How to Set Your Wedding Ceremony to Music

The first thing you want to do for your wedding guests is set the proper mood for your special celebration. And that begins with the music they hear as they arrive for your ceremony. Here are some great tips to make your ceremony a proper reflection of your love and your personalities.

Choose your pre-ceremony music. Some couples have a string quartet, harpist, organist or guitarist. Others choose a DJ with a great sound system (and microphones!) for their ceremonies. What matters is to choose pre-ceremony music that puts everyone at ease, and begins the process of telling your love story. It can be anything from soft classical instrumental music to modern pop favorites. This is a great time to play love songs that have special meaning for both of you, but which you probably don’t want during the dancing portion of the evening.

Keep the volume appropriate. Your arriving guests will want to talk, and some nice quiet background music will facilitate that. You can bring the volume up for your processional and recessional songs.

Plan your music well in advance. This is not the time to simply choose from the current Top 40. You want songs that have come to mean something special to both of you, and that takes time. Plus, knowing your ceremony and pre-ceremony music in advance gives you plenty of time to print the songs on your wedding program.

You don’t need 30 minutes of music for a 30-minute ceremony. We frequently get requests from couples to keep a music track running in the background for the full ceremony. Bad idea! Your guests will want to hear what you and your officiant are saying; and that’s more difficult when your words are competing with music. While a song for a sand ceremony, unity candle ceremony, wine ceremony or soloist is appropriate, the officiant’s homily and your vows are best spoken with no distractions.

Religious or civil? A simple civil ceremony doesn’t require a lot of traditional religious music. Plus, the two of you may not be especially devout worshippers. A full Catholic wedding with communion, or a wedding at your synagogue or temple, may call for something very traditional. But anything else can be as non-traditional as you like, including your choice of music.

Launch your new union with something upbeat. Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” has been the traditional recessional song for centuries; but there’s no law that says it has to be YOUR recessional. Our couples love to choose something more modern and energetic. Some of their choices have included “This Will Be (an Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole, “Marry You” by Bruno Mars and “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. You can find more recessional song ideas on Fourth Estate Audio’s Facebook page. Just click the “Top Song Charts” link on the left side of the page for lots of great ideas. An upbeat recessional song gets your guests in the mood for the party to follow.

Remember, your love story is unique to the two of you, and your music can help you tell that story in a very personal way.  

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2017 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.    

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