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Wedding Songs: How to Choose The Music For Your Wedding

Updated on June 12, 2013

It's Your Wedding Day!

The flowers, the dress, the food, the decor, the vows, the rings...sometimes the music for the wedding gets lost in the shuffle. Music is an important part of a wedding ceremony, but with so many different songs and so many types of music, it can get pretty confusing. Music really sets the tone for your wedding, so if you're planning an elegant, classic affair, your wedding should reflect that. Equally, if the two of you are a fun couple and want your wedding day to be a big party for everyone involved, you need to keep the music light and fun.

More and more at weddings today, couples are choosing songs that are representative of them as a couple and steering away from the classic wedding songs. Maybe the song was "their song", maybe it was the first song to which they ever slow danced, or maybe it's just something they recently heard that just speaks to them as a couple. For whatever reason, the music is an important decision and will be remembered long after the food and the flowers are all gone.


Wedding Music: When Do You Need It?

Generally, music is played during the following points in the ceremony:

(1) As a prelude when guests are arriving

(2) For the entrance of the bridal party, the processional

(3) A special song for the bride's entrance

(4) During the ceremony, a special favorite of the couple's

(5) During the ceremony, if it is a religious ceremony, a hymn or prayer

(6) As the bridal party and guests depart, the recessional

Music At The Reception

Music is usually played at the reception at the following points:

(1) Light background music for cocktail hour

(2) Music for entrance of the wedding party

(3) Music for entrance of the bride & groom

(4) Light dinner music

(5) First Dance

(6) Father/daughter dance

(7) Mother/son dance

(8) Cutting of the cake

(9) Throwing of the bouquet/garter

(10) Bride & groom departure

Music For The Ceremony

Key things to consider for music played during the ceremony is where you are getting married. If you are getting married in a church or chapel, you may only be allowed to have a certain kind of music. Many churches don't allow any type of secular or contemporary music during the ceremony, others are fine with your choices within reason. You generally have to supply a list of suggested music to the pastor to make sure that what you are wanting is allowed. Whoever is performing the ceremony needs to know at one point you are wanting songs played, if at all. Your officiant can help you design your ceremony around the music. Many couples choose to have classical music played in the processional, a hymn or prayer played during the ceremony and one more secular song special to the bride and groom during the ceremony. After that, the reception is time for cutting loose and having fun! A bride I know has given her DJ a list of the top 100 Motown songs, because her father loves Motown music!

Your First Dance Song

It's the two of you alone on the dance floor...all eyes on you. Nervous? Of course! Panicked? Well, you don't have to be. Your first dance together as husband and wife is important, for sure. But a few simple guidelines can make that first dance everything you hoped it would be and more. First, take time to choose the song that's meaningful to you both. If you've been a couple for awhile, it may jump out at you as one you've dance to together before or one that helped you through some difficult times as a couple. Make sure once you've chosen the song that you actually practice dancing to it a few times before that moment of truth at your wedding reception. If you're insecure about your dancing abilities, take some dancing lessons together, take along your wedding song and they can help you choreograph your first dance. And if there is a little mishap, it's not the end of the world. It's the little moments like a groom stepping on your dress or you stepping on his feet that will make the moment so special and endearing.



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    • profile image

      Andrea Bliffen 5 years ago from Johnston City

      Great article, I believe you have everyone covered on this one. I am a wedding photographer and I have heard some questionable mixes!



    • DIYweddingplanner profile image

      DIYweddingplanner 6 years ago from South Carolina, USA

      Awww, sorry, Denise, didn't mean to make you sad. Hope they were good ones at least. I like "Crazy Love" myself. Van Morrison was a genius!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Great hub, girlfriend. You rock.

      Grow old along with me is a killer for me-memories of my husband. sniff sniff. But our song was Van Morrison's Someone like you.