Music Therapy: Songs to Help You Survive Your Wedding

6 years ago

I'm getting married next week. Married. MAR-RIED. And I can't sit still. Thus far in the wedding planning process I have succeeded at being Bridechilla (not my creation, see my friend Andy for copyright), but I can feel myself unraveling at the ends a bit as the days pass. At any given moment, I am simultaneously worrying about the seating chart, consciously trying not to bruise myself (which for a clutz like me takes a lot of brain space), calculating what a 30% chance of precipiation but 70% humidity means, and fretting about whether or not I will mysteriously start my period 3 weeks early. Alright, I'm thinking a little tiny bit about the fate of Don Draper too. But that just gives me even more anxiety. Will he stop drinking? Is he going to have a hate hook-up with Betty? Will we be able to afford cable before season 5 of Mad Men starts!?!??

Since I'm fidgeting too much to read and most of my conversations with friends and family end up being about the wedding, which they're gearing up to attend, an outlet for me has been music. It can have a calming effect on an otherwise hectic moment.  And I can listen to it while wrapping thank-you gifts, making signs for the porta-potty, trying my wedding jewelry on, thinking about Don Draper, or checking the weather forecast. Again. Here is a list of song lyrics that have tamed my restless mind/body. No Fidgety. No Doubt.

I am likely to miss the main event, if I stop to cry and complain again, So I will keep a deliberate pace, Let the damn breeze dry my face.

Though the majority of Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine album makes for great break-up music, there are two songs in particular that speak to anyone with a challenge or life-changing event on the horizon. The lyric above, from the song "Better Version of Me", reminds me to stop freaking out about the little crap and take time and enjoy the moments of preparing and the wedding itself. The title song on this record, with it's lines like "I'll make the most of it, I'm an extraordinary machine" and "everything will be just fine" always help me remember I'm pretty awesome and I can survive rain and bruises and bland chicken (please don't let the chicken be bland, please don't let the chicken be bland).

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

What's all this stress and hub-bub about? Oh yeah, you and someone you love starting or continuing a beautiful life together. Just you guys. No one else. The above lyric is from the aptly titled song "Two of Us" by The Beatles and is a melodic reminder that you and your one-&-only have a history before this damn wedding and a long future after it, so one measly day, even if everything goes horribly wrong, ain't s%@#.  The chorus, "On our way back home, we're on our way home, we're going home" makes me feel very sunny and lovey indeed. And that's what the day and the rest of the days are about. Another good song to glean a peaceful, easy feeling from is "Our House" by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. "Our house is a very very very fine house. With two cats in the yard. Life used to be so hard. Now everything is easy 'cause of you." Tis a song to sway to.  I just found out it was written for Joni Mitchell...who dumped Graham Nash after this song came out. But just sway, don't think about that.

Knew you'd be a vision in white. How'd you get your pants so tight?

The Aretha Franklin hit "Freeway of Love" will surely make even the most fretful of brides "drop the pedal and go...GO!" Dancing that is. I like to take a break from wedding worry, put this song on and dance to it for my cat, Barb, who is unimpressed every time no matter what new moves I pull out. If you're not a fan of the Queen of Soul, mindless dancing to any song will do as long as it makes your soul feel like shakin' a leg. May I suggest:

  • "Girlfriend Is Better" by Talking Heads: I got a girlfriend who's better than that, She has the smoke in her eyes. She's movin' up going right through my heart. She's gonna give me surprise. Why not revel in your last days as an awesome girlfriend before you become an awesome wife?
  • "Cherry Bomb" by Spoon: Just makes you want to swing your ponytail, if you know what I mean
  • "Sexy M.F." by Prince: because you are one. This ain't about the body it's about the mind.

You belong among the wildflowers. You belong in a boat out at sea. You belong with your love on your arm. You belong somewhere you feel free.

This song, "Wildflowers" by Tom Petty, is the song I chose for my Father-Daughter dance because it's beautiful in its melody and it's message. When I listen to it, I sincerely believe that Tom Petty wants me to run away into a field of wildflowers with my lover. And I imagine dancing with my dad, after the ceremony is done and the food's been served and the moon is out and there's nothing left to do all night but dance and laugh and be surrounded by all the people we love. Ohh, it's a wonderful thought. And it makes me sit still.

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