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3 tips for choosing the perfect music for your ceremony

By Published On: January 1, 2021Categories: All About Weddings

The music for your ceremony is one of the many details you may not have given a lot of thought to. You definitely need to add it to your list of decisions to make. You probably don’t want to hear Baby, Got Back as you walk down the aisle (or maybe you do… #nojudgement).

You’ll usually need to choose four songs:

  • one for the processional (that’s your walk down the aisle)
  • two for while the official certificates are signed (photographers LOVE taking photos of this, so it can take a while)
  • one for the recessional (when you walk back up the aisle as a married couple!).

Your wedding celebrant will be helping you plan your ceremony, and their input will be invaluable. Here’s my tips on choosing music for your ceremony:

Download (and read) ALL the lyrics

This is hugely important. Sure, the chorus may be beautiful, but are the rest of the lyrics appropriate for a wedding?

For example, Bruno Mars’ Marry You has a lovely chorus. However, here’s a few select phrases from the rest of the song:

It’s a beautiful night, we’re looking for something dumb to do
Who cares if we’re trashed, got a pocket full of cash
If we wake up and you wanna break up that’s cool
No, I won’t blame you; it was fun

So essentially the song is saying let’s get married because we’re drunk and we have nothing better to do, and if you want to break up tomorrow, it’s fine.

You may think your guests won’t be listening to the lyrics. I can guarantee you that at least one of your guests will know what that song is really about.

Choose songs that are meaningful to you both

Things have come a long since the Bridal March was the standard processional song. Now there are hundreds – if not thousands – of lists of ceremony songs (including my own). It can be easy to feel stuck finding the ‘perfect’ wedding song.

You don’t have to stick to wedding-style songs. Sure, if one of those songs is meaningful to you, go for it. But otherwise, choose songs that you love as a couple or that capture what your relationship is about.

Don’t let other people’s opinions sway you

Sure, you may want input from others. But (as with everything) this is your wedding and you want to do it your way.

I once married a couple who really wanted to play Colbie Caillat’s I Do for the processional. But the bride’s mum was adamant that you couldn’t have songs with lyrics for your processional. The fact is, if you’re having a civil ceremony then there are no rules about what music you can play. You can have something lyrical, instrumental or even John Cage’s 4’33” if you want. In the end, the bride decided to go with the music that she loved. She and her bridesmaid happily danced down the aisle to I Do.

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***Originally posted 11/02/2015, updated 01/01/2021***

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