I love music. I don’t mean that I love one type of music. For as long as I can remember, I’ve rotated jazz, hip hop, classical music, blues, bluegrass, indie, and rock in my “currently listening” playlists. When Katie and I decided we would design all the music ourselves rather than hire a DJ, I really jumped at the opportunity to choose and design the choices for our wedding. Of course, since Katie is a fellow music lover, she had great input as well (especially since she loves to go out dancing). I wrote a really long description of what we chose and why, but I included some Spotify playlists if you just want to listen to the music and/or have your own dance party (highly recommended).
Though we are both big fans of indie music and wanted to incorporate some of it in our wedding, we decided the prelude really wasn’t the place. Instead, we opted for different renditions of familiar music. We had one of my groomsmen (Tylor Standley) play acoustic guitar for the processional. So before we all came down the aisle, we played our favorite classical songs arranged for the classical guitar. Here’s the song list we chose:
|Aria from Rinaldo||Handel|
|Bist du bei Mir||J.S. Bach|
|Jesu, Man’s Desiring||J.S. Bach|
|Gymnopédie No. 1||Eric Satie|
|Claire de Lune||Debussey|
|Arioso BWV 156||J.S. Bach|
|Wachet Auf!||J.S. Bach|
|Nocturne Opus No. 9 No. 2||Chopin|
It was important to us to highlight our family’s heritage. Katie has a very rich connection to both Germany and Ireland, so the processional featured a ton of Bach and the processional music was entirely Irish. For the processional of the wedding party, Tylor played Si Bheag, Si Mhor and for Katie’s big entrance, he played The Irish Wedding Song. We were extremely happy with how it turned out! In the ceremony, we chose the classic hymn For the Beauty of the Earth again performed by Tylor. The hymn said wonderfully what we felt–overwhelming thankfulness for everything!
We dared to get a bit more modern on our big exit from the ceremony: Edward Sharpe’s Home was our song of choice! That led directly into everyone’s favorite hour.. Cocktail hour!
While we were taking pictures, our guests were enjoying some mint juleps and listening to the sweet sounds of our favorite indie and folk songs with a soulful song or two thrown in for good measure. I imagine very few people actually knew these songs aside from the big hits we chose, but they were all special to us and the cocktail hour is a safe time to feature unknown music. I included a few extra songs for some cushion just in case pictures went long. We chose these songs:
At that point, the wedding party was introduced to Stay Fly (mostly for my own amusement), and Katie and I were introduced to U2’s Beautiful Day. After our first dance (to Ingrid Michaelson’s beautiful cover of Can’t Help Falling in Love With You), we transitioned to dinner and the “eating time” playlist!
Because our wedding food had a New Orleans vibe (shrimp & grits, fried okra) and because we both have strong ties to New Orleans culture, I really wanted the dinner music to be a bit more lively than the usual Frank Sinatra (bless his heart). The idea of this playlist was to build momentum to eventually get people on the dance floor. The slower music is slowly replaced by upbeat, New Orleans jazz and fun faster paced songs.
At least, that was the idea until we found out the venue served the entire meal during cocktail hour instead of just the hors d’oeuvres.
Since most people had eaten their fill during cocktail hour, they were ready to dance way earlier than we had planned! Some actually danced during this playlist–both to slow and funky songs. We were of course excited to see our friends and family dancing and having a good time early in the evening.
After Katie and I ate and chatted with our friends and family, the MC queued up the “dancing #1” playlist!
We wanted to “dance through the ages,” so we initially arranged the playlist to start off in the 70s and end in the 2010s. We soon realized that we needed to mix it up a little, so we ended up put some classic rock with some 90s hip hop and mix and matched a lot more. It started okay–some people were definitely dancing, but most were really just waiting for us to cut the pie. The biggest hit on this list by far was “Footloose” thanks to our wonderful MC who encouraged people “to cut loose.” (see what I did there?)
At this point, my memory gets a little blurry. I know that the MC interrupted this list with Iggy Azalea’s Fancy because the bride and her friends had choreographed an epic dance. If I remember right, Fancy was followed by the classic Cupid Shuffle and Rihanna’s Please Don’t Stop the Music, but I can’t really remember.
After we cut our perfectly delicious Strawberry Rhubarb pie to Sugar, Sugar, it was time to dance off those calories!
This playlist took the majority of our time, and it was a huge success. We tried to balance the crowd favorites with a few lesser known songs. We included less popular songs so that people could take a quick break and not miss any of their favorites. Some of the longer songs (e.g., Conga) were edited down so that more songs could fit into the list. A few songs were adjusted (#1 and #31 was cut and #13 & #20 played earlier), but this list just played mostly unattended–which is good since the MC was our close friend and we wanted him to dance with us!
Since our wedding, we’ve listened to all of our playlists just about every week. The dancing playlist is great for an impromptu dance session (especially in the car!). The cocktail hour and prelude playlist are great for study sessions or dinner time background music.
That’s our story! We hope you enjoyed it and hope you check out some of our music choices!
- Sam & Katie