Consider Music That Crosses Boundaries. “Motown works across the board. A wedding guest who’s 62 years old and another who’s 22 will both sing every word of ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.’ "
There Are Many First Dance Favorites. "The most popular first dance choices are wide-ranging and include 'Hard to Concentrate' by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 'All of Me' by John Legend, 'You and I' by Wilco, 'Marry Me' by Train, 'Just the Way You Are' by Bruno Mars, and 'Let’s Stay Together' by Al Green."
Know Your Musical Options
To help choose your music, ask your band to provide song lists for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. “For the ceremony, classical is the most common choice. That can be Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven, and classic pop like James Taylor, The Beatles, and Frank Sinatra. The most popular choice for ceremony music is, of course, Pachebel’s Canon.”
You might consider selections like “Spring” by Vivaldi, “How Sweet it Is To Be Loved by You” by James Taylor or “I Will” by the Beatles. Other songs you might consider are “You and Me Together” by the Dave Matthews Band, “Better Together” by Jack Johnson, or “One Hand One Heart” from “West Side Story.”
For the cocktail hour, “A lot of people want jazz. To some, that might be Louis Armstrong, while others might think of Dave Sanborn or acoustic music. Your guitarists also can play coffee-house music in a style like Van Morrison or Dave Matthews.”
Cocktail hour is also an opportunity to play music honoring your heritage. “We had a Korean groom marrying a Japanese bride,” says another band leader. “Their reception was going to focus on American music, but they still wanted to bring their own culture into the wedding, so we provided their ethnic music in the ceremony and cocktail hour.”
“We also brought in Japanese coattails. We often play ethnic music during the cocktail hour. At a Greek wedding, for example, we might bring in a bazuki, a stringed instrument like a guitar, and for an Italian wedding we’ll bring in a mandolin. So we celebrate the heritage of the bride and groom while keeping their reception filled with dance music, which is what couples typically want.”
Many couples have diverse musical tastes. “For example, one of our grooms wanted only country music, but his bride was not about that. We worked with both of them and he was happy with how we incorporated country music while she was happy with being able to have different types of music as well.”
First Dance plus Motown, 70’s, & Today
The most popular first dance choices are wide-ranging and include “Hard to Concentrate” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, “All of Me” by John Legend, “You and I” by Wilco, “Marry Me” by Train, “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars, and “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green.
For the reception itself, “What works best is a really good blend of Motown, 70’s, and very current pop music. We sprinkle in 80’s every once in a while and we find that the really new, modern songs work very well too."
Our band leaders agree that Motown works across the board. "A wedding guest who’s 62 years old and another who’s 22 will both sing every word of ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.’ If our wedding couples want to go another way, we will do it, but when you talk about repertoire, that’s what works.”