Music and Entertainment
Emma Margeaux Bride Online Columnist

Choosing Your Wedding Day Music

Sure, you've probably nailed down a handful- or, if you're lucky- one song that you've envisioned you and your partner dancing to for the first time as a married couple. But have you thought about the rest of the accompanying music needed throughout the day? We've put together a list of periods of the day typically requiring music, along with popular music suggestions. Feel free to use our fail-safe suggestions, or treat this page as musical mad libs and an opportunity to showcase your personality as a couple.


(Courtesy pinterest.com)

Ceremony Music

  • Ceremony music welcomes guests and is played gently in the background whilst guests are seated. Generally these songs lasts for 20 to 30 minutes prior to the wedding ceremony.
  • Whether you prefer a festive, elegant, or religious ceremony, the songs you choose create a unique and memorable occasion as well as add to your individual wedding style.
  • Having live music for your wedding ceremony is now more popular than ever.
  • Live wedding songs means you have a level of atmosphere that can’t be replicated. Whether it be a string quartet, harpist, guitarist or singer, live songs create a warm, inviting and stylish atmosphere. Live bands (including those of the string variety) can often learn new songs, if given enough notice, which is a great way to personalise and liven up your wedding's atmosphere.

Popular ceremony song examples:

  • Pachabel’s “Canon in D”
  • The Wedding March by Mendellsohn or Wagner
  • Handel’s “Water Music”
  • Ave Maria

Because the walk down the aisle won’t take as long as an entire wedding song, make sure you trial how long it will take you to get to your destination and have your wedding songs timed appropriately.

Signing Song

Whilst you’re signing the bridal register it’s an ideal opportunity to have a wedding song played that’s close to your heart. This part of the service can sometimes take some time – so it’s good to have a “back-up” song on standby!

Some popular contemporary examples include:

  • Meditation (from Thais) – Jules Massenet
  • Unconditional – Will Ackerman
  • In This Very Room – Ron & Carol Harris
  • Let the Bright Seraphim – George F. Handel
  • A Simple Song – Leonard Bernstein
  • Adagio – Felix Mendelssohn
  • Your Song – Elton John
  • “It Had To Be You” - Harry Connick Jnr
  • And I Love Her – The Beatles
  • By My Side – Ben Harper
  • The Scientist – Coldplay

Wedding Songs for the Reception

You may need to consider songs that appeal to both the older and younger generations who will attend your wedding reception. Your wedding songs may also be affected by your setting and theme.

For example an intimate beach wedding may call for laid-back, acoustic style songs, whereas a formal wedding of many more people may best be accommodated by a more conservative choice of music that appeals to a wide audience. When you discuss weddings songs with your DJ or musician they should have many examples of what would work well for your particular taste and wedding style.

First-Dance Songs

First-dance songs are ususally the one exception to the above mentioned rule. This song can be of any style or pace- the only proviso is that it is significant to the couple. Check out our article of first- dance song suggestions for popular and classic choices. 

Personalised Wedding Songs

A trend that's becoming increasingly popular is to have your own wedding song created and produced by specialists. Some take part in a professional recording of the song which can then be autotuned and mixed, and then played back on the day, and can become a musical centerpiece of your wedding day. Additionally, your song doesn't necessarily have to originate from sigining- it can be taken from a poem or speech and turned into music. This also makes for a unique and heartfelt gift for bride or groom.

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