Nadia Elkharadly: Wedding Soundtracks

This past Saturday, I had the honour and privilege of standing up for my good friend Ian in his groom’s party at his wedding.  You may remember this from my Vegas themed column of a couple of weeks back.  I can honestly say that this wedding was one of the best I’ve ever attended.  I had a wonderful time and I couldn’t be happier for Ian and his beautiful new wife Becca. To me, the funnest part of a wedding, is of course, the reception; the food, the drinking, the dancing, and of course, the music. So for this weeks’ DBAWIS, Tuesday edition, I wanted to share with you my top ten wedding related songs, ones I’ve heard, ones I’d like to hear, and the one I’d want for my very very own.

10)Anything by Michael Bublé

The Canadian crooner makes a living as a glorified karaoke singer (in my mind).  From Frank Sinatra to Elvis, he’s literally covered them all, and delighted girls with lame taste in music along the way.  As much as I may dislike him and his lack of originality, I have to give it to the Bublé – he gives good wedding.  His non cover songs are as romantic as they come, and they are perfect for celebrating the state of matrimony.  Take this tune for instance: “Everything”.

Living a crazy life in a crazy time?  After losing your mind planning a wedding for eight months, this is literally music to a bedraggled bride’s ear.  No wonder this track gets serious wedding play.

9)  Feist – Inside and Out(Apostle of Hustle Unmix)

A cover of the famous Bee Gees tune, Montreal songstress Feist deconstructs her first recording that appeared on the Reminder album, and turns it into a bare bones, touching and completely romantic overture.  From disco to divine, Feist’s soft and emotional vocals, coupled with barely there acoustic guitar create a true emotional experience, representing pure and heartfelt love.  Though quiet, with not much of a beat to even slow dance to, the quiet intensity expressed in that song evoke the passion a couple feels for each other at their wedding.

8)  Sugar Hill Gang – Jump on it

With no discernable romance involved whatsoever, this song is another frequently played wedding favourite.  The wedding party put on a spectacle to this hilarious track, jerking our hips this way and that, and fist pumping like the Jersey Shore secret shame watchers we all are.  Like the chicken dance and the Macarena, it’s one of those quintessential silly wedding songs that people love to dance, and make fools of themselves to.

7)  Rise Against – Swing Life Away

This hardcore band from Chicago may seem like an odd addition to a list of songs to play at a wedding, but this sweet and sentimental acoustic elegy is as romantic as it gets.

“We live on front porches and swing life away/we get by just fine here on minimum wage/if love is a labour I’ll slave til the end/I won’t cross these streets until you hold my hand” Sappy? Maybe.  But I absolutely love this song.  The simplicity of the lyrics conveys the weight of the emotion behind them.  The love described is the kind of love every couple hopes to have when getting married.  For better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, it’s all there put to the strum of an acoustic guitar.  What better way to vow to love someone forever, than through a song?

6)  Nora Jones – Come Away with Me

There’s usually an awkward, quiet, punctuated by random shuffling pause between the vows, and the time the couple takes to sign their marriage certificate.  At Ian’s wedding, there was no pause, only the sound of bridesmaid Erin’s lovely voice, accompanied by piano, singing Nora Jones’ ballad “Come Away with Me.”  The symbolism of the moment suited the song perfectly, the bride and groom committing in writing to literally “come away” with each other, to begin their new life together.  Erin’s rendition was even better than the original, and to have a close friend singing so beautifully as the happy couple put pen to paper, expressing the support that every person in the room had for them in that moment.

5)  Etta James – At Last

Some may say that “At Last” has been over done as a wedding song, and they may be right, but I witnessed a moment where the song was done in such a fresh and special way that would make even the biggest sceptic an Etta James fan again.  Another friend of mine got married a couple of years ago.  She has a fantastic voice, powerful and perfectly suited to singing the rhythm and blues standards she loves so much.  So as her first gift to her new husband, she sang this song to him, in front of all their family and friends on their wedding day.  Her voice, shaky at first, grew clear and true as her confidence grew, bolstered by the silent encouragement of her husband.  This display of love and affection in front of the most important audience of all breathed new life into this old song, and created a truly unforgettable moment for husband, wife, and everyone present on their special day.

4)  Queen – We are the Champions

Now the night of the wedding is pretty fuzzy at points for me, but I know at one point a giant group of us came together and belted out a Queen song, and did an awesome job of it.  I think it was “We are the Champions” so I’m going to go with it.  And really, what better Queen song to play at a wedding, which, essentially is one huge dress up party with an open bar.  There’s no time for losers, or naysayers, people who don’t want the best for the bride and groom on their wedding day.  They are the champions, the stars of the show, and it was all of our jobs on that day to have as much fun with them as humanly possible.  And that’s exactly what we did.

3)  Led Zeppelin – All of My Love

Young couples getting married in this day and age are always looking to find ways to change things up, to be unconventional, and to put their own mark on their wedding day.  The standard wedding marches by Pachelbel or Mendelssohn don’t always suit the style of the modern bride and groom, so they look for other songs to walk down the aisle to.  My good friend Aleks, a huge Led Zeppelin fan like myself, got a hold of a beautiful symphonic version of the romantic song “All of My Love” and that’s exactly what she walked down the aisle to.  Nothing could have suited the moment better.

2)  Journey – Don’t Stop Believing

“Just a small town girl/living in a lonely world/she took the midnight train going anywhere.”  You can pretty much guarantee that if you’re at a wedding, you’re going to hear those words.  And chances are, they will be yelled out by most, if not all of the well lubricated guests at said wedding.  Everyone loves “Don’t Stop Believing”, and they love singing it even more.  It’s a song about hope, about promise and about a bright future despite adversity.  It’s a song that may as well have been written to be played at weddings, and even more so, to be sung by happy guests there to celebrate the coming together of a happy couple.

1)  Louis Armstrong – La Vie en Rose

The Louis Armstrong wedding standard is, of course “What a Wonderful World”, and no one can deny the wedding suitability of it.  But my favourite Armstrong song has always been “La Vie En Rose”.

The song was actually written by French songbird Edith Piaf back in the mid 1940s.  Piaf is another favourite of mine so it’s no wonder that the combination of Armstrong and Piaf come together to form my dream wedding song.  Yes, even a cynical single gal like myself has thought about a potential wedding, although to be honest all I’ve really thought about is the song (and really, does that surprise anyone?)  Piaf’s version is incredible, but there is something about the sweet soulfulness of Armstrong’s gritty voice, the siren song of his trumpet, and the sense of the smile he had on his face while singing that just makes me picture slow dancing with the currently faceless fellow.  Perhaps it’s the old fashioned wonder of the song, or the happiness it evokes.  Maybe it’s the promise of happiness in romantic love that the lyrics promise.  Either way, I’d buy what Piaf, sung by Armstrong, are selling. Congratulations to Becca and Ian, and to all my wonderful friends who have tied the knot.  I wish you all the best in your adventures together, and thank you sincerely for the open bars.

Until next time,

Xo N

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Nadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

One Response to “Nadia Elkharadly: Wedding Soundtracks”

  1. one glaring omission … it’s just not a party without “The Birdy Dance” ! 😉

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