Great stories tend to be ones where the storyteller manages to economically ‘put you in the picture’. Good storytellers need to be able to say a lot about the setting and context of a story with few words and by imparting very little information; so they use shortcuts. One shortcut at the heart of so many good stories comes in the form of the following words: ‘I can still remember the song that was playing when…’. Music is so much more than just the food of love, it is a really useful way to convey meaning, emotion and your mental state with great efficiency. A good love song can say in three minutes what many of us struggle to express at length; a few simple chords can tell a story of tension, giving way to relief and then joy in a matter of moments. Meanwhile, we as communicators are so lost without these telling cues (music, scent, colour) which we use to prop up the stories we tell. So how will you use music to tell your story to your wedding guests? And how will those guests use those songs to tell the story of your wedding? Music is a powerful tool, and you should give this some serious thought.
Here are a few tips for picking your wedding music, whether you opt for a band, DJ, or do it yourself:
1. Pick a song you can dance to: For your first dance make sure that you pick a tune that you and your partner can both dance to. Don’t pick a song you don’t know how to move to just because you love it. Play that song at some other point in the wedding.
2. Pick a style and adhere to it: Most weddings feature some wackiness in terms of the songs that are played, and that’s part of the fun, but for the most part make sure that you, your band or your DJ choose songs that make sense together without jarring.
3. Use the music to tell the story: Your wedding is a short story in itself with ups, downs and a sequence of events. Plan the music to help tell that story and add drama, lightheartedness, emotion and energy as needed.
4. Pick memorable songs: Your wedding is a proud day and you want people to remember it. Choose songs that people know well so that when they tell your story, they’ll utter the phrase ‘I can still remember the song that was playing when….’.
5. If you can manage it, put in something for everyone: You don’t have to please everyone and you certainly don’t have to put together a hodgepodge of musical styles just to cater to every guest, BUT, if you can put in a few songs which you know will make different groups of guests happy, why not? They’ll remember it.
6. Don’t be obsessed with being classy: Your wedding is a celebration and a party. Of course most people want theirs to be elegant, neat and glamorous, but don’t forget that a truly memorable wedding day is also FUN. Don’t be shy to put in tunes you know will get people moving, even if they aren’t the most tasteful choices.