Finding the perfect wedding ceremony music

After the intense and emotional recent events, I knew I needed to start thinking about positive things. I was thinking about music and remembered our wedding, and the music that was played during the ceremony.

Matt and I were going back and forth on what music and songs we wanted played at our wedding ceremony. We knew we were not doing the traditional wedding music or any classical music, because that wasn’t us. We wanted songs that meant something to us and our relationship. I remember wondering what the hell I was going to walk down the aisle with my Dad to. I knew I wanted something different, but beautiful and meaningful. One day Matt told me he had a song he wanted to play for me, saying it reminded him of me. It was “The Girl” by City and Colour and as soon as we listened to it, we both realized it would be the perfect song for me to walk down the aisle to.

But you don’t ask for no diamond rings,
No delicate string of pearls,
That’s why I wrote this song to sing,
My beautiful girl

We realized we’d also need a song for the bridesmaids to walk to, and then a song for us to leave to. Picking out the song for the bridesmaids was pretty simple. We both love the movie Once, it’s our favorite movie, (and both Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen perform live), and “Falling Slowly” was another song that was a big part of our relationship (Like I remember listening to the Once soundtrack at least 10 times on a drive back from the San Juans while we were stuck in traffic, haha).

Take this sinking boat and point it home
We’ve still got time
Raise your hopeful voice you have a choice
You’ll make it now

So I suppose I should interject here (because this actually affected the song we chose for the walk as husband and wife) and mention that the original plan with our music for our wedding was to play the songs on our PA system. But when we realized we wanted to have the wedding outside, we figured that would be kind of an issue. We started brainstorming ideas and then realized two of Matt’s best friends (and groomsmen), Brian (aka Beefo) and Tanner were musically inclined and that maybe we could see if they would be willing to play the guitar and ukulele. Tanner and Beefo were entirely awesome and were more than happy to learn the songs and practice together to make our wedding songs perfect. So Matt and I knew our first two songs would be okay for them to play, as they weren’t too difficult on the guitar, but were stumped for our exit song. We decided that “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” by Cat Stevens would be an awesome choice and since we both enjoyed that song, we figured we’d be good.

A few months later, we had them over to play the songs for us to see if we liked their takes on the songs, and holy crap, as soon as they started playing I burst into tears. Their versions were absolutely beautiful. Tanner had taken it upon himself to make a cigar box guitar (vs. a ukulele) and Beefo played a 12-string guitar. I remembered I tried to hide my tears but I couldn’t because I was suddenly overwhelmed by the thought of, “Holy crap, this is our wedding music, it’s beautiful, THIS IS REAL,” and I was also overwhelmed by the fact that both Beefo and Tanner took the time to make such beautiful arrangements of our songs just for us. The love that was displayed at that moment from our friends was overwhelmingly wonderful and it was something I’ll never forget… one of my absolute favorite parts of wedding planning.

After they played The Girl and Falling Slowly, they told us that unfortunately, Cat Stevens was not as easy to play on the guitar and we told them we’d come up with something new. It was in that moment that we had a total moment of brilliance. Matt suddenly exclaimed, “You know what would be awesome? ‘Little Bribes’ by Death Cab for Cutie.” I’m pretty sure I totally screamed, “OHMYGOD YES!” ran to the corner where our speakers are set up in our house, and promptly played it for them. Both Tanner and Beefo began playing it on the guitar along to the song, and were sold on it. It sounded awesome and it was perfect for us to make our exit to.

Matt and I love that song; it always puts us in a good mood and we often find ourselves blasting it when driving around together. It’s not about the lyrics necessarily but the tune and how we listen to it together… It just seemed right. Plus, we figured, there couldn’t be any other couples out there that had walked out as husband and wife to “Little Bribes”.

The never ending twilight
In a basement where the sun has never spilt
You said that you were lonely
And then we kissed like lonely people do

And so we had our ceremony music ready to roll… It was awesome. I didn’t get to hear “Falling Slowly” because I was outside waiting with my Dad as the bridesmaids walked down the aisle… But I remember beaming as I walked down the aisle with my Dad, seeing Matt smiling at me, hearing “The Girl”.. that moment seemed to surreal. And as we walked out? I felt like a SO HAPPY (I’m sure part of it was that I just got married, haha) walking out to that song, with my husband holding my hand, bubbles floating every where while people cheered.

So yeah, I have to pat ourselves on the back for not only having awesome music, but also an awesome way of having the songs performed by awesome friends.

I think my advice for other brides-to-be is feel free to have fun with your ceremony music! It doesn’t have to be traditional if you don’t want it to be. But it also can be traditional if that means something to you, too. Do what you want, what will make you and your significant other happiest, and if that means making the ceremony about you, go for it. The ceremony is a celebration of you as a couple and I’m happy we were able to pull off our ceremony music the perfect way to reflect us and our relationship.



Filed under Marriage, Music, Wedding

2 responses to “Finding the perfect wedding ceremony music

  1. Not having to think about wedding music ever again will be the biggest blessing of my life. I agonized over it for months and months. Not because it was particularly hard to pick, but more because I felt drunk with choice. And since I love music so much, and want it to capture every moment of my life perfectly, I needed every song to be carefully selected. I hope everyone likes it!

    • I should start this off with a mini-disclaimer that this is how I feel, just my opinion, so I’m not spouting out facts over here as if the way we did things is how everyone should do it (not towards you, but if anyone else reads this I just don’t want them getting the wrong idea.)

      The reception music itself is something a little different.. a whole other beast, honestly. The reception was more about, “Okay, what are songs we don’t absolutely hate but also will get people on the dance floor, whether it’s slow or fast?” It’s a hard thing to measure, whether or not people will dance. I was surprised at how many more people at our wedding seemed to prefer slow songs to fast ones. We had to kind of mess with the playlist a bit to keep people going… you just don’t know how your guests will react to it!

      I feel like ceremony music is about you and your SO. The ceremony as a whole is all about you guys, not about the guests. You’re letting them be part of what is a really intimate and beautiful moment. So to choose music that defines who you are as a couple, that is a beautiful and honestly REALLY fun thing. Probably my favorite part of the entire wedding planning was being able to write our own ceremony and to plan out what songs we wanted played during our ceremony.

      I guess what I’m saying is… if it makes you and John happy, you feel excited about it, then that’s really all that matters. I’m sure people wouldn’t have chosen the songs we chose for our ceremony, but they weren’t the ones getting married and to be quite frank, I don’t care. It made us happy and that’s what really mattered at that very moment.

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