The soundtrack to your wedding is just as important as all the details you select and will play a central role in creating the atmosphere you want to achieve. It’s not just about the song you select to walk down the aisle but the music that accompanies your recessional, your reception grand entrance and the one that’s sure to get all your guests on the dance floor.
To help in planning your wedding, we’ve put together a handy guide of the best music to play on your special day to make it an unforgettable event.
1. THE PRE-CEREMONY MUSIC
This is the music that’s played as your guests are arriving at your ceremony and finding their seats. While it sets the mood for the entire day, it shouldn’t be too intrusive as guests will likely be chatting with friends and moving about the space. Perhaps you hire a string quartet to play live or have some light classical music in the background to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
2. THE PROCESSIONAL SONG
This is the song that’s played as you make your big entrance, following your flower girls and bridesmaids down the aisle. Chances are you already have a song in mind that exemplifies your relationship and how you feel about your fiancee. There are really no rules about the type of music you should play, from traditional ballads to contemporary tracks or “your” song as a couple.
3. THE RECESSIONAL
The recessional song marks the end of the ceremony as you and your newly-wed partner walk back down the aisle to be congratulated by family and friends. This is usually a more upbeat song than the processional and tells your wedding guests that it’s time to celebrate.
4. THE SIGNING OF THE REGISTER
You may be signing your register before or after the recessional as guests begin to mingle for cocktail hour. Either way, plan to play a few songs that span the 5 to 10 minutes it usually takes to sign the register or have a solo artist or group perform. Whether it’s taking place before or after your recessional will probably influence the type of music you choose, with something livelier recommended if the official formalities are already over.
5. COCKTAIL HOUR
Even if you’re busy having couple and bridal party portraits taken, you want to have some music playing while your guests enjoy cocktail hour. This is a great opportunity to play some of your favourite songs that might not necessarily be dance floor material.
6. THE GRAND ENTRANCE
As well as being your grand entrance, this is also your bridal party’s moment to shine as you introduce them to your wedding guests at the start of the reception. Most couples opt for something upbeat here so their bridesmaids and groomsmen can dance their way into the room. Consider a track that’s “of your generation” that your entire bridal party will know and will set the tone for the party to follow.
7. THE FIRST DANCE
The music you play during your first dance as a couple may be one of the biggest musical decisions you have to make on your special day. Something imbued with romance is a given. But also consider the lyrics and check that they’re appropriate for what your new union represents and the life you want together as husband and wife.
A lot of songs that pull on the emotional heart strings are about heartbreak over relationships that went wrong – not the best start for a newly-wed couple!
8. THE PARENTAL DANCES
Some couples opt to follow their first dance with parental dances as the bride takes to the floor with her dad and the groom dances with his mum. Consider choosing a song that is significant to the relationship you have with your parents and reflects the overall feel of the moment.
Are you just going to slow dance or perhaps you’re preparing a choreographed hip hop routine to surprise your family and friends?
9. GETTING THE PARTY STARTED
When it’s time to get everyone on the dance floor, you want your DJ playing tunes that are guaranteed crowd favourites and that everyone can connect with. While you might be thinking about the latest pop hits, don’t forget about your older wedding guests who might need some 60’s rock or Motown tracks to lure them onto the floor.
Chat with your DJ about his or her recommendations for guaranteed party starters. It’s when making decisions like these that their experience is invaluable.
10. LINE DANCE NUMBERS
Whether you want to include line dance numbers as icebreakers in your reception set-list is up to you. But it can be a great way to get less confident family and friends up on the dance floor. The Cupid Shuffle and Cha Cha Slide are both crowd favourites that will appeal to all ages.
11. INCLUDE BALLADS
Ballads can come as a welcome relief after high-intensity dance numbers and may also encourage some of your older guests onto the dance floor. It’s best to program ballads in pairs so that once a couple has made it onto the dance floor in the middle of the song, they can stay for another before the upbeat tunes kick back in.
12. DISCUSS SET-LIST WITH YOUR DJ
At the end of the day, your wedding is your special day and should include all the music you love. But remember that your wedding DJ brings with them years of professional experience and you shouldn’t overlook that when programming your set-list. Be sure to listen to their suggestions and take onboard any feedback they may have about music choices, particularly if you want a full dance floor!
It’s also important to discuss with them how they will handle guest requests on the night while ensuring your reception has the atmosphere you envisioned.
An amazing experience – thank you Kraig, Chris and the team!
You definitely created the experience we wanted and made everything so easy from set up, picking the layout to tunes. Nothing was too difficult. On the day the dance floor was always packed – we (and all of the wedding party) had an amazing time – I think the pictures prove!
Thank you for being part of our special day!”