I’ve had a deep relationship with music since I was very young. My mom can tell you about how I used to serenade everyone from a microphone in our living room. (The fact that they supported me is a real testament to their love, I’m sure.) So, needless to say, music is extremely important to me.
I knew one thing for sure: I didn’t want a DJ. It’s probably a control freak thing (I admit it), but even with “play this” and “don’t even think about playing this” lists, I wasn’t too hot on the idea. The ballroom has a brand new A/V system, so hiring a DJ also seemed like an avoidable expense — and I’m always on the lookout for those.
Although I really wanted live music for the wedding and reception, I quickly realized that there was no way we could afford it. Even a jazz trio would’ve blown our budget; three (members) times four (hours) times virtually any amount equals no flowers, no linens, and possibly no tables.
Thankfully, I found La Musica Bella, a piano and violin duo out of Portland. I found rave reviews online, and their rates were extremely reasonable, so I booked them right away. They can play for both the ceremony and reception, but the current plan is to have live music for the ceremony and use an iPod for the reception. The only songs I’ve settled on for the ceremony are Vivaldi’s Winter Largo (parents’ and bridesmaids’ processional) and Pachelbel’s Canon in D (bride’s processional). They’re both very traditional selections, but I love them and they really fit with the elegant, romantic, classic mood I’m striving for.
My best friend from high school is singing during the ceremony, but we haven’t made a selection yet. She has fantastic jazz and country talent, and she could quite honestly sing anything we gave her and do it brilliantly. I like the idea of putting a jazz twist on When You Say Nothing At All by Alison Krauss.
It’s amazing how you can speak right to my heart
Without saying a word, you can light up the dark
Try as I may I can never explain
What I hear when you don’t say a thing
I was also considering If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys, but I know Josh will veto that on principle. (Not a big Alicia fan, to say the least.)
Choosing the recessional and reception songs is a much bigger challenge. Helpful lists from the Bride’s Guide and Classic Bride will prove indispensible, I’m sure, as will my old officemate’s wedding mix. But I think my problem is going to be editing the playlist down, not adding to it. At four minutes a song, we only need 60 — 75 if we pad it by 25%.
The first hour or so, Josh and I (and our wedding party and family) will be taking photos, since we aren’t planning to see each other before the ceremony. During that time, our guests will (hopefully) be distracted by food and wine. I definitely want a jazz mix for that time, and I might make things easy for myself (for once!) and go with a classic: Nat King Cole Love Songs.
Then comes dance time, which has to be the perfect blend of romantic and fun, slow and silly, old and new. The key here is finding the right transitions. You can’t just jump from YMCA into Etta James… or can you?
We’re also going to get our guests involved in picking the reception songs — but the exact details are under wraps, at least for now.
Any must-have songs that might slip through the cracks? Let me know!