Here’s What a Couple Should Discuss Before Selecting Wedding Music

A bride and groom at their first dance.

When you’re immersed in the hustle and bustle of planning a wedding, the last thing you want is to argue with your partner. Yet, it’s common for couples to squabble over the music for their marriage ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. Differing tastes, favorite artists, and disparate visions for pivotal moments can sometimes lead to frustration. So, how can couples approach wedding music collaboratively, and have fun in the process? As you broach the topic of wedding music with your soon-to-be-spouse, here are three things to remember.

Think Bigger

Music is an important component of a wedding, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Optimally, your music should fit in seamlessly with the vibe and spirit of the rest of your special day.

Imagine, for example, that you’re planning a black tie affair in a cathedral, with the cocktail hour and reception taking place at an upscale hotel nearby. Chances are, songs in the country music genre don’t really fit into that vision. As another example, suppose you’re planning a more casual outdoor ceremony, with a reception featuring food trucks and carnival snacks. It’s unlikely that any classical music pieces fit the bill for that theme.

As you talk about wedding music with your future spouse, keep in mind your holistic vision for the day. If the two of you are aligned on that, conversations on music will be more seamless as well. What does the wedding look like, feel like? Is it glamorous? Timeless? Quirky? What makes it special for the two of you? And how can you amplify that feeling through music?

If you’re not quite on the same page on a broader scale yet, back up and rethink themes that meld both of your personalities, families, and interests. After all, the day is all about celebrating your unity!

Divide and Conquer

Two musicians playing music at a garden wedding reception.

Most weddings are divided into two main events: the ceremony and the reception. The ceremony is where the actual “marrying” takes place. The reception is the after-party. And many times, couples will host a cocktail hour in-between.

Why is this important to point out? Because it illustrates that there are many opportunities for both partners to take ownership of the music in a certain portion of the wedding. For example, perhaps one of you plans the ceremony music, the other plans cocktail hour music, and you collaborate on the reception playlist.

Zooming in further, you can even divvy up music-planning responsibilities on a more micro scale. Maybe you’d like to pick out the specific songs for the “big moments” in the reception, like the couples’ entrance or cake cutting, and let your partner pick out songs to fill the gaps between. Or maybe the main ceremony music is really important to your fiancé, and you can pick out all the prelude songs.

By dividing and conquering the music for different parts of the day, you can ensure that you both have a say-so in the repertoire.

Communicate Clearly

When it comes to weddings, most brides and grooms have one or two elements of the day that are very, very important to them. Some people are sticklers for good photography or videography. For others, it’s all about the food. And for others (maybe even you, if you’re reading this article!), the music is the crux of the whole event.

If this does sound like you, and music is something you’re feeling anxious about, communicate that clearly with your partner so they understand how important it is to you. Recognizing what each of you values most about the big day—and where you’re willing to compromise—is a helpful step in understanding where to collaborate or compromise.

By the same token, if there is a particular song or band you have your heart set on for the wedding, say so! Perhaps you always dreamed of a certain song for your first dance or processional (the moment when you or your spouse walks down the aisle). Or maybe there’s a particular genre of music that you really want represented at some point during the special day. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to speak up about it early on in the planning process so you can discuss and build a song list that makes both of you happy.

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