For someone who has never been married I seemingly have a lot to say about the Big Day, thanks in part to the Surveyor‘s annual bridal section. If you like this musing on music, you may enjoy my thoughts on ugly bridesmaid dresses.
No wedding reception is complete without romantic music and cheesy ballads to accompany the newly wedded couple and their guests as they sway in time — or possibly in direct proportion to their alcohol consumption. Song lists for the festivities can be just as important as finding the ugliest bridesmaid dresses on the market for your “besties.”
Depending on your budget or your love of Adam Sandler movies, you can choose from an mp3 player containing your playlist and blasted from a speaker system, to a professional DJ, to a tuxedoed crooner who may offer his own interesting renditions of the classics. Whichever way, if there’s a party following the nuptials you’ve gotta have tunes.
The most important song is probably the first dance for the newlyweds. It should be special to both parties, romantic, and not too long. You don’t want to have to gaze into each other’s eyes eternally while the guests are raiding the open bar.
Some timeless favorites are “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” by Elvis, “Just the Way You Are,” by Billy Joel, or if you’re a late bloomer, “At Last,” by Etta James. “Nothing Compares 2 You,” by Sinead O’Connor topped one list of popular wedding songs, but if you’ve actually listened to the lyrics it’s more of an eat-a-gallon-of-ice-cream-he-left-me song than let’s-spend-the-rest-of-our-days-together.
An informal poll of couples of all ages revealed that people have very personal connections to certain songs, not to mention a marvelous sense of humor. Choices included Boney M’s “Rasputin,” “So Rot” by Subway to Sally, the medal ceremony music from “Star Wars,” and one song from Slayer that gave me nightmares. One woman I know *cough*my sister*cough* included Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” at her second wedding, which turned out to be a little too prophetic … six months later. Ah, crazy kids in love. (Google these songs at your own risk.)
In recent years there’s a trend of contemporary songs recorded specifically targeting marrieds-to-be, in case you don’t have the imagination to pull off “#1 Crush” by Garbage. These heart-melters include “Marry You,” by Bruno Mars, “Marry Me,” by Train or “Just Say Yes,” by Snow Patrol, all with explicit instructions imbedded in the lyrics and titles. How long do you want to be with your betrothed? “1.000 Years,” according to Christina Perri.
If you need a little more direction, Amazon and iTunes conveniently provide themed collections and song lists as long as the bride’s train.
Sure, instrumentals or classics like “Here Comes the Bride” are great for the processional music to set the hushed tone of awe for the ceremony, but what a couple dances to — and chooses for their guests to dance to — is what makes memories. Have fun choosing the music for the daughter-father dance, the dance that is guaranteed to spark something between bridesmaid #3 and the best man, or the final song before calling it a night. And maybe for inspiration, kick things off with Pink’s anthem, “Get the Party Started.”