Let's start with the ceremony first. If your ceremony is in a church, music will need to be discussed ahead of time. Most likely they will offer someone to play the music before the wedding starts. I would recommend music being played at least 20 minutes before the start since that is when most guests will be arriving, and also during the walk down the isle and back. The most common classic songs to walk down the isle to are Canon in D, A Midsummer's Night Dream, and the Wedding March. You may be limited to your options of music during the ceremony due to rules the church may have, so definitely take the time to discuss. If there is a little leeway and you would like something different I highly recommend Enya. She has a lot of beautiful music with very little words or The Piano Guys who do popular songs with no words (check out their version of Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years"). If you are not limited to what you can play it opens up so much more. Do you love Christian music? Brandon Heath's song "Love Never Fails" is one of my favorites, or if you want something a little more fun and upbeat "Something Beautiful" by the Newsboys is a good recessional song. A little different, but some other fun songs which could also be used in other parts of the wedding are American Author's "The Best Day of My Life", John Legend's "All of Me", Train's "Marry Me", or Faith Hill and Tim McGraw's "It's your Love". If you are having a hard time choosing, decide what kind of feel you would like to have. There is nothing wrong with wanting classic and traditional versus fun, 'let's get the party started immediately'.
Next up will be deciding what music you want playing as the DJ announces the wedding party. A "Beautiful Day" by U2 is very popular along with Pharrell's "Happy". If you want something a little different and like country, try Florida Georgia Line's "This is How We Roll" or Sugarland's "Still the Same".
The music during dinner should set the romantic mood. I would recommend the Piano Guys again if you would like something without words but plays popular songs. The music during dinner should be pleasant but not distracting since most of your guests will be talking to each other. If you would like songs with some words I would recommend Michale Buble and Jim Brickman since they have collaborators to their piano playing. You can always just play a mix of songs you love, so don't feel restricted.
The cake cutting is done some time during dinner. A lot of people choose something fun like Maroon 5's "Sugar" or Michael Buble's "How Sweet It Is". Just think of songs with the words sweet or sugar in it and it is commonly used during the cake cutting.
First Dance & Parent Dances
Probably the easiest choice is the song you will have as your first dance and the dance you will do with your parents. They should be a reflection of you as a couple and the relationship you have with your parents. Most opt for something like "Butterfly Kisses" or "I Loved Her First" but if you and your dad have a fun loving personality and love to be goofy together choose something fun! Sometimes it might be hard to figure out a song for the mother/son dance because there just isn't as many songs about letting a son go as there is for a daughter. I really love Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance" and The Band Perry's "A Mother Like Mine" if you are wanting something more sentimental. I have a feeling for first dances we will be seeing Ed Sheeran's "Perfect" more often, which is a beautiful song. I love music because if you dig hard enough you can almost find a song that fits different life situations perfectly and I hope you find that with your first dance. It's up to you what all specific dances you would like to have. Some weddings have had the grandparents dance together after the first dance and parent dances are over. If there is someone who is no longer with you that you wish could be there you can add a dance in for them. Some weddings have the bridal party all do a dance together a lot of "Celebration" and "We Are Family" are pretty common. You can always have a dance just for the girls and just for the guys. I am loving Keith Urban's song "Female". Not a fast dance but an empowering one. Also, I love Miranda Lambert/Carrie Underwood's "Something Bad" as a fun dance. If you choose to separate dances, Black Eyed Peas' "Let's Get It Started" or LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" could work well.
Now comes the music for the rest of the reception. Anything that is a must have, add to your list. The same goes if you absolutely do not want a certain music/artist played. You will want a wide variety so it appeals to everyone. If you have special traditions, like in our family we always have some polka songs, don't be afraid to add those in even if they won't appeal to everyone. Communicate with your DJ if guests are allowed to request music or not. There will always be guests who are not comfortable with fast pace songs so I would recommend one slow song (a good excuse to get close to your bride/groom) to every 6 upbeat songs. Again, you do not have to decide your entire playlist. Your DJ should help build around your interests.
Be sure to use free access tools to help you decide like YouTube, Spotify and Google Play Music. There you can search songs and listen to them while you picture your wedding. Does that song fit with your dream? Does it compliment the feeling you want? Enjoy this process! The music you play during these special moments will live on long past your wedding day. Happy listening!