An interlude is defined as anytime in the ceremony where there are no words being spoken, and no activity for at least a minute. During this time, you may wish to have an interlude song played. We add the "no activity" qualifier in order to distinguish interlude music from ritual music, which would, as the name implies, be playing during a ritual activity.
When To Use Interlude Pieces
An interlude piece can accompany a moment of prayer or reflection.
To place special emphasis on the spoken word
Interlude music can be used right after a reading, the Celebrant's address, or your vows and/or exchange of rings in order to give you and your guests a chance to reflect on the words, and even to more deeply feel the meaning of what has just been said.
As a breather just before your vows or ring exchange
An Interlude song is appropriate just before the vows and/or the ring exchange in order to give the bridal couple a chance to pause, catch their breath, and begin to prepare for the moment to come. This could be especially important if you are going to recite your vows from memory or even if you are going to read them. The time during which this song is playing can give you a chance to review the lines in your mind, or to prepare any written notes you have.
To emphasize the family's or community's blessing of the marriage
Finally, if there is going to be an affirmation of the community, an uplifting or inspirational interlude song played right after the affirmation can act as a big exclamation point "!" on the words that have just been spoken by the assembly.
The Nature and Function of Interlude Songs
Musical Interludes can be Vocals, Instrumentals, and even Solos from almost any genre, played at a moderate volume. They function to enhance the ceremony with symbolic and dramatic meaning.
They can also help set the pace for the ceremony. Rather than a rushed ceremony where you move quickly from activity to activity, strategically placed interlude songs can improve the flow by slowing things down a bit, and giving everyone a chance to relax, reflect on, and enjoy the proceedings.
Choose songs that have a special meaning for you or your families. Use songs that reflect your values and feelings about marriage, and songs that enhance the words of the reading or ritual that has just taken or is about to take place.
Sometimes A Song Is Just A Song
Must an interlude song always be used for practical purposes like highlighting a reading or giving the bridal couple a chance to review their vows? Absolutely not! You may want to have a song played during the ceremony simply because it is a very special song - perhaps one that played a big role in your meeting or deciding to get married, or even one that you just really like a lot. Just be prudent by making sure it is appropriate for a wedding ceremony.
The Limit For Interludes
We'll repeat here what we said on another page of our site. We recommend no more than three non-background interlude songs during the course of the ceremony. Interlude songs are great at enhancing the meaning of readings and assisting with the flow of a wedding, but done too many times they can actually interrupt the flow of the ceremony and/or come to be seen as a distraction that is unnecessarily adding to the length of it.
For more on this, please go to our page entitled "How Many Songs Will Be Needed For The Ceremony And Where Can They Be Placed", and look under the category entitled "No More Than Three."
Here are just a few great interlude selections:
Arioso In A (Sinfonia from "Cantata #156") - Bach, Johann Sebastian
Ave Maria - Bach, Johann Sebastian /Gounod, Charles
Claire De Lune - Debussy, Claude
Pavane - Faurer, Gabriel
Panis Angelicus (O God Of Life) -Luciano Pavarotti
The Lord's Prayer - Mallote
Meditation (from Thais) -Massenet, Jules
Ave Maria - Schubert, Franz
Amazing Grace - Various Artists
Greensleeves - Various Artists
Simple Gifts - Various Artists
Air On The G String - Bach, Johann Sebastian
Sheep May Safely Graze - Bach, Johann Sebastian
Hornpipe (from "Water Music") -Handel, George Frideric
Best Day - George Strait
Breathe - Faith Hill
You Had Me From Hello - Kenny Chesney
To Make You Feel My Love - Garth Brooks
I Cross My Heart - George Strait
Amazed - Lonestar
I Do - Cherish You - Mark Wills
Grow Old With Me - Mary Chapin Carpenter
From This Moment - Shania Twain & Bryan White
It's Your Love - Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
The Keeper Of The Stars - Tracy Byrd
I Do - Paul Brandt
The Prayer - Andrea Bocelli & Celine Dion
The Gift - Jim Brickman w/ Martina McBride
Love Of My Life - Jim Brickman w/ Micheal W. Smith
A Moment Like This - Kelly Clarkson
Kind And Generous - Natalie Merchant
Truly, Madly, Deeply - Savage Garden
Because You Loved Me - Celine Dion
Give Me Forever: I Do - John Tesh
Beautiful In My Eyes - Joshua Kadison
Through The Eyes Of Love - Melissa Manchester
A Whole New World - Regina Belle & Peabo Bryson
You Raise Me Up - Josh Groban
We've Only Just Begun - Carpenters
Your Song - Elton John
Thank You - Led Zeppelin
First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - Roberta Flack
Colour My World - Chicago
I Believe In You And Me - Four Tops
The Wedding Song - Paul Stookey
Ribbon In The Sky - Stevie Wonder
I Do: Cherish You - 98 Degrees
Always - Atlantic Starr
Always And Forever - Heatwave
All My Life - K-Ci & JoJo
Endless Love - Lionel Richie & Diana Ross
Here And Now - Luther Vandross
Endless Love - Luther Vandross & Mariah Carey
For You I Will - Monica
I Believe In You And Me - Whitney Houston
Dodi Li - Steven Sher
Once Upon a Time... Storybook Love (from "The Princess Bride") - Mark Knopfler
Next, lets' take a look Unity Candle and other ritual music.