If you're planning your wedding, then you probably have music in mind, along with other elements for the day. Music can enhance the atmosphere of a ceremony. Choosing and arranging it may be harder than you think, however, and the variations in costs call for careful planning. Here are some pointers for organizing your music to best effect, while also keeping your budget in mind.

Choose your music style

There is no right or wrong with wedding music, whatever anyone may tell you, so choose the piece or style that you and your partner would like most of all, whatever it may be. It might be a gentle melody or a triumphant march, or it could be a medley of all your favorite songs or theme tunes. While most couples like a stirring, uplifting refrain, you might prefer something light or humorous. As for genre, you may have a penchant for classical, choral or jazz, or a rarely heard style from some remote corner of the world perhaps. By including an unusual instrument - a harp, xylophone or bagpipes, say - you can add novelty and spectacle to your musical feature.

Budget permitting, you can involve several different musical elements in their ceremony to mark its various stages, some in the background and others as interludes, perhaps. If you and your partner play instruments or sing, you might like to perform an item yourselves. The options are wide open - practicalities aside.

Consider the logistics

When you've clarified what sort of music you'd like to include, and how to use it, you'll need to knuckle down to practicalities. If you plan to use recorded sounds, for instance, you'll need to arrange them, along with adequate amplification and timing. If the event features live music, you'll need to ensure a suitable performance space and proper acoustics. If you're thinking of using the old piano in the corner of your hired room, test it out beforehand; it could need tuning. Your musicians may also appreciate assistance in reaching the wedding venue and storing their instruments when not in use. If you want them to perform outside, consider the weather and state of the ground. If they're going to be indoors, avoid cramming them into a corner or concealing them behind a pillar. Ideally, you should provide a raised position, such as a platform or balcony.

Find out what's available

After you've narrowed down your preferences and thought through the logistics, it's wise to book your performers, or arrange your recorded music, well in advance, in case of availability issues or other hitches. If you're using recorded music, check online for recommended versions, put your recordings together, and look out a suitable sound system. For live music, browse the listings of local musicians or ask friends for recommendations. If you wish to involve amateur musicians, then make sure they are up to the mark (for their sake as well as yours), providing support as necessary.

Check the costs

Your wedding is probably one of the most expensive events you'll ever hold, but don't let musical costs send it over budget. Remember that music is an extra, not an essential. If you're keen to include it but concerned about the cost, plan something low-key and straightforward. Expensive bands and groups aren't necessarily the best, so don't feel compelled to pay more than you can comfortably afford. A family member or close friend may be happy to perform for free, and you can download recorded music from the internet, for free.

With your music plans safely in place, you can focus on other matters, such as your outfit and personal needs for the day. You'll probably forget all about the music, in fact, until the rousing chords start ringing through the air, celebrating your most beautiful moment.