Choosing the Right Wedding Music

The cake is cut, the speeches are made, and your guests are ready to party! From DJ’s and discos to jazz bands and string quartets, you can choose from a wealth of wedding reception music. Read on for a little inspiration on how to choose the right sounds for your wedding…

Real Wedding Alternate Music Ideas Selection


From the top-left image, clockwise: Kerrie and Carl in Wonderland, Rachael and Andrew’s Exquisitely Elegant Silver and Crystal Wedding, Marie and Jonathan’s Smooth Sailing, Katie and Leo’s Nautical Marquee Wedding, and Barbara and Roberto Stunning Medieval Themed Wedding.

Welcome to the wedding

Wedding parties offer unrivalled opportunities for flights of fancy and extravagance, or you can keep it simple and affordable.

At a welcome reception following the ceremony, you might choose to hire a harpist and flute duo, a string quartet or a small jazz band to make some romantic background noise. Their repertoire should be light enough to appeal to a varied age group and never so loud that it overwhelms the conversation.

The most important thing here is to choose music that you really like. However, you might also like to consider your venue. A classic string quartet, for example, might seem rather out of place in a contemporary hotel, but perfect for a stately home. Practicalities and budget come in to every decision. Generally, the more musicians, the more money… so stick to duos or trios if you want to keep costs lower.

If you are planning to use live entertainers, make sure that you know exactly how long they will play, and for how long they will break in between sets. Most musicians won’t play for hours on end. A pianist or quartet will probably play for between two and four hours at the very most.

Night moves

The evening entertainment is a matter of personal choice. Anything goes, from karaoke to a live orchestra, or a jazz band to a raging disco.

As well as choosing something you’d like that fits in with your budget, it’s important to consider the age range of your guests. Something like a jazz band is generally suitable for all age groups. Check whether your venue has any restrictions. Some venues, for example, don’t allow dancing. In this case, keep any music in the background and not too lively! Remember that you don’t just have to have dancing: magicians, casinos, and fireworks can be a great way of extending your theme.

Real Wedding Disco DJ Wedding Reception Selection

From the top, clockwise: Trevor and Vickie’s Magical Christmas Wedding, Lyndsey and Mark’s Perfect Diamonds and Pearls May WeddingDiana and Richard Fun Festival Wedding, and Vicky and Martin’s Vintage Tea Party.

Can I have this dance?

The first dance is one of the most romantic moments of the day ‐ a time when everyone gets sentimental seeing the happy couple on the dancefloor together! Spend a little time thinking of the perfect song for your first dance ‐‐ perhaps you love the words or it’s a song you associate with your relationship. Whatever you choose ‐‐ if you want a band to play it, make sure they can… and if you’re having a DJ, make sure he or she has it.

Real Wedding music monochrome black and white string quartet, harp, DJ and singer

From the top down: Black, Ivory and a Splash of Red – Nora and David’s Real Wedding, Diane and David’s Infinity Wedding – That’s Amore, Gemma and Michael’s Orange and Ivory Wedding, and Marian and Mike’s Globe Theatre Wedding – Much Ado About Wedding.

Top ten first dance smoothies:

Unchained Melody — Righteous Brothers

Power of Love — Celine Dion

Everything I Do — Bryan Adams

I Will Always Love You — Whitney Houston

Love is All Around — Wet Wet Wet

Wonderful World — Sam Cooke

It Must Be Love — Madness

When a Man Loves a Woman — Percy Sledge

Wind Beneath My Wings — Bette Midler

Wonderful Tonight — Eric Clapton

Alternative first dances:

Tragedy ‐‐ Steps

(There May Be Trouble Ahead) Let’s Face the Music and Dance — Frank Sinatra

Finally (It’s Happened to Me) — Cee Cee Peniston

Things Can Only Get Better — D:Ream

Is She Really Going Out With Him? — Joe Jackson

I Will Survive — Gloria Gaynor

Crazy — Patsy Kline

Nothin’ Goin’ On But the Rent — Gwen Guthrie

What Have you Done For Me Lately? — Janet Jackson

The Bitch is Back — Elton John

Find Wedding Ideas, Inspiration, Venues and Services

mail icon

Subscribe to our Network

Stay connected with our network and get all the best Wedding Planning, Inspiration and Competitions directly into your inbox.