Music Selections for Your Wedding
Let’s be honest. Everyone knows that the wedding night is all about being on the dance floor and having a blast with your friends and family. And one of the hard parts of planning for this portion of the evening is giving your band or DJ the song choices you want to hear that night. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind and help you through the process of selecting your songs.
Have a Dance Party
One of my close friends, who is a music fanatic, decided to have a dance party at their house to go through song choices that they thought they would want to hear at their wedding. If they played the song and you couldn’t dance to it, they took it off the list. What a fun way to narrow down ideas!
There are so many first dance songs out there to choose from, but what I recommend is to choose one that really speaks to you, even if it is not a typical first dance, love song. One of my best friends had her first dance with her husband to Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dreams Come True” which totally reflected their personalities and was one of their personal favorites. Make it your own!
So in all of the years I have been wedding planning I have had mixed thoughts on the dance lessons. Here is what I have ultimately decided on – if you are going to take dance lessons, just learn how to dance more than just swaying and turning in a constant circle. Maybe add a dip or spin in here or there, but learning a full on dance from start to finish is just tricky. And all you are thinking about at that moment is what step you are supposed to do and if you are going to mess it up instead of focusing on dancing with the person you just married. My two cents!
If you are going to dance with your mom or dad, I recommend choosing the song with your parent and making sure both of you are comfortable with it. Some couples even choose to do the dances as one parent dance where the bride and groom are on the dance floor at the same time with their mom and/or dad. Another way to make it a bit less awkward is to ask other father/daughter or mother/son pairs at the wedding to join you half way through the song.
Do Not Play List
This list is very important!! A lot of bands and DJs here the same songs (organized dance songs are typically on this list) but you need to think of songs that annoy you, make you think of an ex or just are terrible dance songs. Be sure to include all of these on your list and be specific with your band or DJ about those songs and if you will allow for requests.
Leave it to the Pros
When it comes down to it, I highly recommend making your lists of songs and then just leave it to the pros. They do this every weekend and know what the crowd wants at certain times. Don’t expect them to play straight from your playlist the entire time. Be open to their interpretation of the crowd. And hire the best! The band or DJ is not a place to skimp in your budget! Ask for references and check out reviews online!
"I always welcome song ideas from the bride and groom. When choosing music, it's a good idea to use popular songs that most people will know at your wedding. Most of the time if people don't know it they won't dance or they'll leave the floor.” - DJ Danny Walsh
So what is your music style? Do you have one? Classical? Modern? Old School? When considering music for your wedding, don’t forget to think about what you will have playing as you walk down the aisle, as you leave the ceremony and while your guests are enjoying cocktails and hors d’oevures. Below are some ideas you can consider for any and all of the above. Be sure to consider your style and vision - you don’t have to have “Here comes the bride” played as you enter if it doesn’t suit you!
Classical - If you are a classic person, then start by considering classical composers like Pachabel, Bach, Beethoven - the typical songs being Canon in D, Trumpet Voluntary, Wedding March, etc. These can be easily played by a string quartet, harp, pianist or organist. A handful of churches will only allow for sacred music, so be sure to ask your officiant if you are getting married in a church. And most churches will have a pianist or organist from the church that you either have to use, or will have the option to use. They can typically play most of the classical music.
Modern - If you want to bring a twist to your ceremony and you have the option to do so - like at an outside venue, museum, etc. - then you can consider almost anything and everything you love. You could play Bruno Mars, Amazing, as you walk down the aisle and the Beatles, All You Need is Love, as you exit, anything goes! Get creative, think outside the box. Play the songs you love! Think about taking a popular song and having it played on a classical instrument like a harp or acoustic guitar. Or if you have a couple of first dance options and only have to choose one, then think about using the others during your ceremony.
Depending on what instruments you have at your ceremony, I would recommend seeing if they can also play for your cocktail hour. Or you can also have your DJ or band play for your cocktail hour as well. It usually makes the most sense to have someone that is already going to be there to play during that hour. Unless you want to bring in a specialty instrument like a steel drum or an accordion! The cocktail hour is also a place to have fun with music. If you are Irish and you want to bring in Irish music into your day, this is a great place to do that and wow your guests. It is also a good place to play music that you may want to hear, but is not really right for dinner or dancing music. Think about it, it could be the perfect touch that your wedding needed!
Plan. Relax. Enjoy.
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