Picking Music and Setting the Mood

Music is one of those things that PBear and I just don’t have many strong opinions about.  We always figured we would just do an iPod wedding and call it a day, especially since we don’t really plan on doing the whole dancing thing.

However, our venue had this amazing grand piano, which is definitely one of the focal points of the room. Though I’m sure our guests would be too nice to say something, it would feel weird to me to have this beautiful instrument there and not use it.


See the gorgeous piano?

Thus, I moved some money around to make some room to get a pianist to come and play for the ceremony and possibly most of the cocktail hour. Then for dinner, we would transition into the iPod for the rest of the reception.

Our officiant was thrilled when she heard that we had booked a musician for the ceremony portion. She says that because it’s an actual person sitting there, they are more on top of when to play the music. Furthermore, if someone walks in too fast or too slowly, we can always adjust the music to accommodate them. I’m hopeful that this will create a nice flow and make it more memorable.

Picking a musician was easy. Our venue coordinator recommended the guy who comes and maintains the piano. His pricing seemed reasonable, so without much hesitation, we booked him. Easy and done—-unlike most of the decisions that we’ve had to make.

Photo by: Britt Chudleigh on Snippet & Ink via Lover.ly

The question now is, OK, so what do we actually want him to play? I’m not sure if we really have an idea as to where to start. We’re interested in keeping the music light, classic, and happy. We don’t want it to be a focal point, but we understand that it can really set the mood—and that’s as much as we’ve decided. We really don’t have any strong opinions about the subject, or rather, we don’t even have the knowledge to draw from as to where to start. (I’m sorry, Mom, for all those years of piano lessons that have gone to waste!)

Photo by: Phindy Studios on The Bride’s Cafe via Lover.ly

I was thinking of possibly using The Vitamin String Quartet as background music for the reception, as I’m a big fan of their instrumental versions of popular music.

That’s where you bees come in. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what we should be playing or know a resource as to where to go to figure out what type of music to play? Did anyone else get a pianist?


Mrs. Panda

Boston, MA
Wedding Date:
June 2013
Lives Intertwined: Walk Down the Aisle
Cauldrons on the Chesapeake: A Quiet Anchorage
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  1. genie Bee
    genie 723 posts, Busy bee @ 11:25 am

    I think it would be nice for him to play old standards if your goal is to keep the mood light and happy. Who doesn’t love to hear instantly recognizable songs on the piano? Here are some examples: “It Had to Be You,” “Embraceable You,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “As Time Goes By,”LOVE,” and “Fly Me to the Moon.”

  2. Member
    mrsjjc 246 posts, Helper bee @ 11:45 am

    Ask your pianist! We told ours that we wanted romantic, listenable music… and then let her choose her own program. She sent me a few ideas (Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata, Brahms Intermezzo op. 117, “Embraceable You”), and her suggestions were perfect for our needs.

    I think, if you aren’t familiar with piano rep, it’s easier to just give your pianist some keywords and let him or her go from there!

  3. castle Bee
    castle 1191 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:09 pm

    I agree with Genie that old standards are always great. We had that playing during cocktail hour and dinner. They make for great background music.

  4. bluewhale Bee
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 12:52 pm

    I totally agree with @MrsJJC. Your pianist will have great suggestions. They will know what’s gone over well in the past, what didn’t work so well. Maybe you could suggest something very general, like, instrumental versions of classic love songs and see what he comes up with. Most pianists who play events have a HUGE repertoire they could suggest to you.

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Elizabeth, Guest @ 7:11 pm

    As a cellist who plays weddings not infrequently, I would definitely advise you to talk to your pianist, because they will have a standard set of songs that sound good and work well in that kind of setting. Especially since you don’t have any particularly strong opinions on the matter.

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