Choosing The Right Songs For Your Ceremony: Ultimate Checklist
Updated: Nov 26, 2020
If you don’t already know, we’re pretty big on celebrating life’s most meaningful moments to an awesome soundtrack.
So, in today’s post we’re getting right down to it and giving you everything you need to plan your ceremony music with our ultimate music-planning checklist!
Knowing what songs you need for your wedding day is great and all, but knowing how to take your song selections and curate them for the exact right moments throughout your day so that your wedding feels like a romantic movie soundtrack is a whole different game! So, we’re going to break down exactly how you can choose the perfect music to fit each moment so you can be on your way to having the wedding of your dreams.
Here we go!
The prelude is the music that is played while guests are entering the ceremony space. It sets the tone for the ceremony, and helps to create an atmosphere that is both full of excitement and anticipation, yet serene and reverent. For this part, no specific selections are needed! However, our clients tend to enjoy choosing a particular theme that often compliments the style of music they've chosen for the ceremony. For example, maybe you're going for a rustic chic vibe with a barn wedding, and would love some tasteful Country music as guests are seated. Or perhaps your ceremony is being held in a church that holds sentimental value, and you'd prefer to keep it classy with traditional wedding favorites. In any case, the music for the prelude is not for simply passing time, but rather for your guests to feel at ease as they enter your space, and enjoy a new experience carefully designed for a climatic build to the big "I do" moment! Here's an example of one of our favorite pieces to set the right mood!
Seating of the Family
This is a special moment at the start of the ceremony to honor your grandparents, parents, and/or any family members that have played a significant role in your lives. Most couples choose to go with a song that holds special significance with their family members. Perhaps there's a song that reminds you of that family member, or one that they listened to when you were a child and every time you hear it makes you think of them. You could also decide to use the processional song (which we'll talk about next!) for the seating of the family, and it will simply extend beautifully into the entrance of your bridal party. Either way makes for a very special moment!
This is the time to show off your bridesmaids and groomsmen while building to that big moment when the bride enters the room. This piece should be at a comfortable walking pace, have a beautiful melody, and either slowly build or have a climactic chorus we can use to make the bride's moment really shine. This is a decision to talk with your musicians about, because it will change based on what fits your unique ceremony design. For example, the chorus from our recording of 'Shallow' below - can you hear where the bride comes in?
You know exactly what this means! This is the song that allows the bride to really steal the show. All eyes will be on her in this moment, and the song chosen should be one that holds meaning to her and your relationship as a couple! We want to use something that is truly reflective of your unique love story and personalities, whether that means something elegant, charming, or even a little sassy. If you're unsure or don't necessarily have a particular song that comes to mind right away, the traditional route is always an easy and classic way to go. 'Bridal March' is a piece with an undeniable theme that everyone in the room will immediately recognize, and there will be no question that the moment has arrived and all eyes should be on the bride! If this piece isn't really up your alley, we have a whole repertoire list with various styles which you are welcome to peruse and see if anything speaks to you, or you can speak with one of our music experts to find your perfect song to highlight this important moment.
Next, many ceremonies include some type of unity ceremony, whether it be a unity candle, unity sand, or unity chord-braiding. This is the moment which symbolizes the couple coming together as one, and merging their lives before friends and family. The song played for this particular part of the ceremony should be one with a sweet melody that both represents and highlights the moment, while also keeping the guests entertained while you two share your special moment. Couples love songs like 'All Of Me' by John Legend because of its moderate-paced beautiful melody that holds powerful meaning, or 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight?' for you Disney fans out there!
This is when the party starts! A lot of couples who decide to go a more classical route for the beginning of the ceremony, take the opportunity to do something a bit more fun and perhaps non conventional for the recessional. Whether you choose classical or a favorite popular/contemporary song, look for a piece that is high energy and starts with a bang!
Here’s one of brides favorites:
Finding the right music for your day can be tricky, but you don’t have to do it alone! Finding musicians who can help guide you to your ultimate wedding music soundtrack and masters at timing the music to the moment will be your secret weapon to a tear-jerking ceremony and your magical movie soundtrack moment! Be sure to jump on our Private Facebook group to get the inside access to weekly music inspiration, or jump on a call with one of our music experts to get a custom plan for your wedding music!