Music To Your Ears

The music at a wedding is often times a primary means of setting a specific tone or feel. Most Bride’s have a “vision” of what they want their wedding ceremony and reception to look and feel like. The music you choose is an intriguing way to accomplish the task of realizing that vision. In today’s post we will chit chat about all of your music options here at Ashland Gardens and The Gardens and then we will break it down into some categories of the most used and popular wedding music (classic and current).

The Ceremony:

Whether your ceremony is at Ashland or The Gardens Chapel or in the Outdoor Garden Area at The Gardens Facility, we have a surround sound system that plays CD’s. We can provide the music (meaning you get a chance to sit down and take a look through our extensive list of music) or you can (meaning you bring in CD’s and we program them into our system).

Sometimes couple’s want live music in the form of a pianist, string quartet or harpist. We have marvelous musicians to recommend to you if any of these instruments interest you for ceremony music.

  • Tom Nix is the Pianist we highly recommend. He has a list of music to choose from and can also find pretty much anything else you are wanting played if he doesn’t already have it.
  • The String Quartet we use is from a local university and they do a beautiful job each time they get a chance to come and play here. They can also play during your reception (we think this would be marvelous at a morning or  brunch reception…don’t you? So romantic!).
  • Jill Justice is who we recommend when couple’s think a Harpist would fit the bill. She is an amazing musician and between her and her husband…they might be able to play every instrument known to man. So if there are any unique instrument requests for your ceremony – they are also who we would send you to.

Any of these musicians or groups can play at an indoor or outdoor ceremony. You are also more than welcome to provide your own musicians or singers.

The Reception:

There are so many different options for music during your reception. And which one you choose greatly depends on what kind of reception you are wanting to have and your budget. Imagining a quiet romantic setting with soft  music playing in the background? Or a lively (and potentially loud!) dance party with all the most popular, current hits? Are you a country or R&B music fan and can’t imagine not having a live band to keep your guests dancing all night long? We have recommendations for pretty much anything you can dream up.

Included in our Basic Package is light, background reception music that plays continuously during your party. This is something you can choose from our library or provide to us. This is an option that we only recommend if you are wanting something very low-key, aren’t wanting special songs played at certain times or songs announced, etc.

Our Royal and Ultimate Packages include a DJ (depending on availability…if he isn’t available, we will find someone else or we can subtract that from the package). Our DJ is Dance Party Productions and we just don’t have enough nice things to say about him. DJ’s can sometimes be cheesy, obnoxious, or cliche…this DJ is none of those things. He knows what to play and when. He knows how to keep your party moving. He. Is. The. Best. He includes amazing lighting and custom uplighting for your reception. You meet with him a few weeks before your event and go over the details of what you are wanting. He does not have a set playlist…so you can bring to him pretty much anything you are thinking. (He can also be added to our Basic Package) Need we say more?

We also understand that some people may know a DJ or have a certain DJ in mind, and that is fine too. You are more than welcome to provide your own DJ, but they must set up and tear down during your facility time.

On occasion people will hire a band to play at their reception. Usually this is a band they know or are related to in some way. Sometimes it is a band from their church. If you are interested in having a band, we would be happy to join you in your search to make the process as easy as possible.

Also, any of the ceremony musicians can also be booked for your reception for an additional cost. Pretty  much any of the live instruments would be unbelievably romantic/elegant. Piano music? A harp for your first dance? Love that.


So those are some options for who or what will provide your music. Here are some popular song options for different parts of the ceremony and for your first dance.

Prelude Music:

Jim Brickman Piano

Kenny G Saxophone

Harp Music

a Mixed CD of your favorite love songs

Seating of the Parents:

Mama’s Song (Carrie Underwood)

Butterfly Kisses (Bob Carlisle)

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (Bach)

Tale As Old As Time (Beauty and The Beast)

I Loved Her First (Heartland)

Processional: (This is when the Groom, Groomsmen, and Bridesmaids walk out)

Canon in D (Pachelbel) …this is a number one favorite…and we have like 14 million different versions of it…almost…

Air on G (Bach)

Claire de Lune (Debussy)

Forest Gump Theme (from the movie)…Yes, this is for real. Yes, it is gorgeous.

Presentation of the Bride:

The Bridal Chorus (we have more versions of this than we do Canon in D…piano, harps, strings, guitar…etc)

  • The most popular version we use currently is one by Jonathan Cain…gorgeous, dissonant version on the piano with a beautiful entrance point. Just ask for #8

Pretty much anything else you could possibly imagine. This is YOUR moment to shine. Walk to whatever makes you feel good. Lots of couple’s choose a song that has had special meaning to them or a piece that points to their faith.

Unity Ceremony:

If you are choosing to do a candle or sand ceremony or other kind of unity ceremony, you will probably want a song played during the moment. Here are some faves…

How Beautiful (Twila Paris)

I Will Be Here (Steven Curtis Chapman)

When I Say I Do (Matthew West)

Hymne (Vangelis…we have a very pretty soft piano version…don’t be fooled by some of the versions on youTube!)

Or again…anything you love.

Recessional: (Bride and Groom and Wedding Party leaving the Chapel at the end of the ceremony)

Wedding March (Sometimes called “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”…the really traditional one you hear in wedding movies)

Ode to Joy (Beethoven)

Spring (Vivaldi)

At Last (Etta James)

This Will Be (Natalie Cole)

Signed, Sealed, Delivered (Stevie Wonder)

I Gotta Feeling (Black Eyed Peas)

Forever (Chris Brown)

This is one you can really play with. What makes you dance? What makes you laugh? What will make your guests do both? Choose that song.

Here are some popular songs from certain genres that you can also plug into places you need music during your ceremony (pretty much any of the above spots).


Me and You (Kenny Chesney)

Then (Brad Paisley)

Only You Can Love Me This Way (Keith Urban)

Amazed (Lonestar)

My Wish (Rascal Flatts)

I Could Not Ask For More (Sara Evans)

When You Say Nothing at All (Alison Krauss)

The Way You Love Me (Faith Hill)

R&B / Gospel:

Ribbon in the Sky (Stevie Wonder)

Here and Now (Luther Vandross)

Endless Love (also Luther)

You for Me (Johnny Gill)

I Believe in You and Me (Whitney Houston)

If I Ain’t Got You (Alicia Keys)

Let’s Get Married (Jagged Edge…and the remix. We love the remix. It makes us dance.)

All My Life (K-Ci and JoJo)

Coffee House Hits:

Come Away With Me (Norah Jones)

One, Two, Three, Four (Plain White T’s)

I’ll Be (Edwin McCain)

Unfailing Love (Jimmy Needham)

You and Me (Dave Matthews….swoon)

The Luckiest (Ben Fold’s Five…swoon even more)

Love Never Fails (Brandon Heath)

Falling in Love at the Coffee Shop (Landon Pigg)

Bella’s Lullaby (From Twilight, the piano version…don’t judge, it is beautiful)

Make You Feel My Love (the Adele version…or any other version you love…we love the Adele version)

The First Dance

This is the song that couple’s often struggle with choosing the very most.

Couple of tips:

  • Don’t give up. There is always a third option. You hate his. He hates yours. Find a third option you both LOVE. (This will be good practice for pretty much every other decision you make in your marriage.)
  • Dance to it. Before the night before your wedding. If it feels weird, find something else. If you simply must dance to this song…practice. Lots of places in the city offer one class deals where you can take one lesson to brush up on your skills.

As for some suggestions to get the creative juices flowing, we talked to our DJ, Chris of Dance Party Productions about some of the most requested songs for the first dance. He said, “Lots of Tim and Faith” (meaning McGraw and Hill, of course). “At Last by Etta (James) or Beyonce for a classic sound.” For a great R&B selection, he says “Differences by Ginuwine is a very popular choice.”

That’s all we have for now…Have fun adding your unique style to the big day by choosing music selections that either match the theme, tone, or feeling of your event!

Happy Planning!