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Choosing the Right Music for Your Wedding

Choosing Wedding MusicThe one thing you've learned from planning your wedding? All the details that go into it!'

The music is a big part of the day's festivities, so finding the right band or DJ takes time and effort.

Probably the best way to find the right one are referrals from friends or loved ones who have planned music for their own weddings. Or, maybe you have enjoyed the music selection of a DJ or band at a wedding you've attended yourself.

Even so, you'll want to "audition" them again, or at least meet them beforehand to discuss the day's soundtrack to the most important party you will ever likely plan.

Once the choice is made, there are still a lot of decisions to be made, like what song will be played for your first dance as husband and wife? What song would you like to for a father-daughter or mother-son dance?

Just up ahead, check out expert help from a professional with wedding music tips and advice, and who shares his own experience as a musician who has provided the musical background for many weddings.

Composing a Wedding

A typical wedding can be divided into 3 main sections and these are:

  • The ceremony

  • Cocktail hour

  • Evening reception

About half of the weddings I come across have the ceremony in a church so this means that if they do require me to provide live music, it will be during the drinks before the meal and the wedding breakfast. Everyone's requirements are different so don't be afraid to discuss any special requirements with whoever you are hiring. As far as the choice of specific pieces of music is concerned - the only part of the wedding that you really have to think about is the wedding ceremony.

The Ceremony

  • church weddingThe church ceremony.
    I'm not going to go into any detail with the choice of music for a church wedding – there are so many religious denominations which all have their differences. A church wedding is easier from the music point of view in that you very seldom have to provide someone to perform your choice of music - unlike the civil ceremony. However, you won't have a problem with a church service - you'll be able to discuss everything to the finest detail with the relevant cleric and the resident organist.

  • The civil ceremony.
    One thing that has become popular over recent years is the civil wedding ceremony. I think that this is the reason that more and more musicians are booked for weddings each year. At one time you had to go to a registry office to have a civil ceremony. Things have changed as so many hotels and reception halls have been able to apply for a licence to hold marriage ceremonies on their own premises.

    The main advantage to a civil wedding in a hotel is that everything to do with the marriage can be carried out at the same place. That means less travelling and less hassle for everyone. Although you will have to sort out the music for a civil ceremony yourself, there is a bonus in that if you choose live music for the service, the musicians can provide music for the entire celebration.

Your specific choice of music should be discussed with the musicians well before the event and they should be able to provide you with some ideas. If you don't want to pick each individual piece of music for the proceedings then just give whoever is involved an idea of the style of music you would like or perhaps a favorite composer.

For a civil ceremony you can have any music you want as long as neither the title or the lyric have any reference to religion. Most couples prefer to have classical wedding music for the ceremony and then have something lighter for the rest of the day.

Popular First Dance Songs

At Last My Love Has Come Along • Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You • I Finally Found Someone • Endless Love • I Can't Help Falling In Love With You • Because You Loved Me • Our Love Is Here To Stay • It Had To Be You • Don't Know Much • One Moment In Time

The procession.

The next section is the entrance of the bride and traditionally this is carried out to Verdi's Bridal March. Although most people do choose this piece, you can have any music you like. The one thing you must consider when looking an alternative is that it doesn't take long for the bride to walk down the aisle. I think that it is wiser to stick to the Bridal March.

The recession.
This is where everyone leaves the place of the wedding ceremony and traditionally this was always carried out to Mendelssohn's Wedding March. In this day and age wedding couples seem to request everything but the Wedding March. Anything seems to be appropriate for the recession and there isn't a problem with the length of the music. As soon as the last person has gone, the musician or musicians finish.

That's it! The ceremony is over and everyone can start the celebration.

  • first wedding danceCocktail Hour

After the ceremony everyone usually starts making a lot of noise. They have so much to say because they've had to keep so quiet throughout all the serious bit. I said earlier that you needn't concern yourself about the music after the ceremony, but it is a good idea to discuss the style of music you are looking for and maybe give your musicians a couple of requests.

  • The Evening Reception

Most people will opt for disco, or some sort of dance music, at this point, but there are alternatives.

In a sense a marriage is the merging of two families and for most of the guests there will be a large number of people at the wedding who are complete strangers. I think that the wedding day should be geared to making things easy for everyone to get to know each other – unfortunately disco doesn't always achieve this and as they are getting more expensive, live music is rapidly becoming a viable option.

Popular Father-Daughter Songs

Daddy's Little Girl • Just The Way You Are • The Way You Look Tonight • Isn't She Lovely • I'll Remember • Unforgettable • Through The Years • Can You Feel The Love Tonight • In My Life • In My Daughter's Eyes

father daughter dance
Very often a couple will fail to realise that quite a large percentage of the guests are going to be elderly and probably won't be into the latest music trends. Your choice of music should cater to this group, as well as the younger people at the wedding reception. Also, the term disco seems to be synonymous with high volume levels. This is something else that you ought to take into consideration when you make your final choice.

Whichever way you go, you should be aware that you won't please everyone. If it is a big wedding you'll probably have to hire the services of a disco or a function band, but make sure that whatever type of music you choose will cover most tastes.

If the wedding is a small affair you will be able to be a bit more adventurous as there won't be the same pressure to have the dance floor packed. You will be able to try something a bit more subtle – maybe something a little bit more specialised.


Popular Mother - Son Songs

You Raise Me Up • You've Got a Friend • Greatest Love of All • What a Wonderful World Wind Beneath My Wings • Unforgettable • Through The Years • As Time Goes By• I Wish You Love • Have I Told You Lately That I Love You

A soul band is a great idea but don't expect them to be able to play every request. Let them stick to what they do best. If it is a small wedding there is a better chance of knowing your guests more intimately. You will probaly be able to choose something more to their taste. There is a lot of scope in what you choose. Here are a few ideas: soul band, jazz quartet, steel band, salsa, ceilidh, reggae, etc.

I suppose to sum up this last section I would say that that the obvious choice of disco isn't necessarily the best. Think about the numerous alternatives and maybe you'll make your wedding a little bit different from the norm and more memorable in the process.

About The Author...
Eugene Portman (

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