Guidelines When Including a Trumpet In Your Wedding Ceremony

In order for the wedding planner, bride, mother of the bride and/or musicians to save time, important terms and their definitions which will be used are listed below and should be helpful to lessen the potential of any misunderstanding.

Terms used when discussing music concerns for a wedding-

  • Music- Any compositions played by an instrument or sung by a voice.
  • Song- Any musical composition with words and performed with the voice.
  • Prelude music- Music to entertain guests as they enter hall and find their seats.
  • Processional music-  Music performed to indicate the entrance of important people and the wedding party.
  • Bride’s entrance music- Music to indicate the bride has begun walking down the isle.
  • Interlude music- Unity candle, special music, and transition songs.
  • Recessional music- Music performed as wedding party exits hall.
  • Postlude music- Music performed as guests leave hall.
  • Vocal- Music performed with the voice.
  • Instrumental- Music performed by a musical instrument.
  • a cappella- Music performed without accompaniment.

Why are trumpets often used in weddings?

The trumpet has had a long history of use in festive occasions and for that reason, its added brilliance to weddings has made it very popular. The entrance of a royal king and queen or the entrance of a beautiful bride and her soon to be husband warrant the same elegance and grandeur.

What is the function of music in a wedding?

  • The music should inspire elegance and refinement for the occasion.
  • The music should indicate to the listener that the occasion is very meaningful and not something that was thrown together without thought.
  • Never let the musicians dominate the ceremony.
  • The music should enhance the occasion, not distract from it.
  • The bride is the main focus of the program and everything else is there to enhance the ceremony.
  • Do not allow a musician to show off or try to perform above their ability.
  • Musicians should blend into their surroundings and should not attract attention to themselves.
  • Recessional, processionals are there to help move people around the hall in a more elegant fashion.
  • Special music is there to express a certain feeling or emotion as well as letting the visitors relax during the program.

What you should know before using a trumpet player-

  • Avoid any possibility of excessive volume coming from the trumpet player.
  • Never place a trumpet player in a position where the trumpet bell is pointed in someone’s face.
  • When using an inexperienced trumpet player, do not ask him/her  to exceed their ability.
  • When using a professional trumpet player, do not let him/her  turn your wedding into a trumpet recital.
  • Always make sure the trumpet player has been paid the agreed amount before he/she leaves the hall.
  • If the organist/piano player has forgotten to return the accompaniment to the trumpet player, make sure he/she gets the  music back.
  • If you want the trumpet player to wear a tux, let him/her know well in advance, other wise you will get a black suite and a bow tie.
  • Processionals are usually short but difficult to time the last note with the position of the bride at the front.
  • Recessionals are never a problem as far as timing.
  • A piccolo trumpet is about half the length of a regular trumpet and for that reason, if one is used, there will be discussion about it in the audience.
  • Trumpet players do not generally like to use mutes in their instrument but if you feel that they are not playing soft enough for your wedding, feel free to ask them to insert one in their bell in order to soften the volume of the instrument.
  • Trumpet players should be respectful enough to have warmed up before the service and should not warm up during the service.
  • Tuning the trumpet to an organ or piano should also have been done before the program.
  • During a wedding is not acceptable for trumpet players to ask the audience if they have any requests. (Sorry about that. I was getting a little tired and needed a little light humor).

Best trumpet music for weddings

Prelude music-

  • The opening number for a trumpet player should be in the middle range of the instrument so that the player can adjust to his/her surroundings.
  • Starting in the high register is a shock to anyone entering a quiet room and the added strain of the upper register is an additional discomfort to the player as well as the audience.
  • A moderate volume piece is also preferred over something loud and blasting.
  • As more people enter the hall, more volume and higher registers are more easily accepted.
  • Lyrical melodies sound best in this setting.
  • Smooth phrases and sustained notes are great at this time.
  • Avoid modern, atonal and dynamically contrasting pieces.
  • If the prelude portion of your wedding is expected to last for more than fifteen minutes, it would be best to have the trumpet play no more than two numbers.

Processional music-

  • Weddings with few attendants (1-2) do not pose a problem for a trumpet player for the amount of actual “mouthpiece on the lip” time is short.
  • Weddings with many attendants and long isles should be worked out where the organ/ piano and the trumpet alternate phrases which will save the trumpet players lip.
  • Make sure that the instruments in the front of the room are given an obvious and clear signal as to when the processional is to begin.

Bride’s entrance music

  • Make sure that the instruments in the front of the room are given an obvious and clear signal as to when the bride’s entrance is to begin.
  • Ending the bride’s entrance exactly when the bride hits her spot on the carpet can be made easier by using music which has frequent short phrases with many strong final cadences.
  • This section of the program will be the strongest and for that reason, the trumpet player can get a little more aggressive because no one is paying any attention to him/her anyway.
  • The trumpet player and the organist/piano player should have previously decided who would indicate the end of the bride’s entrance music.

Interlude music

  • If the trumpet is used at this point in the program, the solo should be very easy and there should be no chance that the player could miss a note.
  • Always select a slow, middle register solo with limited upper, as well as lower range.
  • It would be helpful for the trumpet to come in after a few measures first played by the accompaniment.
  • Long, sustained, soft notes at the end should be avoided when ever possible.
  • The trumpet collects moisture in the tubing and generally it is most trumpet player’s custom to let the moisture out just before they play an exposed solo such as this one so ask the performer to be discrete.
  • If the player has to play louder than you would like, suggest that he/she point the instrument into the choir chairs or into the back of the organ or piano.

Recessional music

  • This should be joyous and exciting.
  • Trumpet players are in their glory at this point in the ceremony.
  • The tempo should be quicker in order to get everyone out of the hall and down to the food.
  • The accuracy of the trumpet player is usually not an issue at this time for everyone is talking and few are listening.
  • Generally, the only reason a trumpet player will want to stay to the end of the ceremony would be if he/she has not been paid or they want to make sure they get their accompaniment parts back from the organist/piano player.

Postlude music

  • Usually the organist/piano player will finish the rest of the music by him/herself.
  • If for some reason the trumpet player suggests that he/she play more, it is most often because they might have a recital coming up and want the extra stage time. That would be your decision.

Bruce was a member of the faculty at the University of Northern Iowa, School of Music in Cedar Falls from 1969 until his retirement in 1999. He has performed with many well-known entertainers such as Bob Hope, Jim Nabors, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Anita Bryant, Carman Cavalara, Victor Borgie, the Four Freshman, Blackstone the Magician, Bobby Vinton and John Davidson.

6 thoughts on “Guidelines When Including a Trumpet In Your Wedding Ceremony

  1. Bob Grier

    AS a trumpeter who has played hundreds of weddings from large high profile to small chapel .This is an excellent post. Shows a lot of insight into the little details that make hiring a live musician a success. As the musician, I learned to gently guide the client to take care of all the details so that they have a succesful experience of hiring a live musician probably for the first time in their lives. If they have a bad experience and tell all their friends, they’ll start using recorded music at their weddings And there will be even less work then there is now!

  2. Bruce Chidester

    Thank you very much for your comments. Your concern for the use of “live music” was very thought provoking. Tracks have finally taken over live music in every area. The first time I worked with tracks was around the mid eighty’s when, while playing a Holiday on Ice show, the leader asked the trumpets if they needed a break and to our surprise, the trumpet parts kept playing even though we quit. We didn’t even know there were tracks at that time. Now the shows call you in to record tracks and the next thing you know, the band is fired to be replaced by your own tracks. Live dance bands are now replaced by one DJ.

    Sunday, our trumpet quartet is playing a concert for the Branson Arts Council and at that program we always mention to the audience the importance of promoting and supporting live music. We as musicians need to be more pro-active in the support of live music.
    Looks like you hit an important issue with me.

    We wish you the very best to you and yours,
    Bruce Chidester
    Branson Trumpet Ensemble

  3. TOM Fellows

    Three observations come immediately to mind:

    If it is a church wedding – educate yourself about the service – types of music are appropriate at different sections of the service – Especially traditional masses.

    Be prepared for all manner of distractions – where is the photographer setting up – is there video – where is the mic – will there be audience sitting in your immediate area – will there be communion at a church service. I have had photographers stand directly in front of me while playing and i have had people jostle past me while playing on their way to receive communion.

    Always play at the rehearsal and include it in your fee. That will likely be the only time the couple actual listen to what you are playing.

    • Bruce Chidester

      Great points! Thanks for sharing.

      Sounds like you have also played a few weddings in the past.

      Stay well and the best to you and yours.

  4. stan smith

    very good pointers – sounds a bit like a critique of trumpet players – some have egos and some not so much – the idea of suggesting tunes in mid-range for openers is great – this is NOT a practice hall or readiness test for any recital!! – my plan always includes the herald trumpet for heraldry and a Bach Strad (or similar quality horn) for the concert numbers – please use live music as much as possible – tracks should be banned!!

    • Bruce Chidester

      There is no doubt that there are some and some may even say that MOST trumpet players have ego problems.

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