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How to Coordinate Wedding Ceremony Music. Wedding Planning Guide. How to We can all agree that you need some sort of sound system for your Ceremony Music. You may use a solo violinist, guitar band or most commonly a DJ. There is most definitely Ceremony Music, and somehow people need to hear it. For the purposes this Project Block we’re going to cover DJ’s and that style of sound. Bands and Instrumental groups are another fun subject for a later time.
The Worksheet we’ll be building is the top portion of Project Block 29: Music Playlists
I have a great list here of Questions to ask your DJ which will answer the unknown logistics about what they do for you. If you have or if you haven’t hired your DJ yet, print it and do through it with them.

Want more lists of questions? What should you ask bands and musicians? Find those lists and more in Green-Eyed Girl’s Book on How to Hire your Wedding Vendor Dream Team available HERE

Project 4D: Ceremony Music

What is not on the questionnaire to ask DJ’s is which songs you should use for your own ceremony…. They will likely be able to offer you suggestions and some great advice; however you should take some time to think through the songs that make your ceremony fit your love story.
Here are the segments of your day that require a song…

Prelude Music

Songs played between the time guests arrive and the time your processional starts. This is a great window to leave up to your talented DJ who knows your style. Secondly, you don’t always know how long this window will be. Your DJ is there, seeing your crowd arrive and can use his or her powers of perception to flood the room with pleasant entertainment. You can, which is fun, choose a specific style of music for the DJ to play while guests wait… sort of like a pre-wedding cocktail hour. Perhaps you want an 80’s Rock prelude or a Beach Boys theme. You can have fun with it too! You’ll need at least 20 minutes of music.

Processional Music

Songs that are played once the ceremony starts are considered part of the processional. Are family members being seated as part of the processional? Or before?

Family Seating

Usually {not always} there is a transition from the Prelude Music to the Processional. The DJ or whoever is playing the music will go silent for a few beats. Your guests will notice that there is no longer music and recognize that something is about to happen. They will settle into their seats and get quiet to pay attention to the aisle.  So the Prelude ending and the Processional beginning is defined by a bit of silence.
If family is seated before: guests are likely talking, distracted and not paying attention to the family being seated. However you can have the groom or ushers seat grandma and get back in line without holding up the show. Perhaps being seated by a special person is more important to grandma than being paraded down the procession {especially if she walks slowly} Something to consider.
If family is seated during the processional: All eyes are on them as they come down with escorts before the wedding party. They will need their own Processional song to get down the aisle.


There are many different styles of Processional Order. See Project Block 4. Though regardless of who takes the first step to the altar, Officiant or Maid of Honor, they will need a song. You will then need multiple songs to allow time for everyone else to make their way up the aisle too. Now here is where it gets a bit tricky….
If only there were a plentiful supply if 4-5 minutes songs! There aren’t. Unless, you go instrumental and can loop it! Always an option.

Identify songs per 2-5people or couples or 1 Minute. I know that’s vague…

Say your Officiant and groom are coming in together, but 30 seconds before the wedding party… they get their own song.

I don’t advise that you give each couple {bridesmaid and groomsman} their own songs… way too many fades for the DJ, especially if there are lyrics in your songs.

Ideally, wherever your starting point is behind the scenes where everyone is lined up to queue down the aisle, is only about a 30-45 second walk from the altar, IDEALLY. When we get into 1-minute walks we start racking up the songs. It is your coordinator’s job to queue and send everyone up the aisle before the songs end, within the same song or halt them and wait for their special song to start. We can best do that job if we know what the songs are prior and if they can be played at rehearsal. More on rehearsals later!
DJ’s and Coordinators are the main team here. I use a clipboard to flag up to the DJ {usually located about 20 feet away from me, when to play the next song. The DJ will then fade songs which I listen for and then I know when to send the next person. It is a complex system that is necessary to plan for, by selecting enough music!
Most songs are 1:30 to 2 minutes. A 1:30 song is enough for more than 3 couples at a 30 walk because we don’t wait 30 seconds between… I usually give a 10-count spacing. So, you will likely get 5 couples down the aisle in that one song. Now remember, EVERYONE you’re sending needs time, and if grandma is being escorted by a groomsman, he needs time to get back in position for the processional without running. So there may be more than a 10 count between couples.
Ends of songs can fade out too, so you don’t need the timing to be exact. Though, consider which part of the song you like best. If it has lyrics, maybe you actually start the song 10 seconds in and fade it out 20 seconds early to get the words you want to hear? …oooh… now we’re getting complicated… remember when I said this was tricky!
Here’s the thing…. YOU know why you want this special song played, but if you don’t think about these things, the reason you want that song at your wedding is for this ONE verse, and if you don’t plan, or TELL your DJ that, it might not even make it to that portion. Telling a DJ which song to play and then fade out may not be enough information. The DJ wants to make you happy, but could innocently upset you if they cut it off at the wrong verse, or start it normally and you intended it to start 10 seconds in.
Does that make sense? Let’s not set our awesome DJ’s up for failure. Just think it through, make a plan and tell them your playlist by the counts so transitions are correct.
You may even ask your coordinator to just wait for the Wedding Party song to completely end before you are sent down the aisle. Totally fine! You just need to tell us that so that the DJ doesn’t just fade the song out when the flower girls arrives…. We can drag it out until the end, no problem! Just say so.

Building your Worksheet

{Still need Worksheets? Get them HERE}


There is no specific image needed for this Project Block. But, you can select an image that best represents any styled pictures you want your photographer to snag. If you are not planning to take any pictures during this project you can leave the image blank. {Musicians playing, soloists, etc}


Song titles- See P29 Worksheet

Prior to Wedding:

List tasks that need to be complete before the wedding day to ensure success including:

  1. Go on ITunes and play a few versions of the songs you like. Make sure you can tell your DJ if you want the acoustic, guitar, piano, etc version and that they have it in their inventory
  2. Head on over to Pinterest and research some popular ceremony music. We have an entire board for you!

Staging Materials:

For your Ingredients list write in the specific items used for the styling factor of this Project, the chairs for musicians to sit, table, pen or music stand, etc. This way the person setting it up for you {Person in Charge} will know what it is supposed to look like in the pictures. There is also the major factor of WIND to consider… if musicians have loose leaf pages of sheet music, they’ll either need clips or have to tape it to their stands.

GEG Team Member Assignment

If you are currently on the GEG Wedding Coordinating Team here is your Assignment this week. If you would like to join our Team, learn all about the Wedding Planning Process with GEG HERE!

Team Members; please respond to your Wedding Wednesday Email with the following:

  1. Confirmation on communication to your DJ about your prelude. Let them know the style of music you want played, provide them a list or tell them they’re free to choose based on moods they see.
  2. Decide is family {grandparents to siblings} will be seated before or after the pause of silence between the prelude and processional. Will all eyes be on them or will they make a subtle entrance?
  3. Decide on your 2-3 Processional songs AND who they are meant for. Then send me your entry song. It could be the classic Bridal March or maybe something a bit more modern. I would then like to know your Recessional song; the song you are walking out to after the big kiss.

Previous Assignment: Project Block 4C: Ceremony Script Structure

Next Assignment: Project Block 5: Favors & Saying Thank you

Post Image Credit(s) Kelsea Joann Photography ~ Roman Studios 

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