Love songs have this magical ability to make you think about your sweetheart, replay memories in your head, and even shed a tear. When you listen to a certain tune, you might be astounded by how relatable it is to your relationship. Some couples even claim a melody as “their song” because it touches upon something special they share. Like dedications on the radio, the ballad played during your first dance should speak to your heart in this way and have a special meaning behind it.
You might be wondering which one you should choose, or you may have many in mind that you wish you could play all at once. Deciding on one song might be difficult for you and your beloved, especially if you two are avid music lovers; however, there are ways to ease this process and make it more enjoyable.
Songs add spirit to an occasion. However, to make that happen, you need to choose the right songs. An appropriately selected song, with meaningful lyrics and melodious tune, would help set the situation. It is always better to devote some time to select the songs you would like to play at your wedding. With so many options, your choice is going to be difficult but here are some tips that should help you in making the right choice.
Know the Basics
How many songs do you need for a wedding ceremony? There are three big moments to pick the music for Both of your processionals (one song each) and the recessional. Your partners professional could also be the song the wedding party walks down the aisle to, or they can have a tune all their own, as you’ll have.
Check with Your Venue
If you’re having a wedding in a house of worship, the first thing to do before you choose any songs is to talk to your officiant and see if there are restrictions as to what you can use. Some more conservative venues will have a specific list of traditional (often religious) songs for you to choose from, others might allow anything as long as it’s instrumental and has no recorded words, and the most progressive may be open to whichever music you choose (with the officiant’s review and approval first). Find out what rules you need to follow, and go from there.
Consider Your History
No matter how long the two of you have been together, there’s bound to be a song, artist, or genre of music that you both connect to. Think back: Is there a tune you love to belt out in the car? One you always dance to in the kitchen? A song one of you has heard that makes you think about the other person? Or maybe a concert you went to together by an artist you love? Any of these will help guide you toward a song or two that are meaningful.
Read the Lyrics
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s crucial that you read the lyrics before pressing “play” at your ceremony. Think about “Every Breath You Take” by the Police. It pops up at weddings all the time, but Sting himself has insisted that it’s about jealousy, obsession, and a lost lover—not how you want to kick off your marriage.
Make sure the songs you choose are telling the story you want your guests to hear, and keep an eye out for any lines or verses that may ruffle feathers.
Choose a Theme
For a little more cohesion, choose a theme to tie your processional songs together. That could be songs in the same genre, songs with a similar tempo, or songs from the same era. This will lead to a better flow between songs as you and your wedding party process.
Think About the Feeling You’re Trying to Create
Of course, you want the main feeling to be “love”—but do you want something calm and subdued, upbeat, or a fun surprise your guests might barely pick up on, like an instrumental version of that rap song the two of you can’t help but dance to? Don’t be afraid to pick an unexpected genre, especially if there’s an acoustic or instrumental version that will nod to your favourite tune without busting out the hard rock on your way down the aisle.
Make it a Surprise
To personalize the ceremony, you and your partner could each choose your processional songs in private, and not share them until you walk down the aisle. Find a song that represents the way you feel about your partner, a tune they love that you know they’d be thrilled to hear, or one that holds a special memory. Let your planner or whoever is operating the sound system know what you’ve chosen, and make sure you both have tissues on hand.
Don’t get too many opinions.
Remember that everyone has different taste in music, so if you ask for recommendations or criticism, you might find yourself trying to please others more than yourself. The final song choice is supposed to speak to you and your partner, so try and keep the decision between the two of you.
Listen to the lyrics.
The rhythm may move you, but the words can be just as powerful. Do they remind you of a particular moment with your sweetheart or describe how in love you are? This can be a crucial deciding factor, especially if you want the first dance to capture the essence of your relationship.
Remember that many songs will play throughout the reception.
You can prepare a playlist or song list to be given to the DJ or live band to play for the evening if you have must-have tunes in mind. Even with a list of songs already, you may still be having trouble narrowing your choices, so consider a father-daughter, mother-son, or another similar dance to showcase all of your favourites.
Borrow From Yesteryear Songs
Popular yesteryear songs, if selected precisely, can serve the purpose. You could always select popular songs of today, but they may be the favourite for many other wedding couples of today also. So if you want to be different from others, you can move a few weeks or months back. There could be several other songs out there that would fit the occasion.
Ask DJ To Suggest
If you have no clue which song to play, ask the reception band or DJ to give you some suggestions. Playing music is their job, and they can offer suggestions based on the melody and lyric quality of each song. Of course, it is your prerogative to select the song. You should select the song which is you think fits the bill perfectly.
Separate songs can be chosen for different activities during the wedding. You could choose songs for the entrance of the bride, cocktail hour, dinnertime, cake cutting, and parents’ dance. An appropriately chosen song for every activity would add to the mood. However, play your theme song on your first dance at the reception.
Play Tribute Songs
You can also choose to play tribute songs for your elders, expressing your affection and gratitude for them. Your parents would be pleasantly surprised to hear it. You could play your parents’ favourite songs at their weddings. Besides, you could request your parents to dance together. This would recreate feelings from their weddings. It would be sweet to recognize their past experiences.
Variations Would Do
There could be a song that you like but think that the situation would not be appropriate for the old beat. You could ask your band to play the song in a different beat. You could tell the band to play an originally slow song fast, or you could ask them to play a fast song slower. It is your function, and the decision lies with you. It is up to you what kind of music you want.
Check The Lyrics
Go through the song lyrics before you decide upon a song. Some songs have good tunes, but lyrics might send out a negative message like frustration and sadness. Some lyrics could have a sexual undertone. A song should be judged not only by its melodious merit but also by its lyrics. So check out if the lyrics are appropriate for the occasion.
Check The Band
Check about the past performances of the band you intend to hire. Would you honestly want to hire a band that has no record? You should also meet the artist who is supposed to perform on occasion. It is recommended that you should straightly ask him how many functions he has performed in. Of course, you would not want a novice for your wedding.
The Dos And Don’ts Of Choosing Wedding Ceremony Music
The build-up to your walk down the aisle is enormous. For many brides, the moment they step down the aisle is the moment their wedding starts, it’s what everything has been building towards, and so it’s only natural that you want it to be nothing short of perfect. Getting your wedding ceremony music right will play a big part in this, so here are the dos and don’ts you need to get it just right.
DO set the mood
You don’t need us to tell you that your wedding day will be emotional and romantic. Just as you’ll likely choose a song that is filled with these emotions for your first dance, do the same for your wedding ceremony music. It can be instrumental, but it does need to enhance all those magical things you’ll be feeling as you walk down the aisle to your future husband or wife!
DON’T feel like you have to stay traditional
While a pianist or organist might be a tradition (and very beautiful), they aren’t your only options. Other live musicians to consider are harpists, soul choirs or even a live band. Don’t discount recorded music, either, make sure the songs you choose are appropriate in lyrics and length – here are some of our modern wedding music picks to get you started.
DO make it ambient
Whatever wedding ceremony music you choose, make sure it’s ambient and comfortable for listeners. Consider the volume – you don’t want anything too loud – and make sure the pace is slow and calming. This will help keep your groom relaxed and give you a natural rhythm to match as you walk down the aisle towards him.
DON’T make a last-minute decision
The song you just absolutely fell for on the radio last week might seem like the perfect choice, but stop and think about it before you choose it for your wedding day. How often do trendy songs come and go? How often do you listen to them so many times you fall out of love with them? You don’t want this to be how you remember your wedding ceremony, so approach the latest tunes with care and try not to make a last-minute decision if you can help it.
DO make it appropriate.
Not only for your venue and personal tastes, but for your wedding ceremony type, too. If you’re having a civil ceremony, for example, you’ll be asked to steer clear of overly religious music, and if you’re having a religious wedding, there might be limits on what you can play, too. Check well beforehand, so you have time to find the perfect wedding ceremony music that still gets the go-ahead.
DON’T forget to pick a song for your walkout, too
So far, all we’ve been thinking about is what music you will walk down the aisle to, but what about when you exit the church as newlyweds, otherwise known as your recessional music? Make sure you choose a musical accompaniment for this too, it’ll be the first walk you take as a married couple, so you want it to be atmospheric and memorable.
Choosing Your Wedding Song
Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis Presley
A wedding won’t feel complete until you’ve heard “Can’t Help Falling in Love” — sung by none other than The King himself, Elvis Presley — at some point during the day. Whether playing gently in the background or taking centre stage with you for the first dance, this is wedding song material of the highest calibre.
How Deep Is Your Love – The Bee Gees
Neither would a wedding feel complete without a track from the Gibb brothers. The disco titans are no slouches when it comes to love songs either, as this popular track from the movie “Saturday Night Fever” proved. It’s a gentle but heartfelt song and solid wedding breakfast accompaniment.
I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing – Aerosmith
A wedding day first dance is exactly the time and the place for this romantic ballad from Aerosmith, who you can always rely on when it comes to penning a good rock ballad. Lyrics in the song such as ‘I could stay awake just to hear you breathing’ are just too irresistible.
My Girl – The Temptations
How could anyone not love this track from Motown masters The Temptations? “My Girl” has featured in many a first dance at weddings, and why not? It’s romantic, it’s heartfelt, it’s soulful, and it’s a worthy entry on your wedding song list.
Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) – Beyonce
Potentially because of the strong theme of female empowerment, this thumping R&B track from Beyoncé finds its way onto a lot of wedding playlists. There’s no denying that it injects some real energy into the proceedings. Get ready to singles and non-singles dancing along to it.
Endless Love – Diana Ross And Lionel Richie
Ex-Supremes superstar Diana Ross and the king of the smooth love ballad, Lionel Richie, team up for this tender duet which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song for Richie. The song serves as perfect backdrop music for the wedding breakfast.
Don’t Get Me Wrong – Pretenders.
This upbeat romantic number by Pretenders works to a tee as either background music or an entry on the evening entertainment playlist. The song creates a real feel-good atmosphere, thanks to its pacey tempo and lyrics such as “I’m thinking about the fireworks that go off when you smile.” Older guests will appreciate it.
Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
In modern times, Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Aloud” has become something of a wedding day must. The sentimental lyrics and the gently played instruments in this ballad make it a tranquil song that blends perfectly into the background of wedding day breakfasts while still contributing to the romantic mood.
Shut Up And Dance – Walk The Moon
When it comes to wedding party songs, this modern classic from Walk The Moon is way up there. Slightly U2-esque in its intro, with its catchy no-nonsense lyrics and agile percussion “Shut Up and Dance” will get guests dancing and singing along. The song is a good way to get younger guests out of their seats.
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Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars
This chart-topping contemporary number which shouts back to electro-funk is another tune to guests heading for the dance floor. The song, featuring singer-songwriter Bruno Mars, is a popular track when the evening entertainment starts up. Some couples have also been known to play it for their first dance rather than go with a more conventional, slow number.
Out of all the songs you’re considering, you’ll find that one is going to have a deeper meaning than the rest. Listen to your instincts and what you feel is most meaningful for your wedding.
Keep these tips in mind to help guide your way to finding the perfect wedding tune. Your first dance is going to be an unforgettable moment, so make sure the song you choose is very special.