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What Is The Best Wedding Piano Songs Playlist? With Sarah Green from Girl and Piano

What Is The Best Wedding Piano Songs Playlist? Sarah Green from Girl and Piano shares some invaluable ideas about what to play to amaze your Wedding Guests!

Listen to Sarah on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…


Girl and Piano


James [00:00:02] Sarah Hello. Welcome to Wedding Espresso. 

Sarah [00:00:05] Hi James. Thanks for having me. It’s great to be here. 

James [00:00:08] It’s an absolute pleasure to have you. So you are Sarah Green from Girl and Piano and you provide fantastic wedding music for lucky Brides & Grooms. So we’ve got this question…I’m super excited because I think a wedding piano is really, in our opinion, kind of like one of the things that is the height of luxury at a wedding. It’s classy, it sounds great, and it’s just something fantastic to have.  Every wedding that we’ve been to that’s had a piano, we’ve just gone “WOW!”. We absolutely love it.

So the thing we’d like to discuss with you today is “What is the best wedding piano songs playlist?” 

Sarah [00:00:49] Yeah I think just picking up on what you said, I’d definitely say having a pianist just brings a level of ambience to the day, and I think people are always quite surprised because perhaps they expect a CD or background music. But it just kind of brings that extra element of realness to it. So yeah I definitely agree. So to answer your question, I think initially the best playlist would include something for everybody. So something that all the guests might recognise. It’s hard to keep everybody happy, but I think as long as there’s something there, you’ll have a little look around the room and people are starting to go “I know this song”, or “I recognise this from somewhere”. Or maybe people start singing along quietly, which is always nice to see.

So I think trying to remember that you’re likely to have quite a range of people in the room from different backgrounds, different walks of life, and different decades. And it sort of unifies people if they’re all quite involved in that play list. 

James [00:02:10] Brilliant. So just so we understand the process. I take it you take your own piano, you don’t rely on the venue having a piano? 

Sarah [00:02:18] I take my own if it’s needed. It completely depends on what the setup is at the venue. But I do have a full size white digital piano which blends in perfectly with the context. It always kind of looks the part. Technically it is a full size. It’s not a Baby Grand, it’s more of a keyboard type look. But yeah definitely fully equipped as needed. 

James [00:02:52] Today we are talking about repertoire and covering all the bases.

How big is your repertoire? Can you give us some examples of the genre’s that you cover and the full scope, the full range. 

Sarah [00:03:06] I’d say anything from Beyonce to Pink Floyd to Ed Sheeran to Classical stuff. So a bit of Debussy, Film score music. I probably credit my dad as being the originator of my interest in literally every genre. It means that you can dig into your resources and go “I do know something from that decade or that genre”. Again it means that you can offer more to clients. You definitely have to have a sort of eclectic, eccentric taste and an appreciation for what’s out there. I think that’s what makes it fun as well and quite unexpected. One of my favourite things is where I’ll play maybe something like “It Must Be Love” by Madness, you can see that it’s kind of tapping into an unexpected sense. 

James [00:04:17] And maybe a bit of “We haven’t heard this song in years!”. 

Sarah [00:04:19] Yeah exactly. It’s always nice.

James [00:04:25] That’s really interesting that you mentioned your dad as the influence actually because I think my dad used to basically spin records for me in the lounge when I was young. I have a massive range of music likes across so many genres. I remember when we booked our band I sent them… we’d put the DJ set together for our wedding, we chose all the tracks, and I sent him the playlist and he basically sent me an email back and said “Nah, I’m going to totally ignore that, because we focus on crowd pleasers” and I was like, you know what, you’re absolutely right. So if a bride or a groom approached you and said “we’re really into this kind of music, can you lean it in this direction?”. Would you sort of take that as a lead or would you suggest to them that, well, like you said at the beginning, no we’re going to try and cover a lot of bases and I might include a couple of tracks, but we’re going to have to mix it up. 

Sarah [00:05:22] I think it depends on the song. I did have a very similar situation a little while ago.

Somebody said I love Sia but I also love Ludovico Einaudi, and they said can you play Elastic Heart in an Einaudi style, and I said I’ll do my best. And I kind of sketched about with it on the piano. And actually it works.

So sometimes the two genres will blend and you can kind of take bits. But sometimes it won’t and I’ll be quite honest about that. If it’s something that’s maybe quite percussive in sound, you can just sense if it’s going to work or not. And I’ll advise then and maybe suggest a slightly different direction we can take it. Ultimately you want the best sound for the day and for the client. So it’s a collaborative approach really. 

James [00:06:18]

Would you say that the choice then of a play list for a particular wedding will vary depending on the venue? Does the venue have an influence on the sound? 

Sarah [00:06:29] Not so much. I mean you have to always bear in mind the acoustics and you won’t know how that will work until you’re there. And you can sort of improvise the kind of songs you’re playing. Like you might need to be a bit more twinkly, so you maybe just pick some from the repertoire that work better in that environment. Or you might need to make a bit more of a sound. So you might then select particular songs that have a more basey kind of feel to them. You also need to read the room.

So, if say, there’s a wedding breakfast happening, and it needs to be a bit calmer, then I’ll match the feel of the music to that. The last thing you want to do is start playing something quite processional and loud and attention seeking at that point, because people do kind of notice. 

James [00:07:22] Yeah they are trying to eat and talk. 

Sarah [00:07:23] Exactly, at all times you’re reading what’s going on and matching the music to the setting. So in a sense the venue would influence it in that way. 

James [00:07:36] Fantastic. I remember from a few years ago there was an artist that we really dialled in to. I think she was called Helen Jane Long. Does that ring a bell? She’s very kind of piano orientated. 

Sarah [00:07:49] I’ll have to look her up. 

James [00:07:50] Yeah I think that’s the name but I haven’t listened to it in years. It was one of those ones where it was really difficult to buy the CD’s, you had buy them digitally, and I don’t listen to a lot of digital music, I listen to my CD’s. So it’s kind of one I don’t really go back to very often. But I remember from the time there were some really beautiful tracks. Yeah it’s funny because it was taken in the same breath as Einaudi, so it was sort of similar. 

Sarah [00:08:17] Ok thanks for that, I’ll check it out. 

James [00:08:21] So I think we should also just ask you, so that we’ve got the information out there.

What parts of the day do you think are best suited to piano accompaniment as background music throughout the wedding? 

Sarah [00:08:36] So I would probably say all times. But obviously I’m a bit biased! But from my perspective, as the guests arrive on the day, music tends to calm people down.  And it also kind of leads them into the wedding. So again going back to the ambience thing, you can create this sense of welcome, and at the start of the day it’s a new venue to most people, they are meeting people they’ve not seen for a while and the music helps to set this tone and ease people in. And I say similarly for a drinks reception it would have that effect after the wedding. People are coming out of the service or the ceremony and then again they need this context to mingle, and you really notice it when you stop playing actually, you notice what you made. 

James [00:09:36] It’s missing. 

Sarah [00:09:36] Yeah exactly.

And I think again in the wedding breakfast it’s always nice to have a bit of background music, and having somebody doing that live brings a bit of activity into the background while you’re tucking into your Goat’s Cheese Tartlet or whatever you are having.

So a bit of a broad answer, but I think it’s applicable in lots of ways. 

James [00:10:03] Fantastic.  We had one quick kind of fun question for you as well. And that was “In an ideal world, what does a dream commission look like for you?”. 

Sarah [00:10:12] I think a client that knows what they love.

So initially you need that passion of “there’s this song that we heard on a holiday in Greece 10 years ago” or there’s a song that means something. So the ideal commission would start with that passionate love of music but also for someone to say “Well, what do you think about how we can make this better, or what can you bring to it?”

And I think if you’re going to spend your money on having a professional help with your big day, it makes sense to speak to them about their take on things and what they think they could bring to it. So again, a bit of a collaborative combination of the two I think always works quite well. So obviously I love to advise and do what I can to bring my experience in around what I am being asked to do. 

James [00:11:15] Excellent, Lovely, Love It.  So just before we wrap things up, because we’re fast running out of time. How can people get in touch with you? How can they reach you? 

Sarah [00:11:25] GirlandPiano.co.uk, that’s the Website. We’re on Twitter @girlandpiano. That’s it for the moment. I think that’s enough of a channel to be available at. 

James [00:11:40] Brilliant stuff. Well Sarah, thank you very much, that’s been very, very informative and I absolutely love, I love the fact that you’ve mentioned that music is a welcome. That’s the big takeaway for me. I think that’s incredible, I love it and it makes perfect sense. So it was lovely to hear that . So thank you very much for sharing with us today. 

Sarah [00:11:56] Thanks James. Thanks for having me. It’s been great speaking to you. 

James [00:12:00] Absolute pleasure, all right and hopefully we will speak to you soon. 

Sarah [00:12:00] Thanks very much. Bye. 

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  • Reply
    Sarah Green
    May 21, 2019 at 9:21 am

    It was great chatting with you James, thanks again for hosting me! I hope this helps anyone who’s considering live music for their big day, regardless of the instrument it’s played on. Of course my preference would be piano 😉 🖤 Sarah

    • Reply
      James Pearson
      May 21, 2019 at 9:45 am

      Our pleasure to get the chance to chat with you Sarah! As you know, we’re VERY pro music at Weddings! Thanks again, let’s do it again soon!

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