The best films boast soundtracks that heighten every experience. This is exactly what you want music to do on your wedding day, starting with your ceremony.
Use this guide to create a ceremony music playlist that will enhance the heady emotions of love and happiness. The right soundtrack will help make you feel amazing – as every bride should on her wedding day at TheArtFactory!
Live ceremony music ideas
If you prefer to create a ceremony music playlist with live musicians, and if your budget allows, then you’ve got a lot of decisions to make! Before you finalize your song selection, you need to work out what kind of musicians you’d like to bring the tunes to life.
From relaxed romance of an acoustic guitarist to the moving melodies of a pianist – there are endless options for live ceremony music. Match the sound they create to the style of songs you’d like them to play for the perfect accompaniment.
Wedding ceremony songs our featured couples love
Traditional wedding ceremony songs
Pachelbel – Canon in D
Wagner – Bridal Chorus
Mendelssohn – Wedding March
Modern wedding ceremony songs
Christina Perri – A Thousand Years
Eva Cassidy – Songbird
Train – Marry Me
Bruno Mars – Marry You
Ed Sheeran – Tenerife Sea
Imagine Dragons – On Top Of The World or The Wannadies – You & Me
Like this? Then you’ll love these 12 processional and recessional wedding ceremony songs. Use this guide on what to play and when to play it to make sure your music hits all the right notes.
How to create your ceremony music playlist
Music for when your guests arrive
Whether you opt for a live performance or compile your own playlist, there’s more to putting it all together than simply selecting the songs you love. As your guests arrive, you want music that is romantic and gentle.
Processional songs for when you walk down the aisle
As the doors swing open, revealing you in your dream dress, your ceremony music has a different role to play. The traditional ‘Bridal Chorus’ has the drama and tradition that many brides love. Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in D’, on the other hand, offers a soundtrack that is romantic and creates anticipation, but in a softer manner.
You also want to choose a song that inspires confidence in you. All eyes will be on you, which can be daunting, as brilliant as you doubtless will look, so choose songs that help you feel your best.
Music to play when you sign the register
You’ll also want to choose songs for the signing of the register. This is often a brilliant moment at which to choose songs with lyrics that really resound. The nervous part of the ceremony is over, so you’re both relaxed and feeling on top of the world. Let your music reflect that!
Ceremony music for when you walk back up the aisle as newlyweds
Equally, as you exit the ceremony and walk back up the aisle as husband and wife, you want a song that is celebratory and complements how you feel.
Don’t feel you have to do the same as other couples, either. We’ve seen newlyweds break out into a dance routine as they rock it back up the aisle. We’ve seen others walk out together, totally in love, to Train’s ‘Marry Me’. And then there are the couples who see the end of the ceremony as the start of the party, choosing a track to match.
Once you’ve nailed your ceremony music playlist, it’s time to think about the party afterwards!
‘Waste’ by Phish
At their beautiful wedding Nick surprised his bride, Cara, by selecting their first dance song on his own. “I had no idea what it was going to be prior to that night,” says Cara. “He chose the song ‘Waste’ by Phish.”
‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz
Natasha and Steve’s classic, old Hollywood themed big day boasted a first dance to ‘I’m yours’ by Jason Mraz. Natasha says, “This song has a special meaning for us. It was the song that was playing while I was getting ready for our very first date and then as I got into Steve’s car it was playing again! We always randomly hear it wherever we go!”
You’ll find more romantic ideas like these in this ultimate list of 40 romantic first dance classics.
‘Sky Full of Stars’ by Coldplay
School sweethearts Lauren and Adam went for the personal route with a wonderful surprise twist! “We chose ‘Sky Full of Stars’ by Coldplay. The song is close to our hearts and had been for a while. It just describes us as a couple!”, says Lauren. On the day Adam surprised Lauren with tickets to see Coldplay later in the year, too.
‘Listen to the Man’ by George Ezra
A few months before their wedding, James was away serving in the Falklands for six months. While he was away the couple were still trying to decide on their first dance song. “I’d seen the video for ‘Listen to the Man’ by George Ezra on television and was explaining to James over Skype how funny it was,” says Rachel. “James then asked the British Forces Broadcasting Service to play it, dedicating it to me. It made me feel that little bit closer to him, with him 8,000 miles away – of course it was our first dance song after that!”
‘Without You’ by David Guetta
Katherine and Matt wanted a fun, upbeat song that they both loved for their first dance. Choosing ‘Without You’ by David Guetta, the couple choreographed a routine rather than a formal dance, totally surprising their guests. Katherine says, “We absolutely loved doing it and the reaction from the guests was just awesome!”
Like this? You’ll love these 16 quirky first dance song ideas for the less traditional couple!
Haven’t got your ceremony music sorted yet, either? Check those out:
- “You’re My Best Friend,” Queen
- “Always on My Mind,” Elvis Presley
- “I Fall to Pieces,” Patsy Cline
- “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” Stevie Wonder
- “Lost in Love,” Air Supply
- “Just the Way You Are,” Billy Joel
- “I Will Always Love You,” Whitney Houston
- “Unchained Melody,” The Righteous Brothers
- “Crazy Love,” Van Morrison
- “When a Man Loves a Woman,” Percy Sledge
- “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch),” Four Tops
- “Endless Love,” Diana Ross and Lionel Ritchie
- “The Power of Love,” Huey Lewis & the News
- “Wonderful Tonight,” Eric Clapton
- “(What a) Wonderful World,” Sam Cooke
- “My Girl,” The Temptations
- “Your Song,” Elton John
- “You Make Me Feel So Young,” Frank Sinatra
- “My Love,” Lionel Richie
- “The Lady in Red,” Chris de Burgh
- “Heaven,” Bryan Adams
- “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” Queen
- “Baby, I Love Your Way,” Peter Frampton
- “Have I Told You Lately,” Rod Stewart
- “Keep On Loving You,” REO Speedwagon
- “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” Elvis Presley
- “Back in My Arms Again,” The Supremes
- “Lady,” Styx
- “Up Where We Belong,” Joe Cocker
- “I’ll Be There,” The Jackson 5
- “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” The Police
- “How Sweet It Is [To Be Loved by You],” James Taylor
- “We Belong,” Pat Benatar
And if you’ve got a shortlist of first dance song ideas, then these are the tips you need to make the final decision.