New song requests

17th June 2019
Blog – Special Requests and thoughts on learning songs

People often comment on how many songs there are to choose from my repertoire… I think at the last count it was around 400! The main question I get asked is “how do you remember so many songs?!” Well… I do have a knack of remembering songs – I’m lucky that they just kind of stick in my head. If only learning information for exams at school and University was so easy! In fact, I often think now that if I’d memorised information for exams in the form of songs, I’d probably have found revising much easier!

However, I must confess, I do also have an iPad with all my song lyrics on. So in the event that my mind does go blank, I have a backup. What did we do before technology eh? In my case, probably mumble through the song and make up some words that sounded somewhere near right – ha ha!

Singing Jo & Lee’s special request “Rule The World” by Take That – with the help of the hen party on backing vocals! Photo courtesy of River Lane Photography

Special requests for weddings

I always encourage special requests. I know some bands/musicians have a set repertoire, but I like to always keep things fresh rather than playing the same songs at every event. It helps keep me sharp, and plus – learning new songs is good fun!

It does take a little while to learn a new song though. It can depend on many factors… if it’s a song I know, but haven’t ever played, and the chords aren’t too challenging – then I can probably learn it in an hour or two. However if it’s a song I haven’t heard before it can take a lot longer… add in some jazzy new chords that I’ve never used before and it can take a good couple of days to master a song.

If it’s a brand new song to me, I’ll listen to it a few times, then start working out how to play it on guitar. I’ll have a little go at learning it, then leave it for a few hours or overnight. This gets the song into my head, then when I come back to it, hopefully it’s sitting there somewhere in my memory bank, then it’s a case of repeating and practicing until perfect!

Playing at the Great Tythe Barn, Tetbury. Thanks to Martin Dabek Photography for the image.

So, as you could probably imagine, it can take up a fair bit of time. I usually ask for 3-5 requests for weddings max (depending on how long I’m booked for). With 12 weddings this June, you can probably get an idea of how much time I spend learning and perfecting new songs. I love it though – I’m pretty sure there’s much worse jobs to have!

Some recent special requests…

Here’s an example of some songs I’ve learnt recently – this will give you an idea of how diverse the requests can be!

  • “A Million Dreams” from the Greatest Showman
  • Coldplay & Chainsmokers – Something Just Like This
  • Adele – Skyfall
  • Bon Jovi – Thank You For Loving Me
  • Calum Scott – You Are The Reason
  • Lionel Richie – My Destiny
  • Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere
  • Heartland – I Loved Her First
  • Lucky Jim – Lovely To Me
  • Something In The Water – Brooke Fraser
  • Take That – Rule The World
  • Lonestar – Amazed
  • Billy Joel – Just The Way You Are
  • Louis Armstrong – What A Wonderful World
  • Katrina & The Waves – Walking on Sunshine
  • Biffy Clyro – Mountains
  • The Gaslight Anthem – Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts
  • Jack Johnson – Upside Down
  • Bryan Adams – I Think About You

If you’ve already booked me to play at your wedding, you can use the online song choices form here to submit your requests. I need at least a month’s notice for any special requests, so that I have plenty of time to learn them.

And with that, it’s time to add all these new tracks to the repertoire! Bye for now…



Written by Pat McIntyre – singer & acoustic guitarist for weddings and other events based in Bristol, UK.

www.guitaristforweddings.co.uk 

Wedding Ceremony Music explained

Blog: How to choose music for your marriage ceremony

I think wedding music is one of those things that can sometimes get a little overlooked during the planning phase. As a singer and guitarist, I speak with lots of brides and grooms who are huge music fans and know exactly what they’re after! But for every couple that have it all figured out, there’s another couple that don’t know where to start. I find the same questions tend to pop up again and again, so here’s my quick guide to picking your perfect ceremony music.

How many songs should we choose for the marriage ceremony?

Undoubtedly the most common question I get asked! This can vary, depending on whether you’re having a civil ceremony, a church wedding or an alternative celebration – such as a humanist ceremony, for example. Typically, you’ll always need some music during the processional (walking down the aisle), the signing of the register and the recessional (exit of the married couple).

The civil ceremony

A civil ceremony is a non-religious marriage ceremony. Most civil ceremonies will have:

  • One song during the processional (walk down the aisle / bridal entrance)
  • Three songs during the signing of the register
  • One song during the recessional (exit of the married couple)

The main varying factor here is the signing of the register. Usually what happens is – the couple sign the legal marriage register, then shortly afterwards the registrars bring out a blank register. This allows the couple to have a ‘fake’ signing, and the photographer can take some pictures of the happy couple sealing the deal! Photos of the legal marriage register are not allowed, which is why they bring out a blank register for the fake signing. You may also invite your guests forward to get some snaps at this point, so depending on how long this takes, it’s usually up to about 10 minutes, so three songs is usually bang on the money.

Church/religious wedding ceremonies

Religious ceremonies are a little different, so you should liaise with the person conducting the ceremony. I can only comment on Christian ceremonies here, but in my experience you would usually have:

  • One song during the processional
  • Two or three hymns for the congregation to sing
  • Two or three pieces of music during the signing of the register
  • One song during the recessional

Often the songs will played by an organist at the church, however some ceremonies are more flexible and may allow a live musician such as myself. I’ve played at a number of church weddings – sometimes I’ll play all the music (other than the hymns), and sometimes I may alternate with the organist.

Humanist and other alternative ceremonies

For those couples that don’t want to go down the more traditional route, the options are limitless for creating their own perfect ceremony. Humanist and alternative ceremonies don’t hold any legal status, so often couples will choose to tie the knot elsewhere beforehand, maybe the day before.

These ceremonies are usually conducted by a celebrant, or maybe even a friend or family member who is confident talking in front of large groups of people! In terms of music, it really can follow any path you want, but typically there will be songs during the processional and recessional, just as in a civil or religious ceremony.

A popular option is to have guests sing along to a song or two during the ceremony, kind of like an alternative hymn – more on this in the hints and tips section below.

Other interesting ideas I’ve seen include handfasting, tree planting and sand ceremonies. Often during these rituals, I’ll play a lovely chilled acoustic song or two!

 

Hints and tips for choosing your ceremony music

Religious content

If you’re having a civil ceremony, remember this means that it’s not a religious service so your music must reflect that. Your song lyrics must have no religious content whatsoever. Most registrars will ask you to submit your music choices to them a couple of months before the ceremony, so just check through the words before sending them off.

Wedding guest singalongs

This is becoming an increasingly popular idea – throwing a song or two into the wedding ceremony for the guests to sing along to, maybe as an alternative to a reading.

It’s a great idea in theory – kind of like a modern day hymn – but you have to be really careful that it doesn’t fail and become a bit of a damp squib. Having done this a few times, I’ve seen this work with varying levels of success, so these would be my tips if you’re planning to get everyone singing from the same song sheet!

  • Choose a REALLY well-known song, with a big, easy singalong chorus that even if they don’t know, they’ll pick up quickly. For example – All You Need Is Love by the Beatles is absolutely perfect.
  • Keep it upbeat and fun. Don’t go for a slow song – you’ll need something that will keep the energy flowing.
  • Make it short! Don’t choose a 6 minute epic… everyone will lose interest. Around 2 minutes is the sweet spot. If I’m playing the song live, I can adapt it and shorten it as necessary by removing long intros/outros, cutting verses etc. If you’re playing the song through a phone/iPad, it’s a bit more tricky but you can arrange for someone to fade it down at an appropriate point.
  • Print off the lyrics onto your wedding programme, so that everyone knows what they’re singing. Even better, have the lyrics on a screen up front (maybe tricky to organise but not impossible!) – when people’s heads are up and not looking down at a sheet, their voices will project and it will sound so much better!
  • Ask someone super-confident to be a bit of a ringleader to get everyone going. If your registrar says “ok, everyone is going to sing a song now”, chances are people will be less-than-enthusiastic and will mumble quietly into their lyric sheets. Instead, ask the registrar to “hand over to (person) who will lead us through a singalong to (song title)”. Ask that person to stand up at the front, sing as loudly as they can and get everyone involved! Also ask all the guests who can to stand – people tend to sing more enthusiastically when stood up rather than sat down.
  • Similar to the last point, another idea is to practice the songs on the hen or stag party, and have the hens or stags up front at the ceremony leading the song. A bride recently mentioned to me that this was what they were going to do – I think this is a great idea!
  • Finally, and this is more of a hunch, but I think this will probably only work well with a live musician who can interact with the group. Just playing a song via a phone is probably not going to get everyone to engage as well with the idea.

Pre-ceremony music

There will usually be 15-20 minutes before the marriage ceremony itself, during which guests will take their seats and settle before the big moment. This is a nice time to have a bit of background music on. Often your venue will provide some light music. If booked for the ceremony, I will play some live music during this time which may include some instrumental and some vocal music.

It’s great to have a live musician such as myself during this part of the day, as we can be flexible with how long to play for – particularly handy if the bride is fashionably late! To read more about my wedding ceremony, drinks reception and other live music options, have a look at my pricing page where everything is explained.

So there you have it – that’s the basics of wedding ceremony music covered. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line on info@guitaristforweddings.co.uk – even if you haven’t booked me for your wedding, I’ll be glad to help! It’s what I do 🙂

The trickiest bit, of course, is which songs to choose… that’s a harder one to help with, but I have written some blogs on the subject which you can check out below:

https://www.guitaristforweddings.co.uk/top-10-wedding-ceremony-dance-songs/

https://www.guitaristforweddings.co.uk/unusual-wedding-songs/

https://www.guitaristforweddings.co.uk/100-wedding-ceremony-songs/

I’ll be adding some new selections for 2019 very soon, so keep your eyes out on my blog page.



Published 8th May 2019 by Pat McIntyre – singer & guitarist and professional musician for weddings based in Bristol.

This article is based on UK wedding/marriage ceremonies.

For more information about my live wedding music services, please visit www.guitaristforweddings.co.uk

Wedding Venues in Bristol, Bath and the South-West

Wedding Guitarist Blog – Wedding Venues

As a wedding musician, I get to see a lot of fantastic venues. Based in Bristol, I’m lucky that there is a big, varied choice of amazing places to get married nearby. There’s hidden gems right here in the city, and in the neighbouring counties of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire you’ll find everything from country manor estates to tithe barns, boutique hotels to castles. Heading West towards Wales and South to Dorset, Cornwall and Devon you’ll find stunning beachside venues, farms… I’ve even played at a lighthouse once!

It’s hard to have favourites when there’s so many brilliant venues around, but here’s a few of my top picks. I must say, it was very hard to narrow it down to just 10 and there are lots more I’d love to include. For a list of ALL the venues I’ve played at in my time as a singer/guitarist for weddings, see my full list of venues here.

Without any further ado then, here’s 10 of the best!

 

Wedding venues – Top 10 picks

1. Aldwick Court Farm & Vineyard

I’m lucky enough to visit Aldwick quite often – it’s a popular spot to get married and for good reason! It’s in a fantastic location, just half an hour South of Bristol near the beautiful Mendip hills. A perfect blend of countryside chic with a modern twist, it’s a working vineyard so you’ll have the opportunity to test their British wines, and if you get married here there’s some fantastic photo opportunities in the grounds!

There are two adjacent barns, one which holds the wedding ceremony and the larger barn which is set up for the wedding breakfast during the daytime. Later on, there’s plenty of space to hold a wedding band or DJ to keep the party going until late.

There’s a large outdoor space which is absolutely perfect in the Summer if the sun is shining. I have many fond memories of playing live acoustic music out on the terrace as guests mingle and the married couple have photos taken.

Apart from the stunning surroundings, I think my favourite thing about Aldwick is the people – you’re always greeted with a friendly welcome and the staff and catering team are so helpful!

2. Coombe Lodge at Blagdon

Just down the road from Aldwick is the bold, imposing building that is Coombe Lodge. Similarly to Aldwick it’s in an amazing location, just outside the village of Blagdon, adjacent to the Mendip hills. With stunning views of Blagdon Lake, out to the Chew Valley countryside, it really is an amazing spot and on a clear Summer’s day the views are hard to beat.

It’s a country house building with exclusive use of the house and gardens for weddings so you can truly make the place your own. I’ve never been to a wedding at Coombe Lodge that hasn’t been full of fun! I think the staff are a big part of what makes this place special – they always go out of their way to make sure everything runs perfectly and are always friendly and helpful. It’s always a pleasure to play guitar at Coombe Lodge, whether I’m out in the gardens in the Summer sun, or inside in the cosy surroundings in the Winter – it’s one of my favourite places to visit.

3. The Kingscote Barn

Set in the middle of the beautiful Cotswolds countryside, this barn venue is absolutely gorgeous – pay it a visit and you’ll fall in love with it instantly! They’ve won many awards at Kingscote and it’s easy to see why. Apart from the incredible views and the fantastic buildings, the team at Kingscote are just brilliant and always on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly.

I’ve played guitar in various locations at Kingscote Barn – in the main barn for the wedding ceremony, near the bar and in the reception room as guests have drinks and canapés. There’s also an outdoor area, and in the Summer you can get married outside with views of the glorious countryside as you walk down the aisle. I can play acoustic music outside if the weather allows, and the gardens out the back are quite a sun trap when the sun is shining. Drinks, relaxing in the sun and live acoustic music – perfection!

4. Tunnels Beaches, Ilfracombe

On the North-Western Devon coast, Tunnels Beaches is surely one of the most amazing places in the UK to get married. The location is simply jaw-dropping – you even get your own private beach if you’re married here! After walking down the famous tunnels which were hand carved in the 1820’s, you enter the venue, nestled neatly into the rocky coastline. The vibe is stylish and relaxed – seaside chic with a modern twist.

The open plan layout of the venue means that you always feel like you’re outside, even if you’re not – and you have that relaxing sea view at all times. It’s a spectacular place to get married, and I always have a tingle of excitement when someone books me to play their wedding music at Tunnels!

I’ve played here during the daytime, in the evening, inside and outside and each time it’s been an fantastic occasion. A word of warning if you’re interested in getting married here though, it’s highly in demand as you could imagine, so you may have to book well in advance to secure this amazing place as your wedding venue!

5. Wick Farm Bath

Wick Farm Bath is actually a venue I’ve not visited that often, but I wanted to include it on the list because a/ it’s stunning and b/ I got married here! I also think it’s a little under the radar – although it’s certainly very popular as a wedding venue, it seems that not that many people I speak to have heard of it. So a worthy mention for this lovely barn venue. The owners are relaxed, friendly and are happy for you to really make the place your own. They were tremendously helpful when we were planning our wedding, and equally as welcoming when I came back to sing at a wedding a few months later!

The inside of the barn is cosy and warm with underfloor heating if the weather isn’t so great, so perfect for Winter weddings. In the Summer sun, guests can mingle outside in the beautiful grounds so it’s a winner in all seasons. I love playing guitar here – the acoustics in the main barn are beautiful for wedding ceremony music, and if the sun is shining you can’t beat a bit of acoustic music out on the terrace!

6. Priston Mill

Priston Mill, not far from Bath, comprises two separate buildings – the Watermill and the Tythe Barn. Both equally stunning in their own right, the Watermill is totally unique and the Tythe Barn is warm and inviting. You can host your wedding in either of the venues – the Tythe Barn has a bigger capacity but the Watermill may be on your list if you’re looking for somewhere a little more quirky.

Both venues are perfect for music, especially if the weather is good. Guests can wonder the gardens and enjoy the beautiful North East Somerset countryside… whilst listening to some live acoustic music in the sun!

7. Clevedon Hall

If you have your heart set on a stunning manor house with beautiful grounds and plenty of amazing photo opportunities, Clevedon Hall may be just the place for you. Located in the sleepy seaside town of Clevedon, the beach is just a stone’s throw away – so as well as getting amazing photographs in the extensive grounds (you may even see some deer if you’re lucky!), you could also pop over the road and get some pictures by the sea, or by Clevedon’s famous pier.

Acoustic music works fantastically at Clevedon Hall – the grand main hall plays host to the wedding ceremony, where I’m often booked to play during the bridal entrance, the signing of the register and as the married couple make their jubilant exit. Afterwards it’s outside for drinks in the sun, weather permitting, where I’ll play some music as people mingle and enjoy their afternoon. Later on, the place is transformed for the evening party and it tends to get pretty lively! I’m often booked to do a kind of ‘warm up’ set before a DJ or live band take over for the rest of the evening.

8. The Great Tythe Barn, Tetbury

There’s a lot of wedding venues in the Cotswolds, but this stands out as one of my favourites. Just outside the picturesque town of Tetbury, it’s main feature is the beautifully restored 16th century barn, and it also has accommodation on site with self-catering cottages which can be used by the wedding party.

Equally beautiful inside and out, it doesn’t matter if it’s raining at the Great Tythe Barn – the grounds are lovely in the sunshine but it’s just as good inside if the British weather isn’t playing ball! Again, at this venue I tend to be booked for the wedding ceremony and drinks reception but I’ve also done a few evening events here which are always good fun!

 

9. Ever After – A Dartmoor Wedding

Now, this venue I think falls into the ‘hidden gem’ category! Not far from Tavistock in the Dartmoor countryside, this venue is truly one of my favourite places to visit. The word ‘magical’ sounds a bit cheesy, but there really is something other-worldly about this place. From the moment you drive through the large wooden gate, you realise this is no ordinary wedding venue. It sits next to a small river, and as you walk around you notice unique personal touches everywhere – the attention to detail makes this spot really stand out from the crowd.

As well as having a beautiful location for the wedding ceremony, there’s also a grand luxury marquee which hosts the wedding breakfast and evening celebrations. Some of my favourite memories are of singing in the sunshine as guests mingle and explore this unique place.

However, I think the thing that really makes Ever After tick is owner Nicola and her team. Nicola works with you to ensure you get your perfect big day – she’s incredibly knowledgeable, helpful and will even style the wedding to make your vision a reality. It’s a truly personal service, and every time I have the privilege of playing a wedding at Ever After, it’s clear how much time and effort has been spent preparing for the big day. Just a really special place, with wonderful people.

10. Stone Barn

Last on my list but most certainly not least, it’s another barn venue (you’re probably realising that I really love converted barns by now!) – and one of the most spectacular ones you’ll find. In the heart of the Cotswolds, you drive down a country track to get there and at first you may wonder where you’re headed! As you drive on, the barn emerges in front of you, almost hidden in a little dip amongst the fields that surround it. The first thing that strikes you is the corrugated iron roofs over the Dutch Barns, which gives it a rustic, traditional feel.

When you walk in, it really takes your breath away. It’s a big space which can accommodate up to 250 guests if required, and is tastefully decorated with draped lighting and a stunning open plan layout. The other thing you’ll notice is the smell of food being freshly prepared in the open plan kitchen, as the chefs flame grill delicious offerings right in front of your eyes. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

The ceremony room is equally as stunning with it’s stone walls, high ceilings and traditional styling. Outdoors you’ll find a relaxed area where guests can enjoy drinks and canapés, and later on the fire pits are lit to create a warm, cosy atmosphere. It’s an absolutely amazing place to play live acoustic music and I just love visiting this gem in the Cotswolds.

 

So there you have it. 10 of the best wedding venues in the Southwest – but there’s plenty more to choose from! If you want to see a full list of venues that I’ve played at, arranged by area, click the link below.

Wedding Venues Southwest – the Big List!

I hope this blog was informative – if you’re planning your wedding and found this article useful, let me know! Or if you have some feedback about wedding venues I’d love to hear from you… drop me a line at info@guitaristforweddings.co.uk or via the Contact Page.

 


Pat McIntyre is a singer and acoustic guitarist from Bristol, UK. An experienced live performer and music aficionado, Pat is available to book for weddings and other events.

For more information about booking Pat for your wedding, click here – or get in touch here.

Pat McIntyre | The Acoustic Wedding Album – Vol.2 | Out now to download/stream

A little later than planned but just in time for Christmas, I released the Acoustic Wedding Album – Volume 2. It features 12 brand new acoustic recordings of some of my favourite wedding songs, from slower romantic numbers such as “How Long Will I Love You” through to upbeat fun songs like “Signed, Sealed, Delivered“. Here’s the full track list:

Here Comes The Sun (The Beatles)
Signed, Sealed, Delivered (Stevie Wonder)
Let’s Stay Together (Al Green)
All Of Me (John Legend)
How Long Will I Love You (Ellie Goulding)
Fly Me To The Moon (Frank Sinatra)
Make You Feel My Love (Adele)
At Last (Etta James)
Wonderful World (Sam Cooke)
Sky Full Of Stars (Coldplay)
Stand By Me (Ben E King)
One Day Like This (Elbow)

Download/stream on iTunes/Google Play/Amazon/Spotify:

Download on iTunesDownload on Google Play
Download Amazon Music mp3Stream on Spotify


And of course the original Acoustic Wedding Album Vol. 1 is still available!

Pat McIntyre - The Acoustic Wedding Album

Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis)
Thinking Out Loud (Ed Sheeran)
Grow Old With Me (Tom Odell)
(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher (Jackie Wilson)
A Thousand Years (Christina Perri)
Crazy Love (Van Morrison)
Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton)
Marry You (Bruno Mars)
Love Me Tender (Elvis)
The Acoustic Bridal Chorus (Short)
The Acoustic Bridal Chorus (Full Length)

Download on iTunesDownload on Google Play
Download Amazon Music mp3Stream on Spotify

The Acoustic Wedding Album – Volume 2

The Acoustic Wedding Album – Volume 2.  now available! Featuring 12 brand new acoustic recordings:

Here Comes The Sun (The Beatles)
Signed, Sealed, Delivered (Stevie Wonder)
Let’s Stay Together (Al Green)
All Of Me (John Legend)
How Long Will I Love You (Ellie Goulding)
Fly Me To The Moon (Frank Sinatra)
Make You Feel My Love (Adele)
At Last (Etta James)
Wonderful World (Sam Cooke)
Sky Full Of Stars (Coldplay)
Stand By Me (Ben E King)
One Day Like This (Elbow)

Download/stream on iTunes/Google Play/Amazon/Spotify:

Download on iTunesDownload on Google Play
Download Amazon Music mp3Stream on Spotify


And of course the original Acoustic Wedding Album Vol. 1 is still available!

Pat McIntyre - The Acoustic Wedding Album

Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis)
Thinking Out Loud (Ed Sheeran)
Grow Old With Me (Tom Odell)
(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher (Jackie Wilson)
A Thousand Years (Christina Perri)
Crazy Love (Van Morrison)
Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton)
Marry You (Bruno Mars)
Love Me Tender (Elvis)
The Acoustic Bridal Chorus (Short)
The Acoustic Bridal Chorus (Full Length)

Download on iTunesDownload on Google Play
Download Amazon Music mp3Stream on Spotify

Top 10 Unusual Wedding Songs

It’s early November 2017, and things are finally starting to quieten down at Pat McIntyre HQ! It’s been an amazing 10 months or so – my busiest yet, with 56 wonderful weddings and 5 still to come before the year is out. Things feel very strange at the moment, as it’s Tuesday and I have no gigs or events coming up this weekend. With a weekend in Prague (for a wedding, ironically) and a weekend in Mallorca aside, the last time I had a “weekend off” was at the start of February – and that’s because I was just getting back from New Zealand. So a busy year indeed, and with a bit of downtime, it’s time to catch up on some tasks that have been pushed down the list of priorities – starting with my blog.

Choosing a wedding song

Wedding music is one of those things that often gets left to the last minute. Choosing songs for the wedding ceremony is tricky – there’s the bridal entrance to think about, the signing of the register and the recessional (married couple exit). Later on there’s the first dance – so that’s potentially five or six songs to choose, each of which will help set the tone for your big day and reflect your personalities.


Photo courtesy of Jodie Hurd Photography
As a wedding musician, I get asked all the time which songs are popular picks at weddings, and way back in January last year I posted my ‘Top 10 wedding ceremony and first dance songs‘. However I also get asked about rare/more unusual choices, and I fully had the intention of writing a follow-up to that blog post. Well, better late than never, so here goes!

Here’s a selection of ten songs requested for me to play by couples that are a little out of the mould of the ‘typical’ wedding song. They may be slightly outside-the-box or just rare gems that I’d never heard before. Hopefully these tracks may give some inspiration to the bride or groom-to-be searching for something a little different – maybe one of these will be your perfect wedding song!

In no particular order…

Keb’ Mo’ – Closer

I was introduced to this brilliant song by my good friends Christopher and Victoria back in 2011, when I had the privilege of playing at their Dorset wedding. I instantly fell in love with this song and I’ll often slip it into a drinks reception or pre-wedding ceremony playlist. Keb’ Mo’s soulful voice, the chilled acoustic guitar work and brilliant lyrics make it a winner in my book.

 

Blue Swede – Hooked on a Feeling

A song many will know from the film ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ but one that was new to me, I’ll be honest! When I heard the intro I was a little thrown as to how to make this into an acoustic first dance song, but then I heard the lyrics and fun vibe of the song and thought, yes, I get it! This actually works really well acoustically, and is a great upbeat start to the evening as a first dance, or even during the wedding ceremony itself.

 

Jack Johnson – Angel

Jack Johnson’s music is well known and a popular choice at weddings – “Better Together” is the main song that springs to mind. However, this track from his 2008 album Sleep Through The Static is one that is maybe less known and it’s one that I love playing! Subtle, heartfelt and just beautiful, I think this is a sublime wedding song.

 

Derek Gust – I Do

Very obviously a wedding song, but one that probably not many will have heard of. The lyrics are certainly perfect for the big day, and I played this as a bridal entrance song once – a really lovely choice for the ceremony.

 

Samm Henshaw – Only Wanna Be With You

Introduced to me earlier this year by couple Hannah and Dan, I was blown away by this piece of songwriting genius. As far as I’m concerned, this song should be just as popular as All of Me by John Legend, but is still a little under the radar. I think this track is just brilliant – have a listen and judge for yourself!

 

Madness – It Must Be Love

Ok, not an “unusual” song by any means – but it’s surprisingly rare to hear this at a wedding, other than maybe during the disco in the evening! I played this during the recessional (married couple exit) at a wedding ceremony earlier this year and it makes a really good choice with just acoustic guitar and voice. Upbeat and fun!

 

Mr & Mrs F – Love is on the Radio

This song brings back fab memories of Amanda and Iwan’s amazing wedding at Fforest in West Wales. Originally by McFly, band member Tom Fletcher and his wife Giovanna recorded this cute acoustic version, and it works brilliantly as a song for the wedding ceremony, drinks reception or as a first dance.

 

The Ramones – Baby I Love You

One of those songs that everyone knows, but no-one really thinks to have at a wedding! Originally recorded by the Ronettes in 1963, this version by the Ramones is maybe better known, and it can work really well with just acoustic guitar. I played this as a first dance and it worked a treat.

 

The Script – I’m Yours

Not to be confused with the Jason Mraz song of the same name, this track by The Script is definitely one to check out. A lovely chilled acoustic track, with perfect lyrics for the wedding ceremony or first dance.

 

Bright Eyes – First Day Of My Life

And finally, this little gem from American outfit Bright Eyes. Not a song I know a lot about, but the heartfelt lyrics and delicate delivery make it a beautiful choice, particularly apt for the wedding ceremony.

 


Thanks for reading. I hope this blog post was of some use – if one of these makes your list, let me know! Best of luck with choosing your perfect wedding playlist.

 

 

Pat is a singer and guitarist from Bristol, UK, specialising in live acoustic music for weddings.

Email: info@guitaristforweddings.co.uk
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Top 10 Wedding Ceremony and First Dance songs

Pat McIntyre - www.guitaristforweddings.co.uk

Wedding Guitarist Blog: my top 10 most requested songs for the wedding ceremony/first dance – and some alternative choices

Choosing the music you want at your wedding is a tricky thing! Making your own song selections is the norm now, particularly at civil ceremonies but also at more traditional church weddings. While the bride may opt to enter the ceremony to the traditional Bridal Chorus performed by an organist, there is still usually space for some music before the ceremony, during the signing of the register, and as the married couple exit.

As a live guitarist and singer, I’m often booked to perform at the wedding ceremony. When I meet with couples to discuss the music, I’d say 90% of couples aren’t sure what music they want – so if you’re planning your wedding and scratching your head, wondering what on earth you should choose – don’t despair! You’re in the majority.

image: Jo & Mark's first dance at The Great Tythe Barn, Tetbury.

Jo & Mark’s first dance at The Great Tythe Barn, Tetbury

A question that crops up time and time again when I speak to couples is “what songs have other people chosen?” This can good be a good starting point if you have no idea which songs to pick. It may be also a good guide as to which songs you don’t want! Eliminating the most popular songs may be a good idea if you want something more unusual. You may stumble across a gem of a song that fits perfectly. Look out for my next blog: Top 10 most unusual wedding ceremony/first dance songs I’ve played.

The perfect song for the ceremony or first dance will ideally be one that:

  • you both like (although the bride will usually have the final word when it comes to her entrance music!)
  • sets the atmosphere you’re looking for (romantic? upbeat?)
  • has lyrics that are meaningful to you
  • reminds you of a significant moment in your relationship

If you manage to find a song that fills all the above criteria – well done! Realistically it’s pretty difficult to find one that ticks all boxes, so if you find one that fulfils two out of four, you’re onto a winner.

first dance song

Steph & Tom’s first dance at Hunstile Organic Farm


Without further ado, here’s my top 10 list of the most requested songs. I’ve also included an alternative option for each song in a similar style, for those looking for something a little less popular:


#10 – Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran

Only released two years ago, this song became an instant wedding favourite with it’s beautiful lyrics and classic melodies. Ed’s soulful voice and skilful songwriting come to the fore on this track, and I’m certain it’ll be a popular choice for years to come.

Download “Thinking Out Loud” on my acoustic wedding album

See also: Tenerife Sea by Ed Sheeran


#9 – Let’s Stay Together by Al Green

Heartfelt, soulful, timeless – this song is a popular pick, with lyrics that perfectly express what the wedding day is all about. From the first line “I, I’m so in love with you” to the chorus “Loving you whether times are good or bad, happy or sad” – it’s almost like all your wedding vows wrapped up in a neat musical package!

See also – At Last by Etta James


#8 – A Thousand Years by Christina Perri

Another modern song to make the top 10 list, this has been one of my most requested at wedding ceremonies over the last couple of years. The soaring chorus melody and beautiful lyrics make this a firm favourite with the hopeless romantics!

Download “A Thousand Years” on my acoustic wedding album

See also: Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding


#7 – Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles

Uplifting and positive, this is a lovely song to have at any point during the wedding ceremony. Works perfectly for the bridal entrance, during the signing of the register or the exit of the married couple. However if you’re superstitious and hoping for a sunny day, you may not want to choose this and jinx the weather!

See also: All You Need is Love by The Beatles


#6 – Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder

This is the perfect song for the wedding ceremony exit – upbeat, joyful and the perfect confirmation song that you’re officially a married couple! Also works really well as a first dance song if you want something to get the party started rather than a slow dance – although be warned, you may have to bust out some dance moves in front of your wedding guests!

See also – For Once in My Life by Stevie Wonder


#5 – Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley (aka Falling In Love With You)

A little while back I made a recording of this song in a modern acoustic style, and it seemed to instantly connect with people – quickly becoming far and away my most popular video on YouTube with well over 100,000 views to date. Heartfelt and timeless, there’s just something about the melodies in this song that touch the soul. If you like my version and would like to use it at your wedding, please show your support by downloading using the link below (grabbing the mp3 via YouTube is illegal and it only costs 99p to do it the legal way!)

Download “Can’t Help Falling In Love” on my acoustic album

See also: Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton


#4 – I’m Yours by Jason Mraz

It seems amazing to me that this song was released in 2008 – it’s nearly 10 years old! It still feels fresh as ever and remains a very popular pick at weddings. “I’m Yours” – the perfect sentiment, what more do you need to say?!

See also: I’d Rather Be With You by Joshua Radin


#3 – Stand By Me by Ben E. King

So, we move into the top 3 with this classic soul track. Recorded in the early 60’s, this song remains as popular today as ever – it’s one of those tunes where everyone knows the chorus lyrics, no matter their age! A genius moment in songwriting history, and Ben E. King’s incredible soulful vocals are the icing on the cake. Another great song for the recessional (exit song) at the wedding ceremony.

See also: Wonderful World by Sam Cooke


#2 – Better Together by Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson’s chilled out voice, laid-back guitar style and knack for writing interesting/unusual but universally appealing lyrics all contribute to this modern classic. “It’s always better when we’re together” – of course it is, that’s why you’re getting married! It’s one of my favourite songs to play at weddings – a genius piece of songwriting, and one that will continue to be popular for years to come I’m sure.

See also – Somewhere over the Rainbow by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole


#1 – (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher by Jackie Wilson

And the no.1 goes to the brilliant Jackie Wilson! This song has all the elements to make it the perfect wedding song – it works brilliantly at the ceremony, or as a funky upbeat first dance song. Jackie Wilson’s soaring voice and the infectious energy in the song is perfect to get everyone feeling upbeat and happy.

I think it’s popularity at weddings is also down to the fact that it’s not necessarily as well known as some of the other songs on the list, so while it’s a familiar song to hear, it doesn’t feel tired or overplayed. It’s one of my favourite songs to play at weddings!

Download Higher and Higher on my acoustic album

See also – My Girl by The Temptations


Guitar selfie: image

Pat McIntyre is a singer and acoustic guitarist from Bristol, UK. An experienced live performer and music aficionado, Pat is available to book for weddings and other events.

For more information about booking Pat for your wedding, click here – or get in touch here.