Classical Music For A Wedding?
July 11, 2005 2:11 AM   Subscribe

Like others I will be the DIY DJ at my upcoming wedding. I have everything covered but the background music played while the meal is served. Suggestions?

I know what I'm hungry for: instrumentals (I find vocals difficult to talk over). Classics and classical wanted over Stereolab type-stuff (plenty of time for The Postal Service later in the reception). I am so classical music ignorant I don't even know where to start looking for my music. Bonus points for Irish or Welsh selections as that's part of her heritage...
posted by herc to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I assume you don't want to be fiddling with music equipment during the meal, so you could either get a long playlist together and leave it running - or you could hire real live musicians. Ones that advertise that they do weddings would know exactly the kind of thing that is appropriate, and you wouldn't have to worry.

I'd suggest a string quartet as the standard wedding group - but I'm sure if you look around you could find a harpist or similar (depending where you are). Could be expensive though, depending on how many players and for how long. I had a quartet for a while, and for a wedding we'd cost £300 for an afternoon, plus travel expenses (and we were towards the cheap end).

good luck!
posted by altolinguistic at 2:48 AM on July 11, 2005

A bit of John Mayer works well as background music.
posted by lemonfridge at 2:54 AM on July 11, 2005

Disclaimer: I work for the company that released this CD

The Knot Collection of Ceremony and Wedding Music.
posted by softlord at 3:45 AM on July 11, 2005

Turlough O'Carolan, for starters.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:41 AM on July 11, 2005

Without a doubt, Steve Tyrell .. you can generally find his stuff on ebay or amazon. Congrats!
posted by adamfunman at 4:59 AM on July 11, 2005

We ended up with a harp during dinner at our wedding, which was great, but before that, we were going to use Vince Guaraldi. A Boy Named Charlie Brown and In Person, in particular. It's quiet enough, and both recognizable but not distracting, if that makes sense. We have used both - and Charlie Brown Christmas - at dinner parties with great success.

And, indeed, Congrats!
posted by dpx.mfx at 5:16 AM on July 11, 2005

I would recommend some old school big band, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Chet Baker or something similar that will provide a pleasant background for all of the visiting that tends to dominate this part of the festivities.
While classical is relaxing, I find that jazz is a nice way to warm up the crowd for the "getting down" that is to come after dinner.
posted by dagnyduquette at 5:19 AM on July 11, 2005

Methinks you want chamber music or solo pieces, not full orchestra.

I'll recommend Les Voix Humaines, a collection of Baroque pieces for viola-da-gamba played by Jordi Savall. Purty, and I think it would get out of the way.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:34 AM on July 11, 2005

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring is a popular classical wedding song, as well as Pachabel's Canon in D.

Hrm, parts of Handel's Water Music may also work, or one of the Bach Brandenburg Concertos (No. 3 in G Major is my favorite).

Oh, and you can't go wrong with Vivaldi's Four Seasons - I would go with Spring or Autumn.
posted by geeky at 5:53 AM on July 11, 2005

Bossa Nova
posted by qwip at 6:21 AM on July 11, 2005

Tango music by Astor Piazzolla!
posted by cior at 7:28 AM on July 11, 2005

I would go with acoustic Irish music, like track #15 on The Celts Rise Again (From Green Linnet records). (You can listen to it on the Amazon page. The artist is Gerald Trimble.)

If you want something more lively, listen to track #8 (Patrick Street - a very prolific Irish band).
posted by kdern at 7:59 AM on July 11, 2005

Just make sure you don't leave the software set to repeat one short track (instead of the whole 2 hour playlist) then wander off for half an hour to attend to something else like... um... this guy I know... did at my sister's wedding.

Also: Miles Davis.
posted by Capn at 8:24 AM on July 11, 2005

I'm seconding dagnyduquette. Skip the classical music. Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, etc are good suggestions.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 8:25 AM on July 11, 2005

I'd be contrarian and say no music at all while people are eating. This is supposed to be a time for conversation, and for lots of people, background music is distracting even at a low volume.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 9:04 AM on July 11, 2005

Miles Davis Quintet/Sextet with John Coltrane:

(there's one more in the ***-in' vein that I can't remember)
'Round About Midnight
Kind of Blue

These guys wrote the book on small-group Jazz.

Also, Getz/Gilberto. Highly mocked and overplayed, but it's a classic for a very good reason.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:15 AM on July 11, 2005

What about some 60s Harry Mancini stuff? It's fun, pretty, and doesn't take itself too seriously...
posted by lalalana at 11:07 AM on July 11, 2005

Response by poster: Some great suggestions! Thanks to everyone for their help and ideas. Off to Amoeba Music / iTunes store to start my mix!
posted by herc at 5:28 PM on July 11, 2005

Thelonius Monk's 'Straight No Chaser' is one of my favorite albums to listen to. It is particularly pleasant to listen to while eating; I'm not sure why, but the clank of cutlery on crockery only improves on those crazy angular tones he's putting out there.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:10 PM on July 12, 2005

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