Music is so important for both creating the atmosphere you want, and adding a unique personal touch to your day. It’s definitely something I’ve been working on slowly over the last couple of months because I think, like the food, it can make or break the day. Have you been to a wedding where the music was clearly an afterthought (or not thought of at all) and the resulting impression of the day was strange, flat, generic or empty? A special song for that walk down the aisle can bring even the strongest groom to tears, and a well chosen party track can get the whole guest list up and dancing.
When you think about it, there are quite a few specific decisions that need to be made about the music at a wedding – both ceremony and reception. For me, these are the ones that are most important and memorable:
- Walking down the aisle
- Entering the reception
- First dance
- Leaving the reception
However, there are many others to consider as well:
- Background music for when guests arrive
- Different ‘walking down the aisle’ songs for different members of the bridal party
- A couple of songs for signing the marriage certificates
- Leaving the ceremony
- Background music for reception (e.g. when meals are served)
- Dance music for a party atmosphere
- Father-daughter dance
- And probably many others…
All couples have ‘their songs’ – so that’s where I started. I created an account with Spotify (which is free for the basic version), and allows you to search for nearly any song ever created and add them to your own customised playlists. I’ve found this extremely useful for building up a bank of songs that I can start to narrow down over time. Another good place to start if you have absolutely no idea of ‘wedding-y’ songs is by downloading the FirstDance app (which is also free from the App Store) and has an inbuilt list of songs that would be great for many different parts of the day, from older, traditional songs to more modern and quirky.
Things you need to consider are whether you’re having a dj, band or using your laptop/ipod to play the music, and how you will actually get the music you want – will a band be able to play the songs you want? Can you purchase all your songs through itunes? Will you be able to burn your songs onto a cd for the ceremony (many celebrants have their own speaker system and you just need to supply the music either on a cd or other form)? Make sure that you can actually access the music you want and definitely have a backup – don’t rely on just one copy or being able to access your playlist online because internet connections breakdown, ipod batteries go flat, cds get scratched and so on. Make sure you have lots of ways of getting your music on the day – I’m going to make sure I have a copy with me, my celebrant, my dj and someone else just in case.
Once we have created a list of all our favourite love songs, my fiancé and I will be able to sit down together to start choosing particular songs for specific moments. My only non-negotiable is my walking down the aisle song which I’ve had secretly picked out for years, but everything else is undecided. One of our biggest challenges will be settling on songs – my fiancé and I have very different taste in music and I’m hoping I can get away with a Linkin Park-free wedding!
Catering for different tastes is something I will have to face at some point. My future father in law is a huge ABBA fan (me? Not so much) and I don’t know how the grandparents would go with some Kanye and Jay Z later in the night. While I don’t want to go all bridezilla and only have songs I like and forget about everyone else, there will need to be a balance between songs that everyone will appreciate (even if that means letting Nutbush make an appearance…sigh!) and that are true to my fiancé and I to make the day and night one that is truly us, and that we will love, cherish and remember forever.
Ms Gingham says: Love this post by Teagan. I totally agree, music is a hugely important when setting the mood and expressing who you are!
Teagan says: “I am 26 years old and teach English to high school students. I live in Melbourne and I divide my spare time between marking essays, planning classes, researching wedding ideas and gazing at my sparkly engagement ring, which I am still not used to seeing on my finger! Now that I am finally engaged I feel like a lot of things are falling into place in my life – it’s a very good place to be. “