Your Wedding Music Guide

Written by Saleha Mehr

The music you choose to feature throughout your big day is the soundtrack to your wedding. Whether you are planning to hire a DJ or a wedding band, organizing the music can be overwhelming. To ensure you have a pitch perfect wedding, here is the Wedding Guide’s blueprint for the best musical selections:

Procession

father daughter down the aisle

Susannah’s father about to walk her down the aisle at her wedding to to Karl. Photo by Brocato Photography.

It’s finally here! Your walk down the aisle. You’re wearing your dream dress. You’ve spent hours getting ready to make sure you’re picture perfect. You spy the sea of faces ahead of you. Your stomach is in knots and your prince charming, and a huge gathering of friends and family, all await you just ahead. As your knees shake just a little, the music you hear to lead you down the aisle might be a classic choice like, “Bridal Chorus” by Wagner or “March of Denmark” by Jeremiah Clarke. Another beautiful option is Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” For the offbeat bride, alternative choices include: “All You Need is Love,” by the Beatles, or “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson. Don’t be afraid to break tradition when choosing a processional song. Remember, it’s your big day!

Recession

“You may kiss the bride! Sealed with a kiss, you are officially married. Cheers ring out as your guests break out in applause. Now that the pressure is off, you can choose an upbeat song for your grand exit. How about “Forever” by the Beach Boys, or “You’ve Got the Love” by Florence + The Machine. Another option might be “Signed, Sealed, and Delivered” by Stevie Wonder.

Cocktail Hour

The cocktail hour is the period between the ceremony and reception. As the wedding party takes photos, this hour is used to entertain the rest of the guests. Your music choices during this hour should be toned down to allow your guests to mingle and converse while enjoying the refreshments or signature cocktails you’ve offered. Here are a few suggestions to get your playlist started: “Love” by Frank Sinatra, “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, and “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” and “At Last” by Etta James.

Reception Entrance and First Dance

first dance

Lauren and Amanda have their first dance! Photo by Robert Welch.

Now that the formal portion of the wedding is over, you are ready to get this party started. You will want start the reception off with the appropriate excitement. Your music choices will do just that. How about “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, or “Happy” by Pharell Williams.

Another main feature of the reception is the bride and groom’s first dance. All eyes are on you as you and your partner glide around the dance floor as one. When choosing a song for this priceless moment, make sure that it reflects who you both are as a couple. If you’re stressed about finding a song, we have a few suggestions to help narrow your search. How about “My Best Friend,” by Tim McGraw,” or Adele’s “Love Song,” by Adele or “No Greater Love” by Amy Winehouse.

Father-Daughter Dance

Your father has been there from the beginning. From teaching you how to walk, to riding your bike. The first day of school, and the many heartbreaks in between then and now. Your father has been your champion and this moment will be poignant for you both. As you and your father take to the dance floor in front of teary-eyed guests, the song you choose to play should reflect your unique bond. It is in these few short minutes that you will reminisce on the journey you have been on together. The song you choose could be “ Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder or “Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel, or “Daddy’s Little Girl” by Michael Bublé.

Reception Music

dancing wedding music reception

Family dancing at Jennifer and Matt’s wedding reception! Photo by Willow’s World Photo.

Your guests are stuffed from the scrumptious dinner or banquet you served them and now it’s time to dance the night away. To ensure all your guests are on the dance floor, give your DJ or wedding band a wide array of familiar songs to play. Your guests will dance to songs they know as opposed to songs that are obscure. Do not stick to one specific era or genre so everyone will want to participate. It will also help if you provide your DJ or musical group with a list of songs that you do not want played. In the end, your DJ or wedding band will know how to guide your guests from one song to the next.

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