The music for your wedding day is an excellent way to infuse your personality into the event. Choosing songs that are meaningful, funny, touching, or sentimental creates the opportunity for you to add to the story you and your partner are telling on your wedding day. Whether it's an inside joke for your ceremony recessional (my hubby and I recessed to an instrumental version of the jazz standard Don't Get Around Much Anymore, which I thought was hilarious) or the song you and your dad danced to when you were an infant for the father/daughter dance, your music choices are an intensely personal part of your wedding.
Think of your wedding day as a film, and your music as the soundtrack. It's there to enhance the emotion, fill in the gaps in the action, and accompany the climaxes of the plot. Your soundtrack is as personal as the dress or bespoke suit you choose to wear, and it will leave an impression on your guests. You'll remember the songs you chose for those special moments for the rest of your life, and maybe you'll dance to them with your kids in the future, so spend some time choosing the perfect music for each moment.
Of course, each wedding is unique, but the most common opportunities to include special songs are:
- Prelude music - usually just choose a genre of music, plays for 20 minutes while guests are seated
- Seating of the Mothers - could just use prelude music, or choose something meaningful to your moms
- Processional - could use two songs, one for the bride's party (and/or grooms' party) and one for the bride/groom, or just one for all wedding party members (depending on the makeup of the wedding party!)
- Solo/Interlude - totally optional, if you have a soloist or want to do a 'musical reading' instead of a traditional reading
- Signing of the Register - this is a space-filler, but usually something with a nice message that guests will enjoy listening to
- Recessional - just after you're announced as married, usually something fun and upbeat
- Postlude - again, usually just a genre of music, plays for about 10 minutes while guests exit
- Cocktail Music - just choose a genre, let the musicians choose the songs, in most cases
- Grand Entrance - typically something fun and upbeat to get the party started, the wedding party will enter to this and take their seats at the head table
- Cake Cutting - some people want a specific song played while they cut the cake, some people don't care to draw more attention to it
- Dinner Music - again, just choose a genre
DANCE (the following are all optional, and good opportunities to personalize your evening):
- First Dance
- Parent's Dance
- Wedding Party Dance
- Anniversary Dance (start with all couples on the floor, have the DJ eliminate couples by how long they've been together, until you're left with the oldest married couple - a good opportunity to recognize special people, like grandparents)
- Bouquet and Garter Toss (if doing - pick something fun, cheesy, or upbeat)
- Last Dance of the night (some people don't care to specify, but you can if you want!)
There are TONS of online databases of music for every element of your day, but before you get too involved in those, look to your own musical tastes, and those of your partner; what's on your playlist right now is probably the best representation of who you are, so find a way to incorporate it! (Tip: there are groups like the Vitamin String Quartet and The Piano Guys who take pop/rock tunes and "classicalize" them, so if you want to play a song that you don't think is "wedding appropriate", check them out to see if they've covered it!)
Grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine, curl up and put on some tunes. It's a great way to spend time with your fiance(e)!