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How To Choose Music For Your Ceremony

Let’s talk about the soundtrack to your big day… (And, no I’m not talking about whether or not you’ll dance to Cotton-Eye Joe after the reception canapes.) I’m talking about the tunes you’ll include in your wedding ceremony. As a real vibe-setter, music can be an important part of your ceremony. So, where does it come in and what should you choose?

Figure out what music you’ll need.

Usually, a wedding ceremony will incorporate four songs or pieces of music:

  • One for the processional (walking down the aisle).
  • Two to be played while the official certificates are signed.
  • One for the recessional (walk back up the aisle).

You may want to think about additional background music if you’re opting to have a ritual, or if you have a live band or a muso mate, you can choose to have a special song performed during your ceremony instead of a reading. It’s also worth considering what, if anything, you want to play to set the vibe as people arrive and immediately after the ceremony.

Choose songs that mean something to you.

While traditionally ceremony songs might be a first-three-soppy-and-last-one-boppy combo, the choice of what you play on your big day is entirely up to you. If you’re not sure where to start, think back through your relationship. Is there a song, artist or genre of music that you both connect to? Is there a particular tune that makes you think of your partner? Is there a concert that you went to together that you really loved? Asking yourself these questions can help you find a piece of music that’s meaningful.

Think about the feeling you’re trying to create.

As they say in The Castle, “It’s the vibe and aah no that’s it, it’s the vibe.” The music you choose for your ceremony will help create the feel of your day. Do you want something classic and traditional, something calm and laid-back, or something upbeat and fun. If you’ve got a favourite song that’s not quite working, look for a cover or acoustic version that might take a different note. Bonus word of advice: Make sure you listen to all the lyrics of any songs you choose, not just the chorus, to ensure they’re completely wedding appropriate!

Plan and make sure you’re prepared.

Once you’ve decided on your music, take a beat to practice your processional. You want to make sure that the timing of the song works with your (and your bridal party’s) entrance. It’s also worth checking with your venue about whether they have any music restrictions and what (if any) speaker system will be available to you on the day. If your celebrant has a portable PA system, you’ll probably be able to use that to play your chosen tunes.

Ready to pop in your earbuds and begin listening? You’ll find loads of lovey tunes on my Spotify channel, or below are some examples of songs to get you started…

Processional:

  • ‘Today’ by Joshua Radin
  • ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ by Paul McCartney
  • ‘The Luckiest’ by Ben Folds
  • ‘How Long Will I Love You’ By Ellie Goulding

Signing:

  • ‘Lucky’ by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat
  • ‘Feels Like Home’ by Chantal Kreviazuk
  • ‘Higher Love’ by James Vincent
  • ‘Better Together’ by Jack Johnson

Recessional:

  • ‘Ho Hey’ by The Lumineers
  • ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz
  • ‘How Sweet It Is’ by James Taylor
  • ‘Signed Sealed Delivered’ by Stevie Wonder
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