Cat Power-Sea of Love
This song is a crooner classic, but the arrangement couldn’t be less traditional. It’s an agreeably lo-fi color, tinny and old-timey-sounding, with just an autoharp and Cat Power’s gorgeous, silky-smooth voice. The stripped-down sound is sure to get guest’s attention whether you use it as aisle music or for your first dance.
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel
Any indie music lover worth their salt knows the album The Aeroplane Over the Sea, by Neutral Milk Hotel. There’s plenty of weirdness and psychosexual cosmic energy in the album, but this particular track is a kind of lovely, straightforward musing on love and life and even death. “And one day we will die and our ashes will fly from the aeroplane over the sea / but for now we are young, let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see,” Jeff Mangum sings, and it’s a perfect benediction for a wedding day.
We Are Gonna Be Friends - White Stripes
This one makes for cutesy, adorkable aisle music. The simple tune and the wistful sentiment are a great reminder that the most successful marriages are between two friends who also just happen to be in love with each other. It’s got an agreeable simplicity that lets go of grand romantic gestures in favor of the image of two kids walking to school together, planning to spend the rest of their lives with each other.
Fade Into You - Mazzy Star
For a doozy of a romantic first dance, you can’t go wrong with this luscious, dreamy tune from Mazzy Star. It’s a perfect slow dance, not too draggy but not too quick either. And for the nerdy types, there’s an added reference -- it’s the song that Buffy and Angel danced to at the Prom at the end of season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Hey, if it’s good enough for the Slayer, it’s good enough for us mortals.
Luna- Smashing Pumpkins
If you’re getting married in the 2010’s, odds are you were born in the 90’s, and we old folks are just going to have to make our peace with that. You see, children, once upon a time there was a band called the Smashing Pumpkins. And when they weren’t singing angry songs about being trapped in a cage, they wrote some lovely little ballads. Luna is one of them. It’s a great song for the end of the reception, when everyone’s had a few too many drinks and are ready to drape themselves across their dance partner and sway.
When you’re planning music for your wedding ceremony, don’t be afraid to get away from the traditional music and into some of these less conventional choices. Your guests will thank you for not making them sit through Canon in D again.