Photo by jshyun via Flickr Creative Commons
Last month we covered how to build your wedding reception playlist (perfect if you’re planning a DIY wedding). In the spirit of closing the music chapter, let’s chat about the rest of the music you’ll want to consider when planning your wedding. You may want to refer back to that last article, as I describe how to build the playlist (and do light song editing) using iTunes.
First, and most obvious, is the actual ceremony. There are four parts for which you’ll probably want music lined up:
- Signing of the marriage licence
(Some couples opt to have a song performed during the actual ceremony (in place of a reading), so you may have a fifth musical moment to consider.)
The prelude is a group of songs played during the 15 to 30 minutes before your ceremony starts, as guests are arriving and finding their seats. I wouldn’t say having prelude music is an absolute must, however it’s a good way to entertain guests while they take their seats, and it keeps from having a dead-silent church/hall/site (which can be awkward). The prelude also offers the chance to set the tone for the rest of the ceremony – so your guests will have some insight into what to expect.
Next is the processional. And I’m sure you know what that means – the bride’s big moment. The grand reveal on her wedding day, and the moment all guests look forward to. I don’t think I even need to elaborate much here. Choose a song that makes you and your partner happy and celebratory – whether that means rocking down the aisle to Queen’s “You’re my best friend” or enjoying a slow walk to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D”.
(Note that some brides choose to walk down the aisle to a different song than their bridesmaids, which makes for a dramatic pause before your big entrance!)
The signing of the marriage licence generally comes towards the end of the ceremony, and usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes. This is another good opportunity to have some background music playing, while nothing of major interest is happening (let’s face it – the signing really isn’t all that fun to watch as a guest!).
And finally: the recessional. This is your triumphant “WE’RE MARRIED” march back up the aisle. If you’ve kept things quiet until now, pump up the excitement and joy with a more energetic selection! Like the processional, choose a song that makes you and your partner happy – it is your day!
Photo by John Mayer via Flickr Creative Commons
With the ceremony over and done, there are still a number of times during the day in which you’ll need to slot music:
- Cocktail hour: Normally there’s about an hour’s worth of time for guests to hang out and mingle while you’re off taking photos. Think easy-listening and smooth jazz. Your guests will be too busy chatting to really notice the music.
- Dinner (or mealtime): Keep the easy-listening vibe going while everyone’s noshing.
- First Dance: Ten bucks says you already know what song you want playing. (Did I get it wrong? Check out some suggestions below – you may get inspired!)
- Parent-child dance(s): Not necessarily musts, but these are generally incorporated into the evening. Like the processional and first dance, choose something meaningful for you and your parent.
- Cake cutting: You may or may not want a specific song for this. If you do, go with something light and fluffy.
- Bouquet/garter toss: Again, not a must. But if you do decide to go for it, now’s the time to break out that fun, perhaps slightly inappropriate song (keep grandma and the kiddies in mind, though!).
Need some inspiration? Here are a few suggestions!
Ceremony: anything by Vitamin String Quartet, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Bittersweet Symphony (the Verve), Can’t Help Falling in Love (Elvis Presley), and if you’re feeling playful I Feel Good (James Brown) as your recessional.
Cocktail/Dinner: anything by Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Jack Johnson, or Tom Waits.
First/Parent dances: Always on My Mind (Willie Nelson), The Nearness of You (Norah Jones), Cheek to Cheek (Frank Sinatra) or Butterfly Kisses (Bob Carlisle).
Bouquet/Garter toss: Hit Me with Your Best Shot (Pat Benatar), I’m Too Sexy (Right Said Fred), One Way or Another (Blondie), and, of course, Single Ladies (Beyonce)