What mood do you want at your wedding? A relaxed affair with soft acoustic or blues music playing in the background? Or do you want it to be a big, happy celebration with a live rock or pop band that gets everyone in the mood to dance? Or maybe you want a bit of both.
When choosing what style of music you want at your wedding you need to consider a few things:
- The venue
- The size of wedding
- The mood
- How you want it to vary from ceremony to reception
Many couples will opt to have live music, whether a string quartet or acoustic duet for the ceremony and then a DJ or playlist for the reception when they want their favourite pop songs played – and to save a bit of money. Alternatively, you could choose to have particular songs played with a recording at your ceremony and then have a full live band at the reception.
Now for choosing the actual songs. Here is quick guide for ceremony songs:
A wedding ceremony usually has five main pieces of music:
- Prelude – played while your guests take their seats before the ceremony starts
- Procession – played as the bride and her bridesmaids enter. You can choose to have one piece of music for the bridesmaids with a pause before a new piece for the entrance of the bride
- Ceremony – You might choose to have a string quartet, a choir or soloist to play at different points during the nuptials
- Recession – the joyful music to be played at the end of the ceremony
- Postlude – This is usually an upbeat piece of music that continues playing as guests all leave the ceremony after the newlyweds
Some things to consider when choosing music for the ceremony:
- The style of ceremony you want – religious, outdoors, formal
- The setting of your ceremony
- How many songs you need to cover the ceremony – this will include the number of guests to be seated, how long the ceremony will last, any special cultural inclusions
- Will you have a main instrument for your ceremony music?
- Run through your music run a few weeks or a month before the ceremony to give yourselves time to add or remove any songs as needed
Finally, when selecting songs to play throughout the day and the reception, here are a few things to consider:
- Talk to one another about what makes a song meaningful to you – is it the lyrics, or association with a memory that makes a song important to you?
- Give yourselves plenty of time to choose music – about 6 months is a good place to start, giving you time to revisit the playlist before your wedding day
- Begin with your existing music collection – a perfect song is a very personal decision
- Break up the playlist into the different sections of the day to make it a little less daunting – ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, dancing
If you’re feeling totally trumped for where to start, this helpful article on Beaucoup gives some good examples of songs for traditional, most popular and modern song choices.