Wedding Song Checklist: How Many Special Songs Do You Need? | Bella Bridesmaids

Wedding Song Checklist: How Many Special Songs Do You Need?

Bride and bridesmaidsPhoto: Bella Bridesmaids Houston / Anya Kernes 

Choosing your music for the big day is a fun part of wedding planning! Whether you’re into country, R&B, pop, rock or love a mix of genres, you probably envision your wedding guests dancing the night away to your favorite tunes!

In addition to all the fun tracks you’ll dance to at the reception, a few specific wedding moments deserve a special song.

You’ll want music from the moment your guests arrive to the last dance at the end of the night.

Now, let’s get into our wedding song checklist with the 13 most important tunes for your ceremony and reception.

How Many Songs Do You Need for Your Wedding Ceremony?

Bride and groom walking surrounded by bridal partyPhoto: Bella Bridesmaids New Orleans / Sarah Ward

“Here Comes the Bride” is undoubtedly one of the most classic ceremony songs ever. But there are a few other ceremony moments that deserve special tunes too!

Prelude Music 

Pre-ceremony music can set the entire tone for your big day, from classical pieces to instrumental love ballads. And playing background music as your guests enter and take their seats is always a good idea.

Parents Entrance Music 

Once your guests are seated, it’s time to start the ceremony! Choose an entrance song for the mother of the bride, mother and father of the groom, and grandparents to walk down the aisle to.

Wedding Party Entrance Music 

You can continue to play your parent’s processional music as your wedding party walks down the aisle. Or you can switch it up and choose a different processional song for your bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, and ring-bearers.

Bride’s Entrance Music 

Every bride needs an entrance song! Maybe yours is a classic like Pachelbel’s Canon or something more modern and unconventional. 

Read the 31 Best Processional Songs to Walk Down the Aisle To for some musical inspiration!

Couple’s Recessional Music 

After saying your vows and sealing them with a kiss, play a recessional song as you and the wedding party exit.

Optional Ceremony Music 

Depending on the type of ceremony you’re planning, you can also choose specific music for other special moments. For example, choose your favorite hymns to play during religious readings or a special tune for your unity ceremony.

What Kind of Music Should You Play at Your Cocktail Hour?

Wedding bartenderPhoto: Bella Bridesmaids Chicago / Phil Chester

Your cocktail hour soundtrack can set the mood for your entire reception!

There are no specific cocktail hour moments that require a specific song. Yet, you’ll definitely want some type of music playing as your guests sip drinks and nosh on hors d’oeuvres.

Many couples have their wedding DJ play some instrumental songs as background music. You may also consider hiring a musician to entertain, such as an acoustic guitar player, a pianist, a harpist, or a string quartet. 

It all depends on your style and the vibe you want to create for your celebration.

How Many Songs Do You Need to Choose for Your Wedding Reception?

Bride and groom walking as wedding reception guests throw confettiPhoto: Bella Bridesmaids Philadelphia / Leah Miessler 

The wedding reception music typically gets guests out of their seats and onto the dance floor. But a few specific reception moments require their own backing track!

Dinner Music 

As your guests take their seats at your reception tables, play some dinner music. You can continue with the soundtrack from your cocktail hour. 

Or, give your band or DJ a specific wedding playlist of hand-picked music. These tunes will play while your guests grab a cocktail at the bar, take their seats, and wait for you to enter.

Bridal Party Entrance Song 

Of all the wedding reception songs you’ll play throughout the night, the one your bridesmaids and groomsmen enter dancing to should get the party started! You might want to consider choosing separate tunes for your parents’ entrances, as well.

Newlywed’s Entrance Song 

Make your grand entrance as a newly married couple to a tune that the two of you love! It can be any style or mood you like, though most couples choose an uplifting or upbeat song.

For even more ideas, check out The 33 Most Memorable Wedding Entrance Songs for the Happy Couple, the Wedding Party, and More.

Newlywed’s First Dance Song 

Your first dance as a married couple will be one you’ll never forget. Find the perfect song for you and your spouse-to-be to dance to in our post: 13 Best First Dance Wedding Songs.

Father-Daughter Dance Song 

Choose a meaningful tune to dance to with your dad! It can be one you listened to as a child, a brand new track that the two of you love, or something with lyrics that echo your relationship. 

If you have bonus parents, you can also select a separate song to dance to with your stepfather!

Mother-Son Dance Song 

The mother-son dance deserves a special sound of its own. Like the daddy-daughter dance, consider a little ditty that your mom sang to you as a child or a brand new track from an artist that the two of you love. Consider dancing a separate number with your stepmom too!

Cake-Cutting Song 

Your cake-cutting moment is an important one! Some couples opt for the traditional “Bride Cuts the Cake” tune, while others choose a high-energy dance jam to get everyone on their feet.

Final Dance Song

Before you make your getaway, end the celebration with a fun dance song that everyone can enjoy. While there are some traditional last song options, the only rule to choosing your final reception tune is that it should be one you love!

Optional Reception Songs 

Planning to incorporate some classic traditions into your reception?

If so, you might want to add some additional tunes to your wedding music checklist, such as:

• A bouquet toss song
• A garter toss song
• A dollar dance song

    Music creates atmosphere, so no matter your wedding day vibe, choose the songs you love that represent you as a couple.

    On the big day, they’ll be the sounds of celebration. But after the wedding is over, they’ll become the songs that, every time you hear them, will forever remind you of that oh-so-special moment you shared.  

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