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  • Writer's pictureFaye & Matt

Stress-free planning of wedding day music – typical timeline of the day

Planning the music to be played throughout your wedding day can seem overwhelming, especially considering how much else you’ll probably already planning and managing for the day. With the right approach and with the right musicians, it can and should actually be a smooth and enjoyable process.

Crafting a well-organised music timeline ensures that each moment of your day is perfectly accompanied by the right songs, creating a seamless and memorable experience. Here’s our Faye and Matt tips on how to plan a wedding music timeline without the stress.

Begin planning your wedding music well in advance. Early planning allows you to make thoughtful decisions without the pressure of time constraints. Communicate your vision and preferences clearly with your musicians to ensure they understand your expectations and to give them the opportunity to relay back to you on what they offer and can accommodate.

Identifying the key moments throughout your wedding day that require specific music helps in organising and planning the playlist. Whilst we as Faye and Matt, live acoustic duo, do have vast experiences working with couples of music selection and performing through the day, fortunately Matt was also once a wedding videographer and with these insights, here is our breakdown of the typical wedding day and where live music may be recommended.

1. Dress and preparation - At the beginning of the day, the couple individually get ready and dressed for the day. For typical weddings, the groom and his groom’s men arrive at the ceremony location awaiting and greeting the guests upon arrival.

2. Pre-Ceremony with music – As the guests arrive at the wedding ceremony venue and await to be seated prior to the focal event.

  • Music style: Soft, welcoming tunes to set a calming atmosphere as guests arrive and take their seats.

  • Music duration: 30-45 minutes before the ceremony starts.

3. The bride and family are collected, often by special carriage and travel to the wedding venue. During this time the groom’s entourage and all guests should be seated and ready inside the ceremony hall.

4. Ceremony with music

  • Processional: Music for the bridal party and bride’s entrance – this is a crucial moment as all eyes will be on this party as they enter and walk up the aisle.

  • Interludes: Music during special moments like readings or candle lighting and the book register signing.

  • Music duration: Typically only up to 15 minutes in total during the ceremony, the majority being for the interlude.

5. Ceremony Recessional and Group Photos with music – The transition from where the newly-wed couple exists the ceremony and everybody gathers for the group wedding photographs.

  • Recessional: Upbeat and celebratory music as the couple exits the ceremony.

  • Group photograph music: Medium soft modest paced songs to set the first interactive atmosphere for you and your guests to gather together.

  • Music duration: Typically up to 15 minutes.

6. Cocktail Reception with music – This is often immediately after the ceremony and group photos, allowing for change of location to prepare for the evening whilst the couple venture with the photographer to take more private couple newly-wed photographs.

  • Music style: Light and upbeat tunes that create a relaxed and social atmosphere for the guests.

  • Music duration: Can last up between one to two hours.

Note: Quite often for practical reasons, the group photos and reception moments may be combined into a single event.

7. Wedding Breakfast with music – Once the dining area is ready, everybody is called in to be seated and for the food to be served. Often the newly-wed couple wait for all guests to be seated and are announced for special applause entrance. It will be after they have eaten that the couple visit the guests socially.

  • Music style: Soft background music to allow for conversation

  • Music duration: Can last up to one and half hours.

8. First Dance and Early Evening with music – After the meal, the evening is officially initiated with the first official dance, followed by other special dances by the entourages and parents, before others are invited to join in.

  • First Dance music style: Often a song special to the couple, slow enough for intermit close quarter dancing.

  • Music style: High-energy songs to get everyone socialising and dancing.

  • Music duration: Can last up to one and half hours.

Note: The wedding cake cutting typically occurs soon after and is shared to all guests and for more social interaction between the couple and guests.

8. Late Early Evening with music – This is the end of the day and often set to be the most upbeat and lively time of the day.

  • Music style: High-energy songs to get everyone dancing

  • Music duration: Can last from two to three hours depending on how late the wedding intends to go on for.

Example wedding music timeline outline template

Work with your musicians to create a detailed timeline that includes the specific songs for each key moment. Ensure that each segment of the day flows seamlessly into the next. Here’s an example of a detailed timeline:

  • 3:00 PM: Guests arrive – Pre-ceremony music starts

  • 3:30 PM: Ceremony begins – Processional music for bridal party and bride’s entrance

  • 4:00 PM: Ceremony ends – Recessional music as the couple exits

  • 4:15 PM: Cocktail reception – Light and upbeat background music

  • 5:30 PM: Wedding breakfast – Soft background music

  • 7:00 PM: First dance and early evening upbeat music

  • 8:00 PM: Late evening music – upbeat music

  • 10:00 PM: Final song of the night

Bonus Tips

Tips for a Smooth Execution

  1. Coordinate with your planner: Ensure your wedding planner or coordinator has a copy of the music timeline and communicates with the musicians on the day.

  2. Sound check: Schedule a sound check with the musicians to ensure all equipment is working correctly and the sound levels are appropriate for the venue.

  3. Flexibility: Be prepared for changes and keep the timeline flexible to accommodate any unexpected events or issues which come up during the day.

Trust Your Musicians

Experienced musicians like us can read the room and adjust the music in real-time to match the mood and energy of your guests. Trust their expertise to keep the atmosphere perfect throughout the day and also to know when things need to change and handle it, without you having to personally intervene on the day so that you can enjoy your own wedding.


Planning a stress-free wedding music timeline involves early preparation, clear communication, and a detailed schedule. By breaking down the day into key moments and working closely with your musicians such as us, you can ensure that your wedding day is accompanied by the perfect soundtrack or live acoustic music.

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