While most brides-to-be (and grooms) have thought about dresses and cakes and maybe a live band or DJ for the reception, only the most sophisticated have considered a Custom Song to commemorate the occasion. Music and songs weave the fabric of our sonic reality and tie us to moments in time. How often do you hear a song it takes you back to some great memory of a fantastic occasion? And what experience deserves to be celebrated and remembered more than a couple’s wedding, which starts them off to a lifetime of adventure, personal discovery, and growth?
As Martha Stewart deftly noted, “The music entertainment you select is responsible for 80% of the event’s success and the memories you will have for the rest of your life.”
Now imagine you have your Custom Love Song as part of this equation, and you take things to the next level!
It’s possible to obtain an utterly custom-created song with a professional recording that captures the unique qualities of the couple and can act as a manifesto of what they want from their relationship, an anthem to be played at anniversaries going forward, and a lasting memory for them and their loved ones. You eat your cake once, you wear the dress once, but you can sing a song forever.
At this point, you might be asking yourself what’s involved and how I can incorporate this unique feature into my wedding? First, let’s consider some of the basics.
Work With An Experienced Songwriter
Just as you would instead work with a professional baker for your cake, you are best off working with a professional songwriter on the soundtrack to your special day. As you already know, there are many details involved in a wedding and a song has to be top-notch to be included. You don’t want to be second-guessing anything.
You’d be surprised how deeply personal and uplifting a song like this will be for you. To achieve that reality, you want to work with someone sensitive to your unique desires and the mechanics of songwriting and production.
Not only do you want someone who can capture the essence of who you are as a couple, but you want someone who will write a song that your family and friends will enjoy as well, which is why you want a well-written song that also has a radio-quality recording. If it’s going to be played alongside other pieces at your reception, it should at least match the sound quality of whatever else the DJ is playing.
(Ideally, it should at least make your mother tear up a little bit and the bridesmaids!)
Yes, the central theme of many famous love songs indeed has to do with loving each other forever, and while that may well be part of the theme of your song, it should be grounded in details that are personal to you. As you start thinking about this, you want to ask yourselves questions like:
- What are some shared activities we do? (Do we like to sail? Do we enjoy dancing?)
- What are our hopes and dreams?
- What did we do on our first date?
- Are there any phrases we like or use all the time?
It might be worthwhile jotting these ideas down as you brainstorm individually and together. The more unique and personal the details, the better, giving the songwriter more material to work with. For one song I recently wrote, the couple had a phrase already associated with the wedding, so that phrase became the chorus. There might be a poem that you are using that has a line that can be referenced.
For another, they used rings that incorporated sand from beaches in the countries they originally come from, so we used the phrase “sands of time” in the song. Your wedding will have traditions and concepts that might lend themselves to memorable lyrics.
Depending on your situation, wedding vows that you have written can make excellent ideas for lyrics. I have an experience that people often leave writing their vows to the last minute, so this might help you get a head start on this important task!
I always ask what kind of music and instrumentation the couple likes. After all, it is your song. However, I would caution against resisting trends. You might be hung up on a particular song or style that is currently popular but consider how that is going to sound to you in twenty years. Classic songwriting never goes out of style and generally holds broader appeal. Maybe there is some classical music you like, and it might have melodic ideas that can be incorporated somehow.
A couple I recently worked with was learning the tango for their honeymoon in Argentina, for example, so we wound up using elements of traditional tango music in part of the song. Another couple likes the cello’s sound, so there is a cello in the instrumentation.
It could also be that you have some musical talent and wish to contribute musically. Most songwriters would invite that conversation, and it may well be a meaningful way to contribute. For one song I recently worked on, the bride and groom are interested in outer space, so I had them recite some filtered lines to sound like how human voices would sound to us if they were on Mars! It was utterly unique, and we found a great way to make it work in the recording.
Another musical consideration is the use of the song in the proceedings. For example, is it meant to be the first dance, or is it meant to be played while you are signing the register? Its ultimate use in the ceremony can have some bearing on the accompaniment and style of the song.
In addition to that, you will want to think about future uses for anniversaries. It’s good to keep a broad-minded approach and trust your songwriter and yourselves.
How long should this process take?
The short answer is “as long as possible,” but at least 4-6 weeks at the absolute bare minimum. Songwriting can seem like a very mysterious art –because it is! And you can’t rush perfection. But, on the other hand, while some songs you have heard on the radio might have taken years to complete, that should not be the case with your matrimonial masterpiece.
Let’s consider a possible process after you have found your songwriter:
- WRITING / FACTFINDING: 1-2 meetings (likely over Zoom) to discuss the aforementioned lyrical and musical considerations. Between sessions, there might be further brainstorming. The creative process is not one way. You might find that you’ll be in your shower after a couple of days, and a significant detail will occur to you that MUST be in the song! And so I’d give that process at least ten days.
- DEMO: The songwriter will likely do up a demo, i.e. a recording of the tune without total production and will probably want your input on the overall direction and the tune.
- PRODUCTION: This could take some time as there may be other people to be scheduled. Perhaps you want a live cellist of multiple singers. There are many options here, so that I would give this a couple of weeks at least.
- APPROVAL: Likely, at this point, the recording will be approved by the happy couple.
- EDITS/MASTERING: There may be some edits or changes from the first approval, and then it would be mastered. In the recording process, mastering is a final step that makes the final mix industry-standard.
Once the track is mastered and delivered to you, you should be on Cloud 9 and humming the tune in your head, looking forward to your special day!
You may want to print the lyrics in your program so others can sing along. You may or may not want a lyric video to show at the wedding with the songs on the screen. The footage might incorporate some photos or videos you had taken leading up to the wedding or other meaningful content you provide. Also, this kind of video production might be good for an anniversary and incorporate photos from the day of the celebration. Or you might want both! It’s your wedding!! (Plus, videos are great to share on social media. Idea!)
A live performance might also be something to consider and can be very special. Depending on the situation, the songwriter might agree to perform it solo, with a backing band, or perhaps with your hired wedding band. In each case, you will want to negotiate that with the parties involved as there will likely be extra fees and time to consider, especially if the wedding band needs to learn this song for your wedding.
Depending on your wedding, there is also the option of obtaining a dance remix of your song, which can be a fun addition to the reception, depending on what the DJ will do. A recent couple I spoke to is very much into electronic dance music. So this helped to split the difference between having a classic song to use in the wedding service to last forever and having a timely and contemporary remix version for a party atmosphere.
As your guests are heading home thinking what a lovely time they had (and are humming your theme song to themselves in the car), they will be wishing you well and thinking how lovely the bride’s dress was, how delicious the catering was (don’t even mention the cake! –Divine!!), and how lucky you are to have an exclusive, personal anthem that they can’t get out of their heads. How many of them have songs written for and about them?
As mentioned earlier, the day’s music is responsible for 80% of everyone’s fond memories of the event. But, of course, your custom matrimonial music will be the icing on the cake.
Mackenzie Kristjon is an award-winning singer/songwriter in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area. This Mad Desire act has released numerous love songs, including Love Is A Glorious Thing and Operators Are Standing By. To learn more about his songwriting services, visit https://thismaddesire.net/custom-songs-and-music-lessons. Sample songs are available on request.
FAQ – Wedding Songs
What is the most popular wedding song?
The beautiful ballad “All of Me” by John Legend, which is an example of fantastic music to walk down the aisle to or marriage songs to play during the celebration, is the number one selection and finest wedding song.
When the bride walks in, what music is playing?
Wagner’s Bridal Chorus. This piece of classical music, also known as Here Comes The Bride, is the customary option for the bride’s procession and is frequently played on an organ.
How do you choose a song for your wedding entrance?
To make the event even more personal, you and your spouse might pick your processional music separately and keep them a secret until you walk down the aisle. Find a song that expresses how you feel about your spouse, a song that they enjoy and that you know they’d enjoy hearing or a song that carries a special memory for them.