Wedding Music: A Step By Step Guide

Wedding Music Guide

Step 1: Availability and Quote
Step 2: Contract and 50% Deposit
Step 3: Choosing your Music
Step 4: Two Weeks Before Wedding
Step 5: Day of Wedding


Step 1: Contact me for my availability and a quote

Contact me with your date, time, and venue(s)/location(s) and I will respond with my availability and a quote. I always return messages quickly, so if you don’t hear right back from me, please check your “junk mail”.


Step 2: Contract and 50% deposit to reserve your date

Contract Info

  • your name & contact info (address, phone, email)
  • wedding date, start time, end time
  • venue(s)/location(s)

50% Deposit

  • e-transfer | kim@kimberleydunn.com (note the extra “e” in “Kimberley”)
  • cheque | mail to: 2390 Marchurst Rd., Kanata, ON, K2W 0G9
  • cash | in person (by appointment): 2390 Marchurst Rd., Kanata, ON, K2W 0G9

Step 3: Choosing Your Music

I don’t require your finalized song selections until 2 weeks before your wedding, so in most cases, you have lots of time to decide!

Ceremony and first dance songs are obviously going to be very personal selections, so I encourage you to choose anything that’s special to you. That said, I’m happy to help you if you’re stuck. Honestly, many people need help deciding, and that’s okay, that’s what I’m here for.

For background music for prelude, cocktails and dinner, some couples like to choose every song I will play, and some like to let me decide. I’m happy with either scenario, or a mix of both. I am really good at reading a crowd and deciding what music to play. So you can definitely defer to my expertise. But you are very welcome to select your favourites from my song lists, as well as any special requests you don’t see there.

The following are typical scenarios for a full day of wedding music. But please feel free to have things any way you want, in any order you want. There is no right or wrong in wedding music. Whatever you want is the right way.

Ceremony Music

  • Prelude – 30 minutes of music leading up to the ceremony (5-7 songs)
  • Processional: Bridal Party & Bride (can be same song or different songs)
  • Signing of Registry
  • Recessional

Church & Catholic Ceremonies please refer to the bottom of this page for a more comprehensive list of typical music selections for church services.

Cocktail Music

10-12 songs per hour – you are welcome to choose your favourites or have me choose

Grand Entrance

A fun upbeat song while you and your bridal party are making your grand entrance. I can perform this song live or play a recorded song of your choosing (“I Got This Feeling” by Justin Timberlake, for example). Your MC can feel free to talk over the song and introduce everyone in the party.

Dinner Music

10-12 songs per hour – you are welcome to choose your favourites or have me choose

First Dances

  • Bride & Groom’s First Dance
  • Father-Daughter Dance
  • Mother-Son Dance

You don’t have to have all 3 first dance songs. Some couples just have the bride-groom dance. Other couples like to start off with a bride-groom dance and then have me invite everyone up to join them halfway through – this can be a great way to get everyone on the dance floor to segue into your DJ/dance!

Also of note, first dances can be BEFORE dinner rather than after dinner. If you ask my personal preference on this, I actually prefer the first dances done right after the Grand Entrance, just before your dinner starts. In my experience, your guests are much more likely to focus on the first dances as a special moment if they are first. I have found that when they are after dinner, your guests are more likely to talk through them and not pay as much attention. That doesn’t always happen, but often it does. But I never see that happen when they are done first. That said, some couples are shy and dread the first dance, so doing it after dinner might actually be more appealing to you with less focus on you. 🙂 Please feel free to customize the first dance(s) however you wish. Again, there is no right or wrong with this.


Step 4: Two Weeks Before Your Wedding

i) Final Balance

  • e-transfer | kim@kimberleydunn.com (note the extra “e” in “Kimberley”)
  • cheque | mail to: 2390 Marchurst Rd., Kanata, ON, K2W 0G9
  • cash | in person (by appointment): 2390 Marchurst Rd., Kanata, ON, K2W 0G9

ii) Song Selections

CEREMONY MUSIC

Prelude
Start Time (30-60 mins before ceremony):
Venue/Room:
Music Selections (5-7 songs):

Ceremony
Start Time:
List of people walking in processional, in order, first to last:
Music Selections:

  1. Processional:
    a) Bridal Party
    b) Bride (can be same or different song)
  2. Signing of Registry:
  3. Recessional:

COCKTAIL MUSIC

Start Time:
Venue/Room:
Music Selections (10-12 songs/hr):

DINNER MUSIC

Start time:
Venue/Room:
Music Selections (10-12 songs/hr):

OTHER MUSIC & DETAILS

First Dance(s): Bride-Groom, Father-Daughter, Mother-Son, etc.
Grand Entrance:
Microphone for Ceremony and/or Speeches?
Any other special requests?


Step 5: Day of Your Wedding

I will arrive several hours in advance of my start time to set up and sound check. I am ALWAYS early. This is my solemn vow.



Church & Catholic Ceremonies

The following are typical music selections for church services. Depending on your church, there may be some or all of these songs, usually in this order:

  • Prelude
  • Processional
  • Responsorial Psalm or Hymn
  • Gospel Acclamation
  • Offertory Hymn
  • Communion Song
  • Signing of Registry
  • Recessional

I let the priest do the cantor parts such as “holy holy”, “lamb of god” as these can vary greatly depending on the church, so it’s better for the priest to say or sing those the way they are accustomed to. Some churches allow secular/popular music, and other do not. Everything is a little bit different from church to church, so it’s very important to check with your own church as to what music they allow and want included.

Prelude

The prelude is light background music leading up to the ceremony that helps create a warm and inviting environment. I start playing prelude music as soon as I see your first guests arriving, which is usually anywhere from 30-60 minutes before the service.

Many clients request instrumental only (piano solo) for the prelude, but I can also sing if you prefer. You are welcome to choose the music for the prelude, or you can defer to my expertise and leave it to me to decide.

Processional

The processional is the entrance song that the bridal party and bride walk down the aisle to. Common examples:

  • Pachelbel’s Canon in D
  • Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
  • Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
  • Four Seasons – Vivaldi

Responsorial Psalm or Hymn

The Responsorial Psalm is sung after the 1st reading. Responsorial Psalms have a repeating refrain that the assembly can also sing/respond. Depending on the church, this song can instead be a Hymn (without a responsorial component). Common examples:

  • Blessed Are Those Who Love You, Psalm 128
  • The Lord Is My Light, Psalm 27
  • The Earth is Full of the Goodness of the Lord, Psalm 33
  • Taste and See, Psalm 34
  • The Lord is Kind and Merciful, Psalm 103

Gospel Acclamation

This is also commonly known as the “alleluia” and is sung after the 2nd reading. Common examples:

  • Standard Alleluia
  • Celtic Alleluia

Offertory Hymn

The Offertory Hymn, also referred to as “Preparation of the Gifts” is a hymn which is sometimes played during the preparation of the bread and wine for Communion. Common examples:

  • Prayer of St. Francis
  • I am the Bread of Life
  • Here I am Lord
  • Nearer my God to Thee

Communion

The song played during the Holy Communion. Common examples:

  • Ave Maria
  • One Bread, One Body
  • On Eagle’s Wings
  • Panis Angelicus
  • Prayer of St. Francis

(The Offertory and Communion Hymns would be omitted if your service will not include Holy Communion)

Signing of Registry

A song played during the signing of the papers. Common examples:

  • Ave Maria
  • Panis Angelicus
  • How Great Thou Art

Recessional

The recessional is the song at the end of the ceremony when everyone walks back down the aisle. Common examples:

  • Ode To Joy
  • Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee
  • Lord of the Dance
  • Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
  • When Love Is Found

You may also be interested in my “Wedding Music: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)” which answers many client questions.