How to Choose the Best Songs for Wedding Videos
Jun 11, 2019
Let’s be honest: Planning a wedding tends to be more stressful than exciting. And figuring out the right music for the ceremony can be a challenge for any couple.
As a wedding videographer, you’re going to have your own challenge. From the processional to the first dance, it’s your job to find royalty free music that makes the video something the couple will be happy to watch for the rest of their lives.
Wedding videos used to be things that nobody watched except the couple’s family and friends. (We all know those VHS tapes ended up buried in the attic.) But thanks to social media, these videos can be viewed by hundreds or thousands of people.
That’s just one more reason why it’s important for you to pick wedding video songs that meet the couple’s wishes and also help you avoid any potential copyright issues with music publishers.
Avoid copyrighted music at all costs
Wedding videos are no different than any other project — using copyrighted music is illegal unless you have permission to use each song. (And unless the happy couple is willing to shell out thousands of dollars for licensing and royalties, that’s probably not going to happen.)
The easiest way to make sure you cover your bases is to stick with royalty free music.
At Soundstripe, we offer creators like you a subscription-based platform filled with high-quality royalty free music. Contrast that with the tens of thousands of dollars you’d have to pay for music from traditional publishers.
Instead of haggling over songs you can’t afford, you can spend that time browsing for the perfect song — because a subscription gives you unlimited access to our entire catalog. Once you find the right track, you can download the license and drop it directly into your timeline.
And now that we’ve dealt with the legal stuff, let’s move on to what you’re really excited for: the list of big moments that most couples want to immortalize in their wedding videos.
10 Wedding video moments that need music
Music is a powerful way to create emotion, and there are few things more emotional than a wedding day. Using the right songs at the right moments can help people relive the experience, even if you don’t use recorded audio from the ceremony.
In the end, that emotional experience is what people want from a wedding video. And as the person piecing it all together, you get to help the couple share their story.
Weddings are huge events that span an entire day (or a whole weekend), but you can break them up into a handful of key moments. Couples hire you to capture those moments, but what they don’t know is that you’ll also be responsible with tying them together.
Usually, the lucky couple will work with a wedding planner to choose which songs will be used during the ceremony and reception. That process typically revolves around 10 different moments, and that’s something you can use to plan a song playlist.
So, as promised, here are the 10 moments you’ll want to put in your wedding video with songs:
This is the part of the video where you set the scene. Did you get footage of the couple preparing for the ceremony? Maybe some voiceover of them talking about the day or their spouse? Wedding guests starting to find their seats?
All of those moments count as part of the prelude, and each one can pack a huge emotional punch before transitioning to the actual ceremony.
This is where the energy starts picking up. The parents enter, the wedding party enters, and everyone starts to feel the buzz of anticipation. (You might have some early criers making their appearance here, which could help if you’re going for that kind of tone.)
This is one of the most flexible spots on this wedding template. You could change songs after the prelude, or maybe pick a more upbeat part of the same song. Either way, you’re building toward one of the most memorable moments from the whole day.
The Bridal March (or “Here Comes The Bride”) has been used so many times that it’s practically a touchstone of the entire wedding industry. That makes it a huge moment — maybe even one that the bride has looked forward to since childhood.
Of course, the Bridal March (or any other song chosen by the couple) can land you in copyright trouble. So you’ll want to choose music that delivers the same emotions but also fits into the noncopyrighted music bucket.
After the bride’s big moment, there aren’t many “standard” things in the immediate future. Couples might do a unity activity, like lighting a candle. Or a parent or grandparent might say a few words.
But the next thing you should definitely plan for is the vow exchange.
You’ll want something soft in the background for the wedding video. Make sure the volume is low and doesn’t interfere with the exchanging of the vows. This might be the second most important (and possibly the most personal) moment of the day — make sure you’ve got the right song.
Once the vows are finished, most weddings wrap up pretty quickly. You’ll want to find something exciting here, because the “I now pronounce you…” line is a fun and lively moment that kicks off the reception.
That upbeat music can flow right into the reception part of the wedding video. Whether you’re cutting footage of the venue, the wedding party’s photo session, or guests arriving, the audience will still be feeling the emotional high of the ceremony.
It’s also an excuse to keep some high energy for when the happy couple enter to a round of cheers.
This is another sentimental moment that should always be featured in a wedding video. While the couple usually chooses their favorite song for the first dance, that will create a pretty obvious a licensing dilemma for you.
Instead, use a royalty free song that matches the tone of what they danced to. Whether it’s upbeat and fun or touching and romantic, a good music library will have you covered.
Father-Daughter and Mother-Son Dance
Both of these dances will use different music, but they probably won’t focus too heavily in a video. They also work as a transition to the next section of the wedding, so this piece of the video could be a great place to add more energy.
(And while we aren’t dedicating a spot specifically to the toasts or the meal, you can insert those before or during this section.)
Once the dance floor opens for everyone, it’s time to play something that gets the party started. This is your chance to create a fun conclusion to the video, which could include moments from the reception that didn’t fit into the previous categories.
And here we are at the end of the couple’s special day. How you wrap up the video depends largely on the tone and energy of the entire project, but our personal suggestion would be a cinematic piece.
Background music would work well for any final shots of the party, or as something to play behind messages recorded by wedding guests. There’s a lot of versatility.
Obviously, the most important thing you can do is talk with your clients — a lot — and get a good grasp of the emotions and tone they want to capture. This will help with filming, as well as help you with editing and music selection.
It also wouldn’t hurt to play sample tracks for the couple so you can get a taste of what they’re looking for. (And if you’re already subscribing to a royalty free music library like Soundstripe, you’ll have easy access to thousands of songs to try.)
Find the right songs in record time
Knowing where to search for royalty free music is half the battle of actually finding the right songs. Thankfully, Soundstripe makes it easy to navigate our music library with curated playlists of songs that our users choose for their wedding videos.
And if you already know what you’re looking for, you can dive straight into the library and start filtering by genre, mood, instruments, or even BPM. (You can even combine the two by selecting the wedding playlists, then filtering by moods like “Ethereal and Ambient.”)
Music choices really do make or break wedding videos, so take your time when it comes to selecting tracks. You want to be sure they fit the footage, as well as your clients' goal for the end product.
That way, you’ll know you’ve made something that the couple will treasure for the rest of their lives.