General Wedding Planning, Wedding Tips

How to Choose Your Wedding Music

Music is the language that everyone in the world understands, regardless of age, geographic origins, and culture.

4.5 minutes to read

The music you play during the ceremony and the reception sets the mood. It needs to suit your personality and should be as romantic as you are (or, are not). If you’re a metal-head who met your spouse-to-be at an 8 Foot Sativa concert, walking down the aisle to ‘Marry You’ by Bruno Mars is probably not your jam.

There are a few scenarios that you need to think about:

  • Prelude songs, as people sit and wait for the ceremony to start
  • Processional music as the bride and bridesmaids enter
  • Any interlude songs, maybe while the register is signed
  • Recessional music as the newly married couple exit
  • Grand entrance song for the couple entering the reception
  • First dance song
  • Cake cutting/ bouquet toss song/ parent dance
  • Last song of the night as the newly married couple leave (‘Sex On Fire’ by Kings of Leon, anyone?)

20 Processional Song Ideas

There are some absolute classics in this genre. Think about where you’re getting married, how formal the wedding is, and choose a song that has meaning for you both. For the rest of your life, when you hear this song, you’ll have flashbacks.

  • Over the Rainbow, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
  • What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong
  • At Last, Etta James – For the grand, elegant entrance
  • A Thousand Years, Christina Perri
  • Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride), Richard Wagner – The ‘classic’ bride song
  • First Day of My Life, Bright Eyes
  • Marry Me – Train
  • Nothing Else Matters, Metallica String Quartet
  • Marry You – Bruno Mars
  • Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours – Stevie Wonder
  • Lover – Taylor Swift
  • Ben Folds – The Luckiest
  • Can’t Help Falling In Love With You – Elvis
  • Wedding March, Mendelssohn
  • All of Me, John Legend
  • Perfect/ Thinking Out Loud/ I was Made For Loving You, Ed Sheeran
  • I Choose You – Andy Grammar
  • I Like You – Ben Rector
  • My Heart is Set – Handsome and Gretyl
  • Baby I’m Yours – Arctic Monkeys

There are loads of beautiful songs out there, but when you hear the lyrics, you might be less inclined to use the song. Ave Maria is a beautiful song, but the lyrics are essentially the Lord’s Prayer- unless that’s your thing, give it a swerve.

Almost every song has an instrumental, string quartet, or harp version that makes it wedding-worthy.

Also, think about the recessional songs – I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash, or Best Day of My Life by American Authors could be light-hearted options.

Reception Playlist Ideas and Planning

There are three main options for reception music. If you opt for a DJ, then you’ve got all the songs imaginable, and you don’t have to worry about anything as they have all the music and sound equipment. Also, DJs can double as MC’s if you need one, and are super important for helping the reception stick to timelines. Just give them a list of must-play and must-not-play songs and you’re done.

A live band provides an ambience and liveliness to the reception that you simply won’t get with pre-recorded music. They are more expensive; after all, you’re paying for their years of practice and skill. They’ll need a break, and drinks too, performing is hot work. You will need enough space for them too, a drum kit takes up a bit of space. You will also need to book live bands in advance, as they often get super busy in wedding season.

However, with the ease of digital music, it’s becoming increasingly popular to just create your own playlists, plug in a device, and BYO music. The downside of this is that you’ll have to create a playlist that’s a few hours long and appropriate for your wedding. The upside, is you can choose your own playlist of bangers, and it’s a lot cheaper.

Finding a wedding playlist, especially one that’s Kiwi-fied, isn’t a challenge. After all, we all know the playlist in that bar you used to go to every night that would play ‘Loyal’ as the last song, every single night.

Spotify has made it easy, simply use a wedding playlist, add on your favourites, and you’re done. Incorporate the Kiwi classic playlist and you have hours and hours of music that will see everyone on the dance floor. Make sure to include some cheesy classics so your grandparents and assorted Boomers get up on the DF too. Ask them what songs they can’t resist dancing to.

Wedding Music is Important

Not everyone will know the names of the songs you play, but they will remember how they made them feel. That music as you walk down the aisle, or as you gaze into your beloved’s eyes on your first dance (be it ‘Cheek to Cheek’ or ‘Love and Marriage’).


“There are way too many love songs

And I think they’ve got it all wrong

Cause life is not the mountain tops

It’s the walking in between

And I like you walking next to me”

Ben Rector

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