After looking for what felt like forever, you've finally found the one. And no, we're not talking about your future spouse, but rather your wedding dress! Most brides-to-be will spend countless hours obsessing over the perfect gown, the matching veil, the right big-day beauty look, and of course, your grand entrance. But what will you hear when the doors open to reveal you? It might be something you left out of your fantasy—especially when you're really dreaming about the person on the other end of the aisle—but the music that begins your ceremony sets the tone for the rest of the event.
It can be difficult to narrow down your choices, decide if you want to go traditional or modern, and get buy-in from your families, since they'll need music, too. Not sure where to start? Let wedding planners and experts guide you through the sheet music planning.
First off, what is processional music and why is it important?
Processional music is exactly what it sounds like: The song—or songs—that play when important family members, your bridesmaids and groomsmen, and the bride, make their way down the aisle. "Oftentimes one song is played for the parents and wedding party and then a second song is played when the second partner enters," wedding planner Leah Weinberg says. Although you'll likely have soft tunes playing as guests arrive, your processional music needs to be different enough from that background playlist as it lets everyone know the wedding is about to begin. This is why more and more couples are choosing special songs, instead of traditional ones, to begin their big day. "The trend of selecting unique, personally significant songs is one of the best opportunities to present to the guests in attendance your feelings at the moment you're walking down the aisle," Michael Taylor, the CEO of Star Talent Inc., explains. "Whether it be love, sincerity, romance, seriousness, or a fun sentiment, all these emotions can be revealed through your selection of music."
Remember to coordinate with your DJ.
If there are certain songs that you really love, but you only want certain portions of them to play, Weinberg says to hire a DJ who can mix on the fly. When she decided to do this at her own wedding, it became her favorite moment of the entire experience. "I had the DJ live mix a Coldplay song for our processional. There was a portion of the song that the parents entered to, and then another portion for the wedding party, and then a third portion for when it was time for me to walk down the aisle," she explained. "Because the DJ had the different sections on a loop, he was able to cue each section at just the right moment and it all crescendoed perfectly as I finished walking down the aisle."
Pick your song.
So what if a Taylor Swift song reminds you of your partner? Or you're both into '80s jams and you want your shared favorite to play as you start your descent. Whatever it is, there's no better time to show everyone you love the beautiful connection you have for one another. "I love it when couples select non-traditional songs for their processional. And instead, choose something that has a special meaning for them and that can get them and their guests excited for what's to come," Weinberg says.
Pick one another's song.
Talk about trusting one another: For a bold, risky idea, allow your husband-to-be to pick your processional and you select his. You could make some ground rules—ahem, avoid "Brick House"—but it's a sweet way to illustrate how you feel about one another via song. Plus, if you're having an intimate wedding, your guests will instantly know why your partner picked those lyrics, just for you.
Consider themes from movies.
Even if you're not typically a movie buff, most people recognize scores and themes from movies, especially those from films that are classic and made an impact on them. And of course, if you pick a romantic comedy, it fits into a love-themed day perfectly. "One wedding in particular stands out where the wedding party and the bride walked down the aisle to the theme from The Princess Bride," Weinberg shared.