Although many people look forward to a huge, flamboyant wedding, that might not be your thing. All you want is a little gathering filled with the people that matter most to you and your partner. If a small, intimate day is what you’re leaning towards, you can make it even more intimate with the right music. And I’ve compiled a list of small wedding music ideas to get you started on the right track. Pun intended.
Of course, it’s always best to have some good ol’ gentle music playing in the background during your small wedding as you walk down the aisle. Aside from filling up the silence, music helps set that romantic ambiance you so crave on your big day.
From solo singers to duos and music apps, here are some practical small wedding music ideas to light up your big day.
Live wedding band
If the venue can contain it and you can afford it, why not! Go for it! Nothing will get your wedding guests’ groove on like a live wedding band. And even when they aren’t up for dancing, they’ll surely be entertained by a live band. Talk about violins, pianos, and a vocalist! A full spec.
Hire a Solo singer
For a micro wedding, hiring a wedding DJ may be overkill. You might want to consider getting a solo singer instead for the sentimental value they offer.
It doesn’t have to be a global award-winning artiste; a local vocalist who plays guitar can do a world of good for your wedding event. They don’t have to sing their own songs, too; an acoustic band can sing covers of popular wedding songs.
And it’s a win-win. You’re promoting the artiste’s career while they romanticize your wedding party with the gentle beauty of their voice.
A string duo
Don’t you just love the sensational sound of string instruments? If you’re one for old skool or country music, this small wedding music idea is right down your alley.
With a timeless sound, string instruments have become a staple in wedding ceremonies all over the world. But rather than having a string quartet (four musicians), a string duo would be an ideal fit for a small wedding venue. Plus, it’s a cheaper option if you have a tight wedding budget. You pay two rather than four people.
A string duo may consist of a cello and violin, two violins, or a violin and a viola.
Get a jazz duo
When you hear jazz, you almost immediately think of a large band with loud music. But a jazz duo, a smaller team, can bring a sense of relaxation and romantic ambiance to your small wedding and set the tone for the day.
Depending on the band you hire, the instrument combo may be different:
- Two acoustic guitars
- Piano and double bass
- Sax and Piano
Having a jazz band never fails to light up a party. So no matter how small your venue is, this is one wedding music idea to consider. Great when you would like to take the dance floor at some point, and they can play in the background as you have your wedding breakfast.
If your wedding isn’t that small and the venue will allow it, you might opt for a trio or quartet (band of 3 or 4).
Get a performer with backing tracks
If your small wedding venue won’t accommodate a full live band, consider opting for a singer with backing tracks. They can bring the lively sensation of live music without overcrowding the area.
All they do is perform over background music, so you can get a wide variety of wedding songs of varying genres performed by the same person. At the end of the day, you’d have successfully entertained everyone, regardless of their musical taste.
Wedding music without DJ
If you’re on a tight budget, going DJ-less is one wedding idea that’s definitely worth considering.
Let’s face it; for a small wedding, hiring a DJ can be overkill. Thankfully, you can pull off your wedding music without a DJ by using Spotify on your laptop. This will work for both a small and traditional wedding.
If you don’t have Spotify or there’s another music app you’re more familiar with, feel free. Just ensure you curate different playlists for each part of the wedding. The style of music on each playlist should suit the mood, such as for the ceremony, dance floor, cake cutting, etc. Avoid going for only your favorite songs. There should be a wide variety of popular songs that all your wedding guests can relate to.
Since you won’t be available to push pause and play by yourself, you’ll need someone to handle that for you. And since it’s a small wedding venue with few guests, heavy-duty speakers may not be necessary.
I wrote extensively on how to DJ your own wedding here, so feel free to check it out.
What music to play for a small wedding
For a small wedding, consider having a mix of romantic, upbeat, and classical music. Below are some popular options and when they are used:
- Processional: “Here Comes the Bride” (Wagner), “Canon in D” (Pachelbel), or “A Thousand Years” (Perri)
- Recessional: “Ode to Joy” (Beethoven), “Spring” (Vivaldi), or “Marry You” (Mars)
- Reception: “At Last” (James), “Thinking Out Loud” (Sheeran), or “The Way You Look Tonight” (Sinatra) are great for the wedding reception
Tips to best utilize music for a small wedding
Whatever instrument or band you use for your small wedding, here are some tips to help you make the most of it.
Go for more intimate sounds
It’s a small wedding with the closest friends and family members seated around or in rows. The ambiance is calm, serene, and intimate, so having several instruments playing at the same time wouldn’t be appealing in such a setting.
For a small intimate wedding, aim for at most two instruments. A piano or string instrument is a perfect choice, as the intimate sound from any of these will help create that solemn mood required in such a gathering. This is precisely what you need when during your special dance.
If peradventure there is an organ; it shouldn’t be played loudly as that can be displeasing in the small space. Tell whoever you hire to aim for the softer tops.
Choose music for different key moments
When it comes to micro weddings, the focus is often on creating an intimate atmosphere that allows the couple and their closest loved ones to immerse themselves in the moment fully. One way to do this is by carefully selecting the right music that enhances the mood rather than overpowering it.
For the pre-ceremony mingling, it’s a good idea to keep the music at a low volume to not drown out your guests’ conversations. Select music that encourages free-flowing dialogue and helps to set a relaxed tone for the day ahead. Soft music, not too loud.
During the ceremony, consider using just one song for the bridal processional to avoid awkward pauses or abrupt song transitions. Skipping the recessional and postlude is also an option to help guests leave the ceremony venue quickly and efficiently.
And when the time comes to take the dance floor, go for romantic slow-dance songs that are fit for such an intimate and memorable moment. It’s a small wedding, so loud party songs may not be ideal.
Ultimately, whether you choose to have music or not on your wedding day, the key is to focus on the meaningful connections between you and your partner and your loved ones. A small wedding can be just as special as a grand affair, and the right music can make the occasion even more memorable.
So, select music that reflects your personalities as a couple, enhances the intimacy of the moment, and allows you to create a wedding day that is truly unique to you.