Stuck for a particular vibe for your Winter Wedding? Here are ten different takes on a ‘Winter’ soundtrack from weddingmusicfrance.com
Let It Snow / Winter Wonderland
Start with these two truly timeless classics: ‘Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful…’ Purr-fection! Add ‘Marshmallow World’ featuring Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, ‘I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm’ by Billie Holiday, Michael Bublé crooning ‘Cold December Night’ and ‘Sleigh Ride’ by The Ronnettes and you’re in for an easy-listening treat. And if Andy Williams’ ‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ doesn’t fill you with festive cheer then we seriously can’t be friends… And if you’re lucky with the weather, who knows, in the meadow maybe you could build a snowman?
Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Possibly the sauciest winter song ever – and featured in the now classic festive movie ‘Elf’ – the definitive version will always be, for me anyway, the duet between Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews. Another cheeky song is the Eartha Kitt diamond, ‘Santa Baby,’ which Kylie Minogue also latterly covered. Naughty!
Anything from the movie ‘Frozen’
See what I did there? Okay, okay, if you are trying to go dairy-free this may not be for you, but people love this film, the music is great, anyone who has children under the age of 10 will know the words back to front, and the kids will love it. Plenty of potential here for memorable (or should that be truly unforgettable?) karaoke moments. My choice would be the duet ‘Love Is An Open Door’ starring Anna and Hans, although almost any of the numbers would be equally fab.
Spoiler alert! Those familiar with the film may wonder why this number in particular, considering the subtly sinister undertones of the lyrics, and the ultimate dénouement. Do I have to spell it out for you? OK…
Hans: ‘Can I say something crazy?’ (Pause) ‘Will you marry me?’
Anna: ‘Can I say something crazier?’ (Slight pause) ‘Yes!’
It May Be Winter Outside, But In My Heart It’s Spring…
‘How much joy and pleasure, baby, can one guy bring?’ Boom! Penned by love-god the legendary Barry White himself no less, versions include the particularly jingly original recording by Felice Taylor, Barry’s support act Love Unlimited rocking it out Motown-style, or, you can have the STEPS cover. Hmmm, decisions, decisions…
Prokofiev ‘Troika’ from ‘Lieutenant Kijé’ Suite
De rigueur if you are arriving at the venue in an actual Troika whilst sipping ice-cold vodka from Russian samovars (a Troika is a Russian sled, FYI), this ubiquitous classical piece depicts a snowy sleigh ride complete with bells, and could otherwise be used for your recessional or your entrance into the dining room. If classical music is your bag, for a perfect processional try the obviously titled ‘Winter – Largo’ from Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons.’ Many other composers have penned pieces inspired by the seasons – Tchaikovsky, Glazunov and Haydn, to name but few, and there are simply too many classical pieces on a winter theme to list here, some of them instantly recognisable.
Any of the music from Tchaikovsky’s Ballet suites from either ‘The Nutcracker’ or ‘Swan Lake’ always makes me think of this time of year, and piano music always reminds me of icicles tinkling away in winter, so something like Beethoven’s’ Moonlight Sonata (slow movement) would fit the bill. You could try a bit of Chopin, or the Debussy piano pieces ‘Clair de Lune,’ ‘La Neige Danse,’ and ‘Des Pas Sur La Neige.’ The latter was, (rather oddly) covered by Chris Rea as ‘Footprints in the Snow.’ Go figure.
Colder Weather – Zak Brown Band
If you like a bit of country – now come on, you know you do – then this is the winter song for you. Add to that ‘Winter Winds’ by Mumford & Sons, and ‘River’ by Joni Mitchell (the Megan Davies version is also sublime – the stellar vocal harmonies and the ‘Jingle Bells’ references are a delight), and you’re onto a chilled-out, moody, folksy vibe for your reception music… Carry it on with ‘Winterlong’ by Neil Young, Dylan’s ‘Winterlude’ and Fleet Foxes’ ‘White Winter Hymnal’ (as long as you don’t mind some strangely unromantic and weird imagery with this one) and you’ve got a proper old/new/borrowed&blue folk mash-up going on y’all.
Keeping it Traditional
If you are truly old school you can always go for traditional carols, many of them covered in choral or orchestral arrangements, so the lyrics don’t becoming distracting, but the festive feel is still there. With some stonking treble recorder-ing going on, Mike Oldfield’s ‘In Dulce Jubilo’ reminds me of junior school Carol Concerts – in a good way, mind. Then there’s always ‘Gaudete’ by British folk revival group Steeleye Span. And there are a number of very sweet French Carols such as ‘Entre le Bœuf et l’Âne Gris,’ ‘Ah! Quel Grand Mystère!’ and ‘Gabriel’s Message.’ I might steer away from ‘O Tannenbaum’ though, unless you are a massive Citizen Smith fan, eh comrade?
Jazz, Alternative, Psychedelic or Just Plain Weird
For something a little more off-beat there’s Wendy & Bonnie ‘The Winter is Cold’ and Trip Shakespeare’s ‘Snow Days’ both classily covered in a jazz style by The Flat Five. Not really jazz, but if you like something a bit quirky, you could do worse than Tori Amos ‘Winter,’ which has a nice Father/Daughter conversation going on. I personally also love ‘Winter Trees’ by The Staves. And if you have the winter Blues you have to hear ‘Snowed In With You’ by Over The Rhine. Nice!
Rock and Prog
If a bit of Old-School-Rock-meets-Prog is your thing, you could do worse than tune in to The Stones (‘Cold, Cold Winter’), Genesis (‘Snowbound’), and The Steve Miller Band (‘Wintertime’) for their takes on the winter theme. For some typically ‘80’s kitsch, check out the ELO-esque ‘Keeping the Dream Alive’ by largely forgotten German band Münchener Freiheit, in which wintry video imagery also abounds. (I really want to include Aztec Camera ‘Walk Out To Winter’ here, but for so many reasons I just can’t permit it.) If you’re down with the kids, try the saccharin-sweet ‘Peppermint Winter’ by so-American Frat Rock group Owl City. But the ultimate track in this category must surely be the obviously classic ‘Ring Out, Solstice Bells’ by the inimitable Jethro Tull. Who doesn’t love a verse in 7/8 time with added crazy jazz flute? Amazing.
And Finally, Ones To Avoid
Oh, but where to start? There are loads of songs to give a wide berth, but basically steer clear of anything mentioning break-ups, festive fighting or moaning on about lost love and/or regrets. To throw this into sharp relief, some of my personal no-nos (not necessarily bad songs, but those which I would consider wholly inappropriate for a wedding) include: ‘It’ll be Lonely this Christmas,’ ‘Fairytale of New York,’ ‘Winter’s Tale,’ ‘Blue Christmas,’ and the absolutely horrific Wham! offering of ‘Last Christmas.’ (Seriously, George, just build a bridge and get over it…)
Whatever you choose, have a great time, revel in your pre-made party atmosphere, and…
…in the words of the fabulous Nat King Cole, ‘Although it’s been said, many times, many ways: Merry Christmas To You!’