How Many Songs Do You Need For a Wedding:  An Ultimate Guide

Music definitely amplifies the celebratory atmosphere of any wedding. The right mix of songs keeps the party going and keeps the guests on their feet until it’s time for the guests to go home at the end of the night. 

The question remains, though: how many songs do you need for a wedding?

Choosing the right variety of songs for your wedding ceremony can undoubtedly feel like a daunting task. Luckily, we’ve made it incredibly easy for you to pull off the perfect wedding in this article.

How Many Songs Do You Need For a Wedding?

To put it short, there is no right answer when it comes to how many songs one must include in a wedding. The number of songs you will need for your ultimate wedding music playlist all comes down to how long the wedding ceremony is likely to be, as well as personal tastes and preferences.

Although you can always hire professional musicians and DJs for a wedding, it is always a wise idea to know what songs you want to play on your special day. 

The Prelude

wedding preparation

The prelude is the 30-45 hour period before the wedding ceremony begins. Usually, it lasts for about 30-45 minutes and includes subtle music that plays in the background until the ceremony begins. The number of songs you will need for this part of the wedding ceremony depends upon the time the guests arrive at the venue and are all seated. 

Generally, you need at least 10 songs per 30 minutes. If your chosen songs don’t fill the time, you might have to rotate them during the prelude.

Having subtle background music or instrumental versions of your favorite songs for a good 30-45 minutes sets a nice ambiance for all the guests at the wedding.

The Processional

how many songs do you need for a wedding

The processional marks the start of the wedding ceremony. It is the entrance of both the bride and the bridal party. 

Because your ceremony time is a highly anticipated moment, it is so important to get the music right. The processional song must highlight the bride’s arrival at the ceremony. 

Traditionally, the processional includes one lengthy song. During the  processional, the bride and bridal parties walk down the aisle. That doesn’t typically take longer than 3 minutes. 

Unless you have a massive bridal party, all you’ll need is a 3 to 4 minute song to cover the whole processional. 

The Recessional

how many songs do you need for a wedding

The recessional song is played after the officiant has pronounced the couple husband and wife, while they walk back down the aisle to exit the ceremony. 

In most cases, one full-length happy song would suffice as the newly-wed couple turns to the guest and then walks down the aisle from the altar.

If you’re unsure about which type of songs to choose for your wedding reception, read our guide of the 100 Best Wedding Reception Songs to help narrow down your choices.


couples at wedding reception

It’s finally time for dinner and cocktails!

The reception usually lasts for around 3-4 hours, but can definitely vary. Bearing that in mind, you will need a minimum of 45 songs and background music to cover this time period. 

The reception gives you the chance to choose different varieties of songs for the party to really kick in!

First Dance

wedding first dance

Once the dinner reception and other formalities are over, it is finally time to open up the dance floor and celebrate!

The first dance is always a sentimental and emotional moment a couple always looks back at as their very first moment as husband and wife. In most cases, 1 to 2 slow songs for the first dance would suffice. 

Take a look at our list of unforgettable slow dance songs of all time you can consider choosing from!

The Party-Starter

wedding dance party

After the newlywed couple’s first dance has ended, all the guests must report to the dance floor and get the wedding party started!

This will be the best time to play some of your favourite groovy music and upbeat songs from your playlist for all the other guests to join the dance floor.

Usually, you must have around 10-15 dance songs for everyone to get up from their seats and finally move their hips to the beat.

The Last Song

bride and groom exiting

To end the wedding reception on a good note, it is imperative to play one great hit happy song to uplift everyone’s mood as they exit the ceremony.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of music should I choose for the procession? 

Most people choose a subtle and romantic song for their processional. The best idea here would be to choose a song that is both meaningful and has sentimental value for your significant other.

How long should a song be for walking down the aisle? 

In the majority of cases, one good 3 to 4 minute song would suffice. However, the song length should also depend on the length of the aisle, and the number of families that would be walking down the aisle as well.

What is a good exit song? 

You can choose an upbeat hit song as an exit song for your wedding, or any one of your favorite songs from your personal playlist.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we gave you an easy breakdown of the wedding ceremony in order, plus we answered the question that has been nagging at you – how many songs do you need for a wedding.

After careful calculation, we recommend having at least 90-100 songs for a wedding that lasts around 5-6 hours. 

Of course, the number of songs you will need for a wedding will depend upon how long you wish certain parts of your wedding to be, such as the reception, and the number of additional activities you might include such as party games.

At the end of the day, you should have at least 100 songs ready for your wedding playlist to be on the safe side.

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