Beethoven once said “Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.” And there is no truer universal experience of that fact than on your wedding day. From the time we are children, we recognize the role that music plays in setting the scene and symbolizing the love for a wedding. Don’t you remember walking down your hallway with a couch cover for a veil as your siblings sang “dum dum da-dum, dum dum da-dum”? As Beethoven points out, music finds a way to project and assert our emotional and spiritual state in ways simple words often cannot, which is why music has traditionally been such an intricate part of the wedding day.

Think about all the different musical components: ceremony entrance, ceremony processional, reception entrance, first dance, mother/son dance, father/daughter dance, cake cutting, bouquet toss, garter toss, and the list will go on infinitely. Given the cultural, spiritual, social, and emotional importance of music, here are things to keep in mind during planning.

Check for any special requirements if you aren’t having a secular ceremony. Certain religions, and even more nuanced, certain communities within the religion, may have their own rules and guidelines for choosing music for wedding ceremonies. It’s important that you find out these guidelines before you have your heart set on music for your wedding day. For my own wedding, I had planned to play a recording of Josh Groban and Charlotte Church singing “The Prayer” during the memorial candle lighting, but alas I found out that even though the song was religious in nature, my church didn’t allow recordings nor non-Vatican sanctioned music during services. I quickly had to find another song, equally as meaningful to us, to replace “The Prayer.”

Ask for any restrictions your venue may have. In all reality, most secular and commercial venues will not have any objections to the kind of music you want played. However, in rare cases, a venue may have restrictions regarding profanity, content, and in some cases even genres. If you aren’t absolutely certain that your venue has no restrictions, ask. The worst case scenario is you and your vendor will get a chuckle out of such a silly question. The best case scenario is you find out that your choreographed entrance to Lil Wayne may need to be edited.

Choose music that is meaningful to both of you. I can’t tell you how many couples I come across where one (usually the bride, but that’s a discussion for another day) is in control of picking all the music for the wedding day. Music is such an important role on your day, as the lyrics and songs themselves are symbols for the life you are choosing and the partner you are committing to. I always suggest that couples choose their music together. Make it a fun date night with wine and your iTunes. Bicker over why you want one song over the other. (Seriously, who doesn’t want to have that conundrum: “But honey, this song expresses how much I love you so much better.”) The same goes for your mother/son and father/daughter dances. Let your parents in on the discussion. You never know, they may have had the song picked out for decades.

If you can’t decide on a song, use both in different ways. When you choose your songs together, you’re bound to have different opinions. Even planning our own wedding, my partner was hell bent on using “Taking You Home” by Don Henley and “True Companion” by Marc Cohen. While I loved the messages the songs had, the music wasn’t quite my style. I pushed for “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds as our first dance. In the end, we found a win/win solution. “The Luckiest” was our first dance, “Taking You Home” was the last dance, and we had “True Companion” engraved on our wedding rings. Just remind yourselves there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate all the music you want.

Be creative and find a way to capture your first dance song. For most couples, your first dance is a culmination of all the nerves and excitement and your opportunity to bask in the glow of each other’s happiness. Ok, so maybe that last sentence was a bit melodramatic, but truthfully it is a pretty magical moment — and the song you dance to reflects that moment. Unless you choose a standard or wedding favorite, chances are you won’t have many opportunities to hear your song come on the radio or playing over a restaurant’s jukebox. Consider making yourself a keepsake with the lyrics of your first dance to keep somewhere in your home. I know one couple who framed the lyrics next to a picture of them dancing, while another had the lyrics painted onto their cereal bowls.

Make a wedding day playlist or mix tape. There will be times, both before and after your wedding, when you just want to be reminded of that day. Make yourself a playlist or mix tape. And for those of you not old enough to remember tapes, a mix CD will work just fine. This way you will always have a compilation of music to give you a snap shot of your wedding day whenever you need it.


Useful links:
Wedding Music Italy
Wedding Bands Italy