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Music plays a pretty big role in the wedding ceremony, so you want to select the songs right for yours. While you’ve probably thought of a few tracks you’d love to play on your big day, you may not have decided exactly when you want them to be played. From when your guests arrive to your ceremony’s grand finale, you’ll need music for it all. We’ve broken it down into six types to help you out.

Here are the types of songs you need for your wedding ceremony.

Prelude songs
First things first, the overture to your wedding ceremony. There’s a good chance that not all of your wedding guests will arrive the moment your ceremony is meant to start (and you probably don’t want them to). Have a playlist prepared to keep everyone entertained while they take their seats and leaf through the order of service. You’ll want to have about half an hour of easy listening songs queued up, just in case you have a few early birds or the ceremony begins later than planned.

Wedding party processional song
The procession happens just before the lady of the hour steps into the limelight. If you’re not familiar, this is when the VIPs - your bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, parents, etc. - will make their way to the front of the house. You’ll want to pick a song that matches their pace, so don’t go for something to fast or too slow. Pachelbel’s “Canon D”, The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” and Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” all make for great options.

Bride’s processional song
Now it’s time to give the bride the spotlight. Before she starts making her way to the altar there will be a short pause and then music will begin to play which will cue the guests to rise. You’ll want to find a song that matches the drama of this moment, so take your time to find the right one. Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” has stood the test of time and remains a fan favourite for this moment, but don’t be afraid to try something different (maybe a stripped down version of Beyoncé’s Halo?).

Interlude songs
Every wedding ceremony has a few pauses, such as the signing of the register, and you won’t want to hear crickets chirping during them. We suggest finding a few instrumental pieces to fill these gaps - you’ll want to skip songs with lyrics, as they’re normally quite brief. You could go the traditional route and play a bit of Handel or Beethoven, but if you’re more in the market for something a touch more modern, you can always go for instrumental versions of chart-toppers.

Recessional song
Once you’ve officially tied the knot, it’s time to celebrate! You’re going to have to wait a little while to do your full blown happy dance at your reception. You can kick things off by shimmying and shaking your way down the aisle during your recessional. Play an upbeat track that mirrors your mood, like Pharrell’s “Happy” or “You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates or choose an uplifting classical piece like Purcell’s “Trumpet Tune” or Mozart’s “Exsultate, Jubilate”.

Postlude songs
After you and your crew have left the building, your guests will probably need a few minutes to pack up their tissues, put on their coats and make their way to the door. Well, you don’t want them to do that in total silence, do you? Obviously not! Choose a few upbeat songs to see them out - this could be anything from Billboard-topping tracks to jazzy hits (whatever fits your theme). The aim of the game is to keep spirits high and prepare them for the party to come at your reception, so you’ll definitely want to skip the sombre stuff. We recommend planning for about 10-15 minutes of music, just to be safe.

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