Picking the right music for your wedding is an important task. Music creates atmosphere, cues key moments in the day, and elevates or calms the energy of the space. When it comes to creating the right soundtrack to your day, there’s a lot to consider. But don’t worry, we’ve got some sound advice (pun intended!) to help you plan the perfect playlist for your special day.

Don’t discount your options until you’ve researched them

Live performances can be incredibly engaging and personal, whilst the services of a DJ will result in you hearing your favourite songs played just the way you like to listen to them.  But don’t dismiss either option out of hand simply because you think a band will automatically be out of your budget or a DJ will be cheesy or noisy. If finances allow, you may want to consider a combination of the two! Many couples choose to have the accompaniment of live musicians during the ceremony and canapes, with the DJ taking over for the reception. When choosing your supplier, make sure they have a good reputation, professional equipment, and plenty of experience with weddings.  Ask friends, family or the team at Marriage Meander for recommendations, or try to get to an event where your performers are playing so that you can get a real feel for their style.

Consider the parameters of your venue

Your ceremony and reception venues will naturally have repercussions on your sound dynamics. If you are going to be in a really large building or outdoors, think about the acoustics. Bear in mind, that if you are having a religious ceremony, there may be restrictions on the type of music played (think about the appropriateness of certain song lyrics within the context of a house of worship). It’s a good idea to discuss your song choices with your marriage officer well ahead of time to make sure that there aren’t any awkward moments on the day.

Avoid the sound of silence

Most guests arrive 20 to 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony, but the wait will seem a whole lot longer if everyone is sitting around in uncomfortable silence. Ask your ceremony musician to start playing at least 20 minutes before your intended start time, which will generally signal guests to be seated. A slight increase in volume just before the bride makes her way down the aisle encourages guests to quieten down.

Don’t neglect key moments in your day

Most couples focus on the music to be played at their reception, and the song for when the bride walks down the aisle, but spare little thought for musical accompaniment at other key times of the day. In the point above, we have highlighted the importance of your prelude music, which will be played as guests arrive. The music played after your ceremony, during canapes / tea / cocktails is also really important as it transitions guests from the significance and tradition of your wedding ceremony to the light, upbeat energy of your reception.  And don’t forget dinner time! Nobody wants to munch in silence so make sure your musician plays some relaxing, happy, background music to keep everyone in the mood.

Communication is key

Communication with your musicians is essential and ideally, you should meet with them before your wedding. Chat to them about the songs that absolutely must be played (including your Walk-In number, First Dance and Cutting the Cake song) as well as any tracks you would prefer to avoid.  And whilst we encourage you to share your wish list with your musicians, remember that if you have hired a professional, you can relax and let them do their job on the day. They will undoubtedly have far more experience than you in reading a crowd and will ensure that the dance floor is full and your guests are having a great time.


By Jacqui Cochran
Marriage Meander