7 things you must know before picking your wedding music

So you’re getting married! Congrats! I highly recommend it, it’s great!! Ok, so you’re thinking of so many things that you need to plan out and make decisions on. I won’t list these out as it’ll turn into an e-book as opposed to a short blog article! I think you know what I’m talking about, but choosing the right music for your wedding day will take time and effort but it will be so worth it! 

In this post I want to look at the 7 things you must know before picking your wedding music, some people don't put much thought into these, don't get caught out!

Music is an all day affair

There are many aspects to a wedding and they all often revolve around music. This is from the ceremony right through to the evening entertainment. You are also thinking about the video recording and how the music for your wedding day will sound listening back. Wearing another hat, I also co-manage 2 wedding bands www.saxandthecityband.ie @saxandthecityband and www.saxonfireband.ie so I am talking to couples about these choices and you would be surprised with the amount of detail that goes into this thought process and music in particular.

The following is a quick breakdown of style and approach around selection of music for your wedding day and what you can consider for each part (in my experience). This description of course is influenced by a number of factors including where you are from, culture, religion etc. As I said above, I will write on what I know, you can join the dots and reference your own context. I’ll also make references only to religion based on my own experience of being part of Christian/Catholic weddings, I won’t try and voice for what might or might not work in other religious contexts. 


In Ireland, there are many ceremony types, generally classified as secular and non-secular. The biggest issue here I find is the expectation that there will be lots of music played for the ceremony. There won’t be, especially for a religious ceremony. I have played music at ceremonies where the priest has very ‘unceremoniously’ cut us off from playing as he wanted to continue with the ceremony and felt we played too long. I get this and have had this conversation with couples, my advice? Aim for less. Humanist and other non-religious ceremonies are shorter again and very often 5-6 short pieces can be enough (and generally not full pieces either!!). Of course the type of wedding music will be influenced by the ceremony type, the real answer here is get the entertainment to talk to the celebrant or you be the go between on this, but please don’t leave anything to chance. We often get requests for popular music and this is a nice break away from the more, ‘standard’ songs. 

In terms of wedding traditions, it’s always nice to look into this, there are often nice traditions that you may not know about. Check out https://www.weddingforward.com/american-wedding-traditions/ (@weddingforward) for some inspiration here. 

One more thing...the love actually scene for ‘all you need is love’ is nice in theory but rarely works in practice!! Sorry, we’ve tried it!!! (that’s gone and burst a few bubbles!  eeeeeks!). The lads here on blacktux give a good explainer https://theblacktux.com/groomsguide/ceremony/make-it-special/how-to-choose-your-wedding-processional-music. (@theblacktux)

For a comprehensive list on ideas for ceremony music check out https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-ceremony-songs (@theknot)

Why not have music composed especially for your wedding day?! How special would that be?

If you want to feel really really special, at www.ownatune.com (@ownatune) we compose unique and bespoke pieces of music for couples where you get a unique art piece (so you can hang it in your home)and the Mp3. We’ve had couples who have had music composed and played as ‘their’ piece of music as they walk up the aisle! We love these stories. It’s captured on camera so you have the audio and the visual of you walking up the aisle to your own music - we get great feedback on this part!

Product image for www.ownatune.com

What could be more special than your own piece of music for your wedding day? Check out www.ownatune.com or email us info@ownatune.com 

Drinks reception 

This is generally music which is provided at the hotel/venue where the post-ceremony celebration is happening. The couple are typically having photos taken, the wedding party will make their way to the venue and need to be entertained!! The type of wedding music and approach here is often low key, jazz standards, classical, MOR etc. People want a chat and meet up so the music here is designed not to be intrusive. Check out https://www.brides.com/wedding-cocktail-hour-songs-4774516 (@brides) for a comprehensive song list!

Post dinner party music

This is the main entertainment of the day. Generally a band or DJ will assume the main role here, entertaining for up to 5 hours. The type of wedding music is designed to get you up dancing and to get people out on the floor to celebrate with you! 

Most couples like to give some basic pointers to the band/DJ in terms of areas that they don’t like/do like. We love it when we are given these basic instructions and can then go and read the floor and react to what your guests are enjoying. Having a prescriptive list of songs is boring and doesn’t make for a good night of entertaining. 

The Band

Picking the right band is gold. You want someone who has experience but you also want value for money. Coming from someone who co-manages an award winning band (One of the bands I co-manage, Sax and the city just won the @weddingsonline band of the year), I can’t stress enough how important it is to get your band booked early. I cannot count how many disappointed brides/grooms I have had on the phone who just left it too late to book their band of choice. Ok, so back to the music…

To get inspired around the choice of music for your wedding day, check out ‘songs that will make your wedding an instant dance party’ https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/best-wedding-dance-songs @refinery29 who have put together a cool list (coming from a wedding band perspective!)

Make sure you communicate with the band in advance on the songs you like / don’t like - I always ask for this and it’s great to have these go and no-go areas. 


We get inquiries to just put on DJ music for the 5 hours instead of the band. If you’re going for this option, I suggest you have some suggestions ready for the DJ and communicate this in advance of the wedding. It gives the DJ the ‘goalposts’. An experienced DJ will read the floor and keep it full. 

https://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-djs has a supply list for DJ’s based in the US @weddingwire which is a great source of songs and inspiration.

I hope that this helped, any other help needed, just send a message!