Category Archives: wedding songs

Banded Together?

Your reception is just as important as your ceremony as the formalities of the day are over and it’s time to relax. Everyone gets a chance to congratulate and celebrate with you, catch up with people they probably haven’t seen in quite some time and enjoy great food and dancing. While less planning is needed (relatively speaking), it is the part of the day that many attendees look forward to most so there are still details that need to be tended to. One of those is your music source as, getting people on their feet, is a large portion of the day’s merriment.

Bands are something you don’t see nearly as often as in the past so hiring one would give a personal touch and set your reception apart from most others. Additionally, they are great if you are looking to stay within a specific genre of music and aren’t finicky about which songs are played. However, they are more expensive as you are paying for time and labor and, the possibility that they will be able to perform an eclectic variety of music (in a way that is recognizable) or stick to an exact playlist is uncertain.

DJs are more cost-effective and have easy access to all types of music ranging from the Big Band era to the newest releases that have just hit the charts. Unlike a professional band, the songs played will be those of the actual artists so there will be no mistake as to the recognition of your choices.  You can give them a list of “To Play” and “Don’t Play” songs, the order and time you want to hear them, and (fingers crossed), enjoy your evening without worry.

Unfortunately, DJs often view each gig as an opportunity to showcase their personal skills which can lead to unwanted remixes, morphing your song order into a sequence he/she feels more appropriate and numerous other potential difficulties.

A great way to sidestep all these concerns (AND POSSIBLY FOR FREE) is to use an MP3 player.  Compile a few hours of music, including some throwbacks that have meaning to your college friends, ones that the older guests will appreciate and whatever else you and your fiancé choose. They can play in a definitive order or be set to shuffle and the only potential cost is having to download tunes you don’t already have in your collection(s). However, it is imperative that you inquire about your venue’s sound system, any fees for using it and do a test run to be certain everything will work as expected.

The allure of live music and the prestige of a DJ are lost when you opt for an MP3 player. There is a time and place for both of those but, on your big day, the allure and prestige, attention and excitement are all focused solely on you and your fiancé. Your personalized music and special songs will make your guests realize the energy and thought you took to include each of them in your celebration and appreciate your doing so.

All in the Families

Your wedding symbolizes the beginning of a life with your husband filled with new adventures, traditions, memories and, most likely, children of your own. It is also a blending of two existing families as you become a member of your husband’s and he does yours. This special time is a very appropriate one to remind your family that your bond and loving relationship will continue to grow.

When making your registry list, casually ask your parents what they would want if they were to get married again. Keep the response in mind and purchase it for them as a surprise (don’t add it to your list or they will likely find out). Doing so is a fun way to include your parents in your planning while giving them a keepsake of their own choosing without their even knowing.

Personalized handkerchiefs are appropriate for both of your parents and come in handy to wipe away tears during your ceremony. Additionally, thoughtful embroidered messages show your gratitude for the role they have played in your life to date as well as remind them that you will continue to nurture and treasure that relationship.  

One way to demonstrate the joining of your family with that of your husband’s in a creative and sentimental way also requires a bit of secrecy and snooping. Each of you need to ask friends and family which song your respective parents played for their first dance. After the two of you have danced to the one of your own choosing, play each of theirs. This shows that, as your new life begins, it does not do so as a party of two, but as a party of too many to count.

Your future in-laws should not be forgotten and perhaps the most meaningful token of appreciation is a handwritten note. Express to them not only your excitement about what lies ahead with their son, but your gratitude for their acceptance of you, and most importantly, for the wonderful job they did raising the one person who makes you complete.

Parents sometimes fear that they are “losing” their son or daughter once he/she gets married (perhaps it comes from the notion of “giving away”) rather than seeing it as gaining another child. With time, that fear dissipates but, small gestures on your part can keep it from ever arising.

Let’s Make Some Music

Music has often been described as universal and in many ways is just that. It brings people together, creates enjoyment and is often a topic of conversation that can be discussed with almost anyone as not everyone at your wedding is going to know one another. The music you select for your day in terms of the ceremony will, most likely, be different than anything you’d want to hear on the radio or purchase on iTunes. Songs for the reception obviously are a much different story but there are things to keep in mind in reference to both.

As for your ceremony, the music is usually broken down into several different segments:  the prelude (what is played as people gather and get seated), what you want people to hear when your family is seated, the processional (a selection for the time when your fiancé and bridal party take their places and, most importantly, the entrance and exit songs. It is acceptable for the entrance and exit songs to be the same as they will just be played at different speeds. Before you choose any of those, however, it is wise to decide on what type of musician(s) you want so as to ensure they are able to play and are familiar with your picks.

You certainly are not obligated to choose the “traditional” music such as “Canon in D” or “Clair de Lune” as many songs that you hear on the radio, for example, can be beautifully transformed in a way that isn’t cheesy or contradictory with the tone of your ceremony.

As for your reception, maybe you have specific songs and opt to make a playlist or perhaps you just prefer a certain tone and the individual songs are not of importance. You need to decide whether you want a band or DJ, both of which have pros and cons. Depending on the tone you want and your budget (as typically they are pricier), bands create a more intimate ambiance and a professional one can play most songs that you find important (or at least are willing to learn them).

DJs are often used when you want more vibrancy and energy and the doubt that something can’t be played is eliminated as they can find absolutely anything. However, it may be difficult for them to change the speed and tempo of music in order to adjust to/accommodate how people are dancing.

Regardless of what type of musician (whether a pianist, violinist, band, DJ or anything else), the wise thing to do is have a run through prior to the day of your ceremony. If that’s not an option or you choose not to, you should at least get either a CD or video of past performances so you are aware of what is in store and will not be let down or look back with regrets.