The Ultimate Tipi Wedding Music Guide From an Industry Expert

Live music or your DJ neighbour? Ed or Elvis? The Beatles or the Stones? Guest’s choice, or your trusty six-years-in-the-making “Black the truck out” Spotify playlist? Planning your wedding music can be a mare, but it can also transform your wedding into one helluva good time. It’s like we always say, nothing gets the good times going like good tunes and giant Nordic tipis. Love too, and all that.

That being said, while we do have very strong feelings about our carefully curated “Black the truck out” playlist, we’re technically not the experts in the music space. That’s why we roped in the big guns to shower you with ideas for wedding ceremony music: Robert Glen, Wānaka musician and Wānaka’s sweetheart. A local’s favourite, old mate Robert has played in many a tipi over the years with a guitar on his back and a mic in hand, and we can confirm he’s quite the expert of the rolling-in-a-good-time space.

With a wealth of knowledge up his muso sleeves, we chatted with Robert below about his top recommendations for planning your wedding music. So if you ever needed extra incentive to release your inner Beyonce barefoot in a tipi, read on for your ultimate tipi wedding music guide.

Ps, it’s obviously The Beatles. Every time.

Tell us, how important is the wedding ceremony music?

Your wedding ceremony music marks some of the biggest moments of your wedding, and is your chance to really set the tone for your guests. If you’re wondering ‘when do you play music during the wedding ceremony’ – this is typically split into three key songs: the entrance song, the registry song, and the exit song.

The wedding song for your entrance is arguably the most important of the three. Setting the mood for the whole ceremony, this song will walk the bride or groom down the aisle and force hankies into hands as the crowd sees them in all their glory for the first time. Next, the signing-of-the-registry song is more of an ambience filler while the happy couple dot the i’s and cross the t’s, though this could also be a performance by one of the couple’s nearest and dearest. Then you’ve got the ceremony exit song, the upbeat banger that’s short, sweet, and swings the vibe into party mode as the newly-weds walk back down the aisle.

What are the different styles of wedding ceremony music?

If you can dream it, you can get on the jingle juice and scream it in a tipi. Whether cowboy boots are mandatory on entry or bagpipes are more your jam, the music can be as fun, classic, not-classic, edgy, bluesy, ballady, lovey dovey or rock’n’roll as you like. I’m going to say old school love ballads never go astray, but to each their very unique own.

Do you have any advice or ideas for people struggling to find the perfect song to walk down the aisle to?

Don’t get too caught up in finding THE perfect song. There are loads of options out there, and I’m more than happy to go through a playlist with you and help you decide. Often, couples will have a song that’s special to them that might fit the bill, so go with whatever feels right to you two as a couple. And when in doubt, get The Beatles out. ‘Here Comes the Sun’ will never not put people in a good mood.

What other parts of your tipi wedding require music?

Aside from the ceremony, you’ve got the post ceremony lawn games and nibbles that crave a tune or two. These are the acoustic songs, the mingle songs, the perfect-over-canapes songs. After that the guests will typically crack into dinner (where, naturally, you’ll feed your musicians and suppliers with heaping plates of glory for all their troubles), and from there the evening will swing into the depths of the dance floor. Here’s where the lights go down, the shoes come off, the music turns on and the ‘I’m-not-a-dancer-but…’ comes out.

For our nearly-weds looking for wedding ceremony music ideas, what would you say are the most popular:

  1. Wedding songs to walk down the aisle to?

“Better Together” or “1000 Years” are classics for walking down the aisle, where “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” are great wedding songs for walking out again.

  1.  First dance songs?

“Thinking Out Loud” or “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran. Man knows what he’s doing.

  1. Your favourite wedding song of all time?

“Marry You” by Bruno Mars. First song of the evening, and it’ll get everyone going every time.

That being said – the world is your musical oyster, so don’t feel you have to be restricted by what’s popular. Find songs that mean something special to you two as a couple, and go with your gut. Whether live music or pre-recorded tracks, your music choices should reflect you two as a couple, even if that means getting Tiki Tane in the tipi (again). Six60 wedding songs would sound even better live, just saying.

Thinking about tipi tunes: what are the pros and cons of playing in a tipi?

Cons? If you’re hoping for a bit of indoor-outdoor flow, the weather can always throw a spanner in the works in terms of setting up the music and gear. Luckily, you can always set up inside the tipi when needed.

Pros? A guitar in a tipi will nail the ambience each and every time. Step aside, Jack Johnson.

How can you use lighting or visual effects to enhance the music and create a more immersive experience for your guests?

Lighting is a great way to get the disco ball rolling. If you’ve got a DJ on the decks for the into-the-night dancing, check whether they supply any lights with their set. Otherwise, if you really want to ramp it up, TomTom Productions are the go-to for pretty much every event in Queenstown and Wānaka that requires a light show with some really holy tit factor. They’ll project right onto the roof of the tipi, and let me tell you does it set the vibe.

Of course, Gather & Gold has an epic disco package to get the boogie going. Say hello to fairy lights, disco balls and all the good times.

How can you make sure that the dancefloor music keeps your guests on the dancefloor?

When you’re neck deep in the sweaty end of the dance floor, there’s nothing worse than stopping mid-crump to stress about whether your mum’s mates are also having a good time. That’s why our best advice is to go through a loose playlist/vibe check guide with Robert, or your DJ, or your favourite live band or whoever your music human(s) might be, and then just really throw them the reins. Trust the people who’ve done this hundreds of times before, and let them use their skills and years of good judgement to work the crowd. Then take a breath, resume the crumping, and enjoy.

Bonus tip – the songs you love after a few (too many) champagnes, surrounded by your favourite people on the best damn night of your life, may not be the same songs you appreciate at 7pm on a Tuesday. Set the scene, get in the mood, then see if Fifty Cent’s ‘It’s Your Birthday’ makes the cut.

So there you have it, good folks – your ultimate wedding music guide from the horses’ mouth. Being both Robert Glen and The Beatles, of course.


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