So at this point, you’ve likely done the heavy lifting for your big day (starting with the initial planning, creating a budget, drafting a guest list, and brushing up on your negotiation skills). Whoopee! Or maybe you’re just jumping ahead a bit because planning the next aspects can be SO FUN. Either way, here are some ideas, quick tips, and general parameters to help you pick music that is absolutely perfect for your wedding.
Choosing your wedding music is just a little more complicated than hitting play on your “Top Songs of 2020” playlist on Spotify. Music has a powerful emotional effect on individuals and will really be the thing that makes your wedding truly memorable.
From a scientific standpoint, music helps to peak emotions causing your brain to release more dopamine (your brain's neurotransmitter that helps to increase feelings of pleasure and reward). Additionally, music can actually change an individual's ability to perceive time as well as evoke memories.
This all just means that music is really integral to pulling all the aspects of your day together and creating moments that stand the test of time.
With the importance of music established, here are a few things to think about when considering how to curate your soundtrack to the best day ever.
1) Know the basics:
There are three big moments that you need to choose music for: one song for each of your processionals and the recessional. The procession, for those who may be unfamiliar often includes the officiant, wedding party, flower girls, ring bearers, and the bride and groom + their parents. When all these people are walking down the aisle you’ll want something more slow-paced and romantic to match the speed of the walking itself. When it's time for the first dance, it’s really up to whatever song speaks best to you both. As for the rest of the recession, go for songs that compliment the tone of your wedding, stir up emotions, and altogether make a memorable event.
2) Band or DJ?
Probably the most important question you can ask yourself right now. Do you want the ambiance of a live band? And is that ambiance worth the extra thousands you’re likely going to have to drop on it? Also, when thinking about this, consider the style of your wedding. If you’re going for more of a traditional, classically styled wedding then a full live band, solo acoustic musician, or string quartet will probably be your best option. If you’re going for a more modern, laid-back feel then a DJ or pre-determined playlist may be the way to go for you.
3) Does your venue have rules for music?
If you’re getting married in a place of worship, it’s likely your venue will have some rule about what music you can and cannot play. Most churches require you to play some kind of religious, classic, tune without lyrics. But make sure to ask, especially if you have a special request for your wedding ceremony music.
4) Your History?
Really think back on this one. Is there a song or music genre that really gives you and your partner the feels? Is there a moment that you both hold super dear to you? Is there a song associated with that moment? Do you and your partner ever crank up the volume when a specific tune pops on and sing like you're in the opera? If there is a song that is your song - then this should be the pick for your first dance!
5) Make sure to read the lyrics!
Sometimes song's lyrics don't match their tune. At first listen, a song may seem happy and romantic, but upon closer inspection the lyrics might reflect the opposite. That's why, if you're picking a song for a special moment, make sure to READ THE LYRICS. “Every Breath You Take” by Sting is a song that pops up time and time again at weddings, but even Sting himself admits that the song is about jealousy - not the way you necessarily want to start out the rest of your life with someone.
6) Mix it up!
Yeah, having a classic wedding with a classic soundtrack and classic food can be beautiful, but sometimes it’s fun to throw some surprises in the mix. If you want to introduce an element of surprise into your wedding, you can hide your individual wedding processional from your partner until the walk itself. This can create a really emotional and special moment that is further heightened by the unrehearsed nature of it. I mean Pam and Jim’s wedding and the processional song of “Forever” by Chris Brown will forever bring tears to my eyes. (If you haven’t watched that episode yet you should right now: here’s a link to the clip on youtube)
7) Make sure it works
Pick a day and take a long drive, plug in your soundtrack and let it run. The last thing you want is silence as your music cuts out and you’re walking down the aisle… Sorry for even putting that image in your head, just make sure it works!