How to Pick Wedding Songs that Don’t Suck

Lookback Lesson #2

Gig Masters has just posted their Top Wedding Songs of 2012 and I have to say, I find it a bit, um, pedestrian. Not to be snarky (at all!) but Etta James’ At Last has been the #1 wedding song since the 1990′s. It’s a beautiful song to be sure, but is kinda ho-hum for weddings. How many weddings have you been to where that song was played? All of them?

first dance at an outdoor weddingImage fromĀ Jessica Velarde Photography via Utterly Engaged via Green Wedding Shoes

Take, for example, this crazy cakes Etta James story. A friend of ours was getting married a month after us. It was her second wedding. Her first was short-lived. She was really young. So was he. They had a dream destination wedding in Napa Valley. Their first dance song: At Last by Etta James: Very cool and very modern for the time.

Fast forward ten years. Our friend is getting married again. She’s a little older and much more capable of dealing with the intensity and commitment of marriage. She’s happy and prepared and thrilled to be getting married. Her mom throws her an engagement party. After dinner, to celebrate our friend finding her best friend and future husband, her mom plays…yup, you guested it, At Last.

Our friend and her fiance were MORTIFIED! Apparently Moms had forgotten the first dance song from the previous marriage, but our friend hadn’t. To make matters worst, the fiance knew. At Last was on the do-not-play list for their DJ. Nothing quite like recycling old wedding shit, eh? Kinda like recycling the engagement ring from a previous marriage. Ugh!

And that’s what you get when you turn to the most popular wedding song in the world. The song that has been the most popular like, for-evah! Well, maybe you won’t get the embarrassment our friend got having the same song at two separate wedding events, but you can be assured that some of these songs are played at nearly EVERY WEDDING!

Look, if the popular songs speak to you, by all means, use them. But don’t just default to them as a matter of course. Find songs that really mean something to you. Look beyond the standard romantic ballads that everyone associates with weddings.

wedding guests having fun and dancingImage fromĀ Krystal Mann via Utterly Engaged via Style Me Pretty

To get You Started:

Here are some ideas Hindsight Groom and I used to compile our playlists:

  • We let Hindsight Groom’s mom choose our first dance song. Now this option isn’t for everyone. It wasn’t a song that we would have automatically picked for ourselves, but the lyrics were beautiful, the song was unique, and it was one of the sweetest moments we shared with her.
  • We only played our first dance song for a couple of minutes. Then we switched to our parents fist dance songs, each in turn. When they heard their song they joined us on the dance floor.
  • Other songs were based on our sense of humor and our family background. For example, our recessional song was “Send Me On My Way” by Rusted Root. It was a nod to Hindsight Groom’s somewhat Hippy parents and the jaunty song appealed to our sense of fun.
  • We considered our guests. Our Mammoth Lakes Wedding was small and most of our 17 guests were our age. We chose a more modern playlist. Our North Carolina Wedding was larger, more traditional, and full of Aunts, Uncles, parents, and friends of parents. Our play list was much more mellow, classic, and appealed to an older generation.

More Ideas and Advice:

  • For more advice check out Gig Master’s Wedding Entertainment Regrets post on their blog
  • For fresh playlist ideas definitely checkout Hi-fi Weddings, in fact, check out their own fresh, funky 2012 wedding play lists over on the Brooklyn Bride.
Christie Osborne
Christie Osborne has lived in or visited every mountain range in the US. Once a mountain bride herself, she's dedicated to helping mountain brides plan their weddings and find the perfect vendors. She's known in the blogging world for her no-nonsense attitude, and she loves to ski. Follow Mountainside Bride on Twitter Facebook and Pinterest.
Christie Osborne
RT @shanegodfrey: One of my favorite weddings is on @mtnsidebride! Check it!http://t.co/p1l891H2UF #weddingphotography #mountainweddings - 5 hours ago
Christie Osborne

Comments

  1. Two Ring Studios says

    I’m just wondering which Black Eyed Peas song is gonna be popular at weddings this year. And when “All the Single Ladies” will be replaced as the “it’s time to throw the bouquet” song.

    • Hindsight Bride says

      Don’t get me started on “All the Single Ladies!” I think we’ve already spoken about this ;-) I miss you two!

  2. Chic Wedding Favors says

    Great article. I agree with you. I think this article will be very helpful to brides who are trying to pick their wedding songs. Thanks for sharing.

  3. jes [a mountain bride] says

    GREAT post-

    I remember stressing about our first song…I didn’t want it to be a totally common (read: overused?) song! LOVED that Amos Lee’s “Sweet Pea” and it rang true for us…’twas perfect…and it can really be considered “our song.”

    Sigh….I love thinking about that day we wed.

  4. Cris of Kiss My Tulle says

    Dude. The Boy and I have NO CLUE what our first dance song should be. How do you choose a song when you don’t have “a song”?

  5. Kelly says

    I wanna a song that is meaningful for us! But it’s not too easy to choose from so many wonderful song!!

    • Hindsight Bride says

      I know, I know Kelly. My best hindsight advice is to start thinking of options early. Give different songs time to sit in your heart and mind. This will be your song forever, so you want it to stand the test of time.