Imagine: you have made sure everything else is just right - everyone has arrived at the church on time, you are looking flawless, your beau is waiting for you at the front of the church and the guests are filing in the venue, ready for the ceremony to begin.

But the orchestra you hired is playing so loudly no-one can hear you recite your wedding vows. Or the iPod you brought along to play the traditional wedding march won't hook up to the speaker system, leaving you walking down the aisle in total silence.

Though these scenarios are, admittedly, a little extreme, they do illustrate the importance of music as a key element of your special day.

Nothing sets the mood or evokes emotion quite like music. The wrong music (or lack thereof) has the potential to destroy the ambience of your reception. On the other hand, a well-chosen song played at a critical point during your ceremony can elevate your wedding from unmemorable to unforgettable.

It's vital that you see and hear your musicians before you book

them - don't hesitate to ask for a CD or video to sample their sounds.


With the countless number of other things to remember when planning your wedding, it is little wonder that the music element often gets left in the hands of bridesmaids, groomsmen or a bridal planner. However choosing the songs to be played during the wedding ceremony can be a fun and exciting task to undertake with your husband-to-be.

Whether you love rock'n'roll or rap music, the options are endless when it comes to creating a custom soundtrack for your wedding. Though the thought of planning what could potentially be hour's worth of music might seem daunting, it is usually best to start by splitting it up into two sections - music for the ceremony and music for the reception.


Music to be played during the ceremony should be chosen with the intention of enhancing the proceedings, rather than detracting attention from them.

Many couples opt to have music playing only while guests arrive at the venue, and cut it off once the actual ceremony begins. Others choose to have a quiet instrumental soundtrack playing throughout the proceedings.

When considering your music, it's vital to take your venue into account too. Some venues, particularly churches or historical buildings, may have restrictions in place regarding volume. If you are getting married in a more traditional type of setting, it is usually best to check with the venue if you are planning on blasting tunes with explicit lyrics or anything else that might cause offence.

Live music is another popular option, with many couples opting for traditional wedding ceremony songs, usually played by a small orchestra or organist, or sung by a choir. It is important to remember this option does require quite a bit more organisation than songs played on an mp3 player. You will need to ensure there is enough space in the venue to fit the musicians and their equipment, and that their requirements (power supply, chairs etc) are met. It's a good idea to organise a trial run with the musicians, so they know exactly when and where to play on the big day. Also, do not forget to have a backup plan (such as a CD player). If your musicians fall ill or happen to be stuck in traffic, you do not want it running your whole ceremony.


While the music at your ceremony might be chosen to reflect occasion and tradition, the music at your wedding reception should ultimately reflect who you are. This is your chance to indulge in cheesy love songs (if that's your thing) and play all those tunes which symbolise your relationship with your new husband.

Although it might be tempting to create a playlist of songs which you like (it is, after all, your big day), you might want to take your guests' tastes into account. If you have been a guest at any weddings lately, think about which songs induced the most dance floor bopping. You might even go one step further and include a note on our RSVP cards asking your guests to request one or two songs they would be most likely to dance to, so you can create a list of tunes sure to please everyone.

The type of reception you are having should also impact your choice of music. If you are planning a formal sit-down affair, the music should be in the background and not interfere with the general conversation, at least until the tables are cleared away and the dance floor gets going. For a less formal setting, such as a cocktail reception, the music can be a little more prominent and may even make people more likely to mingle.

Choosing the main wedding song for the first dance is very easy if you have a particular special song. If you are struggling to narrow it down, choose the one which will best suit your dancing ability.

A live band is a great choice for a reception, although you will need to thoroughly discuss the set list and ensure they have more than enough time to practice any songs you specifically request (such as that for the first dance). Likewise, hiring a DJ for the night may give you more flexibility in what gets played but it is important to give him or her a list of your favourite songs and 'must plays' so you can ensure they get an airing. 


Whichever music option you choose, it's all about celebrating

your special day so just do your best to relax and have a good time.



© The West Australian

More wedding inspiration at The West Australian Wedding Guide.