It’s been a good while since I’ve posted, but I wanted to talk about one of most asked about topics I encounter: Choosing the formal music.

When I talk about the formal music, I’m not talking about the music played during the dance time. You should let your DJ know what kind of music and any specific songs you would like to hear for the dance time and then let them do what they do best, ROCK YOUR DANCE FLOOR!

The music I’m referring to involves the actual formalities. Songs for the ceremony procession/recessional, grand entrance, first dance and even the last dance of the night.

There are MILLIONS of songs to choose from in order to narrow down the songs to the handful you will need for the most important day in your adult life, so when it comes to actually picking the music it can seem overwhelming because the pressure is on to find the PERFECT song. But WHY? Why is there so much pressure when you’re only picking music?

I believe it’s because subconsciously, you know that the song you pick needs to convey the right EMOTION so that your guests can feel and be in that moment with you emotionally. I should pause here and state that having an experienced master of ceremonies is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to making those formal moments all they can be (for the reception-not the ceremony…the DJ shouldn’t generally be saying anything during the ceremony unless they’re officiating too).

So I will break the formal music down into two categories The fun stuff and the serious stuff.

As examples, the serious stuff would be the bride’s processional, the unity ceremony or the first dance. The fun stuff would be the grand entrance, cake cutting, or garter toss.

For the serious songs, I typically recommend finding a song that says LYRICALLY what or how you think you will feel in that moment. Some songs for the bride’s processional include A Thousand Years by Christina Perri, To Make You Feel My Love by Garth Brooks or Adele, or even Beauty and the Beast. They all have lyrics that speak to the deep ties of love that you and your fiance have for each other and will be expressing to each other. When it comes to your recessional music, I typically recommend something upbeat and celebratory like Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder, This Will Be by Natalie Cole, or Accidentally In Love by Counting Crows. These are just a few easy examples. there are also instrumental versions of popular songs that work very well, so if you’re into classical music or acoustic-stylings, there is something out there for you too.

The fun songs are really where you can begin to add some extra and unique POP to your party. Your grand entrance DOES NOT have to be done to I’ve Got a Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas. It not that it’s a bad song, but for a grand entrance it’s very cliche and I always try to encourage my clients to think outside the box. There are a ton of ways to customize your grand entrance itself so that it stands out from every other one you may have seen in the past. Some good examples of grand entrance songs are Bring ‘Em Out by T.I., TNT by ACDC, or Best Day of My Life by The American Authors.

The parent’s songs are a little tricky sometimes. I recommend picking a song that reflects the relationship between two people dancing. Take the father/daughter dance song for instance: If you’re very close to your father, you may consider a song like Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman or I Loved Her First by Heartland. If your relationship is more “buddy-buddy) consider something like Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (no, don’t ask me how to pronounce it) or one of my favorites, You Got a Friend in Me by Randy Newman.

The last formal song I’ll talk about is the last dance song. I consider this a formality because of how powerful those last moments can be. This will be the last song you get to share with the closest people in your lives on the biggest day of your life. I believe it’s vital that everyone be able to share those last moments in unity.

Picking your last dance song will depend on whether you want to end the night with a bang or go out on a mellow note. I almost always recommend picking a “late night, piano bar, sing-along” style song. If you’re wanting to go out with a bang think Don’t Stop Believing by Journey, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen or Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon. If you’re ending on a mellow note, think about Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks, Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond or Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker or Old Crow Medicine Show. My all-time favorite whether going out with a bang or ending mellow is Piano Man by Billy Joel.

I know those may seem cliche but remember, pretty much EVERYONE knows the lyrics to those songs and they can help create a really wonderful, and emotional ending to an amazing day.

For those of you who are having a themed wedding (Harry Potter, Disney, etc.) Definitely feel free to use music from those various franchises to further accentuate your theme!

Remember to ask your DJ for suggestions and ideas when it comes to your formalities too! If all else fails and you’re still stumped, Google and Pinterest are your best friends.