The music for a wedding reception is pretty easy to pick. You have some fun party songs and maybe a few line dances. You get some very sentimental first dance and family dance songs. You choose those bangers that will get everyone yelling “Yes! This is my SONG!” It is a fun time and the music reflects that.
But what about the ceremony? There is not a ton of music that is “standard” for the ceremony. Sure, you have “Here Comes the Bride” but even that is starting to feel a bit cliche. How do you choose the music for your ceremony? It is all about the feeling you are trying to elicit.
Before anyone even begins walking down the aisle, you want people to already feel the magnitude of the moment they are going to be experiencing. If you are going for grand, romantic you can choose orchestral music that will make your guests feel like they are in a period piece. The swelling of the strings will make emotions well up in your guests.
The more modern equivalent is to get that sense of nostalgia going. Playing oldies or songs that fit your theme will get guests reminiscing. They will feel present in this important moment while thinking about everything that led up to this moment.
There should be a tonal shift when going into the processional. This should be music that tells everyone “Get ready. Here we come!” The music for your family should be different from the music for your wedding party. They should be songs that are upbeat but also reverent. They should also be easy to walk to. If you go too slow, guests will lose interest. If you go too fast, you are going to see groomsmen and bridesmaids sprinting down the aisle.
Your song should be for you. If you like the “Here Comes The Bride” vibe then you could go that direction. Most couples are opting for songs that are more important to them. In either case, it should be another tonal shift. This song literally gets guests out of their seats. All eyes are on you. The song should scream “I have arrived. I am doing this!” It is the most important moment of your wedding up to that point. The song should accompany your reveal.
Hooray! You did it! Now to walk back up the aisle. The Recessional is the final moment of your ceremony. You wanna go out with a bang. This song should be the highest energy song of your ceremony. This is the song that proclaims “We did it! We are married!” The feeling that should be evoked is triumph, love, and excitement. As everyone leaves, they should be dancing down the aisles; full of joy and ready to party! It is the end of your ceremony and the start of the rest of your lives. But it is also usually marking the start of your reception too. The transition should get everyone hype and ready to celebrate even more.