This post is part of a series about our DIY Kentucky Vineyard wedding. It was such a labor of love and there is so much to tell, so I’ll be splitting it up into categories. I hope you’ll find some inspiration and entertainment from what we did for our wedding, along with some ideas for your own day!
Choosing the music for our wedding was one of my favorite parts about the planning process. I started making a playlist way before the wedding day – like a year before. I kept a few different files going on my iTunes and would add songs as time passed, so by the time I met with my DJ, I was prepared with a list of songs we liked for each part of the event. There were songs for when people were arriving at the reception, while they were in line to get food and eating, and when it was time to dance. I also had a “Do Not Play” list, which I think is very important if you care anything about the music at your reception. What was on my black list? Well, I hate all choreography songs, including but not limited to, “Cha Cha Slide,” “YMCA,” and “Electric Slide.” Seriously, just let me do my thang!
As for the ceremony music, this was a little more complicated and specific. First, I had to choose a song to walk down the aisle to, which served to be a lot harder than I’d thought. I wanted something different and special that would mean something more to us later on. Once I decided on my song, it made perfect sense, and it was sort of one of those “Well, of course it has to be that” moments. My favorite movie has and will forever be “The Wizard of Oz.” When I was a little girl, I watched my VHS tape until it was warped and played wonky. I dressed up as Dorothy for Halloween several times, even once as a teenager for Spirit Week in high school, and even made my own glittery ruby slippers with spray paint, glitter and some awful shoes from the Dollar Tree. Kyle took me to see it at the theater for a special showing as our first official date when I was 16, when I still thought rubber bracelets and plastic pink earrings were good date accessories. So “Over the Rainbow” had to be my aisle song. Our neighbor turned good friend, Julian, from Savannah came to the wedding and played the violin, so he played my song as I walked down the grassy aisle with my dad. When we were still in the process of planning, my siblings and I looked up “over the rainbow played on violin” on YouTube, and when we heard how wonderful it sounded on the strings, we all starting crying like idiots at my parents’ kitchen table. So yeah, perfect song for me.
As for the ceremony music, Kyle and I wanted to include both of our families in the ceremony, so we compiled a little “family choir” to sing a few songs throughout the ceremony. This was so much more difficult than we thought it was going to be, but it turned out so beautifully. We held practices for the family starting just three weeks before the wedding, which was pretty insane, but everyone was so helpful and willing to do this for our ceremony. These were actually some of my favorite moments leading up to the wedding. Mine and Kyle’s family members were all together in a little church house, Kyle carried our nephew Hunter around so our sister-in-law could practice, my sister and Kyle’s brother practiced “To Make You Feel My Love” a hundred times and I always cried. There was one song in particular that no one knew ahead of time except for Kyle, my siblings and me, so it was a little more difficult to get it down with everyone. Then Kyle’s cousin, Eric came to help us out on the piano and completely transformed the song into something everyone could follow along with, while still keeping the heart of the song. When they sang it in the ceremony, it was so beautiful and perfect for Kyle and me.
I was born a restless wayward child//I could hear the whole world callin’ me outside//Of the masses I routinely sat behind//Lord I had to see with my own eyes//Take me home//I want to go//Down the road that will take me to the living oak//And Lord, I know//I’m a weathered stone//But I owe it to my brothers to carry them home…
“Lay Me Down” by The Oh Hellos
The third and final song that they all practiced was one we all already knew by heart…”I’ll Fly Away,” an old church hymn I learned at probably the age of three. To me, this is the epitome of a country, mountain song, and will always be one of my favorite hymns. The choir sang this all together along with the entire congregation. We had the lyrics to all the songs printed in the programs, so even though the majority of our guests probably already knew the hymn, they had the words in front of them just in case. That was such a special moment of unity for us in our ceremony. We were all really coming together for this wonderful day.
Once the ceremony was over, it was reception time. Kyle and I danced to “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” which he put onto a playlist for me in the very early dating days, and it always makes me happy and twitterpated, as they say on Bambi. I danced with my dad to “Moon River,” partly because it’s a beautiful, timeless song and partly because it’s super short, which was my dad’s only request. He was weepy for weeks leading up to the wedding day, so I knew he was going to be having a hard time when it came to the dance. Kyle danced with his mom to “You’ve Got a Friend,” which was perfect and sweet for them.
While everyone was getting food and drinks and mingling around, the DJ played a lot of The Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons and Kings of Leon. This was perfect for the chill moments of the reception while everyone was settling in, plus it was music that Kyle and I love but knew wouldn’t be good for dancing.
After all the reception events were finished, we finally got to dance. One of my favorite moments was dancing like crazies to “Blurred Lines” and singing every word with our friends. I know that song is pretty creepy if you really listen to the words, but I can’t help dancing to it. Our DJ played a really good variety of music, from Michael Jackson (Kyle’s favorite) to Katy Perry to Britney Spears (pre-meltdown).
I don’t remember what the last song was that the DJ played before we had to start clearing out of the barn, but I remember being sad it was over. The soundtrack of that day is upbeat and happy and involves a lot of harmonica and string sounds in my mind. The day goes by so quickly, but the music really helped create memories for us, and that is what I hold onto.
Do you prefer DJ’s or bands at weddings? What did you think of our song choices?
All photos by Jessica Hutchinson.