Creating your own wedding song from scratch

Creating your own wedding song
Creating your own wedding song

Do you and your fiancé march to the beat of your own drummer? Dance to a tune only you two can hear? It’s time to make the metaphors literal and design your very own custom wedding song.

When you play a completely unique piece of music for your first wedding dance, you’re telling the world that there isn’t another couple out there who’s exactly like you. Embrace what makes your relationship one of a kind and design your own customized wedding tune.

The Professional route to your wedding song

Do you want a pre-recorded song that sounds like it came from a professional album? Unless you’re able to write lyrics, compose music, play several instruments, and do post-production work on your own, you’ll need to commission a few a professional artists to fill in the gaps.

Realistically, that means there will be some cost involved. The exact price point, however, is up to you.

You can easily spend thousands of dollars creating a wedding song from scratch. If you do that, you’ll have to not only pay the musicians and vocalists for their time, but also rent recording studio space and hire a recording engineer to make sure the sound quality is good.

You’ll also need to hire an artist to arrange and orchestrate the song ahead of time, as well as professionals to mix and master the track afterwards. It’s a large budget item, but you’ll end up with a gorgeous song you’ll treasure forever and can listen to again and again.

The Semi-custom route to the perfect wedding song

A cheaper way could be to look for look into custom wedding song studios, which can match up your unique lyrics with a pre-recorded backing track.

These generally run in the range of a few hundred dollars or less. You can choose the song you like best from the portfolio or website, submit your personalized details, and the company will give you back a track of the same exact song customized to your love story. (Complete with lyrics about how you and your fiancé met each other at Georgia Tech and your first date involved a picnic with your Dalmatian puppy.)

Sure, you’ll know that there are other weddings out there playing your tune, but you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that no other couples have the same exact song.

The Personal route to YOUR song

The last type of custom song creation is even more affordable–and often completely free. You can compose a song and perform it live at your wedding. If you don’t feel like performing at your own wedding, or if you aren’t confident in your musical ability, this is a great opportunity for a singer-songwriter friend to give you a personal gift.

Meet with your friend and go over not only the personal details you want to include in your song, but also the style of music you like best. Be sure to bring examples of songs you love (and explain what makes them so great). Understand that your friend may not be able to reproduce the sound of a professionally-recorded brass band track by herself; with this approach the personal meaning behind the gift is more important than the audio quality.

Because of this, a live performance will be more meaningful than playing a recording on your wedding day, so invite your friend to play her song for your first dance.

Be Realistic About Friends’ Abilities (or lack of)

It’s lovely to include your friends in your wedding celebration, and if your high school buddy still has his guitar lying around, it can be tempting to ask him to bring it for old times’ sake.

However, adding amateur musicians to the mix when you’re recording a professional song can result in extra expense for you, as well as bruised feelings all around. For example, if you’re renting studio space to record your song, you could be paying upwards of $700 per day for the space and $80 per hour for each professional musician’s time.

Every time an amateur musician makes a mistake and wants to start over, the hourly costs rack up. If you want to include your musician friends in your wedding, ask them to perform their own songs sometime during the reception instead.

Even if your friend will be performing live at the wedding and cost isn’t an issue, it’s still worth taking a moment to honestly assess your friend’s skills. Just because someone is a great person, it doesn’t follow that she’s a great musician.

When was the last time you heard her play for a live audience? Was the music flawless? How was her stage presence? Did she play a concise set, or did she ramble a bit between songs?

Keep in mind that what makes a great coffee shop performance may not be the right fit for a wedding. If you have any doubts, gently let your friend know that you don’t have space in your wedding schedule for her to play.

Enjoy a Completely Personalized Experience

When you enjoy your first married dance to a completely personalized song, you’re not only embracing each other, you’re embracing everything that helped your love story culminate in your wedding day.

Try to include lyrical references to your first date, your marriage proposal, and even some private jokes known just to the two of you. Just be ready for an emotional response; when your guests realize how special the song is, you’ll have their complete attention.

If you include funny parts you’ll get a lot of laughter, and for the sincere parts, you might just want to have a few extra tissue boxes on hand.

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Written by Steve Williams
I am a published writer, journalist and photo-journalist. I have an MA in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales and my journalism has been published in a number of UK national newspapers including 'the Observer'.