How To Choose Music For Your Ceremony

Select suitable songs for each portion of your wedding ceremony

By Faith Alessio

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As fun as wedding planning is, choosing the music for your wedding ceremony can be stressful. There are so many beautiful songs, and you may have no idea what will work and what won't. Fortunately, your music provider will be able to help you, but there are other steps you can take to make the whole process simpler and more enjoyable, making your music selection stress-free and allowing you to spend more time with people instead of plans.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Keep in mind the theme of the wedding and any favorite songs the bride or the groom may have.
  • If you choose vocal songs, you'll need to hire a singer as well as an accompanist so allot a portion of your budget for wedding music.

Step 1:

Map out your ceremony and determine how many different songs you think you will need. You will need at least one song for the wedding party processional, another for the bride's walk down the aisle, and a recessional song to accompany the bride and groom as they exit the ceremony. Listen to your favorite music and take notes on where certain songs might fit nicely into your ceremony. Don't assume that you'll remember them later. Consider options of all genres and styles, from classical to pop.

Step 2:

Consider your setting and audience. Songs that may be just fine for a country club could be inappropriate if your ceremony is held in a church. Check with someone from the location and your officiator for general guidelines.

Step 3:

Ask your music provider for suggestions. Whether you're working with live musicians or a DJ, they will likely have suggestions for appropriate wedding music. If you are at a loss for specific ideas, tell your music provider what style and mood you're looking for and he should be able to offer some guidance.

Step 4:

Check any song that you have selected for length. Some songs would impossible to shorten, and rarely do you need an entire average-length song for any one part of the ceremony. Also, consider the speed of the song. Bridesmaids and bride should be able to walk in rhythm to the tempo of the song.

Step 5:

Make a list of all the songs you have chosen. Help your music providers find the music they will need. Don't assume that every musician or DJ has your songs in his collection. Give your provider explicit instructions on what you want, and then leave it up to him.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Be open to strange suggestions! Unusual songs can be just the thing to make your wedding special.
  • If you are working with live musicians, make sure to choose your music far enough ahead of time to give them time to practice.
  • Match the music with the musicians. Classical music sounds best when played by an instrumental group.
  • Consider song requests from parents or family members. They may have strong opinions or know of family traditions that could impact your decision.

About the Author

Faith Alessio is a freelancer writer and a contributor to DexKnows.

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Planning Reminder:

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Select ceremony music

Music is a critical element to making guests feel welcome. Traditional selections such as the prelude give guests cues to what's coming next. Consider music that has personal meaning and seasonal significance and works with your theme.

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Wedding Glossary


Music played while guests are being seated for the wedding ceremony.

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