It was my fifth wedding anniversary on Saturday (don’t worry, I didn’t spend it writing this). As is usual when our anniversary comes around, I’ve been thinking a lot about not only our marriage, but our wedding day itself. In particular, all the music that played a part in that day. Music has always been a huge part of our lives, both before and since we met (at a music festival as it happens), so there was never any doubt it would also play an important part in our wedding.
We married at the Unitarian Church in Brighton, a venue which we had first attended, and fallen in love with, for a concert (part of the city’s Great Escape festival, which utilises pretty much every venue in town). One of the many good things about holding the ceremony there was that a piano and pianist came as part of the package, we just had to decide what we wanted him to play. We chose ‘Come Rain or Come Shine’, the Chet Baker version of which is one of our favourite songs, for my wife’s walk up the aisle, and ‘Here Comes The Sun’ for our exit from the church. For the intermission of the ceremony, where my wife and I disappeared off to sign the register, a less obvious choice, Aphex Twin’s Avril 14th, a brief but gorgeous piano interlude on an album otherwise comprised of discordant electronica. I like to think we were the first couple to ask for an Aphex Twin track to be played at that particular venue, but this is Brighton we’re talking about, so perhaps not.
A wedding at a Unitarian Church traditionally contains a moment of silent reflection, and as we’re lucky enough to have a trumpeter friend, we asked him to lead out of this silence with a verse of ‘Amazing Grace’.Being a church wedding, we also chose a hymn. I’m a big fan of communal singing, although not particularly a religious person, so it was a hymn which avoided direct mention of god, but a hymn nonetheless. Reading back the lyrics today for the first time in a long time, I’m still very happy with our choice:
Just as long as I have breath, I must answer, ‘Yes’ to life;
though with pain I made my way, still with hope I meet each day.
If they ask what I did well, tell them I said, ‘Yes’, to life
Just as long as vision lasts, I must answer, ‘Yes’ to truth;
in my dream and in my dark, always: that elusive spark.
If they ask what I did well, tell them I said, ‘Yes’ to truth.
Just as long as my heart beats, I must answer, ‘Yes’ to love;
disappointment pierced me through, still I kept on loving you.
If they ask what I did best, tell them I said, ‘Yes’ to love.
The musical highlight of the ceremony though, was when a close friend of ours performed an acoustic version of Daniel Johnston’s ‘True Love Will Find You In The End’. Before we met, I think my wife and I had our doubts about whether true love would find us, so this song is a very important one for us. Having pretty much held it together up to this point, I was in floods of tears by the end of the song
So, on to the reception, and much more music of course. We had spent an awful lot of time compiling a playlist of background music to be played during the meal (music we love but that wasn’t too distracting. Unfortunately I made the mistake of seating my elderly grandparents in front of a speaker, so they may have been a bit more distracted than the rest of us), and a pre-first dance soul playlist. The choice of first dance, though, didn’t take long at all. It was always going to be Tammi Terrell’s ‘All I Do Is Think About You’ a lost Motown classic my wife had introduced me too, which was also playing the moment I proposed.
After that though, we handed the musical choices over to our friends, four of whom DJed (a stereotypical cheesy wedding disco was never an option). My memories of the evening get slightly hazier the later we get, but i’m pretty sure we had everything from the B52s to The Prodigy, Pixies to the Ganja Kru. The dancefloor remained occupied pretty much non-stop, so I think it all went down pretty well.
So many songs we love, which meant a lot to us even before that day, mean so much more to us now. So whenever I hear ‘Avril 14th’ or ‘True Love Will Find us in the End’ or ‘All I Do Is Think About You’ I will remember 22nd October 2011, the best day of my life, and every 22nd October, be the anniversary wood, tin, silver, gold or diamond, I will also remember those songs.