Today, we’re talking wedding music! It starts when everyone is taking their seats for the ceremony, but it definitely doesn’t stop there; there’s the entrance music (the processional), the signing of the register, possibly a few hymns, the couple’s exit (the recessional), background music during the drinks reception and the wedding breakfast, music during the comfort break and of course, the main music event of the day… the evening party!
Your wedding music is such an essential part of your day and gives your guests a real flavour of what is to come, not to mention helping to better understand you both and your music tastes. You can opt for a purely traditional music selection throughout your day, or make it all about you. Luckily for you lovely people, I spent a whole episode over on the ‘Icing on the Cake’ podcast taking about all about your wedding music, what you need to consider, what you need to include and different ways of creating the perfect wedding vibe with your tunes! But in the meantime, here’s a little guide right here (and a few little extra gifts just from me) to getting the soundtrack for your wedding spot on.
Guest Arrival Music
Your arrival has obviously got to be accompanied by one of the most important pieces of music of the day, but before that, you need something in the background as your guests arrive and take their seats. They will likely be chatting, and there’ll be a general hustle and bustle as people greet each other and find their seats. If you considering a string quartet or a harpist, why not have a listen to Arioso by Bach, Ave Maria by Schubert or Air on the G String by Bach. Alternatively, I’ve heard some awesome renditions of the theme music from Game of Thrones or even a range of popular music from Oasis to Ed Sheeran. Guests won’t be expecting this coming from a solo cellist or string quartet, so they’ll definitely take notice!
Your big entrance! The processional music you choose here completely depends upon on your venue, the formality of your day and most importantly you as a couple. You could choose anything from a traditional, formal piece of music to something cheerful, upbeat and even something modern. A couple to have a listen to, are The Swan by Saint-Saens, Clair de Lune by Debussy or The Book of Love by Peter Gabriel or my absolute favourite wedding piece EVER, Pachelbel’s Canon in D not to mention going for something completely unique and all about you, such as Metallica as a bit of a wildcard 😊
The Signing of the Register
The signing of the register can take between five and ten minutes, so factor this into your song choices. Some ideas include Domine Deus by Vivaldi*, God Only Knows by The Beach Boys and The Prayer by Josh Groban and Charlotte Church, or one of my absolute favourites and a true Welsh classic, Calon Lan (I dare you to watch this clip without a tear in your eye!).
*One question I am often asked is ‘am I allowed religious music at a civil ceremony?’ and the simple answer is, no, religious music is not permitted at all, so you will need to opt for something more generic. If you’re unsure what is considered religious music at weddings, check with your registrar before the big day to ensure that your music is permitted by them (if there is something you really want played, one way to get around it, is to play this piece at your recessional and let your registrars know so that they can depart before you do!)
At the end of the ceremony, your recessional or exit as a married couple needs joyful and upbeat music or something fun, so that everyone is leaving with a spring in their step and a smile on their face.
Now is definitely not the time for slow, love songs – you want something like Spring by Vivaldi, You and Me Song by The Wannadies or why not go with your favourite ever song? That should definitely ensure smiles all round!
If all of these options are to be honest, just getting a little too much and you really want to select the music and play it via an ipod playlist, well guess what? I’ve created a ‘Wedding Ceremony’ Spotify playlist designed just for you. It includes a selection of traditional, modern and religious songs and pieces of music to help you pick and choose the perfect playlist for your own day.
Background music for the Drinks Reception & Wedding Breakfast
The first question to ask is ‘Do I need music during the drinks reception? Or ‘will it be too quiet if I don’t have music during the wedding breakfast?’
There is no right or wrong answer to either of these questions – it comes down to your preferences and your guests. You know them best. Are there lots of small groups who don’t know each other and if so, might you have lots of awkward silences? If so, background music can definitely fill the gaps and relax everyone, but if you’ve got a large group of chatty guests who talk to everyone, you definitely don’t have to have it! It’s all about how important music is to you.
The next question is budget. Can you afford a musician?; be they a harpist, a cellist, a quartet, a singer or guitarist, a pianist…. the options are endless.
If not, how about an ipod playlist? This way you can select the exact tunes you want and use them during the drinks reception and/or the wedding breakfast if you wish.
Again, you might wish to match the music to your venue, so if you’re celebrating in a grand hall or a manor house, classical music might suit your location and setting the best. If however, you’re having a festival-style wedding in a tipi, then an indie guitar or a Mumford & Sons style acoustic band would probably go down really well.
If you need a playlist to help get you started, well, quite frankly, that’s what I’m here for. You can select from my ‘Wedding Breakfast’ Spotify playlist, or just leave it all playing in the background throughout. Just don’t forget to turn it off in time for the speeches!
The Comfort Break
This is the part of the day after the wedding breakfast when everyone needs to stretch their legs, powder their noses, grab a drink from the bar and have a chat about the speeches. It’s also the part of the day when your evening guests (if any) arrive.
Everyone has been sitting for a few hours, eaten a big meal and had a lot to drink so they’re probably feeling a bit sleepy. Soooo, it’s time to wake them up and get them ready for the evening party!
You need an upbeat playlist to get them in the mood and I’ve got you covered, with a selection of songs primed to get your guests on the dancefloor! Pick and choose from this playlist of party anthems in my ‘Time to get the party started’ spotify playlist!
The First Dance
Not only is the first dance a key moment, as the first time you dance together as a married couple, it is also the start of the evening party and can often lead to months of thinking and planning if you don’t have ‘a song’ that immediately springs to mind. It is definitely a personal choice and is important to carefully consider. Are the lyrics suitable? And, can you dance to it? Whilst there are loads of ideal options out there, make sure you pick a song that you both love as it’s one that will remind you of your wedding day every time you hear it for the rest of your lives! And maybe a dance lesson or two if you’re really nervous about dancing in front of everyone?
And then finally…. it’s party time, and there is so much choice here. DJs, cover bands, swing bands, jazz trios, and singers. The music is one of the key elements to the day (as well as the food and drink!) that the majority of your guests will remember, so choose wisely to ensure they appeal to as many of your guests as possible to get everyone on the dancefloor and keep them there!
Let me know what wedding music you choose for your big day! x