Talking to a wedding singer about music for your ceremony

Getting married? Well, congratulations! Do you play on hiring a wedding singer? If so, you’re probably wondering about how to organise the music for your ceremony. In this post, I explain.

Talk your wedding singer

The first step is to discuss what you want. Sometimes meet the bride and groom or, most often, talk to them on the phone — last year I had a pre-wedding meeting via Skype with a groom living in San Diego!

What should you discuss?

If you’re hiring me for your wedding, I’ll want to know your schedule — start and finish times, for example. I’ll also need to find out which songs you’d like me to sing. As long as you give me enough notice, I can usually learn songs that aren’t already in my repertoire.

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A typical wedding ceremony music schedule

From my experience as a wedding singer, I usually play three requested songs:

  • when the bride walks down the aisle
  • when the bride and groom sign the wedding register
  • when the bride and groom leave their guests for photos.

Here’s how it all works:

1: Pre-ceremony

For about 30 minutes before the ceremony is due to take place, I entertain wedding guests with six or seven numbers. A wedding is a happy occasion, so I like to play what I call “sunshine music”— some reggae, a bit of jazz, etc. Here are some examples of songs I like to play before the ceremony: Red, red wine, Always on my mind, Moon dance and Fly me to the moon.
2: Walking down the aisle

When the bride arrives, I stop what I’m doing and begin playing the first requested song to accompany the bride as she walks down the aisle. I usually don’t play the entire song, just enough for the bride to make it to the altar and a moment or two once she gets there. For me, it’s important to keep an eye on what’s happening so that I know the appropriate times to start and finish playing.

3: Signing the wedding register

Okay, you’ve said your “I dos,” so it’s time to sign the wedding register. While you do this, I perform another song of your choosing.

4: Leaving for photos

Then, I play a requested song as you leave your guests to have photos taken.

Here are some songs that have been popular requests:

  • All I want is you (U2)
  • A thousand years (Christina Perri)
  • Somewhere over the rainbow (many artists)
  • If I could (Tahuna Breaks)
  • Always on my mind (Tiki Tane)
  • When you say nothing at all (Ronan Keating).

5: Post ceremony

Finally, I entertain your guests for about 30 minutes.

So, there you have it. All it takes for the live music at your wedding ceremony to be a success is a little planning.

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Andrew Healey


Andrew is an Auckland-based writer and musician.

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