When To Play Music At Your Wedding

when to play music at your wedding

When To Play Music At Your Wedding

  |   weddings

There is so much that goes into planning your big day. There are so many moving parts to take into account, and one thing that is subtle but very important is music. Knowing when to play music at your wedding will make all the difference in how successful your big day is.


Often, we get asked when to play music at a wedding, and when not to. We think that music should always be playing except for important moments like speeches and announcements. Think of it as a movie soundtrack, music is on throughout from beginning to end.


There are moments where playing music just doesn’t make sense, or isn’t appropriate. Below we’ve put together a general timeline of a traditional wedding and where music is appropriate. We hope this helps in planning when to play music at your wedding.



Wedding Ceremony

Prelude – When planning when to play music at your wedding, it’s important not to forget music before the wedding actually starts. As guests walk in and take their seats for the ceremony, it’s nice to have some music playing in the background. Acoustic or instrumental music would be a good fit here.


Processional – The processional marks the beginning of the ceremony. Here, the grandparents, parents, groom, and officiant take their place. You can also have your wedding party walk down the aisle to this song, or have a different one for them. The key is to have a different song from the prelude music to signal a definite start.


Bride’s Song – This is the song where the bride walks down the aisle. This should be a different song from any of the rest that have been playing during the ceremony.


Unity sand/candle – Sometimes this activity gets overlooked. If you’re planning on having a unity ceremony like lighting a candle or pouring sand into a container, you may want to think about having a song playing in the background at low volume.


Recessional – After you say “I do” and everyone cheers, it may be a good idea to have an energetic or meaningful song to walk out to. You just got married, might as well celebrate it!


Postlude – Once the wedding party has left the ceremony area, the guests are left being escorted out. This is a good opportunity to have some light music playing in the background similar to the prelude as people are leaving the ceremony area.


Wedding Reception

Cocktail Hour – Once everyone has left the ceremony area, they enter the banquet hall for cocktail hour. During cocktail hour, you and your spouse will be out taking photos while your guests are enjoying drinks. Something jazzy like Sinatra would be a good touch here.


Grand Entrance – After cocktail hour is finished, your guests will be led to the dinner area and asked to be seated. This prepares them for the the grand entrance where the wedding party and newlyweds enter the space. A high energy and meaningful song would be appropriate here. The wedding party should enter to a different song than the newlyweds.


Dinner – The grand entrance typically signals the beginning of dinner. You may have a welcome or a blessing before the meal given by a family member or your officiant. If someone is giving a welcome or a blessing, music should be off. Once they’re done giving their speech, music can resume. Music for dinner should be played at a low volume so your guests can talk amongst each other. R&B, Jazz, or easy listening would be good during dinner.


Toasts/Speeches – During the toasts and speeches, music should not be played. We obviously want to hear and respect what your family and friends have to say, so their voice should be the only thing coming out of the speakers.


Formal Dances – The formal dances consist of the newlyweds’ first dance, the mother and son dance, and the father and daughter dance. These are all optional, and up to you if you’d like to have any of these at your wedding. You also have the option of doing the formal dances right after the grand entrance or after dinner and speeches. It’s really up to you and your preference. During these dances, your requested songs will be played. Songs that are chosen are usually meaningful songs for the people dancing.


Cake Cutting – During the cake cutting ceremony, you may want to think about having a song playing in the background. This should be played at low volume and just loud enough to keep the vibe going. Depending on how long it takes to cut the cake, you may need to play two or three songs.


Bouquet and Garter – If you choose to do a bouquet and garter toss, you’ll need a couple songs. Play a party song to get your bridesmaids excited for the toss, and play a fun song to get your groomsmen pumped for the garter. You can be as fun, creative, or as corny as you’d like!


Dancing – The moment everyone has been waiting for, party time! You want great music and everyone dancing. Trust your DJ to play the right music, but also, make sure you let them know what kind of music you and your guests like. With just a few requests, your DJ will know exactly what to play for you and your guests.


Last Song/Exit Song – Your last song for the night. This is the opportunity to have your last dance, or just a song that your guests can exit to.


There you have it! A detailed timeline of when to play music at your wedding. We like to think of weddings like movies. If you try watching a movie with no music, it just isn’t the same. We hope this has been helpful in planning when you need music for your wedding ceremony and reception. At Nufusion Productions, we would love the opportunity to help build the soundtrack to your wedding day. Visit the contact page and let us know how we can play the perfect music for your big day!

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