Do I seriously need a song for the cake-cutting? Which one’s the processional/recessional?
Can’t I just high-kick my way down the aisle to The Ramones?
Dear god of wedding madness, what is an appropriate song for a bouquet toss?!
Welcome to the world of totally unnecessary wedding song stress. If you’re stuck wondering how many wedding songs you need to pick for your big day, we’re here to throw you a lifeline.
Spoiler alert: there’s only 2 must-haves, and a couple of optionals.
The traditional 'must-have' wedding song list
If you’ve worked your way through the dry google results on the matter, you’ve probably seen a long, dull list of wedding formalities you need to create a soundtrack to.
Here’s what a very conservative, yawn-inducing wedding song list looks like:
That’s 14 specially selected songs to accompany traditional wedding formalities.
If you think that’s ridiculous, you’re in good company.
It’s not a musical, it’s your marriage, right? You don’t need to bore your guests with this much fluff. And you don’t need to put yourself through it either.
Without too much stress, we can cut more than half of these token gestures. That leaves your brain free to plan music for the truly important moments.
Let’s look at what we can toss out…
Ceremony song moments that mean nothing
The bridal party processional
If you have a horrendously large bridal party, you’ll need an extra processional song to get them all down the aisle. It’s purely a time thing. Modern songs don’t tend to loop forever like classical ones. If you don’t have an army of people walking down the aisle, you can probably do away with this.
Signing the registry
Signing the registry traditionally happens in the middle of the ceremony. It takes 6-10 minutes, so that’s two special songs you have to select. Then the celebrant motions the guests to fidget and pass time while the special paperwork happens. Nobody hears your painstakingly selected soundtrack over the awkward chatter, and nobody pays attention to your ability to sign your name. The alternative? Some savvy celebrants are opting to sign paperwork after the ceremony. That means you save your ceremony the pointless lull in the middle and save yourself picking two special songs nobody was ever going to hear.
Reception song moments you can skip
Ok, now you’ve taken your photos, and you’re ready to join your guests. If you fancy yourself a wrestler, you might choose an epic entrance song. But you could just as easily ditch it and walk back to your guests without needing a soundtrack accompanying your every move. Many couples prefer this, giving them a chance to mingle post-photos without all the hoopla.
Father-daughter dance + mother-son dance + wedding party dance
So after you dance with your partner, then you dance with your dad, then he dances with his mum, then your bridal party has a special dance too. You know, like a school deb. Really? Do your guests want to watch all that? You’d better have choreographed some absolute magic. Or perhaps that’s 3 more song formalities we can knock out right there?
Cake Cutting + Bouquet Toss + Garter Toss
Oh, the wedding planners must be cursing us right now, but we’re taking a stance. You just don’t need a song for any of these moments, should you even choose to have them at all. I mean, garter toss, really?! What song would be appropriate for that moment? Can we even call that moment appropriate? Can we just cut the cake into giant hand-sized pieces and get back to dancing please? You sure can dudes.
So there you go. A fistful of totally unnecessary theme songs for some rather outdated practices. Bam! Kick ’em to the curb.
And you know what?
You’ve just cut a full hour of meaningless wedding formalities from your special day.
Not to mention the days you’ve saved yourself googling for love song lyrics that aren’t totes inappropes. NOW you have time to focus on the big stuff..
Meet the acoustic duo who broke the rule book
Hey folks, we’re Fidel & Sarah – non-traditional wedding music specialists.
Couples who hire us as their wedding band are alternative, non-conforming, rebellious music lovers who want their big day to be unique, memorable and totally personal.
We encourage them to simplify, cut the formalities they don’t believe in, and focus on the songs and moments that’ll bring them the biggest joy.
The bare necessities approach to choosing wedding songs
We propose an alternative to the over-the-top wedding song selection nightmare.
You only really need TWO wedding songs – your processional (walk-in) and recessional (walk-out) song. That’s it.
Everything else is optional.
But to be fair, the ideal wedding song list looks like this:
- Walk-in song
- Singalong song*
- Walk-out song
- First dance song*
- Exit song*
*totes optional, but worthy additions to your rad wedding day
Now, of course that’s not all the music you’ll have at your wedding. It simply means you can reduce the stress of picking specific songs to accompany your special moments.
Choose an awesome live band who play the kinda music you love, and let them take care of the rest. And you can enjoy selecting the key songs that will be most meaningful/adorable for you.
Let’s go over the special few worth making ‘yours’.
Jaw-dropping moments for ceremony wedding songs
In fancy terms, your processional. If you don’t have a massive bridal party, one song is enough to get you all down the aisle, so you can make it amazingly personal. Instead of wasting your time looking through generic internet wedding song lists, you can pick a song that actually means something to you. You can go light, sweet, romantic, happy, deep, moody, quirky or downright hilarious. The most important thing is to choose a song that suits your personality.
You definitely don’t have to, but we can tell you from past weddings, this goes down a treat. Instead of another done-to-death corinthians reading (love is patient, love is kind, love is not making your wedding guests fall asleep…) you have the option of making your wedding a kickass musical. It’s just one of many fun ceremony ideas we have. Get your wedding band to lead an epic singalong like Home (is wherever I’m with you) or Ring Of Fire, something that everyone can holler at the top of their lungs. Trust us, if it’s led well, it’ll be friggin’ monumental.
Aka, the recessional. Like recess. Remember that? FUN! Make it a celebration! This is THE moment, walkin’ down the aisle as newlyweds… ring-bearing hands clutched high in the sky, shouting WAHOOOO as your guests throw colourful junk at you. Choose a song that’s upbeat and fun, and totally you. Bonus points if you choose one that has enough volume to be heard over your screaming besties.
Check out Sham + Gerard’s colourful wedding with roaming band.
Reception songs worth making special
First dance song
You can (and should) throw away as many wedding formalities as you damn well please. But if there’s one thing we reckon is worth keeping.. keep the first dance. Whether you choreograph your own swingin’ moves,attempt the epic ‘dirty dancing’ lift, or just sway awkwardly from side to side, it doesn’t matter a bit. You’ll stare deep into each other’s eyes, you’ll laugh, you’ll kiss, you’ll wipe your tears and snot on his jacket, hug tightly, and the whole world will disappear under that song… it’s bloody magical!
Last dance / exit song
Want to know a wedding band secret? The exit song (or last dance) is the perfect way to kick everyone out of your wedding. If your venue curfew requires you to herd cats (or chatty-dancey-boozey wedding guests) out the door, the exit song is your sheepdog in shining armour. Keep on the upbeat celebration theme and ask your wedding band about an exit arch or circle to allow you to make a marvellous departure. It’s also a sure-fire way to hug each and everyone of your guests before your leave.
These are some ideas to get you started. You don’t have to follow them strictly.
Maybe you both really want to dance with your folks, that’s cool. Do it. Just don’t think you have to follow the rules for song choices or gender-specific dances.
Or maybe you don’t want an exit song because you plan to party til the break of dawn. Go for it!
The whole point is not to limit you. The point is that you can dump the formalities and do your wedding your way.
We officially give you permission and the freedom to do away with the crap and make your special day low on stress and high on happy memories. Have yourselves a fab wedding.