Choosing Great Ceremony Music

January 2, 2020

The wedding ceremony.  It is the moment you have always dreamed of! If only you could remember the music that was playing in your dream.

Choosing great ceremony music remains one of the most difficult aspects to planning your wedding music. There is so much pressure to create a perfect moment that at times it seems like your ideal soundtrack will never come together.  Finding songs that are equally beautiful, personal and unique can certainly be a challenge (especially when your best friend totally used one of your all-time favourites for her processional last summer, even when she knew you were planning to use it for your wedding-someday...not that you are holding a grudge or anything...)

We are here to the rescue!  We have helped put together 100s of absolutely brilliant ceremony songlists and want to share everything we know to make this process as joyful as possible for you (being joyful is the point after all!) Let's start with some common questions you might ask upon getting started:

 

QUESTION 1) HOW MANY SONGS WILL I NEED?

Most modern wedding ceremonies incorporate 4 main songs at the beginning middle and end.  Religious ceremonies are sometimes more complex.  If no one has told you differently, chances are your wedding officiant will ask you for these 4 pieces of music:

A) PROCESSIONAL FOR ATTENDANTS - something nice, but not as nice as the bridal processional
B) BRIDAL PROCESSIONAL - something beautiful enough to make everyone cry
C) REGISTER SIGNING - meaningful to both the bride and groom
D) RECESSIONAL - upbeat and fun



QUESTION 2) WHAT SONGS DO PEOPLE NORMALLY CHOOSE?

It all depends how creative you would like to be!  Wedding ceremonies traditionally only played "Here Come The Bride" and "The Wedding March" for music mixed with a variety of classical.

Somewhere around the 1960s the tide began to turn with songs like Pachabel's Canon in D replacing the Bridal Chorus (it sounds normal now, but it was actually quite a progressive idea at the time.) More recently popular songs have been incorporated into traditionally sounding string quartets and other ceremony arrangements. Hearing a song like "Don't Stop Believing" as a ceremony processional has become commonplace, where it once was quite revolutionary.

So where does that leave you? I personally like to get really creative and dive into songs that you may have loved growing up or songs that hold a meaning for you as a couple together. For example, Sarah and my ceremony music was:

A) PROCESSIONAL FOR ATTENDANTS - Wildfire by John Mayer
B) BRIDAL PROCESSIONAL - Rainbow Connection by The Muppets
C) REGISTER SIGNING - Mint Car by The Cure
D) RECESSIONAL - Move On Up by Curtis Mayfield


All four of the songs meant quite a bit to us in different ways and yes, totally moved us to tears when we heard the famous Kermit the Frog lyrics from The Rainbow Connection (I'll admit it, I'm totally sappy for The Muppets!)

These selections are a world away from "The Bridal Chorus", but it suited us. You might love the traditional sound. Choose the songs that move you the most!



QUESTION 3: HOW LONG SHOULD THE SONGS BE?
This is fortunately a question you shouldn't have to worry about too much. Especially if you hire musicians to perform you ceremony music, we naturally shape the songs to fit your grand entrances.

For example your bridesmaids might walk way faster than they promised they would, or your flower girl might start running laps up and down the aisle. As you will soon discover, your wedding is a living & breathing animal! Adapting the music to fit the moment is the key to making everything fit together like a carefully edited Hollywood production.  Attentive musicians or DJs who are quick in the moment are the key.

Having said that, you might have a favourite part of a song you would like to walk out to.  If that is the case you can absolutely advise of the parts of the songs you prefer and a seasoned professional can always adapt the music to play it for your big moment.



QUESTION 4: DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS? I AM SERIOUSLY BLANKING
You bet we do! To take the pressure off, we have included a HUGE list of of over 100 songs ranging from new to old to movies to roots to classical.  There should be a little bit for everybody to help get your creative juices flowing.

Don't fret if the answers don't come to you right away, pretty much everyone blanks on song ideas at first (myself included!)  After reading through this whole list, while you might be closer you still might not have found your absolute favourites.  If you are wanting for a few  more suggestions  EMAIL ME with anything you like on this list and I will send you back 10 more songs that are similar to it, but not listed here.  Seriously!  There is so much music out there and I am happy to help you find the songs that will make your ceremony a true original - BM



2010s MUSIC 

A Thousand Years - Christina Perri

Perfect - Ed Sheeran
All Of Me - John Legend
Make You Feel My Love - Adele
City Of Stars - LaLa Land
Marry Me - Train
Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran

Just The Way You Are - Bruno Mars
Love Me Like You Do - Ellie Goulding
Marry You - Bruno Mars


2000s MUSIC

Yellow Coldplay
Hey There Delialah - Plain White T's
Chasing Cars - Snow Patrol
How To Save A Life - The Fray
I Will Follow You Into The Dark - Death Cab For Cutie
Gravity - John Mayer
Everything - Michael Buble
The Girl - City and Colour
February Stars - Foo Fighters
A Thousand Miles - Vanessa Carlton


1990s MUSIC

One Sweet Day - Mariah Carey
Got You Where I Want You - The Flys
I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston
Friday I'm In Love - The Cure
Don't Go Away - Oasis
Time Of Your Life - Green Day
33 - Smashing Pumpkins
Don't Want To Miss A Thing - Aerosmith
Shape Of My Heart - Backstreet Boys
I'll Make Love 2 You - Boyz 2 Men
Power Of Love - Celine Dion
Everything I Do (I Do It For You) - Bryan Adams


1980s MUSIC
All I Want Is You - U2
Never Tear Us Apart - Inxs
Diamond's On The Soles Of Her Shoes - Paul Simon
Uptown Girl - Billy Joel
In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
Romeo & Juliet - Dire Straits
Endless Love - Lionel Richie & Diana Ross
Time After Time - Cindi Lauper
Lady In Red - Chris de Burgh
Have I Told You Lately - Rod Stewart


1970s MUSIC
 

Cecilia - Simon & Garfunkel
Into The Mystic - Van Morrison
Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
Your Song - Elton John
Tiny Dancer - Elton John
Signed Sealed Delivered - Stevie Wonder
I'll Be There - Jackson 5
Let's Stay Together - Al Green
Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder
Maybe I'm Amazed - Paul McCartney
We've Only Just Begun - The Carpenters
Just The Way You Are - Billy Joel


1960s MUSIC
All You Need Is Love - The Beatles
Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles
Stand By Me - Ben E. King
Can't Help Falling In Love With You - Elvis Presley
Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong or Sam Cooke
When A Man Loves A Woman - Percy Sledge
Reach Out (I'll Be There) - Four Tops
Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye
Daydream Believer - The Monkees
God Only Knows - The Beach Boys


1950s MUSIC

At Last - Etta James
Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino
Earth Angel - The Penguins
Dream Lover - Bobby Derrin
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - The Platters
The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatra
That's Amore - Dean Martin
You Send Me - Sam Cooke
Wonderful World - Same Cooke
All I Have To Do Is Dream - Everly Brothers
Love Me Tender - Elvis Presley


MOVIES/TV

A Whole New World - Aladdin
Rainbow Connection - The Muppets
Grow Old With You - Adam Sandler
Romeo & Juliet - Mark Knopfler
All You Need Is Love - The Beatles
God Only Knows - Beach Boys
Forever - Uncle Jesse + The Rippers
Chapel Of Love - Dixie Cups
I Say A Little Prayer - Aretha Franklin
Hold On - Wilson Phillips
Kiss The Girl - The Little Mermaid
Beauty & The Beast - Celine Dion
Can You Feel The Love Tonight - Lion King


ACOUSTIC/ROOTS

Do You Remember - Jack Johnson
Better Together - Jack Johnson
Gravity - John Mayer
Steal My Kisses - Ben Harper
Crash - Dave Matthew's
I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
Lucky - Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat
I Do - Colbie Caillat
The Way I Am - Ingrid Michaelson
Wishin and Hopin - Ani Difranco
Say Hey (I Love You) - Michael Franti


CLASSICAL MUSIC

Canon In D - Pachelbel
Air On a G String - Bach
Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring - Bach
Ode To Joy - Beethoven
Ave Maria - Schubert
Summer by Joe Hisaishi
Hornpipe from Water Music - Handel
Spring (4 Seasons) - Vivaldi
Wedding March - Wagner
Bridal Chorus - Wagner


Need more ideas? Feel free to EMAIL US with your favourite songs you see here and we will gladly send back more ideas!

 

 

 

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