Making a memory with music: Selecting songs for ceremony


Rona Shedd says her friends jokingly call her “The Wedding Singer,” because she’s provided or added to the soundtracks as many a couple have started their lives together.

She said she’s seen many different ideas go into their selection of songs. Some go for the traditional wedding songs, but recently more couples tend to chose a song that is more of a reflection of them as a couple.

Recently a couple she knows selected “God Bless the Broken Road,” for their wedding – a second marriage for them both.

Shedd said she sang at a Dec. 23 wedding – “It was freezing” – and the couple asked her and the bride’s father to sing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” as they left.

“When they asked I thought ‘are you serious?’ but everyone loved it. We got a standing ovation.”

There are some more conventional selections used in many weddings, Shedd said, such as “At Last,” by Etta James, “Power of Love,” or “My Heart Will Go On.”

One of the most touching song selections she recalls came when a long time friend married.

“She asked me to sing, but she didn’t know what songs she wanted yet,” Shedd said. And then the bride, LaKristen Graham McLeod’s mother was diagnosed with liver cancer. She began treatment, Shedd said, but she seemed to get worse and worse. The bride’s worst fear was that her mother would not make it to the wedding.

“She came to our church,” Shedd said, “and came down front and everyone laid hands on her and prayed.”

When she had her next PET scan, Shedd said, “it was gone.” The cancer couldn’t be found, prompting doctors to redo the scan, giving them the same result.

Shedd said her friend came to her and told her she’d selected the song for her wedding.

“She said it was not a typical wedding song, but she wanted me to sing ‘How Great Thou Art,” Shedd said.

The beautiful story doesn’t end with the wedding. Shedd said the mother of the bride has remained cancer-free.

Being involved with the music at weddings, Shedd said she’s seen people turn more attention bringing an element of performance to their weddings – with well practiced father-daughter dances, or even bridesmaid dances.

“A lot them will all learn ‘The Wobble’ and dance at the reception – or ‘Thriller.’ I’ve seen that a lot,” Shedd said.

Another friend, one who sings in a gospel group with Shedd, planned a surprise for his bride. He, his brother and his dad sang at the beginning of the wedding, and Shedd sang in the middle.

“When they walked over to light the unity candle he sang to her.” The song was Blake Shelton’s “God Gave Me You.”

A number of people shared the stories of which song they selected for their weddings and why, via Facebook.

‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight?’

While we were dating, Amy and I saw “The Lion King” together and took a liking to the love song of the story. We decided “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” would be our first dance at our wedding, and that song has since become our life theme. When we hear it on the radio, we smile at each other.
— Jonathan Warner

‘My Way’

The first night Darlene and I met we went to hear Dair Arther sing, in what was then the lounge of The Reich Hotel. It was January 1974. He sang “My Way.”

That was our song. Six months later he sang it at our wedding.

We married June 30, 1974.
— Greg Dial

‘If There Hadn’t Been You’

My groom sang “If There Hadn’t Been You” by Billy Dean as we stood at the altar. It was amazing and I will never forget the look in his eyes and the sound of his voice. And did I mention him singing to me in the wedding was a surprise. I had no idea (it) was coming.
— Kellie Long Graff

‘I Shot the Sheriff’

I was married in Jamaica in 2003. It was arranged through a wedding planner. Immediately following ceremony we walked into Shaw Park Gardens to “I Shot the Sheriff” by Bob Marley. Hey, it’s Jamaica.
— Paula S. Mullinax

‘When You Say Nothing at All’
Tim and I were married Sept 23, 1995. A girl from our church sang Alison Krauss’ version of “When You Say Nothing At All.” Whenever I hear that song now I well up with big tears. We wanted a big family but were only able to have one – a true blessing. Because of this situation we only grew closer. God is always in control!
— Angie Alexander Fuhrman

‘It Had to Be You’
When Jason and I got married, we chose not to play the traditional song to leave. During our 2 1/2 years of dating we really enjoyed the same music. One of our favorites was “It had to Be You,” by Harry Connick Jr. We felt it said a lot about us. So, after we kissed and were pronounced husband and wife, that song was played for our exit. June 22, 1996.
— Jennifer Fox Gore

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