Many brides and grooms don’t spend enough time considering their wedding music choices. Some rely on old standards for the ceremony or leave the choices up to the church or other venue. For the reception, couples may make a list of specific songs for the first dance or introducing the wedding party, but leave rest to the discretion of the DJ.
Couples often have the ability to incorporate unique music into both the ceremony and reception, and they should take advantage of all the possibilities.
Fill Your Ceremony With Sound
- Many aspects of wedding ceremonies are fairly rigid, especially for couples who get married within religious traditions. The officiant follows the prescribed steps, and the couple recites their prepared vows. The ceremony music, on the other hand, can be an opportunity for a refreshing change of creative control. The following parts of the wedding ceremony can provide opportunities for creative music choices:
- Prelude. This is played just before the ceremony, while guests are finding their seats. Think of it as background music that sets the tone for the wedding, and chose something that will put your guests in the right mood for the ceremony to come.
- Procession. The procession follows the wedding party down the aisle. There are some traditional processional pieces, but sometimes music is customized for each bridesmaid/groomsman couple, and again for the bride and groom.
- Ceremony. Music played during the ceremony tends to be the most formal, as it supplements the ritual. In religious weddings, the couple may not have much control over the ceremony music, but there are many options for non-traditional ceremony music.
- Post-Ceremony. The wedding is over, and guests are milling about to congratulate the couple and talk outside the church. This music is the most lighthearted, and can include a fun nod to the upcoming reception.
Picking the Right Reception Music
The reception is informal, so picking music is typically easier than for the ceremony. However, don’t forget to include music for seating, eating, introducing the wedding party, the initial dances, and the dance floor. Consider the following tips when planning your reception:
- Changing the reception’s rhythm by mixing crazy tunes with slow dances is a good way to keep people on the dance floor. Intense dancing will tire people out, and they may enjoy a break with a slow song. Receptions are also a fun chance for couples to reconnect, and many will want the opportunity to dance purposefully and lovingly.
- Never marathon the first dance. Try to keep your first song under three minutes. By the first dance, your guests have been sitting most of the day and may be anxious to get on the dance floor. An extended song can also feel like an eternity with everyone’s eyes on you.
- Survey your guests’ song preferences. Your wedding day is yours, but you may want to survey your friends and family for input on the music. They may point out where your playlist is lacking variety.
- Keep the music appropriate and appealing to a wide audience. Remember that your guests include your grandparents as well as your college roommates, and they may have differing ideas of what music is acceptable. You don’t want to alienate anyone with inappropriate songs, so you may want to keep any songs with questionable lyrics for the after-party.
- Pick songs that are fun to dance to. This is the time to pull out the good old dances that everyone knows. “The Macarena” and “The Electric Slide” are like excellent party games, nobody wants to play by themselves, but everyone is more than willing to jump into the group.
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