How To Pick The Songs For Your Wedding

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Choosing the songs for your wedding takes some thought about the kind of atmosphere you want to create, what your guests will like to hear and what music you love as a couple.

So how do you pick the songs for your wedding? Let’s go through the ceremony and reception to gather inspiration for your wedding day music, which will be amazing!

The Ceremony

Before you start choosing music, you need to talk with your officiant and wedding planner to understand the length and format of the ceremony. You also need to decide the order your bridal party will enter during the processional.

For example, the processional might include your parents and grandparents entering before the bridal party if you are having a religious or traditional ceremony. Or, if you are having a second wedding, inter-cultural wedding, or informal ceremony, you might prefer to have all family seated before the bridal party then the beautiful bride enters.

chicago wedding band

The style of your processional will depend on what kind of ceremony you are having. Is your wedding religious, traditional, informal, inter-cultural, civil, or spiritual?

Next, you can start considering the music style and song choices.


The prelude is music playing as the guests arrive and are seated for the ceremony. This ambient music sets the mood for your ceremony and welcomes your guests. It is often classical music or a style to fit the venue, such as romantic love songs or contemporary acoustic for a hotel, garden wedding or rustic wedding venue.

If you follow this link, you can find a list of the Chicago wedding music we recommend for the prelude. Simply push the play button and hear sweet music to your ears.

For the prelude melodies, you can choose 2-4 songs or let us select them. Often it is nice when we have the freedom to select the prelude songs by reading the crowd and playing songs that are pleasing and complementary to the atmosphere on the day.

After your loved ones arrive and are seated, it is the moment everyone has been waiting for and the ceremony starts.


The first part of the processional is the bridal party arriving and may include parents and grandparents walking down the aisle to their seats in the front row. The second part is the bride arriving and walking down the aisle. These two songs are very personal and will trigger your memories of the wedding day every time you hear them in the future.

Alex Koffman playing violin

You can choose one song for the bridal party and one song for the bride’s entrance from our list. You may want an additional song for the groom and his side of the bridal party and important family members.


During the service, the times you wish to play music may include:

  • The lighting of the unity candle
  • Rituals such as sand or water pouring or handfasting
  • Presentation of flowers
  • Concert piece
  • The signing of the certificate


As you kiss and are pronounced man and wife, you joyfully glide down the aisle together, followed by the bridal party. Choose one song for this highlight moment of your best day ever. After that key song, the band music will continue to play as everyone follows for hugs and congratulations and group photos.

David Rothstein Music will make sure your ceremony music is executed perfectly right down to the last note. Many of us have witnessed weddings where the music abruptly stops or, worse; the wrong song is played. Having a professional team there for the entire wedding day is a worthwhile investment that makes the day extra special.

The Reception

Cocktail Hour

Your reception starts with cocktail hour, which is a lovely part of the day, joining the ceremony and the evening celebrations. You might be going off for bridal party and couple photos while your guests are enjoying drinks, mingling and listening to your Chicago wedding music.

Jazz trio performing cocktail hour music

Check our playlists for the reception covering pop/rock/classic hits, top 40/contemporary, slow songs, Motown/r&b/disco, country, Latin and island music, Broadway/tv and waltzes. We have all your favorite genres of music covered.



When the bridal party and couple make their grand entrance to the reception, it signals the start of the evening celebrations. After the MC gives a welcome speech, the bridal party will enter. You can choose an upbeat, fun song for your bridal party as they enter the room and go to the head table. The newlywed’s song should also be something uplifting with a strong beat.

During dinner, your band and/or DJ will play music to set the mood you want that reflects your musical tastes as a couple.


We find it is always best to time the formalities to happen during or straight after dinner, so you have plenty of time to party. You might want to have speeches during dinner, especially if you have many to get through.

For songs for the formalities, your first dance will be a highlight of the night. It might be slow and intimate or fast-paced and fun. Some couples will choreograph their first dance to a medley of tunes. A father-daughter and mother-son dance usually follow before everyone joins you on the dance floor for a wave of dancing.

You can let us know any styles you prefer and any you don’t like for the dancing music. If there are any particular songs or artists you would like included or excluded, please let us know.

Also, special dedications are a lovely way to add a sentimental touch to the evening with music.

You also can choose songs for cutting the cake, bouquet toss and garter and any other formalities you are planning for the evening. You are welcome to choose the last dance of the night.

After Party

When it is time for everyone to hit the dance floor, our Chicago wedding band can move a crowd like nobody’s business. The art of getting the party going comes with years of experience. They will also add different songs on the go depending on how your guests react to what is being played.

Another way to gather song inspiration for your wedding can be from your guests. Ask your guests to email you 2-3 favorite songs they would like to hear at your wedding. This list can be given to the band and is a thoughtful gesture that makes your guests feel included in the planning of your big day. Plus, they love it on the night if their favorite song is played.

There Are A Lot Of Songs In The Universe

Who knew there were so many songs to choose for a wedding? Then many songs have different versions. Take your time to select the music, so the process is enjoyable. Even plan romantic evenings together with wine, candles, and Spotify to research songs.

We will curate your wedding day music to suit your tastes and style. The songs that are trending are the ones you want. We listen and work closely with every couple to ensure their entertainment expectations are exceeded.

It is time-consuming but also fun putting together the music for your best day ever. You can think of it as collecting the ingredients for a great recipe. We need the right emotion-evoking tunes at the right times to make the magic happen all day long, especially on the dance floor.

At David Rothstein Music, we are excited to hear about your music for the wedding. We are obsessed with our playlist collections, so if you need help, we are always here. If you have a particular song that is random and not well-known, your band will happily learn it before your big day.

So how do you pick the songs for your wedding? You plan the ceremony and reception timings, then chat with David and your Chicago wedding band to create a music plan that will wow your guests all day and night long.

Drop us a line to discuss your ideas for the music at your wedding. We look forward to hearing from you!

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