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How to Find the Right Music for Wedding Videos

Michael Maher

You’ve already shot the wedding video and your edits are coming along. But what about the soundtrack? Find the right music for your wedding highlight reel with these tips.

Editing a wedding video is very similar to editing a documentary. Tons of footage from multiple angles, and you have to find the right way to present it. You can’t just search for “the perfect wedding song for this video.” (How awesome would that be?)

You need to know what kind of story you are telling, and then narrow it down from there. Here are four things to account for when searching for the right music.

1. Find Music That Fits the Couple

How to Find the Right Music for Wedding Videos: Music that fits the couple

The most important part is finding music that fits the couple’s taste. Otherwise, they won’t like the video. Like any other product, customer satisfaction should be your number one priority. There are a few ways you can learn the couple’s musical taste. The easiest is to ask them.

When you are first meeting with the couple, ask them about their likes and dislikes. Know what kind of music they tend to listen to. Do they always play the current pop hits? Are they indie folk fans or into hip-hop? Jazz fusion? Do they like both kinds of music, country and western?

The other way to find out is paying attention during the reception. See what songs really get the crowd moving and dancing. That’s your cue to know what type of music to feature. It’s going to look really out of place if your video has upbeat disco funk and everyone is slow dancing.

2. Story Driven vs. Music Driven

How to Find the Right Music for Wedding Videos: story vs music

Every single wedding is different. You may have already noticed that. There are times when every speech is phenomenal and the vows are perfect. There are also plenty of speeches that fall flat. Not only is the couple a huge factor in determining the flow of the video, but so is the entire family.

When you have great speeches to work with, it’s easy to plot out the direction of the film. You can mix in parts of the best man’s speech, and the one from the maid of honor. You can weave through the couples love story. The audience may hear about how the couple met, or a funny experience they had.

With these stories, you can move through your piece and let it flow naturally. Let the speaker move you through shots of the day, and just have a simple light soundtrack play in the background. This story-driven technique has become the most sought after type of wedding video.

How to Find the Right Music for Wedding Videos: speech!

If you don’t have any speeches or vows to work with, then you better have your editing skills ready. It just got a lot tougher. That said, you can still tell a story without words. Look for the right ballad to help you move from one scene to another.

The right song can really make a sequence great. Just look at the montages of famous feature films. They are just a sequence of shots edited together with the right music. You are essentially making a montage of the day, and the music will set the mood.

Deciding on having a story-driven or music-driven wedding video (or combination of the two) will lead us to our next point.

3. Lyrics vs Instrumental

How to Find the Right Music for Wedding Videos: lyrics vs instrumental

Not every song is going to work if your video has a lot of dialogue. Sometimes you need a cinematic instrumental playing in the background so you can hear the vows or a speech. If you don’t have much dialogue, then a vocal track may be the better option. When it comes down to it, you will be the ultimate judge on what sounds the best.

Most often, wedding highlight videos will feature one instrumental and one song with vocals. You may hear a light classical piece during the ceremony and a fast-paced dance song with lyrics during the reception. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

If you aren’t sure if a song will work, try throwing it in your project timeline. Some sites (like PremiumBeat.com) allow you to download free watermarked previews of songs. You can see if the song works with your project, or if it just doesn’t fit. If it does work, then you can just purchase a license and replace the preview with the non-watermarked track.

4. Music Rights

After you find the right song, you need to know if you have rights to use it or not. This is how you avoid a lawsuit.

When a bride and groom share their wedding video, they aren’t going to want to find out it got flagged online for a copyright violation. So you have two main options; hire a musician or license tracks. If you have the budget to hire a musician, or have a talented friend you can do an exchange of services with, that’s a great start. If not, there are plenty of sources for you to find music online.

Now I won’t go on listing other sites… you can find those on your own. What I can do is brag about the ease of using PremiumBeat. Not only is there a massive collection of songs, PremiumBeat’s royalty free music allows multiple uses with one license. Pay once and you can use it over and over again. PremiumBeat.com also has two sections dedicated to wedding music. You can easily search for Classical wedding music or Modern.

Did this post help you narrow your music choices? Want more posts about wedding videography? Let us know in the comments below.