Wedding Ceremony Music: The Soundtrack to Your Big Day

Selecting the right wedding music is essential for setting the tone and mood at your wedding. Ceremony music also is critical for issuing cues within the order of service and even keeps guests entertained as the bride prepares for her grand entrance. Although every couple is different when it comes to the kind of music they’ll select for their wedding ceremony, there is one tradition that everyone follows: the order of the playlist. Wedding playlists are divided into four segments—the prelude (which is played while ushers seat guests); the processional (for the bride’s walk down the aisle); interludes (music played throughout the service); and the recessional (signaling the exit of the wedding party).

Wedding Music May Depend on the Venue
The venue is key for creating the music playlist. If you’re planning a church gathering for your wedding planning, ask the director of music to provide you with a list of songs used during worship services since many churches do not allow secular music inside the sanctuary. If your wedding ceremony venue is anywhere other than a church (outdoor space, private home, ballroom, etc.), then the sky’s the limit for selecting a variety of genres to play throughout your ceremony.

Finding the Right Wedding Music
As you start to consider musical selections, try finding songs that fit your personality. If "Cannon in D Major" is not your thing, why not replace it with something that rings true to who you are as a couple. For instance, if you share a favorite song, have it playing during the recessional as you walk down the aisle together as husband and wife. Or, you could even hire a budding songwriter to create a melody especially for your wedding day to play as an interlude. Another tip for picking out your wedding ceremony music is to think back to other weddings you’ve attended and remember the songs played that you liked. If any tunes stick out in your mind, try them as an option for your own playlist.

Budgeting Ideas for Wedding Music
If your wallet is starting to show signs of wedding fatigue, take that into consideration as you search for performers and musicians to play at your ceremony. Depending on the caliber of musicians you hire for your wedding music, expect to shell out a few hundred dollars. One way to find great talent on a budget is to check around your area for music schools, or ask a local music teacher to gather an ensemble of his or her students and have them play your favorite wedding tunes.

Protect Yourself with a Contract
Whether you choose a string ensemble, a vocal quartet or a solo performer to provide the wedding music, remember to draft a written contract to cover your interests. The contract should include the agreed-upon fee (hourly or flat rate) as well as specifics regarding the playlist, time, location, dress and other details you’d like to ensure.

And finally, the most important thing to consider when selecting your ceremony music is to find songs that you both absolutely adore. Remember, your songs don’t have to be the most popular or commonly used—as long as they capture the true love and emotion the two of you share.