Choosing Wedding Music

Choosing Wedding Music

Choosing Wedding Music

Music is the heartbeat of any wedding, setting the mood and enhancing the emotional depth of the celebration. Choosing wedding music is one of the most enjoyable yet crucial tasks in wedding planning. The right music can transform a moment, evoke cherished memories, and create a magical atmosphere that resonates with both the couple and their guests. Whether you’re envisioning a grand entrance to a timeless classic or a heartfelt dance to a modern love song, selecting the perfect soundtrack for your big day is an art form that requires thought and creativity.

Watch this video to discover the music that the couple selected for their wedding day

Setting the Tone for Your Ceremony

Choosing wedding music for your ceremony is about creating the perfect backdrop for one of the most important moments of your life. It’s about weaving a musical tapestry that reflects your personality and sets the tone for the entire day.

Guest Arrival: As guests arrive, the music should be welcoming and set the mood for the ceremony. Consider instrumental pieces or soft background music that gently ushers guests into the ambience of your celebration. This initial music choice helps build anticipation and creates a serene, joyous atmosphere.

Ceremony Length: The length of the ceremony can vary, and your music choices should align with its structure. Traditional ceremonies might include classical pieces like Pachelbel’s Canon in D, while modern ceremonies might feature acoustic versions of popular songs. It’s important to ensure that each piece of music transitions smoothly into the next, maintaining a seamless flow throughout the ceremony.

Buffer Time: Unexpected delays are common during weddings, and having buffer music can ease any awkward pauses. Instrumental tracks that can loop seamlessly are ideal for filling in any gaps, ensuring the ceremony remains fluid and uninterrupted.

Personal Anecdote: I once filmed a beautiful wedding where the couple chose a mix of classical and contemporary pieces for their ceremony. The bride walked down the aisle to a string quartet’s rendition of “All of Me” by John Legend, creating a poignant and memorable moment. The ceremony concluded with an upbeat instrumental of “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles, sending a message of joy and new beginnings as the couple exited.

Questions or Views:

  • What mood do you want to create for your ceremony?
  • How does the venue influence your music choices?

Example: A couple I worked with recently chose a mix of classical and acoustic music for their outdoor wedding. The serene surroundings of the garden venue were perfectly complemented by the gentle strumming of an acoustic guitar during the processional, while a lively string quartet played during the recessional, adding an elegant yet joyful touch to the ceremony. This thoughtful selection of music created a seamless and enchanting experience for everyone present.

Choosing wedding music that reflects your love story and sets the perfect tone for your ceremony is a beautiful way to personalise your wedding day. The right soundtrack will not only enhance your special moments but also create lasting memories for you and your guests.

Choosing Wedding Music
Choosing Wedding Music

Selecting Music for the Reception


Creating a playlist that keeps the celebration lively and enjoyable is crucial for any wedding reception. The right music will not only reflect the couple’s tastes but also ensure that guests of all ages have a fantastic time.

Deciding on the First Dance Song and Its Significance

The first dance is a deeply personal moment, often symbolising the couple’s journey together. Selecting a song that holds special meaning can make this moment even more memorable. Whether it’s a song that played during your first date or a melody that captures your love story, the first dance song sets the tone for the evening.

Choosing Songs for Special Moments

Beyond the first dance, several key moments in the reception deserve their own special soundtrack. For instance, the father-daughter dance can be a touching tribute to your relationship, often featuring a song that speaks to your shared memories. The cake-cutting ceremony is another highlight, where a fun and upbeat song can add to the celebratory atmosphere.

Mixing Genres to Cater to Different Age Groups and Preferences

A successful wedding reception playlist should include a variety of genres to appeal to all guests. Mixing classics from the ’70s and ’80s with current hits ensures that everyone, from grandparents to young cousins, has a reason to hit the dance floor. Incorporating different styles, such as pop, rock, R&B, and even some country or jazz, can keep the energy high and the party going strong.

Questions or Views

  • What songs are meaningful to you as a couple?
  • How can you ensure a good mix of music for all guests?


Meaningful First Dance Songs

Choosing a first dance song that resonates with your relationship adds a personal touch to your reception. For instance, one couple I worked with chose “At Last” by Etta James, reflecting their long journey to finding each other. Another couple selected “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran, a song that had played during their proposal.

Well-Planned Playlists

A well-planned playlist can transform a reception into an unforgettable party. I remember filming a wedding where the couple curated a mix of Motown classics and modern pop hits. This thoughtful selection had everyone from the flower girl to the bride’s grandparents dancing the night away. The night ended with a joyful rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey, bringing all the guests together in a sing-along that capped off the perfect evening.

Special Moment Songs

One memorable wedding included “My Girl” by The Temptations for the father-daughter dance, bringing smiles and a few tears to the guests. For the cake cutting, the couple chose “Sugar” by Maroon 5, which added a fun and light-hearted feel to the moment.

Selecting wedding music that reflects your story and caters to your guests’ tastes is key to a successful reception. By carefully choosing songs for each special moment and mixing genres to keep everyone engaged, you can create a soundtrack that will make your wedding day truly unforgettable.

best wedding songs
best wedding songs

Live Music vs. DJ


When it comes to choosing wedding music, one of the biggest decisions is whether to hire a live band or a DJ. Both options have their unique advantages and potential drawbacks, and the choice largely depends on the couple’s preferences, wedding style, and budget.

The Energy and Presence of Live Musicians

Live music brings a dynamic energy and presence that can make your wedding feel truly special. A live band can interact with the crowd, adapt to the mood, and even take requests on the fly. The visual aspect of musicians playing instruments adds an element of entertainment that a DJ setup might lack.

Pros of Live Music

  • Interactive Experience: Musicians can engage with the audience, creating a lively and interactive atmosphere.
  • Unique Sound: Live performances offer a unique sound that can be tailored to the couple’s taste, making the event feel more personal.
  • Visual Appeal: The presence of a live band can add a visual element that enhances the overall aesthetic of the wedding.

Cons of Live Music

  • Cost: Hiring a live band is generally more expensive than hiring a DJ, as it involves paying for multiple performers.
  • Space Requirements: Bands require more space for their instruments and setup, which might be a constraint at smaller venues.
  • Limited Repertoire: Even the most versatile bands have a limited repertoire compared to a DJ’s extensive library of songs.

The Versatility and Range of Music a DJ Can Provide

A DJ offers a level of versatility that a live band simply cannot match. DJs have access to vast libraries of music spanning all genres and eras, ensuring that they can cater to all guest preferences. They can seamlessly transition between songs, keeping the dance floor packed all night.

Pros of a DJ

  • Extensive Music Library: DJs can play virtually any song requested, providing a wide range of music styles to suit all guests.
  • Smooth Transitions: DJs can mix songs seamlessly, maintaining a continuous flow of music and energy on the dance floor.
  • Cost-Effective: DJs are typically more affordable than live bands, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious couples.
  • Compact Setup: DJs require less space, which can be beneficial for smaller venues or more intimate settings.

Cons of a DJ

  • Less Personal Touch: Some couples feel that DJs lack the personal touch and visual impact of a live band.
  • Dependent on Equipment: The quality of the music heavily depends on the DJ’s equipment, which can sometimes be a gamble.

Budget Considerations and Logistical Aspects

When deciding between live music and a DJ, budget and logistics play a crucial role. Live bands generally command higher fees due to the number of performers and the complexity of their setup. On the other hand, DJs are often more cost-effective and can be more flexible with space and setup requirements.

Questions or Views

  • Which option best fits your wedding style and budget?
  • How can you balance live performances with pre-recorded music?


Weddings with Live Bands

One wedding I filmed featured a talented jazz band that played during the reception. The live music created an elegant and sophisticated atmosphere, and the band’s interaction with guests made the evening unforgettable. The couple chose songs that were meaningful to them, adding a personal touch to their special day.

Weddings with DJs

At another wedding, the couple opted for a DJ who kept the dance floor alive with a perfect mix of classics and contemporary hits. The DJ took requests and played a wide variety of genres, ensuring that all guests, from young children to grandparents, had a fantastic time. The seamless transitions between songs kept the energy high throughout the night.

In conclusion, choosing wedding music involves weighing the pros and cons of live music versus a DJ. Each option offers unique benefits, and the decision ultimately depends on the couple’s vision, budget, and wedding style.

wedding songs
wedding songs

Creating a Balanced Playlist


Ensuring your playlist flows well and keeps guests engaged is crucial for a memorable wedding celebration. Choosing wedding music involves crafting a playlist that balances different tempos, genres, and special moments, ensuring that the energy remains high and the dance floor stays packed.

Mixing Slow and Fast Songs to Maintain Energy Levels

A well-balanced playlist should alternate between slow and fast songs to keep guests entertained and engaged throughout the event. Starting with slower songs can help set a romantic tone, while gradually introducing faster tracks will encourage guests to hit the dance floor. As the night progresses, continue to mix tempos to provide guests with opportunities to rest and then get back up to dance.

Pros of Mixing Slow and Fast Songs

  • Keeps Guests Engaged: Alternating between slow and fast songs prevents the energy from plateauing, maintaining excitement.
  • Cater to Different Preferences: A mix of tempos appeals to a wider range of guests, from those who love a slow dance to those who prefer to groove to upbeat tracks.
  • Creates Natural Breaks: Slower songs can serve as natural breaks for guests to catch their breath, ensuring the party lasts longer.

Incorporating Both Popular Hits and Personal Favourites

Balancing popular hits with personal favourites ensures that the music resonates with all guests while also reflecting the couple’s unique tastes. Popular hits are crowd-pleasers that can get everyone on the dance floor, while personal favourites add a touch of individuality to the celebration.

Pros of Mixing Popular Hits and Personal Favourites

  • Broad Appeal: Popular songs are likely to be known and enjoyed by most guests, ensuring everyone has a good time.
  • Personal Touch: Including personal favourites makes the playlist more meaningful and memorable for the couple.
  • Variety: A mix of popular and personal songs adds variety to the playlist, keeping it interesting and dynamic.

Adjusting the Playlist Based on Real-Time Guest Reactions

Being able to read the crowd and adjust the music accordingly is a skill that can make or break a wedding reception. Pay attention to how guests are responding to the music and be prepared to make changes on the fly. If a particular song or genre is not resonating, switch it up to keep the energy high.

Pros of Adjusting the Playlist in Real-Time

  • Keeps the Party Alive: Adapting the music based on guest reactions ensures that the dance floor stays lively and guests remain entertained.
  • Personalised Experience: Tailoring the music to the mood and preferences of the guests creates a more personalised and enjoyable experience.
  • Flexibility: Being flexible with the playlist allows for a more dynamic and responsive celebration.

Questions or Views

Examples of Playlists that Successfully Kept Guests Dancing All Night

One wedding I filmed had a meticulously planned playlist that seamlessly transitioned between slow and fast songs, ensuring the dance floor was always full. The couple included popular hits like “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars and “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift, alongside personal favourites that held special meaning for them, such as their first dance song “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran.

Another wedding featured a live DJ who was adept at reading the crowd’s energy and adjusting the music accordingly. When the dance floor started to thin out, the DJ would quickly switch to a high-energy track that drew guests back, creating an unforgettable party atmosphere.

In conclusion, choosing wedding music involves crafting a balanced playlist that mixes slow and fast songs, incorporates both popular hits and personal favourites, and adjusts in real-time based on guest reactions. By following these tips, you can ensure that your wedding music keeps guests entertained and the dance floor buzzing all night long.

Working with Professionals
Working with Professionals

Working with Professionals


Collaborating with professional musicians and DJs is essential for ensuring the music at your wedding runs smoothly and aligns with your vision. Choosing wedding music becomes easier and more effective when you work closely with professionals who understand your preferences and can deliver a memorable experience.

Communicating Your Vision and Preferences Clearly

One of the most crucial steps in working with music professionals is to communicate your vision and preferences clearly. This involves discussing the overall mood you want to create, specific songs you love or dislike, and any particular moments that require special attention, such as the first dance or cake cutting.

Tips for Communicating Your Vision

  • Be Specific: Provide detailed instructions and examples of songs you like.
  • Create a Playlist: Share a playlist of your favourite songs to give a clear idea of your taste.
  • Discuss the Timeline: Ensure they understand the schedule and key moments that need specific songs.

Creating a Detailed Schedule and Song List

A well-planned schedule and song list help ensure that the music aligns with the flow of the event. This includes specifying songs for the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing, as well as any special moments that require unique selections.

Elements of a Detailed Schedule and Song List

  • Ceremony Music: Processional, recessional, and any special performances.
  • Reception Events: First dance, parent dances, and cake cutting.
  • General Playlist: Background music for cocktail hour and dinner, and high-energy songs for dancing.

Allowing Professionals Some Creative Freedom

While it’s essential to communicate your preferences, it’s also important to allow musicians and DJs some creative freedom. They have the expertise to read the crowd and adjust the music to maintain the energy and atmosphere.

Benefits of Allowing Creative Freedom

  • Expertise: Professionals can make adjustments based on the crowd’s reactions.
  • Flexibility: Allows for spontaneous changes that can enhance the experience.
  • Trust: Demonstrates trust in their abilities, leading to a more collaborative relationship.

Questions or Views

  • How do you choose the right professional for your wedding?
  • What information should you provide to your musicians or DJ?


Testimonials from Couples Who Had Positive Experiences Working with Wedding Music Professionals

  1. Jane and Mark: “Working with our DJ was fantastic. We provided a detailed list of our favourite songs and a few we didn’t want to hear. On the day, he read the crowd perfectly and kept the dance floor packed all night. It was clear he was a professional and knew exactly how to keep the energy high.”
  2. Emma and Liam: “Our wedding band was incredible. We discussed our vision with them, and they even learned a special song for our first dance. Throughout the evening, they mixed our favourite tracks with their own creative flair, making the night unforgettable.”

In conclusion, choosing wedding music is significantly enhanced by collaborating with professional musicians and DJs. By clearly communicating your vision, creating a detailed schedule, and allowing them some creative freedom, you can ensure that your wedding music is perfectly tailored to your celebration. Trusting in their expertise can lead to a seamless and memorable musical experience for you and your guests.

How to Choose A Wedding Music
How to Choose A Wedding Music



In this guide, we’ve explored the essential aspects of choosing wedding music, highlighting how thoughtful selection can transform your wedding day into an unforgettable celebration. From setting the tone during the ceremony to keeping the energy high at the reception, each music choice plays a critical role. We’ve discussed selecting music for different parts of the day, weighing the benefits of live music versus a DJ, creating a balanced playlist, and working effectively with music professionals.

Final Thoughts

Planning your wedding music is not just about picking songs; it’s about curating a soundtrack that reflects your love story and creates lasting memories. Start early to give yourself ample time to explore your options, gather input from your partner and loved ones, and enjoy the process. Remember, your wedding day is a unique event, and the music should resonate with you and your guests.

Call to Action

Now is the perfect time to start choosing wedding music that will make your special day truly memorable. Begin by brainstorming your favourite songs, considering the mood you want to set, and consulting with professional musicians or DJs if needed. By taking these steps, you’ll ensure that your wedding day is filled with the perfect soundtrack to your love story. Let the music planning begin and set the stage for a celebration that you and your guests will cherish forever.


The information and inspiration for this article were gathered from various online sources, including wedding blogs, trend forecasts, and my own experience as a wedding videographer. Please note that trends can vary by location and culture, so it’s always a good idea to do your own research and consult with a professional wedding planner in your area.

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About The Author

Tom Kornatowski is a seasoned wedding videographer with a passion for capturing timeless and cinematic wedding videos. Inspired by the golden years of Hollywood cinematography, Tom embarked on a journey that led him from documentary videography to the world of luxury wedding films.

Having filmed over 300 weddings, Tom’s expertise is not just limited to the UK but extends to destination weddings across the globe. From the picturesque landscapes of the Amalfi Coast and Lake Como to the enchanting castles of Spain or France, Tom’s work is a testament to his dedication and love for his craft.

Beyond his work, Tom is a firm believer in continuous learning. He frequently attends videography, photography, and production courses to stay updated with the latest trends and techniques, ensuring that his work remains at the forefront of wedding cinematography.
Tom’s commitment to his craft, combined with his extensive experience, makes him a trusted choice for couples looking to immortalise their special day. His work has garnered praise from numerous couples, with many highlighting his professionalism, attention to detail, and ability to capture the essence of their wedding day.

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