Phoenix Wedding and Event Music, wedding music

Phoenix Wedding Ceremony Music – Most Popular Songs

With all the decisions brides have to make when planning their wedding ceremonies, selecting the songs for their ceremony can be one of the most difficult but also the most fun. Couples get to decide:

  • Live ensemble or recorded music
  • What style of music
  • What exact songswedding ceremony music Phoenix

Once a couple selects who will play the music and what style, they get to decide on music for the wedding party, the bride’s processional and the recessional.

Below are some of the most common songs for each of these portions of the wedding, both classical style and contemporary.


A Thousand Years, Christina Perri

Autumn, Vivaldi

Ave Maria, Schubert

Bitter Sweet Symphony, The Verve

Canon in D, Pachelbel

Clair de Lune, Debussy

I’ll Be There, Jackson 5

Make You Feel My Love, Adele

Marry Me, Train

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Of these songs, we have had requests for A Thousand Years, Canon in D and Somewhere Over the rainbow. While this music is often used for the wedding party, they are also great choices for other parts of the ceremony.

The music for the bride’s entrance is perhaps the most important choice. This is the moment that everyone is waiting for, so it must be the most memorable! Below are the top choices of brides around the country.



And I Love Her, The Beatles

Can You Feel the Love Tonight?, Elton John

Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop, Landon Pigg

Glasgow Love Theme, from Love Actually

Hoppipola, Sigur Ros

The Luckiest, Ben Folds

Landslide, Fleetwood Mac

Water Suite, No. 2 in D Major, Handel

Wedding March, Mendelssohn

What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong

Of these songs, our brides have selected What a Wonderful World and the Wedding March. We also have had requests for A Thousand Years, Canon in D, Bridal Chorus (“Here Comes the Bride”) and Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran.

Recessional music is generally lively music with a celebratory message. Below are some top choices.



Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Marvin Gaye

All You Need is Love, The Beatles

Home, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Hymne, Vangelis

Love on Top, Beyonce

Lucky, Jason Mraz & Colbie Callait

Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Stevie Wonder

Spring, Vivaldi

You Are the Best Thing, Ray LaMontagne

You Make My Dreams Come True, Hall & Oates

While these may be popular songs in some areas of the nation, here in Phoenix, we’ve never gotten a request for any of these songs for recessional music. The most popular recessional songs we have are  You’ve Got a Friend in Me from Toy StoryRondeau, Jean-Joseph Mouret (this is by far the most frequent request we’ve gotten from couples), and the Wedding March by Mendelssohn.

While there is a reason these songs are so popular, and it’s because they are such classics, we also encourage our couples to choose songs that are most meaningful to them. For a complete list of our wedding music repertoire, click here. We have had some unusual requests but are always happy to make arrangements for flute and guitar so couples will have just what they want to hear on their wedding day.

wedding music

Wedding Music at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix

We recently played for a beautiful wedding ceremony and cocktail hour at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix that was such a lovely, memorable event.

The couple were living out of town, so many of the arrangements were made by the bride’s mother and father. We made most general arrangements about the music through them, but before the final decisions were made, the couple themselves decided on the music for the processional, bride’s entrance and recessional – as well as a list of 98 songs they wanted played at the cocktail hour! The processional of bridesmaids was to Edelweiss from Sound of Music, the bride entered to What a Wonderful world and the recessional was to You’ve Got a Friend in Me, from Toy Story.

The wedding itself took place in the ceremony area of the Desert Botanical Garden behind the Ullman Terrace. It was a pretty area with plenty of seating and a gorgeous view of the mountain and desert landscape behind. As the ceremony musicians, we sat behind the guests in an unpaved area. The ceremony took place on a large raised stage with the guests a few seats lower. There was enough seating for more than 100 guests.

It was a busy preparation before guests arrived.  Since there were military personnel participating, they held several run-throughs of their sword arch ceremony that would be performed later in the evening as the bride and groom were presented before dinner. It seemed like it would be a very impressive ceremony, at least as we saw it rehearsed.

As we were setting up for prelude music, there was also a DJ setting up to play for the dinner. We played prelude music as guests arrived and sipped on cool drinks. It was a beautiful day albeit a bit windy and warm.  For the prelude music, we played some of our favorite classical romantic music.

The processionals went without a hitch, followed by a pretty extensive ceremony. There was a large wedding party, many of whom participated in the ceremony by doing one of the six readings. They had a microphone set up for the readers, so it was easy for guests to hear. The readings ranged from scripture to a Dr. Suess poem. 

Following the announcement and recessional of the new couple, we packed up our sound system and quickly relocated to the cocktail hour location nearby on the Ullman Terrace. We set up in a corner close to the building in the shade that was also out of the way of guests. We were close to they bar, so there was lots of activity nearby.

For the cocktail hour, we played a large selection as chosen specifically by the couple. It included a variety of music including standard love songs, Broadway favorites, movie music, jazz tunes and contemporary songs. It was a lively celebration, but before we knew it, the wedding planners were moving guests back to the ceremony area which had been transformed into an outdoor dining room.

We had a wonderful time playing in this gorgeous setting. Yes, it was a bit of a walk to bring all of our equipment out to the wedding venue, but it was definitely worth it! Such an appreciative family and a beautiful day. We were honored to be a part of their wedding!

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5 considerations for musicians at outdoor weddings and events

Many of us live in Arizona for its exceptional number of spectacular days to enjoy outdoors. So, when it comes to planning a wedding or event, holding it outdoors is always a popular choice. Whether you’re planning an engagement party, wedding shower, wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, vow renewal or other event to celebrate your wedding, an outdoor venue could be perfect choice. Outdoor venues can be found at resorts, private event venues, golf clubs, parks and, of course, backyards of private homes.5-considerations-for-musicians-for-outdoor-weddings-and-events Phoenix

For any event, there are countless considerations to make sure your day goes smoothly and everyone enjoys themselves. But for outdoor events where you’re planning to have live music, there are several special considerations to keep in mind.

  1. Temperature. Besides basic comfort, temperature is something to keep in mind for musicians for several other reasons. Extreme temperature can actually permanently harm wooden instruments such as violins, violas, cellos, basses, guitars, clarinets, oboes and bassoons because the thin wood the instrument is made of can be prone to cracking as it goes from warm to cool or cool to warm. A cracked instrument can sometimes be repaired but could cause permanent damage to very valuable instruments. Additionally, extremes in temperature cause the instruments to fluctuate in intonation. Instruments that are out of tune with themselves or with other instruments in the ensemble will not be pleasing to the ear. Professional musicians are skilled at re-tuning their instruments, but it is very disruptive to the musical experience if they have to constantly be stopping between songs to re-tune.
  2. Precipitation. When musicians ask for cover from the rain, it’s not just because they don’t want their hair or outfits to get wet. In fact, moisture can negatively affect musical instruments in significant ways. For wood instruments (violins, violas, cellos, basses, guitars, clarinets, oboes and bassoons) if the wood gets wet, it could swell and ultimately crack. Some cracks can be repaired, but others cannot. And with instruments that cost tens of thousands of dollars, this is a significant risk. For wind instruments with pads that cover tone holes, the pads can absorb moisture which could cause the pads to swell and require costly replacement. For higher end instruments, this would mean sending the instrument across the country to a qualified instrument repair person to do the work. In addition to pad damage, rain can also affect the wind instruments’ mechanism, washing away the oils that keep the valves and keys operating smoothly. Again, adding the oil to an instrument could mean an expensive and time-consuming shipping to a repair person across the country. Another consideration is PA or sound systems for instruments such as guitars that require power. These can easily be damaged by moisture. Because of the problems moisture can cause for instruments, it’s important that areas for outdoor musicians have tarps underneath them and extended covering above so that wind doesn’t blow moisture onto delicate musical instruments.
  3. Sunshine. The issue with sun is not just the heat. Sun causes glare that makes music difficult to read and makes it challenging for musicians to see cues from each other, officiants, planners and the couple. Musicians rely on visual cues in order to determine when to start and stop playing, so it is best to have shade for outdoor events, especially weddings. Sun also causes instruments, especially those made of metals (flutes and brass instruments), to heat up substantially. When metal instruments heat up, it changes their pitch and makes them uncomfortable and difficult to hold.
  4. Wind. Wind is an issue for musicians because it makes turning pages and making them stay put as needed a big challenge. Outdoor musicians always arrive to outdoor performances with clips for their pages, but that becomes interruptive when they have to keep un-clipping and re-clipping their music. Additionally, flutes blow across the embouchure hole to create the tone, so with strong winds blowing directly at them, the tone can get distorted or destroyed. Wind can also affect the way sound travels through the air, so it can negatively affect how the sound disburses outdoors.
  5. Bugs are not only an annoyance to guests, but can be especially distracting to musicians. Bugs can land on music, blocking the notes, can tickle or sting skin making it difficult for musicians to concentrate on small muscles that it takes to play their instruments. And of course, painful or itchy bug bites can make it very challenging to continue playing, especially if they’re on fingers, arms or faces that are used for playing the instruments.

While everyone enjoys beautiful outdoor events, when you’re planning an outdoor event with live musicians, we just encourage you to be thoughtful of the challenges the outdoors can bring for musicians so that they can give you the kind of quality performance you deserve.

Phoenix Wedding and Event Music

4 Main Considerations for Choosing the Music for Your Cocktail Hour

While we get a lot of requests to play music for couples’ cocktail hours, many are unsure of what type of music they’d like to have. If you choose carefully, you can ensure that the music will be welcoming for your guests and set the right tone for your celebration.

SoSco performs flute & guitar music at Phoenix Bridal Show
SoSco performs flute & guitar music at Phoenix Bridal Show

When choosing your cocktail hour music, we suggest that you begin by considering the following:

  1. Mood you are trying to create. If you are having a modern wedding, then perhaps some jazz, modern ballads with classic nostalgic instrumentation like guitars, flutes, percussion, bass or keyboards could work very well. If you’re having a formal, traditional cocktail hour, songs made famous by Frank Sinatra and classic love songs played on guitars, flutes, saxophones or strings would set an elegant mood. For a more fun, casual mood, a steel drum band may be the right fit. Just be sure that you request that the volume is kept at a level where guests can still comfortably mix and converse.
  2. Your venue. Where you’re holding your cocktail hour may also play into your decision about what type of music to have. If your cocktail hour is held outdoors, consider the availability of power for instruments that may require amplification (guitars, strings). The larger the venue and guest list, the larger the ensemble you can use. For a smaller venue, you can use a more intimate ensemble like a solo, duo or trio.
  3. Whether you are using live or recorded music. If you’re going for a more upscale wedding, having live musicians will be appropriate and expected. Also, if you’re having a smaller affair but want to give it a more classy feel, hiring live musicians can make all the difference. You can always have your DJ play recorded music for your happy hour, but it will end up coming across as less personalized and less memorable.
  4. Your theme. If you and your wedding planner have come up with a theme for your wedding, be it beach, vintage, rustic, beach, country, garden, nautical or any other, having the right music at your cocktail hour help reinforce this theme. While you may have ideas of what music you might like, take the time to speak with your potential musicians to see what ideas they may have for playing music to help support your theme; they may have some ideas and specialties that you had never considered!

No matter what the mood, your venue, live or recorded or the theme you’re trying to create, we believe the key to creating the perfect soundtrack for cocktail hour is choosing uplifting songs with a relaxed vibe. The cocktail hours should be a time to play the songs that you love but are not suited for dancing.

4 Main Considerations for Choosing Cocktail Hour Music by SoSco Flute & Guitar Duo of Phoenix
4 Main Considerations for Choosing Cocktail Hour Music

We recommend the beautiful music from legendary crooners like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. Classics like “The Way You Look Tonight”, “Unforgettable” and “Can’t Stop Falling in Love with You” never go out of style. You can also add some love song favorites from the ’50s and ’60s that are timeless and romantic.

Whatever you have in mind, we suggest you work with your live musicians to select the perfect set list as the background to make your cocktail hour memorable and special.


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Tips for Selecting Music for the Main Sections of a Phoenix Wedding Ceremony

Years later, most couples remember and still have a very warm place in their hearts

outdoor wedding musicians at the WigWam Resort in Litchfield Park, AZ
Setting up for an outdoor wedding at the WigWam Resort in Litchfield Park, AZ

for the songs played at their wedding. Maybe you like the idea of having live musicians for your wedding ceremony but don’t even know where to begin with planning the music. If so, here is a quick summary of the six main sections of standard wedding ceremonies that call for music and a few options to get you started thinking.

  1. Prelude– As guests arrive and are being seated (generally a selection by the musicians which  lasts 10 – 20 minutes)
    1. Traditional options: The Swan – Saint-Saens, Clair de Lune – Debussy, Meditation from Thais- Massenet
    2. Contemporary options: A Time for Us (Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet), Beauty and the Beast, Unforgettable
  2. Processional– As the bridal party enters 
    1. Traditional options: Trumpet Voluntary – Clark, Trumpet Tune – Purcell, Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” – Bach
    2. Contemporary options: Your Song – Elton John, All You Need Is Love – The Beatles, Stand By Me – Ben E. King
  3. Bride’s Entrance– As the bride enters
    1. Traditional options: The Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride) from Lohengrin –Wagner, Trumpet Tune – Purcell, Canon in D – Pachelbel
    2. Contemporary options: In My Life – The Beatles, Can’t Help Falling in Love, All I Ask of You from Phantom of the Opera
  4. Interlude/Unity Candle/Sand Ceremony– During the Ceremony
    1. Traditional options: Greensleeves, Ave Maria – Schubert, Gymnopedie No. 1 – Satie
    2. Contemporary options: Everything I Do – Bryan Adams, One Hand, One Heart – West Side Story, Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
  5. Recessional– As the couple exits
    1. Traditional options: Wedding March (Midsummer Night’s Dream) – Mendelssohn, Alla Hornpipe (from Water Music Suite) – Handel, Ode To Joy – Beethoven
    2. Contemporary options: Happy Together – The Turtles, Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours) – Stevie Wonder, Marry You – Bruno Mars
  6. Postlude– As the guests stand and leave  (generally a selection by the musicians which lasts 5 – 15 minutes)
    1. Traditional options: La Rejouissance – Handel, Rondeau – Mouret, Autumn – Antonio Vivaldi
    2. Contemporary options: All You Need Is Love – The Beatles, How Sweet It Is – James Taylor, At Last – Etta James

Spending time with your fiancé picking out your music is fun, relaxing and will help make your music meaningful. But, if you don’t have a strong preference for any certain songs or music, experienced wedding musicians will be able to recommend appropriate songs that suit your tastes, whether they be more traditional, contemporary or unique.

Nothing like music has the power to express the emotion of a wedding ceremony, so if you’re looking for the secret to a more meaningful day, live musicians will bring the perfect touch to your ceremony.

Be sure to check out our play list to see some more of the music we like to perform for Phoenix-area couples!