Over many years of DJ-ing non-traditional weddings in New York City and the surrounding area, we’ve seen that the increasingly popular phrase “indie wedding” - like the “indie music” aesthetic it’s largely derived from - is a wide-ranging idea that encompasses all kinds of different styles. But in general, it often eschews much of the feel of “grandness” of traditional ceremonies and receptions - from the fussy long dresses to the large catering hall to the cake cutting.
The more stripped-down and often eclectic indie wedding concept seems to partly a reaction to this traditional kind of fancier-looking wedding experience, and how it has seemingly throughout the last few generations become a one-size-fits-all package of assembly-line luxury that’s incessantly marketed and promoted from storefronts to television to the internet. Many of the couples we work for have told us that this style doesn’t appeal to them because of its generic feel, suspected insincerity on the part of its sellers, or often simply because its “blinging out” every aspect of the celebration doesn’t reflect a vibe that these couples want to portray to others, or be surrounded with.
Therefore, many couples who want an indie wedding will make things more personal (and often more inexpensive) - they’ll have a ceremony in the backyard of one of their parent’s homes instead of a chapel, or have the reception in a historical society museum instead of a “wedding factory”-style hall that schedules multiple weddings at once, or they’ll have cupcakes instead of a formal cake cutting moment. To some, this might sound reductive - and handled the wrong way it certainly could be. But to so many couples in the city we have worked with, these couples see a bit less as a lot more - more, in that their wedding will feel a lot more reflective of their spirit, as well as more fresh and less predictable to their guests.
Of course, these couples usually want music that reflects their mostly non-mainstream tastes. (Over the years we have put together a large amount of blog posts of recommendations of songs for all components of indie weddings and weddings of a more eclectic style; go here to read them.) While most couples going for the indie wedding vibe won’t go completely esoteric on their dance playlist as not to alienate guests, for the earlier parts of the wedding, they generally want to use music - especially at the ceremony - to establish their more simple and/or eclectic vibe.
But simply-constructed or obscure songs don't mean the music for an indie wedding ceremony has to feel small or unelegant - there are plenty of tunes out there that don't use orchestras, or even a ton of schmaltzy production effects, and yet still conjure a magical or expansive mood. A perfect example of this is the song “Walk With Me” by the Toronto duo Memoryhouse (from their recent debut album The Slideshow Effect, pictured above). "Walk With Me" begins with a soft, dreamy sound that chimes along for a few moments until airy but clear female vocals deliver a mix of visually concrete and emotionally reflective lyrics - skylines and heads resting on shoulders are mentioned alongside remembrances of youth and leaving behind old ways. Then, as the chorus kicks in and increases the energy and sweep of the song, the vocals center on the idea of walking together into a new, better life. The mingling of the tangible with the more abstract, as well as the ethereal atmosphere of the tune, give the song a distinct cinematic feel, as if it's meant to accompany a flashback scene from some art house film.
Have a listen, and if you enjoy the mood the song creates, I think you’ll find it quite easy to picture a wedding processional starting for the quiet but evocative verses that introduce the tune, and then the bride entering on the chorus, when the pace gets faster, the sound bigger, and the lyrics poignantly applicable to the moment just before marriage as the vocalist sings: This life could be / grace with symmetry / walk with me / do you walk with me?
Also, as a bonus, there’s a quiet break toward the end of the song, and then it picks up again and repeats the chorus to the end - a moment that could be played on a couple's kiss or an officiant’s pronouncement, so as to use the chorus' lyrics of walking together to capture the joy and festivity of a ceremony recessional.
Memoryhouse - Walk With Me
Ambient, dj new york city, dj nyc, djnyc, Folk/Acoustic, Indie Music, Indie Wedding Music, New York City, nyc dj, Off the Beaten Track Wedding Songs, Same-Sex Weddings, Song of the Week (for Your Event), Wedding Ceremony Music, Weddings