Following on from my previous blog post with my top 5 wedding songs, here are the next 5 songs on the list! My list of wedding song suggestions is ever expanding, and I would love to hear your choices too, so please comment below with your favourites.
Wedding songs – a personal choice
Beautiful wedding songs that are not over used but also mean something to you are difficult to come by. You may have already picked a couple of songs already, but I think a ceremony that is full of music really elevates it into something special. Have a read and a listen to my choices for some more musical inspiration!
First Day Of My Life, Bright Eyes
This simple, beautiful song captures a feeling of loving intimacy, and of the quiet happiness that comes when you know you have found your love. Its laid back, folksy guitar accompaniment creates a light summery sound – it’s a great choice for your ceremony.
It was written by American indie band Bright Eyes in the mid 2000s, and the lyrics are poetic and emotional, but also avoid slushy sentimentality. It would be perfect at the closing of the ceremony, as it evokes a gentle feeling of excitement, and of new adventures just beginning. I defy you not to have a tear in your eye when you listen to this one! (Also check out the official video, directed by John Cameron Mitchell. It’s just lovely and fits perfectly with the understated joy of the song!)
All Of Me, John Legend
All Of Me has become a wedding staple since its release in 2013, and I just love it. The song has so much heart and vulnerability, and has a romantic history. John Legend wrote it for his then fiancée Chrissy Teigen, who he met on the set of an earlier video shoot. The video for the song itself, which was filmed just days before their wedding, features them both at Lake Como and ends with footage from their actual wedding.
The lyrics convey beautifully a sense of acceptance of your partner, warts and all, and both respect and love for their flaws and perfections. Legend said about the song in an interview “At the same time as you’re giving everything up, you’re gaining everything, and that’s what the whole song is about. If you’re in love and you connect, then even when you’re giving things up, you’re gaining so much from it.”
It’s one of the most beautiful wedding songs sung as it is, but there are gorgeous arrangements of it out there if you’d like to hear it in a new way. I’ve heard versions performed at weddings as a duet, by a full choir, or a string quartet. It also sounds delicately lovely played on a harp. The recordings below are great – the first is a choral version by The Kingdom Singers (of Royal Wedding fame) and the second is an arrangement for the harp. Have a listen and see what you think!
Bogoroditsye Devo, Rachmaninoff
This exquisite choral piece is taken from Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil, which is more popularly known as The Vespers. It was Rachmaninoff’s second sacred work, but the composer himself was not particularly religious or close to the Russian church. He was, however, moved and inspired by church music, as you can hear in this majestic setting. Even though I am not at all religious either, this is one of my favourite pieces of classical music. I had it as part of my own wedding and it was spine-tingling.
There is something so calm and ethereal about the beginning, and then as the soprano and tenor lines start to soar it moves towards a stirring, beautiful and emotional climax. It’s a powerful, spiritual and moving addition to a wedding ceremony. Have a listen below to this rendition by The Knott Singers, singing it at my wedding!
Only Us, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (from Dear Evan Hansen)
Pasek and Paul are probably most famous for writing music and lyrics for the films The Greatest Showman and La La Land, but before those mega hits they composed the musical Dear Evan Hansen. The show is a Broadway and West End smash, and deals with serious, emotional subjects like grief and social anxiety. However, it also explores family, relationships and love, and in the middle of it all comes this beautiful song.
The harmonies are so lush when the two voices come together, and the guitar and piano grow from a lilting accompaniment to a more driving crescendo as the lyrics get more passionate. It works out of context as a stand-alone duet, as it tells the story of two people so in love that the “rest of the world falls away…” Perfect for a wedding!
Eden (Harlem), Nicholas Britell
Sometimes the most beautiful wedding songs are purely instrumental ones. There are obviously thousands of classical pieces to choose from, and they can be so effective. This gorgeous piece is taken from soundtrack for the film If Beale Street Could Talk. It’s written for strings, and the sustained chords and gentle, simple violin melody create an atmosphere of calmness and serenity. I absolutely fell in love with it when I first heard it.
This gently beautiful piece would fit well at any part of the proceedings, but perhaps best at the beginning of a ceremony or during the signing. It will provide an emotional interlude of warmth and reflection. The original recording from the soundtrack is lovely, but if performed by live musicians it would be just magical.
And there you have the next 5 beautiful wedding songs on my list! I have so many more to share with you…I hope you enjoy listening to these ones, and have found some inspiration for your choices. Please do share your favourite songs with me as well – I genuinely love hearing new pieces that will make wedding ceremonies all the more beautiful.
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