The speeches are finished, the toasts done. Time for that traditional first dance by the new husband and wife. They step to the centre of the room, he takes her in his arms, and the music begins.
What comes next depends on the couple. Will they dance to the strains of a live band or a recording played by a DJ? Will the¬†song¬†be We’ve Only Just Begun by the Carpenters, The Power of Love by Celine Dion, or the Rolling Stones party tune Start Me Up?
The opening¬†song¬†usually has some meaning or symbolism for the couple. It could be the¬†song¬†they heard when they first met, and it’s usually a slow¬†song. The list is long on Dion, Michael Bolton, Bryan Adams and Whitney Houston. Titles run to Can’t Help Falling in Love, Forever I Do, Now and Forever, Unchained Melody and Endless Love.
Music during the¬†wedding¬†ceremony itself is pretty standardized. There is an incredible amount of tradition involved, and people are afraid to buck that tradition.
But there are some exceptions too. Sometimes some cousin or other non-professional belting out a tuneless version of I Can’t Smile Without You – a situation shown hilariously in the movie Four¬†Weddings¬†and a Funeral.
A number couples choose a shocking song as their intro, like Prodigy‚Äôs ‚ÄúSmack my Bitch Up‚ÄĚ. Other couples, usually those who already have babies may opt for a classical nursery rhyme like ‚ÄúOne, two, buckle my shoe‚ÄĚ.
Below are ten tips to help you with your wedding music:
1. Try to book your band or DJ about six months before your big day.
2. Narrow your options by deciding whether you want a slow or lively¬†song.
3. If you get stuck, find out what¬†song¬†your parents chose at their¬†wedding¬†or ask your deejay or bandleader for inspiration.
4. Pick your¬†song¬†and venue before you book dance lessons so that you can practice to the right tempo and know how much space you need.
5. If ballroom dancing doesn’t appeal, popular alternatives include swing, tango and merengue. A dance instructor can help you pick the best style for your¬†song.
6. Private lessons make a great engagement gift, but if you can’t afford them, take group lessons. It can be a fun bridal party activity.
7. Practice at home in between lessons.
8. If you can’t afford dance lessons, buy a DVD to learn the basics.
9. Know how the¬†song¬†will sound on the big day. Give your deejay the correct version of the¬†song¬†or make sure you’re happy with the way your band plays it.
10. If you’re nervous, don’t make your dance too technical or feel you have to dance to the entire¬†song.¬†Have members of the bridal party join in midway to ease the pressure.