One of the wedding questions I’m asked most often is, “How do we write a perfect for us, super moving wedding service?” Luckily, that is one of the easiest answers in wedding planning. Here is how: you pick a basic structure for a service, and pick meaningful-to-you wedding ceremony songs and readings to make the service your own.
But the truth is, finding perfect wedding ceremony songs can be a little tricky, because the requirements of venues and officiants vary widely. (A Catholic church is not going to let you play Dylan, no matter how lovely the song.) Plus, personal taste in music for wedding services is all over the map. But there are a few unifying factors for music that works really well in a ceremony: You want music that’s somewhat emotional, not crass (there is a time for “Baby Got Back,” but it’s not during the service), and familiar. You want to have your guests feel enveloped in a warm hug by the music, not trying to figure out what the hell it is.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up songs for each part of your wedding service, and divided them up by type. Want pop standards? Classical music? String quartet covers of classics? We’ve got you covered.
So go forth and create a meaningful wedding service with minimal tears. Well, minimal tears from you. I can only assume your guests will cry buckets over how perfectly you’ve expressed your love in music.
Please share what music you’ve used or are using in your service in the comments! After all, imitation is the highest form of flattery, so you should invite the not yet married to follow your lead.
VELVET UNDERGROUND: “I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR”
The Best Part: “When you think the night has seen your mind/That inside you’re twisted and unkind/Let me stand to show you that you are blind/Please put down your hands/’Cause I see you”
BOB DYLAN: “FOREVER YOUNG”
The Best Part: “May your hands always be busy/May your feet always be swift/May you have a strong foundation/When the winds of changes shift”
IZ: “SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW”
The Best Part: “The colors of the rainbow/So pretty in the sky/Are also on the faces/Of people goin’ by”
BEN E. KING: “STAND BY ME”
The Best Part: “If the sky that we look upon/Should tumble and fall/Or the mountain should crumble to the sea/I won’t cry, I won’t cry/No, I won’t shed a tear/Just as long as you stand, stand by me”
PHILIP PHILLIPS: “HOME”
The Best Part: “Settle down, it’ll all be clear/Don’t pay no mind to the demons/They fill you with fear/The trouble it might drag you down/If you get lost, you can always be found”
RAY LAMONTAGNE: “YOU ARE THE BEST THING”
The Best Part: “Baby, we’ve come a long way, baby/You know, I hope and I pray that you believe me/When I say this love will never fade away”
KEB’ MO’: “EVERY MORNING”
The Best Part: “And when I’m with you, it feels like heaven/And you’re an angel, holding me/Your sweet, sweet loving sets me free”
JOSH RITTER: “BABY THAT’S NOT ALL”
The Best Part: “In orbits round the glow/Cover lets and down/Will catch you when you fall/Baby that’s not all”
BILLY JOEL: “SHE’S GOT A WAY”
The Best Part: “She’s got a smile that heals me/I don’t know why that is/But I have to laugh when she reveals me”
LEONARD COHEN: “HALLELUJAH”
The Best Part: “There’s a blaze of light/In every word/It doesn’t matter which you heard/The holy or the broken hallelujah”
MARVIN GAYE AND TAMMI TERRELL: “AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH”
The Best Part: “Remember the day that I set you free/I told you you could always count on me, darling/From that day on, I made a vow/I’ll be there when you want me/Some way, somehow”