Everything You Need to Know About Planning Music for Your Wedding

By Ryan Smith

June 10, 2020

If you’re looking for a simple step-by-step process to plan wedding music that will make your special day so moving, you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of a real like movie sound-track, this article is for you!

Step one: Choose your Prelude Flavor!
 
Guests will arrive as early as 45 minutes before the time that is printed on the invitation. It is wonderful when they arrive to lovely music, and it creates a serene environment and sets the tone for the theme of the day: the love between you and your future spouse. 

Now a prelude can be as long as 20 songs, so rather than choosing them yourself, describe the atmosphere so your musicians can adjust to the energy of your guests and create the right mood. 

 

Here are some ideas:

 

  • Romantic love songs

  • Lighthearted chill

  • Whimsical dramatic 

  • Elegant classical 

Pro tip: Any songs you don’t want? Occasionally, a song is un-requested. I love knowing this too.
 

All of Me - John Legend

All of Me

Step Two: Choreograph your Processional

Not literally, but here’s what I mean:

TIMING. IS. KEY.

Timing is key because with multiple songs, you want the music to build up the right amount of energy to lead to the bridal entrance. That means, the different song selections chosen need to be planned with those in your processional. That means your wedding party, parents, grandparents, flower children, and occasionally, etc..

Here’s how to master your timing:

1. Plan on 20 seconds for each entrance. 
We want to make sure the song is long enough. It depends on the size of your venue. A solid rule of thumb is that each entering person (or pair) needs about 20 seconds of music. A bridal party of 6 pairs will be about 2 minutes. A great rehearsal tip is to time it so everyone has a feel for when and how fast to walk. It’s always gone well, but, is important. 


2. Plan your cues with your musician. Letting the song cue the entrance adds to the formality in an exciting way. Let your loved ones know to enter when their song starts.

Pro Tip: For an elegant presentation, I recommend no more than 3 Processional songs. You can assign people to each song as you wish. Often the wedding party has their “own” song, as well as the flower children
 

I Cross My Heart - George Strait

I Cross My Heart

Step Three: Make Your Entrance Sparkle


While it’s entirely dependent on walking speed, the big entrance is nearly always right at 30 seconds. Choose a song that works well with a fade out at about 30 seconds. 
Work with your musician on finding a new starting point in the song. There is always an option for having your favorite song. 

Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

Ain't No Mountain High Enough

Step Three: Exit with Bang!


Your recessional is the first song you’ll hear as a married couple!  Many prefer an uplifting and joyful song, while some choose sentimental and sweet. Here’s a favorite brides love:

Step 5: Party with a Postlude
Most often, when the Recessional song has ended guests will still be making their exit from the ceremony space. Why not play a few more songs to keep the high energy lovely ambiance? 

 

Bottom Line:
If you want your ceremony to music to move with the emotions of your day, planning your ceremony music carefully is key! If you have any questions about it or if you have some song ideas you’d like a second opinion on, feel free to schedule a call or join our facebook group here!

Until next time!

-Ryan
 

About
Find Me On
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
Photographers
Coryn Kiefer 
K Layne 
Klaus James 
Blue Rose 
Legal
Albuquerque | Santa Fe | Taos | New Mexico | Wedding Music | Event Music | Solo Cello | ryan@ryansmithcellomusic.com