides around the country.



And I Love Her, The Beatles

Can You Feel the Love Tonight?, Elton John

Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop, Landon Pigg

Glasgow Love Theme, from Love Actually

Hoppipola, Sigur Ros

The Luckiest, Ben Folds

Landslide, Fleetwood Mac

Water Suite, No. 2 in D Major, Handel

Wedding March, Mendelssohn

What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong

Of these songs, our brides have selected What a Wonderful World and the Wedding March. We also have had requests for A Thousand Years, Canon in D, Bridal Chorus (“Here Comes the Bride”) and Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran.

Recessional music is generally lively music with a celebratory message. Below are some top choices.



Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Marvin Gaye

All You Need is Love, The Beatles

Home, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Hymne, Vangelis

Love on Top, Beyonce

Lucky, Jason Mraz & Colbie Callait

Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Stevie Wonder

Spring, Vivaldi

You Are the Best Thing, Ray LaMontagne

You Make My Dreams Come True, Hall & Oates

While these may be popular songs in some areas of the nation, here in Phoenix, we’ve never gotten a request for any of these songs for recessional music. The most popular recessional songs we have are  You’ve Got a Friend in Me from Toy StoryRondeau, Jean-Joseph Mouret (this is by far the most frequent request we’ve gotten from couples), and the Wedding March by Mendelssohn.

While there is a reason these songs are so popular, and it’s because they are such classics, we also encourage our couples to choose songs that are most meaningful to them. For a complete list of our wedding music repertoire, click here. We have had some unusual requests but are always happy to make arrangements for flute and guitar so couples will have just what they want to hear on their wedding day.

wedding music

Referral – Wedding at the Tempe Center for the Arts

The ultimate compliment is getting a referral from a former client, especially when that client is present for the both events. This just happened recently when we played a wedding where we were referred by a couple whose wedding and cocktail hour we played for last year.

The couple we played for last year held their wedding on the rooftop of the Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix. It was a hot and windy day and following that wedding, we had a second wedding to play at Sassi Scottsdale, so it was a full day.

We were delighted to get an email from a bride about six months ago saying that she was referred by our former clients. Their wedding was held on a late Saturday afternoon at the Tempe Center for the Arts outdoors on the north patio. While it was a very warm day, it was surprisingly cooler on the patio. Tempe Center for the Arts wedding music

When we arrived, there was a huge crowd in the lobby getting ready to see a Childsplay Theater Company performance. The staff at the Tempe Center for the Arts was very nice and prepared though. They had the wedding ceremony site all set up with chairs and the sound system and even a spot with chairs and music stands for us! It was a smaller area than we expected but since we only brought our larger Bose sound system, we set that up instead of our smaller amplifier. As we were setting up, we noticed that one of our photographer friends, Kevin Wolfson, was photographing the wedding, so that was fun to get to be on a wedding with him.

About half an our before the ceremony started, we began playing classical music to set a romantic mood for the wedding. Some guests sat inside the open doors to listen and some gathered outside in their seats for the wedding ceremony. At one point, there was a young lady all dressed up, perhaps for her quinceañera, who was posing for pictures on the Tempe Town Lake walkway that the ceremony was looking out on, so it was fun seeing music Tempe Center for the Arts

Before we knew it, it was time for the ceremony to start. The aisle for the processional wasn’t very long, but the flower girl and bridesmaids walked nice and slowly, so we were able to play a good amount of the song the bride chose for their processional – A Thousand Years by Christina Perri. Next, the bride entered with her father to a song that we arranged especially for her – 18th Floor Balcony by Blue October.

The ceremony was quite emotional for the couple and was performed by a judge as onlookers walking down the path along Tempe Town Lake looked on. There was even a bride and her bridesmaids out taking pictures in the background during part of the ceremony which was kind of ironic. There was no unity ceremony or sand ceremony, so we didn’t get to play again until the end of the wedding ceremony.

Once the couple was announced as man and wife, they did their recessional to the most famous and traditional wedding recessional music around, Mendelssohn’s Wedding March.

Following the wedding ceremony, the couple requested that we perform romantic contemporary music as they got pictures taken and their guests enjoyed drinks. The bar of the Tempe Center for the Arts was open, so guests got drinks inside and then came outdoors to the patio again to listen to the music. We played lots of our favorite romantic songs including And I Love Her by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, The Nearness of You by Hoagy Charmichael and Ned Washington, Some Day My Prince Will Come by Frank Churchhill and Larry Morey and many more.

After the couple finished their photos, the guests departed for the reception which was to be held at a home in Tempe. As always, we had a lot of fun playing for this couple and their guests, and we’re so thankful to our former clients for this referral.

wedding music

Wedding Music at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix

We recently played for a beautiful wedding ceremony and cocktail hour at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix that was such a lovely, memorable event.

The couple were living out of town, so many of the arrangements were made by the bride’s mother and father. We made most general arrangements about the music through them, but before the final decisions were made, the couple themselves decided on the music for the processional, bride’s entrance and recessional – as well as a list of 98 songs they wanted played at the cocktail hour! The processional of bridesmaids was to Edelweiss from Sound of Music, the bride entered to What a Wonderful world and the recessional was to You’ve Got a Friend in Me, from Toy Story.

The wedding itself took place in the ceremony area of the Desert Botanical Garden behind the Ullman Terrace. It was a pretty area with plenty of seating and a gorgeous view of the mountain and desert landscape behind. As the ceremony musicians, we sat behind the guests in an unpaved area. The ceremony took place on a large raised stage with the guests a few seats lower. There was enough seating for more than 100 guests.

It was a busy preparation before guests arrived.  Since there were military personnel participating, they held several run-throughs of their sword arch ceremony that would be performed later in the evening as the bride and groom were presented before dinner. It seemed like it would be a very impressive ceremony, at least as we saw it rehearsed.

As we were setting up for prelude music, there was also a DJ setting up to play for the dinner. We played prelude music as guests arrived and sipped on cool drinks. It was a beautiful day albeit a bit windy and warm.  For the prelude music, we played some of our favorite classical romantic music.

The processionals went without a hitch, followed by a pretty extensive ceremony. There was a large wedding party, many of whom participated in the ceremony by doing one of the six readings. They had a microphone set up for the readers, so it was easy for guests to hear. The readings ranged from scripture to a Dr. Suess poem. 

Following the announcement and recessional of the new couple, we packed up our sound system and quickly relocated to the cocktail hour location nearby on the Ullman Terrace. We set up in a corner close to the building in the shade that was also out of the way of guests. We were close to they bar, so there was lots of activity nearby.

For the cocktail hour, we played a large selection as chosen specifically by the couple. It included a variety of music including standard love songs, Broadway favorites, movie music, jazz tunes and contemporary songs. It was a lively celebration, but before we knew it, the wedding planners were moving guests back to the ceremony area which had been transformed into an outdoor dining room.

We had a wonderful time playing in this gorgeous setting. Yes, it was a bit of a walk to bring all of our equipment out to the wedding venue, but it was definitely worth it! Such an appreciative family and a beautiful day. We were honored to be a part of their wedding!

Phoenix Wedding and Event Music

Romantic Winery Wedding in Arizona With Live Music

We recently had the pleasure of playing our first wedding at the Windmill Winery in Florence, Arizona. It’s a small little town, but what a special wedding venue! Before the ceremony, we got to ride in a horse-drawn buggy where the driver took us around to tour the property. We saw the lake house and various animals including donkeys. Along the way, we discovered it’s got several different venues on the property for celebrations, but the wedding we played for was outdoors on the grass and the reception was in a large red barn.

The wedding ceremony took place in a large field with lush grass. There were about 100 guests. We sat in the front with our sound system next to another sound system set up by the DJ for the friend of the bride who sang a special song during the ceremony.

Our music began with the lighting of memory candles where we played “How Great Thou Art”. For the ceremony, Bride’s entrance was to Cannon in D by Pachelbel. (There was no wedding party, so we didn’t need music for that.) During the ceremony, the bride’s friend sang “When You Say Nothing at All to a recorded track played bythe DJ. And then after the couple was announced, we played Mouret’s Rondeau, a popular stately tune to welcome the new bride and groom.

After the ceremony, we moved our Bose sound equipment to the cocktail hour area across the lawn and beside the barn. We set up our chairs and equipment and began playing a mix of contemporary love songs chosen by the couple. We set up in a corner near a power outlet, a must when we use amplification. Guests were greeted by a resident turkey, much to their surprise and delight. The new couple posed for pictures while the guests enjoyed cocktails and barbecue appetizers.

The romantic contemporary songs we played for the cocktail hour included:

  • Happy Together
  • Til There Was You
  • Moon River
  • Unforgettable
  • The Nearness of You

Unlike many weddings we play where the couple is so busy with guests, the wedding was special for us because the couple took the time come stop by and say hello during the cocktail hour. After spending so much time communicating with them before their wedding to help them choose just the right music for their special day, it was such a treat to be able to meet them and chat with them a little. They were so appreciative of our music which was so rewarding for us.bride groom phoenix wedding muisc flute guitar SoSco

The cocktail hour was lively and before we knew it, it was time to pack up as the guests moved to the barn for the sit-down dinner.

We so enjoyed working with this couple and the other vendors there that day. We hope to work with them again and see some of the pictures from the photographer!

Phoenix Wedding and Event Music

Innovative new music program provides relief for caregivers in dire need of respite

music-center respite for caregivers Phoenix


Innovative new music program provides relief for caregivers in dire need of respite

Cesura, an innovative music-centered program, has been designed to help improve the well-being of caregivers who often work tirelessly and without pay to care for a family member at the expense of their own health.

Phoenix, AZ – (March 2, 2017) Cesura, a music-centered, multi-sensory respite experience for family caregivers, will launch its program with a private event on March 29, 2017 from 5:00 – 7:00 PM at the University Club of Phoenix.  Cesura uses the power of live flute and guitar music and other sensory experiences to help promote caregivers’ well-being.  Monthly respite events complete with live music, aromatherapy, candles, dim lighting, soft seating and refreshments will be offered at various locations throughout the Phoenix area beginning this summer. Cesura will partner with organizations serving the aging population and people with disabilities who are interested in providing innovative respite services to their members.

Cesura co-founders, Laura Strickland and Alex Mack, are award-winning professional musicians who have played at over 150 venues throughout Arizona for over 4500 audience members as SoSco Duo. After playing soothing flute and guitar music at venues such as assisted living and memory care facilities, the Mayo Clinic, and Cancer Treatment Centers, the musicians began to notice a trend.

“Caregivers routinely approached us after our performances to let us know how therapeutic the music had been for them,” Strickland says. “They shared that they were overly stressed and needed more opportunities for relaxation. We felt that it was important to expand our efforts to help these individuals who give so much to their loved ones.”

Strickland and Mack began to research the issue and found that numerous statistics supported the need to provide relief to the growing number of unpaid family caregivers who form the backbone of the long-term care system.

According to Caregiving in the U.S. 2015, released by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, the cause of caregivers deserves immediate attention.

  • Of the 32 percent who reported spending 21 or more hours per week providing care, the average number of hours was 62.
  • When asked if they had a choice in taking on their caregiving role, half of respondents said no.
  • More than half reported that they were in fair or poor health and that caregiving made their health worse.

Strickland adds, “Experts are concerned that not enough is being done to support family caregivers. And when we fail to support caregivers, we put both the caregiver and the care recipient at risk.”

The duo developed their program with input from area organizations and specialists in the long-term care and caregiving fields, along with scientific findings on music and other sensory therapies.

For more information on Cesura, visit Cesura is an Unincorporated Association and is a sponsored project of the Technical Assistance Partnership of Arizona (TAPAZ). Donations are tax deductible. Tax ID number 86-0975231.

About Cesura

Founded in 2016 by professional musicians Laura Strickland and Alexander Mack of SoSco Duo, Cesura is an innovative music-based respite program for family caregivers. Cesura offers precious downtime to boost the wellbeing of caregivers and help them face their challenges with renewed energy. These sensory experiences are centered around live, peaceful flute and guitar music, harnessing the power of music’s unique capacity to engage all areas of the brain and affect the emotions. The music is complemented by custom mood lighting, candles, aromatherapy, refreshments and opportunities for connections with others. Cesura is headquartered in Phoenix but programs are available throughout the state of Arizona. For more information about what Cesura does, upcoming events and how to get involved, please see



Laura Strickland or Alex Mack
Tel: (480) 788-2331

Phoenix Wedding and Event Music, wedding music

Booking Custom Wedding Ceremony Music is Easier Than You Think

When it comes to decisions facing a couple planning a wedding, deciding on live music for your ceremony and/or cocktail hour versus recorded music is one of the most Custom wedding music phoneixbasic but also most important decisions you will make. Luckily, there is no right or wrong decision. Both have their pros and cons, but the decision is often made based on simplicity, in addition to taste and budget.

Parts of a Wedding that Use Live Music – Ceremony Music and Cocktail Hour Music

Whether you go with live music or a DJ, you can expect that the music will begin about 15 minutes before the ceremony with “prelude” music, include music for the bride’s processional, the bridesmaids’ entrance, the unity ceremony and the recessional. After the ceremony, there is usually “postlude” music that is played as your guests leave their seats and head to the cocktail hour. Music also is played for the cocktail hour to help set the mood and keep your guests entertained. And for the reception, there is often a live band or DJ.

Hiring Live Musicians is Easy

With the technology available today, hiring live musicians is not as time-consuming as you may think. Thanks to websites, email and YouTube, you can do most of your shopping for live music without even having to go hear their performances in person. We suggest that you start by reviewing several musicians’ websites. Having a well-designed site with active links is a must, as it shows the ensemble is professional and pays attention to detail. While on the website, listen to as many demo recordings as they have available. Be sure to listen to music from all the styles the group offers, especially the styles you are interested in having played at your wedding ceremony or cocktail hour. Do they have the cocktail hour songs you’d like to hear at your wedding?

Live Traditional Wedding Music

If you’re looking for traditional wedding music, listen to those samples and make sure they sound like what you have in mind. Also, take the time to watch the groups’ videos as they will give you an idea of how the ensemble presents themselves during performances. As you listen and watch, imagine how the ensembles will sound at your wedding ceremony and cocktail hour. Will they help set the mood you want to have at your wedding?

Is it Worth Hiring Live Musicians for Your Wedding Ceremony and Cocktail Hour?

Having live wedding ceremony music or cocktail hour music gives you the dynamics of a live performance that you just can’t get with a DJ. Having live music brings your wedding both a distinctive and traditional feel. If you book a small ensemble, rather than a string quartet (4 musicians) or larger band, it can give your wedding a much more personalized and intimate feeling, no matter the number of guests you have attending. And contrary to what you may think, musicians these days tend to be very versatile, so you can choose from a wide array of styles and songs. Most musicians will even arrange your favorite song for their instrumentation, so you can get a unique, memorable performance.

Instead of just having the same DJ for your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception, make your wedding a truly memorable event by hiring live musicians for part of your day!

Phoenix Wedding and Event Music, wedding music

Best Bride’s Processional Songs from the Sixties

If you’re looking for wedding ceremony music that will take you and bride's processional songsyour guests back to a simpler, sweeter time and place, there’s no better decade to choose music from than the sixties. Guests of all ages will appreciate the nostalgia of this “peace and love” generation. There are so many beautiful, romantic classic love songs from the sixties that are perfect for wedding processionals.

While we generally think of pop love songs when we think of music from the sixties, but there were also many songs that made social and political statements. In the second half of the decade, music reflected the growing hippie culture. In addition to psychedelic music, there was also radio-friendly pop music and harder rock that helped make album sales rise in importance.

During this period, television networks tried to attract a younger audience by featuring rock musicians performing their hits. American Bandstand, the Ed Sullivan Show and other TV variety shows featured rock bands popular in the day.

Obviously, The Beatles dominated the record charts with 6 of the top 10 albums during that decade and 21 of the top 100 singles. Elvis Presley, in comparison, had 9 of the top 100 singles and 4 of the top 100 albums.

The best sixties music is generally thought of as produced by musical artists from England coming to the United States, called “The British Invasion”.

Sixties Songs for Brides Processional

When it comes to choosing music to suit a bride’s processional, there are so many choices of great music from the sixties. Since the bride’s processional is the quintessential moment of every lady’s wedding day, this is frequently the song that gets the most thought from brides because she needs the perfect song to walk down the aisle to. While many brides opt for traditional music, a large number of today’s brides are choosing more contemporary love songs or one of the beautiful songs from the sixties.

Some our couples’ favorites for the bride’s processional that we love to play too include:

  • Crazy (1961)
  • And I Love Her (1964)
  • Can’t Take My Eyes of You (1967)

Sixties Songs for the Bridesmaids and Wedding Party

With each lady handpicked by the bride, the bridesmaids’ entrance music should be extra-special. We believe bridesmaids’ entrance should be honored with a unique song that will show just how special these ladies are to the couple. Some of our favorite songs for bridesmaids and wedding parties are:

  • Here, There and Everywhere (1966)
  • What A Wonderful World (1967)
  • All You Need is Love (1967)
  • Can’t Help Falling in Love (1961)
  • Unchained Melody (1965)

While some of our brides carefully select every song they want for their prelude, recessional, unity ceremony and recessional, choosing your wedding music can be as simple or involved as each couple wants. The main things we suggest to them when selecting wedding processional music, is that it’s important that the music reflects the mood of your wedding, your personalities and your feelings about your relationship.

If you know of a song from the sixties that is special to you and your fiancé and it fits the mood of your wedding, we would love to play it for you. Please contact us today to discuss your ideas!

Phoenix Wedding and Event Music

Arranging “your song” on flute & guitar for your Phoenix wedding

One of the most fun things for a couple do to together as they plan their wedding is to choose their music. Often, they already have a special song in mind that they want to include in the ceremony or cocktail hour. They can have “their song” played during the bride’s processional, during the unity ceremony, for the recessional or for another point in the ceremony or celebration.

flute guitar wedding music sedona
SoSco will arrange “Your Song” on flute & guitar for you wedding ceremony

For a couple who wants to include a less standard song, we can almost always arrange that song for them to play on their special day. We can also record the song in a studio for them to have as a keepsake to play on their anniversary, embed in their wedding video, play in the background as they look through their wedding photos or just play when they feel like reminiscing. Some couples choose the songs together, others want to surprise each other and we’ve even had parents of the couples choose a song to surprise the couple with on their wedding day.

We do charge a fee for arranging a song, because it is quite a time consuming and complicated process. If we aren’t already familiar with the song, the first thing we have to do is listen to it enough times to really understand the message and absorb the character of it. Then we have to begin arranging the song.

Since music for the flute and guitar is generally not published, the first thing we do after we’ve become familiar with the song is write out the parts of music that the flute will play and the guitar will play. Generally, the flute plays the majority of the melody while the guitar plays the harmony and chords. The guitar normally plays an introduction by itself and often the ending itself. Depending on the song, the guitar may take the melody at some point as well. When we write out the parts, we decide, based on the original song, where it would sound best for guitar alone and both instruments together. (The flute rarely plays more than a few notes alone.) While we often don’t have time to play the complete songs because of time limitations, we almost always arrange the whole song in case we want to play it in its entirety later in the day or some other time. To write out the parts, we either use a printed vocal and piano part or lead sheet as a guide or we listen to the recording and write the parts out. Once the basic parts are transcribed, we go back and add in any little inflections that are performed but not notated in the basic music. We write the parts in music notation software  called Finale.

Depending upon where in the ceremony, cocktail hour, or other part of the celebration, we may need to alter the original form of the song to suit the couple’s request. If the song is too short for the time needed, we decide what parts should be repeated. If it’s too long, which is often the case for processionals with short aisles for the wedding party, groom or bride to walk down, we have to decide how to shorten the song. This means making sure that we play the main chorus and important parts of the song and leave out transitional sections or less familiar parts. We also have to decide where we can potentially end the song depending upon the timing during the actual performance. We generally choose several potential ending points.

Because the songs were not originally written for our instruments, we then have to go back to the recording and listen again for stylistic characteristics that can be written in to the music to help it sound most like the original. This includes things like how to start, stop and shape each note, how loud each section is, where the song gets louder or softer, where it gets faster or slower, etc. These types of stylistic features get noted in the music.

After we have the music written, we share it with each other to make any suggested changes, and then we each practice our parts by ourselves until we feel confident with them. Then we get together to rehearse. This is when we work together to create the most authentic yet customized version of the song that the couple has requested. If the couple has requested that we record the song for them, we schedule a special time in the studio to record the song. Once it’s recorded, it gets mixed and mastered and then finally delivered to the couple.

Many couples these days are choosing non-traditional wedding songs that have special meaning to them, and we are happy to accommodate them. We’d love to hear what YOUR song is and arrange it to play for your special day! Contact us today!

event music, Phoenix Wedding and Event Music

5 considerations for musicians at outdoor weddings and events

Many of us live in Arizona for its exceptional number of spectacular days to enjoy outdoors. So, when it comes to planning a wedding or event, holding it outdoors is always a popular choice. Whether you’re planning an engagement party, wedding shower, wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, vow renewal or other event to celebrate your wedding, an outdoor venue could be perfect choice. Outdoor venues can be found at resorts, private event venues, golf clubs, parks and, of course, backyards of private homes.5-considerations-for-musicians-for-outdoor-weddings-and-events Phoenix

For any event, there are countless considerations to make sure your day goes smoothly and everyone enjoys themselves. But for outdoor events where you’re planning to have live music, there are several special considerations to keep in mind.

  1. Temperature. Besides basic comfort, temperature is something to keep in mind for musicians for several other reasons. Extreme temperature can actually permanently harm wooden instruments such as violins, violas, cellos, basses, guitars, clarinets, oboes and bassoons because the thin wood the instrument is made of can be prone to cracking as it goes from warm to cool or cool to warm. A cracked instrument can sometimes be repaired but could cause permanent damage to very valuable instruments. Additionally, extremes in temperature cause the instruments to fluctuate in intonation. Instruments that are out of tune with themselves or with other instruments in the ensemble will not be pleasing to the ear. Professional musicians are skilled at re-tuning their instruments, but it is very disruptive to the musical experience if they have to constantly be stopping between songs to re-tune.
  2. Precipitation. When musicians ask for cover from the rain, it’s not just because they don’t want their hair or outfits to get wet. In fact, moisture can negatively affect musical instruments in significant ways. For wood instruments (violins, violas, cellos, basses, guitars, clarinets, oboes and bassoons) if the wood gets wet, it could swell and ultimately crack. Some cracks can be repaired, but others cannot. And with instruments that cost tens of thousands of dollars, this is a significant risk. For wind instruments with pads that cover tone holes, the pads can absorb moisture which could cause the pads to swell and require costly replacement. For higher end instruments, this would mean sending the instrument across the country to a qualified instrument repair person to do the work. In addition to pad damage, rain can also affect the wind instruments’ mechanism, washing away the oils that keep the valves and keys operating smoothly. Again, adding the oil to an instrument could mean an expensive and time-consuming shipping to a repair person across the country. Another consideration is PA or sound systems for instruments such as guitars that require power. These can easily be damaged by moisture. Because of the problems moisture can cause for instruments, it’s important that areas for outdoor musicians have tarps underneath them and extended covering above so that wind doesn’t blow moisture onto delicate musical instruments.
  3. Sunshine. The issue with sun is not just the heat. Sun causes glare that makes music difficult to read and makes it challenging for musicians to see cues from each other, officiants, planners and the couple. Musicians rely on visual cues in order to determine when to start and stop playing, so it is best to have shade for outdoor events, especially weddings. Sun also causes instruments, especially those made of metals (flutes and brass instruments), to heat up substantially. When metal instruments heat up, it changes their pitch and makes them uncomfortable and difficult to hold.
  4. Wind. Wind is an issue for musicians because it makes turning pages and making them stay put as needed a big challenge. Outdoor musicians always arrive to outdoor performances with clips for their pages, but that becomes interruptive when they have to keep un-clipping and re-clipping their music. Additionally, flutes blow across the embouchure hole to create the tone, so with strong winds blowing directly at them, the tone can get distorted or destroyed. Wind can also affect the way sound travels through the air, so it can negatively affect how the sound disburses outdoors.
  5. Bugs are not only an annoyance to guests, but can be especially distracting to musicians. Bugs can land on music, blocking the notes, can tickle or sting skin making it difficult for musicians to concentrate on small muscles that it takes to play their instruments. And of course, painful or itchy bug bites can make it very challenging to continue playing, especially if they’re on fingers, arms or faces that are used for playing the instruments.

While everyone enjoys beautiful outdoor events, when you’re planning an outdoor event with live musicians, we just encourage you to be thoughtful of the challenges the outdoors can bring for musicians so that they can give you the kind of quality performance you deserve.

Phoenix Wedding and Event Music, wedding music

Songs for the Unity Sand Ceremony at Your Wedding

Unity sand ceremonies for weddings have become a popular alternative to the more traditional unity candle ceremonies. But, with all the details that go with planning weddings, music for the sand ceremony is often not considered until the musicians ask.

The sand ceremony is a perfect opportunity for music though! Depending upon what you arrange with your officiant, the sand ceremony could be very short to several minutes long. The sand ceremony takes place after the vows. For outdoor ceremonies, the sand ceremony is popular because wind is always a risk for unity candle ceremonies but is not an issue for sand ceremonies.Classical Music Sand Ceremony Phoenix

Pouring two different colors of sands together is used to symbolize the joining of the bride and groom or the joining of their families. For the ceremony, three small vases are set up –  one for the bride and groom to pour the sand into as well as one for the bride and one for the groom to pour the sand from. The bride’s and groom’s vases are each filled with a different color of sand which symbolizes the separate lives of the bride and groom and their families. After the ceremony, the two empty vases can be used to display fresh flowers at the wedding reception. The vase containing the combined sand can be put on display at the ceremony and in the new couple’s home as a constant reminder of their wedding day.Wedding Sand Ceremony Songs Phoenix

There are three ways the sand ceremony is generally conducted:

  1. The officiant makes a few remarks about the significance of the sand ceremony then the couple pours the sand into the vase. The musicians play after the officiant is finished speaking. Because the sand pouring doesn’t take much time, the music generally ends a while after the couple finishes pouring.
  2. The officiant speaks while the couple pours the sand. This plan doesn’t work so well if you want music during the sand ceremony because it can often be too loud for the officiant to be heard. If this is the plan, it’s just important to make sure the music is soft enough or starts after the officiant finishes speaking.
  3. The officiant says a few words, the family comes forward to pour some sand and then the couple pours the sand. This works well musically because it takes more time, so more music can be played.

Music can certainly make the sand ceremony more meaningful, but the music must be played sensitively, since if it is too loud, it can overpower the words. We generally play a short selection of sentimental music softly in the background. Couples often choose a center vessel with a narrow opening that slows down the rate of sand flow so the couple can spend this time thoughtfully listening to the music. Alternatively, couples just enjoy the music and the moment until the song ends after they finish pouring. The two elements don’t have to be completed at exactly the same time.

A couple’s choice of music for their wedding’s sand ceremony is completely personal, so there is no right or wrong choice, but we can recommend some of our favorites that we would suggest for couples who are looking for ideas.


Classical Music for Sand Ceremonies
Air on the G String, J. S. Bach
Ave Maria, Franz Schubert
Greensleeves, Traditional
Gymnopedie I, Eric Satie
Meditation from Thais, Jules Massenet
Spanish Romance, Anon.
Vieni, vieni, Antonio Vivaldi

Contemporary Music for Sand Ceremonies
All I Ask of You – Phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber
Can’t Help Falling in Love, G. Weiss, H. Peretti & L. Creatore
One Hand, One Heart – West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein
Somewhere, Over the Rainbow, Harold Arlen
Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran
Unforgettable, Irving Gordon
What a Wonderful World, Bob Thiele