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wedding home > unique wedding ideas > music & entertainment > guide to choosing the best wedding songs

Guide to Choosing the Best Wedding Songs

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Music can bring out many emotions and whether your taste is modern or traditional the perfect song will turn your wedding into a lasting memory for you and your beloved for years to come. The three most important parts of a wedding are the ceremony, reception and the first dance. These are the three events your guests will remember the most so why not celebrate with tunes that will leave a lasting impression?

The Ceremony

The ceremony can be broken down into several sections with each part playing a different role in the emotion of the bride and groom as well as the guests invited. The four sections of a ceremony include the pre-ceremony, the bridal party entrance, the bride's entrance, and the recessional.

The pre-ceremony music will set the mood for the event. This music will be playing while guests enter the ceremony site and get seated. Whether it is a church, an outdoor garden, or the foyer of an art museum, here are some suggestions to fit the theme of your ceremony.

Pre-Ceremony

  • Traditional – Water Music (Handel) or The Wedding Song (Paul Stookey)
  • Most Popular – Bitter Sweet Symphony (The Verve), A Day Without Rain (Enya) and By Your Side (Sade)
  • Modern – Clocks (cold play) or Rainbow Connection (Sarah McLachlan)

The bridal party entrance comes next and this tune is important as it will set the stage and let the guests know that the ceremony has begun.

Bridal Party Entrance

  • Traditional – Canon in D (Pachelbel), Trumpet Tune (Purcell) or Autumn (Vivaldi)
  • Most Popular – Café del Mar (Nalin & Kane) or Clair de Lune (Debussy)
  • Modern – Forrest Gump Suite (theme from the film) or Now We Are Free (Zimmer and Gerard)

Bride's Entrance

The Bride's Entrance is the most important part of the ceremony. All eyes will be on the Bride and this song can either be more up beat and spirited or remain low key and whimsical.

  • Traditional – Wedding March (Mendelssohn) or Hymne (Vangelis)
  • Most Popular – Flora's Secret (Enya), Trumpet Tune & Air (Purcell), or Greensleeves (English Folk)
  • Modern – You Raise Me Up (Josh Groban) or The Prayer (Bocelli and Dion)

Recessional

The Recessional music should be very upbeat and celebratory for the moment that you are finally married! There are no limits and the recessional music can be as fun as you'd like it to be.

  • Traditional – La Rejouissance (Handel), Allegro Maestoso ( Handel), Spring (Vivaldi)
  • Most Popular – Is This Love (Bob Marley) or Ode to Joy (Beethoven)
  • Modern – Beautiful Day (U2), All You Need Is Love (The Beatles)

The Reception

The reception is a time to celebrate and what better way to liven the mood than with great music! There are many different events that occur within a reception and some of them include: The couple's entrance, father/daughter dance and the bouquet toss. Many couples will choose a type of music they like and leave it up to the band or DJ to pick the particular songs throughout the night. If you are particular about the music played, I would suggest creating a song list for the band or DJ so that you know the tunes you love can be heard throughout the night.

Couple's Entrance

  • Traditional – Grand March from Aida (Verdi) or Love's Theme (Barry White)
  • Most Popular – Pick up the Pieces (Average White Band), Chariots of Fire (Vangelis) and We Will Rock You (Queen)
  • Modern – When I Get You Alone (Robin Thicke), Let's Get It Started (Black Eyed Peas), or Crazy In Love (Beyonce).

Father/Daughter dance

The Father/ Daughter dance is very special and can often be emotional. Many brides will choose a song that was special to her and her father or one that expresses her feelings for him.

  • Traditional – Daddy's Little Girl (Al Martino), Thank Heaven for Little Girls (Maurice Chevalier) or Sunrise, Sunset (Fiddler on the Roof)
  • Most Popular – My Girl (The Temptations) or Wind Beneath My Wings (Bette Midler)
  • Modern – Hero (Mariah Carey), My Little Girl (Tim McGraw), and I Hope You Dance (Lee Ann Womack)

Bouquet Toss

The Bouquet Toss is the fun part of the evening when the bride gets to gather all of her fun single girlfriends around to catch the bouquet. The theme of this event should be very upbeat and the lyrics are often geared toward women having fun!

  • Traditional – She's a Lady (Tom Jones)
  • Most Popular – Girls Just Want to Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper)
  • Modern – Hollaback Girl (Gwen Stefani) or Hey Ladies (Beastie Boys)

The First Dance

The First Dance is the first dance you will share as a married couple and during this dance all eyes will be on you and your new husband or wife. This song can be “your” song from the past, can be a song with significant meaning or can simply be a favorite of the couple.

  • Traditional – At Last (Etta James), This Will Be (Natalie Cole), Unchained Melody (Righteous Brothers), or All I ask of You (Phantom of the Opera)
  • Most Popular – Crazy (Patsy Cline), Lets' Stay Together (Al Green), Have I Told You Lately (Van Morrison) or Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton)
  • Modern – Come Away With Me (Norah Jones), I Could Not Ask For More (Edwin McCain), Truly Madley Deeply (Savage Garden) or I Love You (sarah McLachlan)

Whether it is the ceremony, the reception, or the first dance, whether you tend to be more traditional with your music choices, or more modern, simply make sure that you enjoy the music. Music can set the theme for the event and will most certainly make the event memorable for your guest for years to come.

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