Song suggestions
August 22, 2006 2:57 PM   Subscribe

Suggestion for non cheesy lighting of the unity candle songs?

My fiance and I are getting married September 16th. We are trying to finalize our music, and can't find a song to play during the lighting of the unity candle. Most of the websites I've visited have very cheesy suggestions. We would like something instrumental, and only about 2 minutes long. Thank you so much for your help!
posted by Elaisa to Grab Bag (16 answers total)
well.. please don't take this the wrong way, but "lighting the unity candle"? i'm stumped to come up with any activity cheesier than this, really. so why not play up the cheese and go all-out, and pick the corniest song you can? might make for a lighthearted moment.

(piggyback q - sappy, corny, cheesy - why are these all food words, anyway?)
posted by sergeant sandwich at 3:31 PM on August 22, 2006

Bron-Yr-Aur by Led Zeppelin. Two minutes and six seconds long and all instrumental.
posted by shaneflyer at 3:38 PM on August 22, 2006

(I dunno, but there's also schmaltzy)

Can you tell us a bit more about this "unity candle" business? I've never been to a wedding where they did this, so I'm not familiar with the tradition. What are the criteria for good unity candle music?
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:41 PM on August 22, 2006

Song C by Bruce Hornsby is instrumental piano and 2:47, although you can probably fade it out at 2 minutes. Song D, on the same album (iTMS link) is 2:03.
posted by timetoevolve at 3:54 PM on August 22, 2006

I think we used part of "sheep may safely graze" by Bach. It was pretty.
posted by dpx.mfx at 4:15 PM on August 22, 2006

nebulawindphone -

The moms light two tapered candles at the beginning of the ceremony to represent the bride and groom. Later in the ceremony the bride and groom light the unity candle to represent their separate lives joining as one. (Yes, sergeant, that makes it sound even cheesier, but it is a pretty moment.)

I'm not sure about criteria, I guess just something that the bride and groom both like.
posted by Elaisa at 5:29 PM on August 22, 2006

I've just done some Googling to see what this is all about, and I can't stop laughing at the name "Unity Candle". It's too close to utility knife. Togetherness Fork, or Spatula of Closeness are way better. Honestly.
posted by Ohdemah at 5:53 PM on August 22, 2006 [3 favorites]

How about "Ode to Joy"? It's pretty and you could just use however much of it you want, and it's, you know, joyful.

Though I do have to concur that the unity candle in itself is cheesy. Lovely sentiment, but a bit cheesy. However, it's a wedding, a little cheese is fine.
posted by exceptinsects at 5:55 PM on August 22, 2006

Sorry. Sorry. That was not even close to answering your question.
posted by Ohdemah at 5:56 PM on August 22, 2006

When some friends of the family got married (and I played piano), they chose Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desire, which, due to it's repetitive nature, can be sliced down to any desired length (and can be done as a piano or organ solo sans violins). It might not fulfill the "not-cheesy" requirement, but is still a nice tune.

If you'd rather have something simple and pretty, just pick out some free, fan-arranged sheet music from any of the Final Fantasy video games I-XII. That's what I use whenever I'm looking for some reflective, liturgical-sounding piano to play.

(Some specific suggestions from the Final Fantasy sets: "Aeris' Theme" from Final Fantasy VII, "Wind Scene" from Chrono Trigger, or "Eternity" from Final Fantasy X-2.) If you like the way any of these songs sound, but are worried about playing "video game music" at your wedding, don't be - I've played them at countless Masses and no one's gotten wise yet. (Oh, and congratulations on your wedding!)
posted by Zephyrial at 7:08 PM on August 22, 2006

Paul Stookey's The Wedding Song (warning: embedded music file) gets a workout at such moments. Cheesy? I don't know. Corny, maybe. Personally, I think that if there is one day in a couples' lives where they are allowed an unlimited ration of cheese and/or corn that suits them, it's their wedding day.
posted by paulsc at 8:11 PM on August 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

Bron-Yr-Aur isn't all instrumental, fwiw. At least on the one on Zepp III, words start up about 0:45 (just checked).

Have you thought about using the middle of a Grateful Dead song with a fade-in/fade-out? They have plenty of songs (especially live) with big chunks of instrumentals in the middle. I have a live version of Dark Star (rec 4/17/72) that has an amazing instrumental for the first 9 minutes of the song. It'd be easy to pick a few minutes out of that.
posted by devilsbrigade at 11:13 PM on August 22, 2006

Softly the Light from Gregory Norbert's Gracious Light instrumental album. You can listen to a very short sample here.

Alternately, Greensleeves. Which is familiar enough so that most people recognize it and is used as the tune for several religious songs (Norbert's Hosea is one).

The refrain* from Hosea (Come back to me) would also work if you decide to use lyrics - "long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life", although the song as a whole might not be as apropriate.

I've seen the refrain* used in the unity ceremony being sung by a male and female duo. There's a sample available at the same link as above

*is it a refrain or chorus? can't remember the right term.
posted by jaimystery at 3:35 AM on August 23, 2006

If you're going instrumental, just pick something that's not longer than two minutes. Walking over to the candle, lighting it, and walking back usually takes a maximum of 30 seconds. If you don't have someone actually singing, it turns into 3 and a half more minutes of listening to a piano and watching the bride and groom stare at each other and look awkward. Either pick something short and instrumental, or have a friend (or professional) sing a solo to somewhat divert attention.
posted by cebailey at 6:45 AM on August 23, 2006

Ach, as an sometimes officiant I always recommend against this one because I've seen it go so badly wrong nearly every time. If its outdoors, no amount of hubris or hurricane-ready equipment will keep the symbolic flame from blowing out in a symbolically inapropriate manner. Indoors is not (much) better. Candles don't light, drip, flare up (won't someone think of the taffeta!), etc, etc. I've done two ceremonies this summer where they did an exchange of roses (see) which I think is far sweeter and can also be worked to to a cross-exchange to the new in-laws in an equally fitting manner.

That being said, the ceremony itself tends to be rather quick, one-two. The officiant should be explaining the cermony while its underway and that won't leave a whole lot of time for music. I'd leave it at a solemn silence.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 5:32 PM on August 23, 2006

Okay, way too late, but I just have to clarify that I meant Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, not Ode to Joy!
I think Ode to Joy might be a bit much for a wedding.
posted by exceptinsects at 3:49 PM on August 28, 2006

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