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Sweet Sounds: Your Wedding Music

By : Frances Badgett

It just so happens that the best scenes in movies happen at Wedding receptions. Think of The Godfather, or Godfather II, or Wedding Crashers. Okay, maybe not, but music can be a whole new layer of expression at your special event and the heart and soul of a great day.


There is a wealth of great music from many different cultural traditions out there, from lilting Irish melodies for the ceremony itself to rousing sambas for the reception. If you or your beloved has cultural ties to a particular nationality or tradition, working traditional, or culturally inspired music into the ceremony and reception can make for a meaningful touch.



Simple is sometimes better. Recorded music offers the security of knowing exactly what music goes where and when (which is important during the ceremony) and wipes away all of the uncertainty of performers, their quality, and the proper conditions for performance. You don’t want a brass ensemble on a windy, sandy beach, for example. A d.j. for your reception can also keep the dance floor hot while you’re busy having fun and visiting with family and friends. 




So many couples go with Ave Maria or Pachelbel’s Canon in D, and though they are lovely, they are a bit done. A few months before your ceremony, strike up Pandora and type in Brahms or Strauss. You’ll get a lot of exposure to beautiful, lyrical classical music that can be appropriate for your big day—and you may learn something, too! Bear in mind that “Here Comes the Bride” is a march, so slow marches are completely appropriate. If there’s a special song you two share, that’s totally appropriate, too. Just remember that music sets the tone for the ceremony, so make it a memory you’ll want to keep


The bride’s dance with her dad may be a tradition we can skip, but if you’re keeping it, something sweet that has meaning for both of you is a nice touch. The bride and groom also dance to “their” song, which can be really moving, unless it’s Nickelback.

Sheila Carson

Sheila Carson

Courtney Bowlden

Courtney Bowlden

Sheila Carson

Sheila Carson


A simple string trio or quartet can be a lovely and elegant way to start the ceremony. A reputable trio has likely played a few weddings in their day, and might have a repertoire they recommend. A soloist at a piano can also be quite nice. If you have musical talent in your family, this is a great way of including them in your ceremony.


Our area boasts a lot of great bands, and many of them play a versatile enough set list that you can make it really fun. There’s also the option of having a band for the first hour or two, then switching to music you choose on your smartphone over wireless speakers. Whatever you decide, live bands can bring a lot of energy and excitement to your reception.


Prelude: Music while guests are settling in and waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Processional: The ceremony’s beginning It is customary to intersperse music into the ceremony, sometimes before and after the vows, but there aren’t any rules.

Recessional: This is where couples often inject a little humor or start up the flashmob.


Strangely and Friends: Good ‘ol timey accordian and banjo. Fun and antics for the whole family.

BandZandt: Rock-n-Roll, east Whatcom style.

The Walrus: Classics with a nice, jazzy twist, The Walrus plays The Beatles, The Cure, Jefferson Airplane, and more.

SpaceBand: Funk, pop, rock, rap and much more. Very upbeat and dancey.

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