A 2023 Wedding Music Guide

What to Play and When: A 2023 Wedding Music Guide

What to Play and When: A 2023 Wedding Music Guide 800 1200 adam Michaels

Choosing wedding music may seem daunting, but pulling off the perfect setlist is easier than you think. From the walk down the aisle to the first kiss and more, when the day comes, it can feel like a romantic movie. And just like any good movie, the music sets the tone. We’re more than happy to work with you and can help you plan your music selections. Ultimately the decisions are up to you, but here is some guidance to get you started from ceremony to reception.


The prelude music will play while guests are entering and finding their seats. This music aims to welcome the guests to your wedding and sets the tone for the rest of the ceremony, so be sure to choose wisely. You can choose a beautiful mix of classics and love songs. Prelude music should be soft and with a formal touch, to let everyone know that the important event will start soon. Most brides and grooms today choose a mix of contemporary love songs, while some prefer traditional Handel, Mozart, and Bach

The processional song is the wedding ceremony music that is played while the wedding party (bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc.) is walking down the aisle. The number rule of thumb here is to choose music that’s neither too fast nor too slow. Make sure you select a song that has a rhythm that matches a natural walking pace. Most importantly, the processional songs should have meaning to you. Any song can work if it is played with a processional feeling (which we know how to do!).

The Bride Entrance Song/Processional is probably your most important music choice of all! You will want to pick something which has a build-up, so your grand entrance makes an impact. Have several rehearsals to ensure your timing is perfect. 

Last but not least, the exit song also known as the wedding recessional song tends to be a little more light-hearted and upbeat. Pick something triumphant and celebratory while you walk out of the building.

A few ceremony song options that are very popular with our clients include:

Pachelbel – Canon In D

A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri

Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley

Your Song – Elton John

Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole Viva La Vida – Coldplay

All of Me – John Legend

Marry You – Bruno Mars 

You and Me – Lifehouse

Cocktail Hour

After the end of the ceremony is the most anticipated fun wedding cocktail hour. This is the time for guests to unwind, chat with other guests, and start up on the fun, food, and drinks. Don’t forget to add music to your cocktail hour! For this part of the wedding, you need a perfect playlist of appropriate wedding cocktail hour songs for background music.

These cocktail hour songs should be a mix of different genres and must shine through without drowning the guests’ conversations. To create the cocktail songs’ perfect lineup, see our list of wedding cocktail music genres to keep you inspired.

Having a nice playlist like the songs below is a little extra touch your guests will appreciate.

Paper Moon – Nat King Cole

The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra

At Last – Etta James

The Nearness of You – Norah Jones

Natural Woman – Aretha Franklin

Come Rain or Come Shine – Ray Charles




Choosing your wedding reception music can be a tricky process. You want to choose songs that you like, but you want your guests to like them too. You want to create a playlist that’s unique and noticeable, but you also want to deliver music that people are familiar with and can dance to. These concepts seem to contradict each other. It seems hard but with our guidance and a few samples, you’ll find that perfect balance.

We see it far too often when couples continuously put off making music choices. Some couples put it off because they feel it’s a quick “to do” and others because they don’t have a song and are struggling to make a decision. Whatever the case may be, we want to make it clear: There’s a lot more to wedding music than just choosing your first dance song! So let’s go through how many songs you will need to get through your wedding day!

You’ll likely make a grand entrance into the reception space with formal introductions of the parents, the wedding party, and the bride and groom.

You’ll want to consider how you’ll be making your big entrance. Are you dancing? Will your bridesmaids and groomsmen each do something unique for their entrances? Are you going for a choreographed dance? Or would you rather just walk in and head straight to your seats? It’s your day, so you get to choose! But don’t be afraid to have a little fun.

Choose one or two songs depending on how many people you have in your wedding party and what you plan to do. Usually, you’ll just play a little snippet of the song so that dinner can be served and you can keep the day flowing. 

Finally, it’s time to eat! Queue up the easy-listening music to have in the background as you and your guests enjoy your wedding dinner. Like the music for your cocktail hour, you’ll want to keep it light and soft to allow for conversation. But this time, you can slow things down. 

Now, we are getting close to party time! There are a few important moments that kick off the dance reception so you’ll want to choose a specific song for these dances:

Bride and Groom First Dance

Traditional Dance

Father-Daughter Dance

Mother-Son Dance

Cake Cutting 

Last Song

Finally, the time we’ve all been waiting for is here! It’s time to party! It’s time to dance! Your wedding guests will be of different generations: from grandparents to nephews and nieces to friends of your age. That is why both wedding planning experts and modern couples agree that today’s weddings should feature a good mix of new wedding songs, as well as the classics. Instead of listing out hundreds of songs to be played during your reception, choose a couple of genres that you’d like to hear and trust your wedding band to get the party started. 

It’s alright to list out a few of your must-play songs – but don’t go overboard. Your live band or DJ will be able to read the crowd and play songs that work for each moment, getting all of your guests out onto the dance floor. They’ll know how to weave in and out of different styles of music to keep the party going for all of your guests throughout the evening! We would, however, recommend listing a few songs or artists that you do not want to be played at your wedding reception. So let us know!

Our live wedding band can play most of the current popular songs of a different genre, which makes your job of picking songs for every stage of your wedding easier. These songs are fashionable for every type of real wedding style you would want to have. We are sure a lot of your favorites will fall within our list.

Check them out, select your best songs of all time, compile your wedding playlist, and select one of our wedding bands today!