Expert Excerpt: Chris Wright, Discovery Disc Jockeys

Cue The Music! Ideas for Ceremony Music and Introductions

Once upon a time, selecting music for your wedding was fairly simple. You didn’t! The way it worked was, you hired musicians, Bands, and DJs and they pretty much performed the conventional wedding standards.  Fortunately, those days are long gone.  Today, you can customize your special day and create the soundtrack to your dreams.

When I meet with couples to discuss the expected vibe of the day, I ask questions that will give me a better understanding of their personalities and backgrounds. I might learn something about their family, friends and guest.  More importantly, as they are talking out loud, they hear themselves and discover something that they haven’t thought of before about their wedding day.  Make it personal! Make it yours!


Ceremony Music

Your ceremony music will depend on a few factors. Is your wedding ceremony in a traditional church or at the same venue as your reception or neither? Many times, your ceremony venue will dictate whether you’re using a pianist or musician, a DJ or a band.

The Church

If your ceremony is in a church, then your music selection may be very limited. A church pianist or organist might be reluctant to play secular or popular music in the church. Oft times, the church staff will not allow a DJ to perform music for you either. There is nothing wrong with this option as long as you’re comfortable with having traditional wedding music selections.  One of the concerns that arise with this option is that, to be blunt, this music is not part of our modern culture. We are not familiar with classical music or the protocol associated with it. So in our discomfort, we tend to select classics that we are familiar with; Pachelbel in Canon D, Bridal Chorus (Here Comes The Bride), Ode To Joy and Spring; Vivaldi Four Seasons.  Those are very safe selections and you really can’t go wrong.  However, if the church were the option that you have determined to be your primary choice, then it would be a good idea to consult with your DJ about popular customary classical selections that he or she might recommend. Most church pianist can play from sheet music almost anything placed in front of them.  Now of course, if the church will allow you to hire an alternate musician, then you’ve expanded your music selection options two-fold.


Whether you hire a pianist, a string quartet, a harpist or a guitarist, they generally can play traditional wedding favorites, but even better, many have a nice array of popular music in their repertoire.  Today, it’s very prevalent that classical musicians perform covers of Pop Music artist. String groups like the Vitamin String Quartet or VSQ; have become extremely beloved in the last few years. They do covers of every genre of music that we’re familiar with in the 21st century; pop, rock, hip-hop, metal, etc.  Because of this, professional wedding musicians have stepped up their game and learned to play these types of selections as well. You can feel comfortable asking your musician to play an Elton John or Billy Joel song or even a popular Led Zeppelin tune.  The great part about musicians is that they can play anywhere; indoors or outdoors without the need of electrical power. If your ceremony is in a park or some other remote, beautiful outdoor location, you can rest assure that an acoustic musician can play at a volume that is feasible for everyone.

Disc Jockeys

These days, more often than not, Disc Jockeys are hired for all three segments of the wedding; the ceremony, the cocktail hour and the reception.  If you choose this route, your music selection is immeasurable! With every DJ using digital media for their music source, they are able to obtain just about any song ever recorded. You can get the same title from various artist or instrumental versions played with various instruments, strings, horns, guitars, or keyboards. You can even find some of your favorite pop music in different genres like jazz or classical.

The one thing that I tell couples that request that I provide music for their ceremony is, “don’t squander the opportunity to make it personal”.   Once you’ve decided that a DJ is going to perform the music for your wedding ceremony, the possibilities become endless. You can think far beyond Pachelbel, Wagner and Vivaldi.  I have played Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love”, instrumental for the bridesmaids to walk to, Billy Joel’s “She’s Got A Way” for the bridal march, and Stevie Wonder “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” for the processional. That’s called customizing your day! It’s how you feel, who you are, and everything you want it to be. Don’t waste it!

Reception Introductions

Wedding Party introductions set the tone for the celebration of this remarkable day.  This is the reason that movies and TV shows have music themes. The music sets the mood and the theme of the story.  A wedding celebration should be upbeat, spirited and enthusiastic.  Something I personally like to do is, perform the introductions to a high tempo song that make your guest want to dance and clap. It creates such a vibrant mood.

When selecting music for your introductions, think about the idea that your guest just sat through a wedding, then, sipped on cocktails for one hour after that. You want to pick them up again. One thing that helps with this is not having too much down-tempo music during the cocktail hour. I prefer to play more upbeat popular music from the 50s through present day at a nice conversational volume.  A method that I recommend is something that I’ve learned from doing Jewish Weddings.  I like that after introductions, Jewish families customarily go right into the Hora or what some know as the Chair Dance. This method allows the guest to not only clap and cheer for the wedding party, but afterwards, they actually get up and join in the festivities. So at a Christian or Non-Denominational wedding, you can do something similar. Right after your upbeat bridal party introductions, I recommend going right into what’s referred to as the “Pump-Up” song.  And this is a song that invites the guest to join the wedding party on the dance floor for 3 or 4 minutes of celebratory dancing! It really gets the adrenaline going and your guest’s blood pumping. Now, you’re guest more prepared to sit and enjoy your first dance, toast and any other events that you might have planned prior to dinner being served.

I hope you will take these ideas and recommendations into consideration when planning your wedding music and events. You will find that it adds a personal touch to you day and your memories.

Bio: Chris Wright is the owner & operator of Discovery Disc Jockeys based out of Ballston Spa, NY. Visit the website at

One Response to “Expert Excerpt: Chris Wright, Discovery Disc Jockeys

  • I really like disc jockeys for weddings. In my opinion, if there’s no disc jockey, then the next best thing would be to have live band play the music. An iPod set to play random wedding music is okay; but I don’t think its the best. Thanks for sharing.

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