Whether music is a big feature in your love story or something you struggle to work with, there’s no denying that it has a big impact on the atmosphere on your wedding day. This part of the planning process is often deceivingly hard. We all have the type and genre of music that we love. Most of us have playlists of our favourite songs – both from throughout our lives and in the charts now. However, when it comes to creating a well-structured, workable and universally enjoyed playlist for your wedding guests, herein rises the challenges. So, in today’s guide, we’ll go through the things you need to consider and provide tips to help with this specific stage.

Why Is Music Played at a Wedding?

Music is one of those masterpieces of life that can instantly set the mood of a situation. Think restaurants – if you book a table at the local romantic spot, it’s likely the music playing will evoke warm and loving feelings. Alternatively, if you head into a nightclub after a few drinks at the bar, the music will push you to get up and start cutting shapes. It is a powerful tool to help your guests relax into your big day and to understand the theme you’ve chosen. Music also allows you to tell your love story in a versatile and easily digestible manner. And, many years after you’ve said, ‘I Do’, your wedding song is sure to bring back fond memories and the odd affectionate tear to accompany it.

When Is Music Played During a Wedding?

When choosing the right music for your big day, it pays to understand what times during the celebration you need to accommodate for. There are 3 main points during a wedding where music is played:

  • During the ceremony.
  • During the wedding breakfast/meal.
  • During the reception/evening entertainment.

Choosing Ceremony Music

The most iconic, musical moment on a wedding day is during the bridal walk. This is when the bride walks down the aisle towards the groom and is, for many, one of the most emotional moments of the whole day. It kicks off the entire day, gives guests their first glimpse of the bride (and her dress) and is also the first moment a groom lays eyes on his soon-to-be-wife during the ceremony. So many emotions flying around and the right music will only help to accentuate this.

If you are having a religious ceremony, you may also choose for hymns or choir songs to be played along with readings and poems. Here are our top tips to consider when choosing your ceremony music:

  • Don’t Feel Pressured to Stay Traditional

These days, couples are choosing to step outside of the box and choose music for the bridal walk that symbolises their relationship. If you want to stick with the classic Canon in D Major, please do. This timeless tune is one that everyone will recognise and can be slowed down to a pace that is easy for you and your party to walk to. However, if there is a song with lyrics that speak true to your relationship, then choose that. This moment is one of the most important and needs to be memorable for all the right reasons – your wedding day is about you two and no one else. Don’t feel like you have to stay traditional if it’s not what you want.

  • Consider Pace

That being said, you may want to consider the pace of your chosen song. Remember that you and your wedding party (should you choose to have one) will all need to walk down the aisle to this song. There’s no reason why you can’t dance down the aisle and encourage everyone else to as well. Just remember that the pace of the song will encourage either fast or slow walking/dancing/shimmying so be aware of how you want this moment to feel.

  • Set the Theme/mood

We’ve mentioned it before and we’ll mention it again. The ceremony is where you’ll set the mood for your wedding. There are no rules but consider whether the music that you choose is bringing to life the vision you had in your head. Look at instrumentals as well as those with lyrics – you might fall in love with something you wouldn’t have expected.

Choosing Wedding Breakfast/dinner Music

After you’ve said ‘I Do’ and had your wedding photos taken, it’s time for the wedding breakfast/dinner. For some couples, this coincides with the presenting of the new married couple to their guests. The right music will ensure this moment will both fill your hearts with joy and appropriately mark your first event as Mr and Mrs And after everyone has found their seats, background music helps to fill gaps in conversation and keep the theme/feel of the celebration going. Our top tip is:

  • Consider the Volume

Remember that this is normally the time where distant family members and friends talk – specifically about how beautiful the bride looks or how elegant the wedding has been so far. You want to make sure the music you choose doesn’t drown out this conversation or make it hard for people to relax. The position of your speakers will determine how loud the noise is in certain areas so make sure to work with a professional to make sure it’s perfect.


Now that the formalities are out of the way, it’s time to let your hair down. Having a dance and relaxing with loved ones during the reception is the grand finale of your wedding day. And, it should be one of the most enjoyable and memorable moments too. The music you choose should make you feel happy and encourage people to get up and dance. There really are no rules here – you just need to choose music that feels right for you and your new husband/wife. However, we do have a few tips:

  • Create a Playlist

Whether you have a live band, DJ or just a Spotify account playing, having a pre-arranged playlist (at least for part of the night) will ensure you get all your favourite songs! Be flexible with your choices – you don’t have to stick to a specific genre or tempo. Just choose the songs that make you want to shake your thang.

  • Ask Your Guests

One of our favourites, newer traditions is to ask your guests to make your playlist for you. As part of your RSVP instructions, ask them to jot down a song that reminds them of you (either as a couple or an individual). Give this to your DJ and sit back as the memories flood in.

  • Consider Sections

For some, loud dance music all night might get too much. And, while your big day is about you, it pays to offer alternatives too. Consider creating smaller marquee ‘pods or sections within a larger space where you play chilled or relaxing music instead. This allows people to wander off if they need a break, without interrupting the rest of the party.

  • Consider Time

While it’s important to have the best time ever on your wedding day, you will also need to take into account noise restrictions. If you’re hosting the reception in a residential environment, you will normally need to turn down loud music around 10 pm. Speak to the landowner or your wedding hire company to understand these restrictions and ensure your favourite songs are played long before this time.

At South West Marquees, we have over 25 years of experience helping couples to create their ideal wedding day. If you have any questions or would like to speak to a member of our team, please get in contact here today.