David Haslett -
Wedding entertainment specialist
When planning a wedding there are lots of choices to make.
But after the cake has been eaten, the wedding dress goes in the loft and the wedding profile pic gets old, there’s something that will continue to remind you of your wedding day when you least expect it.
Every time you hear a song that was played during an important part of your wedding day, you’ll be taken back to that special moment, that period of time - that first dance or those first steps as a married couple.
So while choosing wedding songs can fall down the wayside next to other choices, I recommend you take some time, dig deep, and remember that these songs are going to be time capsules that take you back to the happiest day of your life, for the rest of your life!
But what to pick? Where in the wedding do these songs fit in? Should we have a wedding singer perform them live or play the original recording? And is wedding music really that important in the first place? Let me share my thoughts...
Why is music at a wedding so important?
Before my own wedding, I’d attended and performed at more weddings than I care to count, but when it’s your wedding, it’s suddenly different. The words of the celebrant suddenly mean so much more, the lyrics of the songs suddenly jump out at you - this is your love story, your life and this is the person you’re committing to. ‘In sickness and health’ isn’t just a nice phrase but a new, exciting and scary adventure.
Sometimes people say their wedding day went too fast and they didn’t get a chance to just breathe it in and be present. This is where music comes to the rescue.
Music has a way of uncoupling us from our worries and allows us to stay present in the moment, enjoying the significance of the day and the happiness of friends and family. Choosing great songs for the ceremony in particular can help you sum the courage to walk down the aisle with confidence.
Aisle or processional song
Grooms, take a seat - the processional song is all about the bride. This is your moment; all eyes will be on you, all the gasps and ‘she’s so beautiful’ will be directed at you.
You are the centrepiece to this part of the ceremony, and you want a song that helps you feel confident (particularly if you’re not used to being in front of a crowd). A song that reminds you what you’re doing and why you’re here.
In general, people choose slower, more thoughtful songs. ‘All of Me’ by John Legend and ‘Tenerife Sea’ or ‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran have been favourites lately for the processional song. But I’ve also performed Nina Simone’s ‘Be My Husband’, religious hymns, and acoustic instrumental compositions.
Picture yourself walking down the aisle and ask, what’s going to make me feel confident?
Signing of the registry
People generally relax a little here and have a quick chat while the legal documents are signed. The music here is more to give a conversation point, and fill any awkward silence. I always like a bit of Billy Joel or Elton John. Something classic that sets the mood and maintains the flow of the ceremony.
Recessional or Aisle exit
The most formal part of the day has come to an end - Time to celebrate!
The Recessional song or aisle exit should have a beat or be something people can tap their feet to. Sometimes guests clap along to the song while the newly married couple leave the ceremony.
Some favourites here are ‘Signed Sealed Delivered’ by Stevie Wonder and ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz, although I always encourage couples to think outside the box - I did the song ‘Jack and Diane’ at a wedding for a couple named...you guessed it, Jack and Diane.
At my own wedding we played a song that I’d written and recorded, which was about how awesome our new life together was going to be - you can have a listen to it here.
It was a fun way to end the ceremony and added a bit of a personal touch.
You can leave this to your wedding singer or DJ if you like. Your emcee will be introducing the wedding party so that should be the focus, but something that’s upbeat and people can clap along to is a must.
Historically the first dance was always a waltz, since ballroom dancing was widely known and even taught in schools, so others could easily join in. In essence, the first dance was to start the dance floor!
Since then, it’s become more usual to have a slower song that people can easily sway too. This is definitely a good option if one of you has two left feet! 🙂 Some favourites are ‘Like I’m Gonna Lose You’ by Megan Trainor, ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’ by James Arthur, and ‘Perfect’ by Ed Sheeran.
I’ve performed lots of different first dances and one of my favourites was a Lion King medley with synchronized dance moves. It was definitely out of the box but suited the personality of the couple perfectly and helped start a great night full of fun!
So in conclusion...
I encourage couples to dig deep, to pick songs that mean something to you and express a bit of who you are and your journey together. Music has a way of taking us back to a certain moment in time and the songs you pick for your wedding day will be your time capsule taking you back to the happiest day of your life, for the rest of your life! What a gift!
Music adds dynamics to the day, helps you relax and stay present, really appreciating the significance of the day.
If you have any comment or questions drop me a line!