Music Ideas for a Small Wedding Ceremony

When planning a small wedding ceremony, it’s important that the music you choose will reflect the intimate feel of the gathering of your closest family and friends. A soloist is perfect for a very small wedding ceremony, and a duo or trio works well with a slightly larger ceremony. A general rule of thumb is to hire at least one musician per 50 guests.

If you are having a very small wedding ceremony, you may want to hire a soloist. My specialty is the flute, and I often play solo flute for wedding ceremonies and cocktail hours. Solo flute, along with other single-note instruments, sounds great playing classical music but can also play any genre of music as long as the songs have a distinct melody. The sweet and rich sound of solo flute carries well and is easily heard outdoors, but is especially full and resonant in indoor spaces such as inside a church sanctuary. When I play solo flute for wedding ceremonies, I will often play classical music for the ceremony and then transition to more contemporary and jazz selections for the cocktail hour or reception.

If you are planning to invite more than 50 guests or if the guests will be spread apart over a large area outdoors, I recommend hiring a duo or trio. Both our flute and violin duo and our flute and cello duo give a personal and intimate feel to a small wedding ceremony and have a fuller sound than a soloist. Both of these duos sound wonderful with classical music but many contemporary songs can also be arranged to be performed by these duos.

If you want to hear mostly contemporary music at your wedding, a flute and guitar duo is the perfect choice. This duo retains a feeling of simplicity both visually and tonally, but has the most full sound of the three duos because the guitar can play several notes at once. This duo is very versatile and sounds great playing classical, popular, rock and jazz music. We often amplify this ensemble so that the guitar can be heard well.

A trio is also a great option for a small wedding ceremony. Trios sound much fuller than duos, but still provide an intimate feel. Take a look at the flute trio that we offer.

Whatever music you choose for your small wedding ceremony, the most important thing is to be true to yourself and your vision. If you don’t know what ensemble to choose, communicate your thoughts to your local wedding music professional and they will help you choose the perfect ensemble to meet your needs.

Photos Courtesy of Grace Combs Photography

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Ceremony Music at the YMCA in Estes Park

Our flute and guitar duo recently played for a beautiful October wedding ceremony at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. It was an absolutely gorgeous morning with gusty winds that challenged our ability to secure our sheet music and supplies. However, with many clips for our music and heavy rocks to hold down our music stands, we kept everything secure for the duration of our performance. By keeping the wind directly to my back, I was also able to get a good sound out of my flute.

The ceremony was held outdoors at the Sara Smith Chapel which was a lovely location with a wild Colorado mountain feel. We played classical prelude music that the bride let us select and then a classical processional that I helped the bride select. During the ceremony, a small choir sang an incredible version of “Be Thou My Vision” and I felt honored to hear their talented performance in such an amazing setting. They sang this while the couple performed a foot washing ceremony, symbolizing the the servant-hood of marriage in comparison to Christ and the church. Then, because both the bride and groom are scientists, they did a small science experiment that they made up to represent marriage and the blending of two lives together. While they did that, we played Simple Gifts.

Selected Prelude Music:
Musette (Bach), Gavotte (Gossec), Polonaise (Mozart), Little Italian Song (Tchaikovsky), Valse Sentimentale (Schubert)

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Bridal Party (Grandmothers, Mothers, Bridesmaids, Flower Girl) ~ Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Bride ~ Gavotte from Sonata for Flute in C major (Handel)
Unity Ceremony ~ Simple Gifts
Recessional ~ Trumpet Tune (Purcell)
Postlude ~ Hornpipe from Water Music (Handel), Gymnopedie No. 1 (Satie)

Vendors:
Venue: YMCA of the Rockies – Estes Park
Photographer: Katie Keighin Photography
Musicians: www.ChristenStephens.com – Flute and Guitar Duo

Our flute and guitar duo would love to play for your wedding ceremony or event. We play classical, rock, jazz and more. Or, learn more about our ten different ensembles here.

Solo Flute – Wedding Ceremony Music at Della Terra Mountain Chateau in Estes Park

Outdoor autumn wedding ceremonies can be tricky in the Colorado mountains because the weather can be anything from warm and sunny to freezing cold and snowing. This bride hoped for the best with her early October wedding ceremony, but was also ready to brave the worst. It was clear to see why she wanted an outdoor wedding ceremony at Della Terra Chateau in Estes Park. The chateau is beautifully situated in the mountains and gives the feel of majestic isolation that is pure Colorado. The grounds feature garden areas and small ponds and bridges that blend well into the wild Colorado landscape. Wildlife abounded and I saw several elk, wild turkeys, and many birds and chipmunks. Inside, the chateau was built to reflect the classic European charm of years gone by.

I had no idea what to expect from the weather as I drove up the fog-shrouded mountains. The forecast was calling for thunderstorms and even snow later in the evening. When I arrived at Della Terra, it was cold and cloudy and I set up under a small musician pavilion to protect my flute from the drizzling rain.

The bride chose solo flute music for her wedding ceremony, and I played elegant music on my flute as the handful of guests began arriving. As the guests arrived, the cold rain began to fall in earnest and umbrellas were quickly supplied to the guests and they wrapped themselves in the warm blankets that had been provided. I chose cheerful spring-like music to give the atmosphere a feeling of warmth, and one of the guests later told me that my music was the perfect balm for the cold, dark weather. The processional began, and just as the bride reached the front, the sun came out and the rain abated just long enough for a beautiful ceremony to take place.

Selected Wedding Prelude Music:
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (Bach), Danza Pastorale (Vivaldi), Spring (Vivaldi), Hornpipe (Purcell), The Swan (Saint Seans), Minuetto (Mozart)

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Wedding Party ~ Trumpet Voluntary
Bride ~ Trumpet Tune
Recessional ~ Bourree from Handel’s Water Music
Postlude ~ Hornpipe from Handel’s Water Music and Chopin’s Waltz, Op. 69 No. 2

Christen Stephens Live at Della Terra Chateau in Estes Park, CO

Hornpipe by Purcell
Minuet by Mozart

Wedding Vendors
Wedding Venue: Della Terra Mountain Chateau
Officient: Reverend Simone Shepherd
Musicians: www.ChristenStephens.comSolo Flute

Would you like to add the warmth and elegance of live flute music to your wedding ceremony? Visit my weddings page to learn more!

The view behind the ceremony site

Flute and Cello Duo at Piney River Ranch in Vail, CO


In August, our flute and cello duo headed up to Piney River Ranch in Vail to play for a wedding ceremony and cocktail hour. After a string of cold and rainy days, the sun finally came out at this incredible mountain location and made for a beautiful wedding day. Once we arrived in Vail, we followed a long set of directions through White River National Forest. The 45 minute drive brought us over very rutted roads and was very challenging in our Prius. Since the going was slow, we embraced the moment and rolled down our windows to enjoy the peaceful quite and the spectacular scenery. We arrived at the lodge in time to enjoy a meal at the Piney restaurant. I ordered their signature pulled pork BBQ, which was exceptional, and having lived in North Carolina for a while, I can be picky about my BBQ! We also had time to take photos of the lake and of the resident moose, Monty Jr.

The bride knew what she wanted for music, and she chose most of the prelude music and all of the ceremony music on her own with the aid of my repertoire list. She requested that we fill out her prelude selections with music from movies with big scenery to compliment the lake and mountain backdrop. I really enjoyed making these music selections and it was wonderful to play them in a location that perfectly complimented them.

One of the best moments of the wedding ceremony was when Monty the moose walked through the water right behind the couple! The pastor had been talking about living in the moment and not letting life slip by us unnoticed. The reactions of the guests was wonderful as the ceremony paused and we all took some time to embrace that wonderful moment.

For the cocktail hour, the bride requested Beatles, Sinatra, and jazz styles. Our flute and cello duo mostly plays classical music, but I was eager for the challenge and after looking through my extensive music library, I found a number of popular and jazz pieces that would work wonderfully with the flute and cello.

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Mothers, Groom, Pastor, Groomsmen ~ Haunted by the Waters from A River Runs Through It
Bridesmaids ~ All I Ask of You
Bride ~ Canon in D (Pachelbel)
Recessional ~ La Rejouissance from Handel’s Water Music
Postlude ~ Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (Handel)

Selected Prelude Music ~ The Sound of Music, To a Wild Rose (MacDowell), Largo from Winter (Handel), The Wedding and the Ludlows from Legends of the Fall, Clair De Lune (Debussy), Si Bheag, Si Mhor (Irish Traditional), Moon River , from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)

Selected Cocktail Hour Music ~ Imagine (Beatles), When I’m Sixty Four (Beatles), A Whole New World, I Want to Hold Your Hand (Beatles), Can You Feel the Love Tonight?, Blue Spanish Eyes, All of Me, My Funny Valentine, Blackbird (Beatles), Misty

Christen and Heather playing at Piney River Ranch, courtesy of Zach Mahone Photography

Christen Stephens and Heather Plattenberger Live at Piney River Ranch, Vail:

All I Ask of You

A Whole New World
My Funny Valentine
Unchained Melody

Wedding Vendors:
Wedding Venue: Piney River Ranch, Vail
Wedding Coordinator: Meg Stepanek of Gemini Event Planning
Photographer: Zach Mahone Photography
Musicians: www.ChristenStephens.comFlute and Cello Duo

If you are getting married in Colorado, we’d loved to play for your wedding ceremony! Go to my wedding page to learn more about the ten different ensembles we offer.

Flute and String Trio – Wedding Ceremony and Cockail Hour Music at Silverthorne Pavillion

It’s always nice to travel from the hot summer weather of Colorado’s front range to the mountains, and this time our destination was the town of Silverthorne, where it was a sunny 70 degrees. This wedding was held at the Silverthorne Pavilion which is located by the banks of the Blue River. Our flute, viola, and cello trio played classical prelude music and then traditional wedding processional music that the bride and groom selected together. The wedding ceremony was very sweet and as the couple said the vows they had written for each other, we tried to hold back our tears. Sometimes it doesn’t make a difference how many weddings we have played for – each one is beautiful and unique!

After the ceremony, we moved to the shaded patio where we played a mix of classical and popular music as the guests enjoyed appetizers and drinks. The bride and groom had several song requests for their cocktail hour music and I put together the remainder of our set list using those songs as my inspiration.

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Wedding Party ~ Canon in D (Pachelbel)
Bride ~ Bridal Chorus (Wagner)
Recessional ~ Wedding March from a Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn)

Selected Wedding Prelude Music:
Largo from Winter (Vivaldi), Sheep May Safely Graze (Bach), Selections from Handel’s Water Music, Allegro from Sonata in F major (Handel)

Selected Cocktail Hour Music:
Italian Song (Tschaikovsky), Ecossaise (Beethoven), What a Wonderful World, Over the Rainbow, All You Need is Love, Romantic Flight from How to Train Your Dragon, Imagine, Anything Goes (Cole Porter)

Add a touch of elegance to your wedding ceremony and cocktail hour with music tailored for you!

Wedding Vendors:
Wedding Venue: Silverthorne Pavilion
Wedding Coordinator and Photographer: Laura Pierson at L Elizabeth Events
Musicians: www.ChristenStephens.comFlute, Viola, Cello Trio

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Ceremony Music in Breckenridge

This weekend, I played flute for a wedding ceremony in an incredibly beautiful location. The ceremony was held on the lawn of a private residence in an idyllic mountain setting above the town of Breckenridge. The landscaping was gorgeous and flowers spilled from every corner and lined the garden paths, framing the mountain backdrop. Storms began to move in, giving the mountains and sky a dramatic and eerie look, and thunder began to rumble and echo around the mountains. Because of the coming rain, the decision was made to begin the ceremony 15 minutes earlier than originally planned.

Our flute and guitar duo welcomed the guests with classical prelude music and then began playing the processional music. Just as the bride began her walk down the aisle, the sun came out and stayed out for most of the ceremony, even as the thunder continued to rumble in the distance. The storm held off just long enough for the beautiful wedding ceremony to finish and for the photographers to get some great shots afterwards. Thank you Steve Tinetti for sharing these beautiful photos!

After the ceremony, I was invited to stay for the cocktail hour, so I drove to Breckenridge Lodge and Spa where I had a few refreshments and enjoyed watching the storms move in over the mountains as I got to know few of the guests.

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Parents and Attendants Processional ~ Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (JS Bach)
Bridal Processional ~ Canon in D (Pachelbel)
Recessional ~ Wedding March from a Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn)

Prelude Music: Classical selections from Bach and Telemann

Wedding Vendors:
Photographer: Steve Tinetti Photography – Thank you Steve for these wonderful pictures!
Musicians: ChristenStephens.comFlute and Guitar Duo

We would love to provide beautiful music for your wedding ceremony too! Go to my weddings page to learn more.



Here are two photos of the gardens that I took on my cell phone. Beautiful!

Pachelbel’s Canon in D – Wedding Ceremony Music

Canon in D is a beloved wedding song and perhaps most requested by brides today, and for good reason. It is beautiful and elegant, and can be played with a number of different instruments. It was originally written by German composer and organist, Johann Pachelbel during the Baroque period. He wrote it as a Canon which doesn’t refer to the weapon that was used in battle, but a round. Canon in D begins with a simple bass line that is carried throughout the piece while the melody voices are layered in one by one, each one imitating the first voice. It was originally written for three violins and continuo, but today we play it with just about every instrument combination available.

If you love Pachelbel’s Canon in D and would like us to play it at your wedding ceremony, visit my weddings page for more information on our services.

Helpful hints if you want Pachelbel’s Canon in D played at your wedding ceremony:

– For brides who want to walk down the aisle to Canon in D, I suggest that you wait for the song to play for a few seconds before beginning your walk and then take your time and enjoy the moment. The Canon starts with a solo cello and slowly then unfurls like a rosebud until it reaches its full glory over a minute into the song.

– If you want to have Canon played for your wedding party instead, it is certain to be long enough even if you have a lot of attendants. The entire song is about 5 minutes long and is easy to repeat if necessary.

– Pachelbel’s Canon can be played with many instrument combinations. We can play it with every ensemble I offer. I particularly like Pachelbel’s Canon played with a flute quartet (flute, violin, viola, cello), string quartet, flute and guitar, or flute and harp.

A Sample of Me Playing Canon in D (flute and harp duo):

Canon in D by Pachelbel

A Sample of Me Playing Canon in D (flute and cello duo):

Canon in D by Pachelbel

Here is the original version of Canon in D played on original instruments from the time of Pachelbel:

Flute and String Quartet Wedding Music at St. Thomas More Church and Castle Cliff Estates



This weekend I played flute for a gorgeous Catholic wedding ceremony and reception. Our flute and string quartet played Irish, classical, and sacred music for the prelude to this wedding ceremony, which was held at St. Thomas More church in Centennial. The church was modern, but very elegant with vibrant stained glass windows, and lovely wood and stone work. The ceremony was not a full mass, but there was a short sermon and a number of lovely Biblical readings.

After the ceremony, we drove to Castle Cliff Estates where we played classical and Irish music for the reception. Castle Cliff Estates had an elegant classic feel with large windows overlooking the vibrant gardens and water feature in the back. The bride’s choice of flowers and decorations, our musical accompaniment, and a roaring fire in the fireplace perfectly complimented our opulent surroundings and cheered up the cold and rainy day.

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Family Processional ~ Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (JS Bach)
Processional ~ Canon in D (Pachelbel)
Bridal Processional ~ Bridal Chorus (Wagner)
Unity Candle: Winter from the Four Seasons (Vivaldi)
Recessional ~ Wedding March from Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn)

Selected Reception Music:
An Irish Blessing (traditional), Last Rose of Summer (traditional), Psalm 19 (Marcello), selections from Water Music Suite (Handel), Palladio


Flute and String Quartet Wedding Ceremony Music at Vail Chapel and Sonnenalp Resort

I just enjoyed a wonderful music-filled weekend highlighted by playing wedding ceremony and cocktail hour music for a wedding in Vail. It was a gorgeous day for a wedding! Our performance began at Vail Interfaith Chapel where our quartet played a half hour as the guests arrived, and then for the wedding ceremony. After that we moved across the street to the elegant Sonnenalp Resort where we played popular and rock music for the cocktail hour. I played this wedding with the Ribbons and Strings Ensemble (notice the ribbons on our instruments!)

Wedding Ceremony Music:

Processional Music ~ Speed of Sound (Coldplay)

Bridal Processional ~ Canon in D (Pachelbel)

During the Ceremony ~ (Everything I do) I Do It For You from Robin Hood

Recessional Music ~ I’m Yours (Mraz)

Selected Cocktail Hour Music ~
Clocks (Coldplay), It’s a Wonderful World, Blackbird (Beatles), Tango from Scent of a Woman, All You Need is Love (Beatles)

 

Flute, Viola, and Cello Trio – Wedding Music at the Greenbriar Inn in Boulder

On Saturday, our flute, viola, and cello trio played for a wedding ceremony at the beautiful Greenbriar Inn located in North Boulder. The couple got married outside surrounded by warm autumn colors drenched in late afternoon sunshine.

This couple chose to select all of their own music including their own prelude music. They chose favorites ranging from classical, to ragtime and popular. I made several special music arrangements for our trio to play including “New York, New York”, “I Feel Pretty”, and “When I’m 64”. We played the prelude as the guests enjoyed light refreshments, and just as the sun began to descend towards the mountains behind the “Chuppah” (traditional Jewish wedding canopy), the wedding ceremony began. The vows went by quickly as the couple chose to say their “I do’s” in unison, and guests did various readings. Once the sun set, there was a sharp chill in the air, and everyone went inside to enjoy a warm fire and refreshments.

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Prelude Music ~
Trumpet Tune (Purcell), Salut d’Amour (Elgar), Ave Maria (Schubert), Selections from Handel’s “Water Music”, London Trio #1 (Haydn), Paragon Rag (Joplin), I Feel Pretty (Bernstein), When I’m 64 (Beatles)

Attendant’s and Parent’s Processional ~ Canon in D
Bride ~ Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Recessional ~ New York, New York

Wedding Vendors:
Venue: Greenbriar Inn, Boulder
Musicians: www.ChristenStephens.com – Flute, Viola, and Cello Trio

Learn more about our beautiful wedding ceremony music and 10 different ensemble choices.