Choosing the soundtrack for your wedding ceremony can be difficult. It's hard enough to decide which songs to play as guests are seated, but there are other important events to highlight with music as well. To name just a few, there's the mothers' and bridesmaids' walk down the aisle, the moment you and your fiancé exchange vows and your jubilant exit down the aisle as husband and wife.
If you've decided that Johann Pachelbel's classic Canon in D just isn't your style, never fear! There are many other songs to play at your wedding that are every bit as meaningful, whether you enjoy rock 'n' roll, pop, country or R&B.
We know that finding the perfect music for the most important day of your life can be challenging, so to help you narrow your search, we've compiled a list of 10 songs for the modern bride's ceremony.
Released in June 1997 by the English alternative band The Verve, "Bittersweet Symphony" is considered by many to be one of the best indie songs of the '90s. Since its release, the song has been featured in several movies, commercials and television shows. Most fans and critics agree that it's one of The Verve's greatest hits.
"Bittersweet Symphony" is the best of both worlds -- its classical undertone will please your conservative mother-in-law, but the modern, up-tempo beat is why you'll choose it as the tune for your wedding party processional. Whether you go for the instrumental version or the track featuring vocalist Richard Ashcroft, its beautiful melody is a great marriage of traditional and contemporary … kind of like you and your guy!
Written by Sir Paul McCartney in 2007, "Dance Tonight" first debuted in the United Kingdom but quickly gained popularity across the pond within days of its release. Are you and your groom exchanging vows on a tropical island? If so, "Dance Tonight" sounds even more charming when played on a ukulele.
Whether you're getting married seaside or countryside, this cheerful song is guaranteed to make guests smile as they walk to their seats. The lively, catchy tune is sure to get your friends and family in the mood for the festive evening ahead.
Carrie Underwood's emotional tribute to mothers-of-the-bride everywhere, "Mama's Song," will bring a touch of class and sentiment to your ceremony. The "American Idol" winner wrote this pop-country song before her 2010 wedding, reassuring her mother through the lyrics that she didn't have to worry; the man she just married loves her and treats her well.
This powerful song about the strength of the mother-daughter bond is one to play as grandmothers and mothers are ushered down the aisle to their seats. Carrie's loving words dedicated to her mother are sure to pull on everyone's heartstrings -- there won't be a dry eye in the house after the last note fades away.
"Across the Universe," a well-known track off the Beatles' 1970 album "Let it Be," is psychedelic, funky and a fitting tune for the modern-meets-bohemian bride and groom.
This song's folk and India-inspired elements make it a one-of-a-kind melody, yet it still has that unmistakable Beatles' signature sound. Play this Beatles hit during readings or as you and your fiancé exchange wedding bands. John Lennon's legendary voice and a unique combination of instruments -- a tamboura, maracas and piano -- will definitely give your ceremony the modern edge you're looking for.
"Hysteric," an enchanting track off the Yeah Yeah Yeahs third album is a song worthy of any bride's epic walk down the aisle. From the moment vocalist Karen O whispers the words, "You suddenly complete me," the groom is likely to be hypnotized by her sweet voice and the song's graceful, mid-tempo ballad, but nothing will prepare him for the moment he sees his beautiful bride for the first time.
Many would agree that the acoustic version of the song is even better than the original. The heartfelt lyrics and the strings of the violin are guaranteed to have guests reaching for their handkerchiefs before you even make it to the altar.
"Everlong," a powerful rock ballad from the Foo Fighter's second album, "The Colour and the Shape," debuted in May 1997 and sold more than 2 million copies in the U.S. alone. Lead vocalist Dave Grohl is rumored to have written this love song in only 45 minutes, and many fans consider it to be one of the band's best songs. This fast-paced grunge anthem evokes feelings of excitement associated with a new flame and everlasting love, making it a great choice to play during the unity portion of the ceremony.
"Just Like Heaven," an energetic, dreamy 1987 classic by British band The Cure, has certainly stood the test of time; it's just as popular with couples today as it was more than 20 years ago. An alternative rock ballad, the lyrics convey feelings of nostalgia, a theme that resonates with listeners of all ages. The original or instrumental version of "Just Like Heaven" would add a bit of flair as you and your fiancé exchange vows. If the keyboard sound and up-tempo drum beat aren't your style, consider singer-songwriter Katie Melua's soft, slower rendition of the song.
"Forever," a jingle originally written for a Doublemint gum commercial, first debuted on the Billboard charts in 2008. More than one year later, a home video of a wedding party dancing down the aisle to "Forever" became an Internet sensation, capturing millions of viewers' attention. The electropop-meets-R&B jam quickly returned to the top of the charts, and brides and grooms everywhere were immediately inspired to begin their ceremony with a choreographed dance.
Even if you nix the idea of an impromptu dance down the aisle, consider playing the high-spirited chorus as your wedding party exits after the ceremony.
Written by singer-songwriter Ray Lamontagne, "You Are the Best Thing" is a heartwarming, upbeat track off his third album, "Gossip in the Grain." Lamontagne's soulful, raspy tone is sure to set a romantic mood for the wedding. Lively horns shine through on this track, so don't be surprised if your wedding guests sway to the music as the officiant pronounces you husband and wife.
"Float On," a popular song off the fourth Modest Mouse album, "Good News for People Who Love Bad News," is a spunky and inspirational song about maintaining a positive outlook on life.
When it debuted in 2004, it climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and quickly became the band's most well-known song. In 2009, Rolling Stone named "Float On" the 39th greatest song of the 2000s. Its overall message to "float on" even if "things get heavy" should be every bride and groom's mantra. The opening drum beat and striking guitar chords will highlight your joyous exit down the aisle, hand in hand, as a newly married couple.
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- Jargon, Julie, and Ethan Smith. "Chew on This: Hit Song Is a Gum Jingle." July 28, 2008. (May 12, 2011).http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121721123435289073.html
- MSNBC. "NASA beaming Beatles tune to the stars." Feb. 1, 2008. (May 11, 2011).http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22951001
- Sawdey, Evan. "Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It's Blitz!" Pop Matters. March 30, 2009. (May 12, 2011).http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/72372-the-yeah-yeah-yeahs-its-blitz/
- Thee, Marcel. "Foo Fighters Try Getting Back To Basics." April 27, 2011. (May 12, 2011).http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/lifeandtimes/foo-fighters-try-getting-back-to-basics/437695