Header image

Choosing the right music for the wedding day

Posted by Susan Cramer in Wedding Tips and Advice

Music for a weddingThe music plays enormous part in setting the atmosphere of any event but at a wedding also serves to express the couple’s style and love for each other.

The average couple spends approximately 5% of their total budget on music for their big day but if you choose to make the music a priority, you’ll soon see how quickly your budget will mount.

Ceremony Music

At church ceremony the musicians need to reflect the moment’s solemn and heartfelt ambiance.  Live instrumental music is often played and appreciated at a church wedding. Every church will normally have a resident organist if not you can always hire someone but you don’t always have to have the organ or just the organ, you can have a combination of other instruments as well such as:

A Harp – a soft instrument and plays quiet tones. Aside from being beautiful in sound, it’s elegant in its appearance and the way its played.

A Trumpet – produces a buzzing sound sending vibration that remains constant in the air. It’s a great instrument of declaration.

A Flute – its low tones are rich and warm. It has the capacity to play slow and expressive solos or fast complex melodies.

A Violin – is one of the most versatile instruments.   It can play bluegrass and jazz beautifully.


  1. Instrumental music generally begins 30 minutes before the ceremony.
  2. A solo is often performed directly after the bride’s mother is seated.
  3. The processional begins with an instrumental or sometimes a soloist.
  4. After the final attendant is down the aisle and in place, special music announces the bride.  The bride’s music can vary from traditional or contemporary, an instrumental or a soloist. The most popular choices are Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” (“Here Comes the Bride”) and Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.” Or something more contemporary such as “From This Moment” by Shania Twain.
  5. Soft music can be played in the background throughout the entire ceremony.
  6. Finally, there’s the recessional, which generally has a slightly quicker tempo.

The civil ceremony has become more popular over recent times. At one time you had to go to a registry office to have a civil ceremony but things have changed and many ceremonies now can easily take place in venues, garden & beach settings or even at home with the presence of a marriage celebrant to conduct the ceremony.

The bonus is that you can choose to have any sort of music you wish at a from instrumentalist to live band for the civil ceremony, and the musicians can provide music for the entire celebration.

wedding ceremony songsReception Music

Reception music is all about entertainment. It should inspire dancing, joyful singing, and all-around cheerfulness.

Hiring a DJ rather than a band will help you stretch your reception music budget further.  If you’ve got a bit more to spend then consider hiring a small band, it is a bit more expensive than a DJ but less costly than a full band and they can be as good as a full band.

Once you select your reception musicians, take your time and create a music schedule to help them play key songs at certain times throughout the entire reception, such as the grand entrance as a married couple, first dance and the bouquet toss.


If the ceremony and reception are hosted in the same building, you may be able to hire one set of musicians for both events. More often, however, you’ll need separate musicians for the ceremony and the reception.

  • Your specific choice of music should be discussed with the musicians well before the day. If you don’t want to pick each individual piece of music for the proceedings then just give whoever is involved an idea of the style of music you would like or even a favourite composer. Ensure you select a variety to suite the young, middle age and the old so that everyone gets a chance to dance and enjoy sharing in your special day.
  • Find musicians that are reliable, friendly and trustworthy. The money you save isn’t worth worrying about any last minute issues.  Ask around and check their reputation as a musician or a band.
  • Check out the local colleges and universities for young talents. Remember, these musicians may be more open to learning special requests and they can be good as long as they know music.
  • If you’re going to have the ceremony in a religious building, ask if there are any music restrictions as certain religious groups may not allow certain instruments or style of music to be played in their premises.
  • Select a beat that is slow but importantly a beat that you can walk to down the aisle.
  • If you have a singer in the family or group of friends you can ask them to do a solo during the ceremony or at the reception as an item.  It is best when it’s a romantic melody. Eg. “I promise you” by Michael Bolton. Make sure you give them plenty of notice so that they have enough time to practice and prepare.
  • The grand entrance song (reception) – remember for most of your guests this is the first introduction of you as a married couple as most of your guests wouldn’t have been at the marriage ceremony.  It’s where everyone stands up while you are introduced.  A happy jazzy music or song can be played once you are introduced and as you and the wedding party take your seat in the reception venue. Eg. “I feel good” by James Brown.

This type of music or song can also be played at the end of the wedding ceremony when the married couple is introduced and makes an exit.

  • First dance song is generally a song you choose to proclaim your love for each other.  So take your time and make a list of songs that are meaningful and that often remind you of each other, then select one that stands out the most as your song for the first dance. You can still have the other songs plays throughout the night.
  • Ensure you organize someone (a host) to be in charge of looking after your musicians for the entire day, providing them with drinks and refreshments. Ensure the host has the contact details of all the musicians.

No matter what you both select for your song list whether it’s instrumental or not, take the time to find music that means something to you both or at least music that you both enjoy.


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 You can leave a response, or trackback.

3 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>