What a terrible time we find ourselves in at the moment with this coronavirus situation. I’d just like to a take a moment to send thoughts and love out to everyone affected. It really is affecting us all in different ways. And if you are in the middle of planning your wedding or have had to cancel and reschedule your special day then I really do feel for you.

But, we must carry on, roll with the punches, and make the best of the time we have at home which we wouldn’t normally have. And if you are in wedding planning mode then this is the perfect time to think about music for your big day.


So let’s get into it, here are some tips and advice on choosing your wedding day music!

Personal or for everyone?

Your wedding is your special day and therefore should be very personal, but at the same time you will be inviting your family, friends and loved ones to share it with you, so it is a good idea to strike the right balance with music so everyone enjoys themselves.

Wedding guest partying, Lee Allison Photography
(photo by Lee Allison Photograpy)

But where do I start?!

Choosing appropriate music for your wedding can be a tricky task for some!  But it can actually be quite interesting and fun sitting down and thinking about your favourite songs that you want to have play a part in your wedding day.

First of all start by thinking about all the events of your day that may require music in one way or another. Write them down. You might find you now have quite a long list!

Next start to think of your favourite songs, artists and music genres that will bring happiness and meaning for you, particularly to the more personal moments of your wedding day. This bit may be easier said than done, but why not make an evening of it! Grab those old CDs, fire up Spotify, get on YouTube. Dig deep and have some fun going through the music you love. Once you get going you won’t be able to stop!

Whether you are going for live musicians or pre-recorded music during the day, and a DJ or band in the evening, going through this process will be really useful. And it may even help you choose which music options you actually want to go for.

Wedding timeline

Below are the different parts of a typical wedding timeline that might help you think of all the different parts of the day that may require music. 

Don’t forget: One important question to ask yourself for each moment of your day is ‘how will the music be played’?…

The Ceremony

  • Prelude – Arrival of guests before the ceremony
  • Procession – Walking down the aisle
  • Signing of the register
  • Recession – Walking back up the isle!
  • Post ceremony drinks

Wedding ceremony Becky Harley Photography
(photo by Becky Harley Photograpy)

All ceremony music can certainly be very personal to you both if you choose.  If music is important to you then you will want to be walking down the aisle to a song that you love, that maybe has significant meaning to you both. You could alternatively go for a timeless classic that everyone will recognise for those important moments.

Wedding ceremony, Lee Allison Photography
(photo by Lee Allison Photograpy)

Choosing the right music for your wedding ceremony to create the atmosphere you desire is crucial. Check out an article I wrote for Engage Weddings where I went into more detail on picking the perfect music for your wedding ceremony.

Wedding ceremony recession, Lee Allison Photography
(photo by Lee Allison Photograpy)

The Wedding Breakfast

  • Arrival of guests at reception venue
  • Arrival of bride and groom
  • Grand entrance of bride and groom, perhaps also the bridal party
  • Background music throughout breakfast
  • Post-breakfast background music

Wedding guests, Becky Harley Photography
(photo by Becky Harley Photograpy)

Wedding breakfast music is also another chance to go personal, perhaps for some of it anyway. It is a great opportunity to hear some of your favourite music that is more chilled and that wouldn’t be suitable for the evening party.  However it is probably worth bearing in mind your guests too, a wedding breakfast can go on for quite some time so your guests will want to be relaxed and enjoying themselves too.

Don’t forget about background music for when guests are arriving and mingling too. Something to create a nice ambience and atmosphere will really help set the tone for the day.

The Evening Reception

  • Background music early on
  • Arrival of evening guests
  • Grand entrance into room
  • Cake cutting
  • The first dance
  • ‘Father and daughter’ dance too?
  • Bouquet toss
  • Your favourite songs that make you get up and dance!
  • Grand exit / Last song of the night

Wedding cake cutting | JN Sounds

First dance

Possibly the most important song of your day, or even your lives – the first dance. If you choose to have a first dance then for maximum emotional impact this song should be YOUR song, a song that means a lot to you both that represents your love for one another. While the first dance seems to traditionally be a slow, love ballad this does not have to be the case. I have witnessed couples dancing to all sorts of genres of music for their first dance. Even an ‘eighties film soundtrack montage’ that included props and all! It’s the meaning the song brings that’s most important.

Wedding first dance | JN Sounds

Party time!

Lastly it’s on to the evening reception, party time!! This is where everyone involved in your big day wants to enjoy themselves and have a fantastic time dancing the night away. That’s not to say you shouldn’t prepare a playlist for your DJ of certain songs and genres you definitely want played, but I find it is important to bear in mind your guests as well so they too have a great time and get up and dance with you!

What can be just as important is producing a DO NOT play list. If there are certain songs or artists that you absolutely cannot stand or that might even upset you then add them to the list. This will make you feel a lot more at ease knowing you won’t hear ‘that awful song’ on your wedding day!

Wedding dancing JN Sounds

A good DJ will be able to take into account your musical tastes, read your crowd, and play suitable songs to get as many of your guests up and dancing as possible to make it a night to remember by all!

I hope this was a useful read for you if you’re in a rut thinking about music for you big day! For any more help and advice on choosing your wedding day music please do get in touch.

Remember, the timeline of events above is just a suggestion to a typical wedding. I for one am always keen to encourage couples to think outside the box, do things their own way and not stick to tradition if they don’t want to. Do things your way!