Surprisingly, wedding ceremony music is cause for great concern amongst marrying couples. There is a constant fear over the appropriate of music for the occasion, there is a constant fear of being judges for choices, and a worry that some choices may lead to guests being offended. The honest truth, there are really no rules to what music you can chose.
There has been a shift in dynamics over the last few years, with a major focus being on exactly what the marrying couple would like instead of sticking with a ‘traditional’ formula for music choice.
How many songs are required for a wedding ceremony?
One of the questions that I am frequently asked is: how many songs should we choose for their wedding ceremony? This is a very individual decision and a number of factors come into play in order to determine the number of songs.
However a rough guide to help you with your choices is outlined below:
Walking down the aisle: 2 songs
Two songs should be chosen for the bridal party walking down the aisle. The first song would be for the bridal party, with the second song being reserved for the Bride/Groom that is walking down the aisle. This is great as it gives the bride/groom the chance to walk at their own pace and not rush and is a great signifier to the guests that it is time to stand or draw your attention to the entrance for the main entry.
Sometime three songs are chosen in this section if both members to the marriage are choosing to walk down the aisle with their parents, each will choose their own song to enter too.
On the alternative some couples also choose to have only one song for both the bridal party and the bride/groom to walk down the aisle to.
This is an individual choice, but one point that your celebrant will stress is the importance of ensuring that chosen music is long enough to accommodate the bridal party and bride/groom walking down the aisle, standing in place and the maid or honour/man of honour having time to fix the bride/grooms attire and taking any flowers from them. A rehearsal will be the perfect opportunity to test this.
Signing of the Register: 2 Songs
This is the portion of the ceremony where the marrying couple and their 2 witnesses will sign the three certificates required by law. During this time it is important to keep the mood and continue the tone that was set prior to and during the ceremony. Some music will also cut through the silence/murmuring that may be created through the waiting guests. It is always advised to choose two songs for this process, as after the signing the photographer does usually take control for a few moments to get those key photos.
Walking back down the Aisle: 1 Song
This is the songs that you and your bridal party will walk up the aisle too. It will be the first song you celebrate to as a newly married couple.
Before and After the ceremony your music provider or celebrant should arrive early and play some music to set the mood for the day. I usually ask my couples if they would like vocal or instrumental music but of course a mixture of both can also set a fantastic atmosphere.
What songs should I choose?
At the end of the day it is your wedding and the songs that should be played are songs that reflect your relationship, your likes and your experiences together.
If your first kiss was to a Panic at the Disco song and you would like to walk down the aisle to it, there is really nothing stopping you. Those that know you the best and know the stories of your relationship will realise the importance of the song.
I have had couples walk down the aisle to music from Harry Potter because they met at one of the movies and another to video game soundtracks as they are avid gamers. It is all based on what you envision your wedding day being.
Should I have live music or pre-recorded music?
Once again this is a choice that is solely up to the couple themselves. It is all based on your choices in songs and if you would rather the original artist or have taken a liking to the arrangement and/or vocals of a live band.
Some things to remember with both pre-recorded and live music and the venue location and the ability of the person playing the music to be able to deliver a quality sound in the area. Meaning they have wireless equipment if it is in an area where electricity is not available, the capacity to deliver music for the duration required (pre ceremony music, ceremony music, post ceremony music), extreme weather contingency plans to ensure music can still go ahead.
Personally, for sound quality and to maintain an ongoing atmosphere I would not advise mixing the two types of music for the ceremony.
If you are worried about your choices, speak to your DJ, your celebrant, your venue coordinator. All of these are industry professionals and will able to guide you and give you suggestions but ultimately remember it is your wedding day and should be exactly what you wants, even if the song is an inside joke that only the two of you will understand.
Good Luck and Happy Planning!