Beach Wedding Music Guide

July 26, 2023
beach wedding music


So it’s time to select ceremony music for your beach wedding but where do you start? It might feel like a daunting task and yet, a very important task nonetheless. Not to worry – here’s a helpful guide to selecting the perfect music for your Florida beach wedding. Whether you’re planning a Panama City Beach destination wedding, a Destin, FL beach wedding, or any Gulf beach wedding, you can trust this guide to help you select your ideal beach wedding tunes. 

Live Music or Recorded Music?

This is a great place to start your selection. Both live and recorded music are commonly used on the beach so as to create two different types of atmospheres during your wedding. 

Live music is a beautiful option if you are looking for a more sophisticated and elegant atmosphere at your beach ceremony. Consider this: You hear the violinist sweetly playing your bridal entrance music as you walk down the beach walk at your beautiful Florida destination in your beautiful wedding dress and you listen as the notes are coalescing with the sound of the crashing waves in front of you. It brings a magical mood to a simple beach wedding, guaranteed. Check out our violinist at this link

Recorded music is a tried and true option. The great thing about having recorded music is that you can size it up however you’d like it – keeping it casual (Justin Bieber is a surprisingly popular artist for beach weddings), keeping it classical (Sticking with the classic tunes or even playing instrumental tracks), or even keeping it comical (Is your wedding party feeling fun? You can have them dance down the aisle). The options are endless with recorded music. Many of our beach wedding packages at Seas The Day Weddings include recorded music as this is an exceptionally popular request for many affordable destination weddings. 

Contemporary or Traditional Music? Instrumental or Vocals?

Once you’ve decided on live or recorded music, the next step might be trying to decide on a genre of music. This can be anything from contemporary beats to the traditional instrumental classics. This is a great opportunity to pick songs that are personal to you as a couple and set the tone for your beach wedding. 

Contemporary hits are becoming more popular these days, you might find. Anywhere from Ed Sheeran to John Legend – their music all seeps the same melodious, romantic feelings of longing that would translate obviously and wonderfully into wedding love songs. Typically, the contemporary modern songs include well-known vocalists so this would be a great choice for you if the easy, soothing voice of Etta James sounds particularly moving to you. There are, of course, instrumental versions of these songs that are readily available now that would just as well give you the same melodious tunes, without the vocals behind it.

Traditional classics never quite fade away from popularity. They’re timeless and classic and always seem to reserve a permanent spot in any wedding playlist. They’re instantly recognizable and are often legendary in style and artist. The classical music genre ranges from a variety of different styles and iconic composers – this is a great route to go for an elegant, sophisticated tone and flows straight into the instrumental pathway. Beyond the level of elegance that the traditional classical choices can bring, it’s almost impossible to regret your music choice 10 years down the road, when trendy turns outdated. 

How many songs do I select?

Once you’ve identified your genre, you’ll quickly realize the choices are endless in terms of song selections. Now it’s time to tackle your song count. 

Let’s start with your prelude music. This includes music you’d like to be played in the moments leading up to your beach wedding, as your guests arrive – a great way to set the mood for your ceremony. Guests are encouraged to arrive approximately 15-20 min before your ceremony, so the sweet spot for your prelude song count would be around 4-8 songs, depending on song length. 

As the ceremony begins, you will want to include processional music. This includes music you’d like to be played as your wedding party walks down the aisle, followed by the bride. Depending on how many individuals will be processing prior to the bride, the song count may vary. However, it’s best to work with 1-2 songs total for the wedding party procession (including bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers) and 1 song for the bride’s procession. This way the procession flows smoothly into the ceremony.

The last song you’d select for your ceremony would be the recessional. This is the song that is played immediately after the announcement of the new couple at the close of your ceremony. The recessional includes the couple walking back up the aisle (may be followed by their wedding party) and maybe a quick Kiss & Dip as the photographer captures the beautiful scene. A joyful moment to celebrate your love calls for just one lovely, celebratory song.

What music should I play for my wedding reception?

Once you’ve nailed down your ceremony music styles, reception music will be a breeze (hopefully). This is where you get to lay back, enjoy yourselves, celebrate, and dance the night away with your closest friends. Your reception is a great opportunity to bring all of your loved ones together in the same room – whether at a beach wedding venue or on the beach itself – make it fun!

Reception music does not have to have a specific genre or style – in fact, working with a variety of music selections can create an unexpected and unforgettable experience for your guests. You can include meaningful songs shared with you and your spouse, your family, friends, and loved ones. You can include tunes from your favorite artists and even throw in some trendy, new music on the charts. You even mix it up and throw it back to the 70s or 80s for a classic dance era. You can even take song requests from your guests beforehand to get them excited for your special day.

Compilation List

Now you might have identified your style, your genre, and everything in between, but it could still be difficult to know where to start. Look no further! You will find a compiled list of common ceremony music selections below to guide you through your selection. These are our top song recommendations based on your selected genre for your perfect beach wedding ceremonial music:


  • Air on G String – Bach
  • Canon in D – Johann Pachelbel
  • Wedding March – Felix Mendelssohn
  • Bridal Chorus – Wagner
  • Ave Maria – Bach
  • Cello Suite No. 1 – Bach
  • Ode to Joy – Beethoven
  • I Giorni – Ludovico Einaudi
  • Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring  – Bach


  • A Thousand Years – Christina Perri (The Piano Guys Cover – Instrumental)
  • Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis Presley
  • Marry You – Bruno Mars
  • All of Me – John Legend
  • Perfect – Ed Sheeran
  • Like I’m Gonna Lose You – Meghan Trainer
  • The Only Exception – Paramore
  • Best Part – H.E.R. ft. Daniel Caesar
  • Photograph – Cody Fry
  • Golden Thing – Cody Simpson
  • Simply The Best – Billianne
  • You Are The Reason – Calum Scott
  • At Last – Etta James
  • Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo-ole

Remember to always stick to what feels authentic to you and your partner. Just because something is popularly done and widely-accepted as a typical wedding tradition, does not mean you have to do it for yours. You can accomplish all your destination wedding dreams with a gorgeous, simple Florida beach wedding tailor-made for you and your partner. Make this day about your love for each other – and music is a great place to start.