Category Archives: Indie Wedding Music

Wedding Music at Ranch at the Canyons for Nick & Maddy

Wedding Music for Ranch at the Canyons WeddingOctober 7, 2017 – Ranch at the Canyons,
Terrebonne, Oregon

Nick & Maddy

Wedding CoordinatorAbby of AE Creative
PhotographerVictoria Carlson
FurniturePeanuts Gallery Vintage Rentals
Another Great VendorVW Photo Bus


Wedding Party – Better Together (Jack Johnson)
Bride – Crash Into Me, Instrumental (Dave Matthews)
Recessional – You Are the Best Thing (Ray LaMontagne)

Music was performed by The Ashlings, Laurel Brauns on guitar and vocals, and Julie Southwell on violin at Ranch at the Canyons on Oct 7, 2017. We also played the reception party for an hour after the ceremony.

This was a beautiful fall day out in Terrebonne, Oregon. The fall colors were at their peak and the brightest I’ve seen in years in Central Oregon. This location is truly one of the grandest in the area with epic backdrops at every turn. The main venue has a Tuscan architecture feel to it, and the mighty Smith Rocks loom in the distance beyond the vinyards that are part of the property. It was an extremely windy day, and Abby and her staff at AE Creative did such a professional job making sure everything was going to stay on the ground during the ceremony.

Nick & Maddy’s vows were both genuine and funny both me and Julie got a little choked up before closing out the ceremony with the upbeat Ray LaMontagne song, “You Are the Best Thing.” We really enjoyed playing the reception/cocktail hour as well. This is one of our specialties that we can play classical or “special request” instrumentals for the ceremony and then switch gears into upbeat Americana and folk during the reception.

The whole wedding had a “vintage carnival theme” with lots of cool extras like drinks served out of a cocktail trailor, a photobooth in a VW Bus, and beautiful furniture provided by Peanuts Gallery.

Your Oregon Hipster Wedding – Don’t Go Overboard

It’s tempting, I know. Finally, it’s your day and you get to make all the decisions. You’re not at work, your not at your parents house. And hell, there’s nothing wrong with trying to impress a friend or two with your incredibly hip taste. But there’s nothing cool about trying too hard. So if you find yourself doing almost everything on this list, nix a few things. Too much is tacky, right?

Vintage Wedding Dresses

The options are endless from Parisian glamour, to mid-century to classic vintage dresses are not only more economical, they fit the mood of a lot of Oregon weddings that tend to be in woodsy or historic settings, or in hotels whose decor often gives a nod to the past. There is both a quality and character to vintage dresses that will give a timeless appearance to your wedding photos. Unless you can score something on Ebay, your going to have to head to the big city for this one, ladies. Portland has a number of great shops including Xtabay Vintage Bridal Salon, and AlexSandra’s Vintage Emporium.

Blackboards – Everywhere

From the seating chart, to signs labeling the buffet, creatively drawn signs on chalk boards harken us back to the days before the dry eraser.

Mason Jars – Everywhere

From cocktail glasses to flower vases, mason jars are adorable (but can definitely be overkill.) Some cool ideas I’ve seen are using large ones for wildflowers along lining the aisle on iron hooks. They are definitely a great option for drinks as they are cheap and reusable.


Create an atmosphere of enchanting wonder by creatively placing tiny lights both indoors and out. Both dreamy and timeless. These are especially cool in the summer when your guests will be outside most of the night.


It seems that more than one bride missed the message that that Portlandia episode about birds was supposed to be ironic, but what the hell. Go for another animal… like bears. I can already see the wedding invitations created by one of your friend’s who is a graphic designer. Mamma and papa bear riding a tandem off into the sunset.

An obscure indiefolk song as the processional

I personally could not be more of a fan of this, so if you are looking for something to nix, let this be the last off your list!!! Even better would be a top 40s pop song… only your hipster friends will get the irony.


Make your grand entrance on a Schwinn! Have bike valet parking, or even better make a cruise through town a part of the reception. These are great for city weddings, where a lot of your friends will be arriving by bike, or in lake lodge settings where riding around on borrowed bikes will make it feel even more like summer camp.

Locally Sourced Food

While our eastern brethren might adhere to such standards in catering such as high-brow/low-brow (hot dogs and foie gras… eeew BTW), the Oregon hipster has one priority and one priority only: to have as much local and organic food at their wedding as their caterer will provide. And why wouldn’t we, with the incredible abundance available in the Valley?

So in conclusion, whether you live here or are coming to Oregon especially for your wedding, keep your cool in check during the planning processes. The best weddings allude to things without throwing them in your face, and guests of your generation will appreciate those details only they were clued-in enough to notice.

wedding of tim sohn and lily seidler in glide oregon

Featured Farm Wedding: Tim & Lily in Glide Oregon

This wedding was out of a story book, and it is fitting that it would be so poetic given that the groom Tim Sohn is an accomplished writer for Outside Magazine, The New Yorker, The Huffington Post, and the New York Times. He also spends summers in Alaska in Bristol Bay working as a salmon fisherman and penning his first book. Very cool guy.

I first met Tim seven or eight years ago in Bend when I was playing at a martini bar downtown and he came in with a pack of friends he was driving across country with. They were very into the music and I guess I talked them into buying a few CDs. I definitely remember them because Tim told me he wrote for Outside that night, and I thought it was the best thing to meet an outdoor writer at a gig, and it made me happy to live in Bend.

Most of the gang from the cross-country trip was at the wedding, and I had the incredibly flattering experience of having the boys all come together and sing along with me to a song I wrote called “Backroads” that I suppose became their theme song for the trip.

The wedding itself took place on the Mont Alto Ranch, a beautifully maintained historic property on the North Umpqua River that belonged to Tim’s side of the family. I will let the photos speak for themselves, but I did not want to leave this magical place and these sophisticated, yet incredibly sweet people. I even got to catch up with an old acquaintance Corey Arnold, whom I’d met during some travels down in Panama who fishes with Tim in Alaska and is an amazing photographer of the ocean and its creatures.

They had some very cool choices for wedding songs including Lay Lady Lay, You Look Wonderful Tonight, and Diamond’s on the Souls of Her Shoes. They had a few requests for the reception too, including Romeo & Juliet which I’d always wanted to learn.

Lily works for Prada, and got an inside deal on her dress, which looked specifically stunning on her, and I have a hard time imagining anyone else pulling it off.

I played this gig with cellist Kieran McManus from Portland who not only put up with me for two days, but found us an awesome place to stay on the river when our first camping option was shut down due to forest fires.

Over all this Oregon farm wedding was an memorable and nostalgic experience on the banks of the North Umpqua River in Glide. Congratulations and thank you so much Tim & Lily!

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Indie Wedding Songs

Indie Wedding Songs – Our Top 5

Not everyone wants straightforward, classic love songs for their wedding. My favorite part about this list of indie wedding songs is that many of them have some kind of dark undercurrent or interesting sentiment that gets you thinking. I guess for me love is not straitforward, and a lot of these songs are willing to address that in different ways.

I Will Follow You Into the Dark – Death Cab For Cutie

We’ve had this song requested more than once for both the pre-ceremony music and the processional, and at first I found it strange that couples would want a song that seemed to be more about dying than living. But the enduring theme is loving someone so much that you can imagine being together in the afterlife. It’s also a great anthem to atheism and I know the composer Ben Gibbard is a recovering Catholic and there are lots of references in the second verse to the hypocrisies of the Catholic Church. Overall, I think this is a classic folk song that will be around longer than Death Cab.

Publish My Love – Rogue Wave

A great one to add for the playlists during the reception. Catchy and full of sunshine.

Naked As We Came – Iron & Wine

Another song about death shrouded in a tale of a lifetime of love. “Eyes wide open, naked as we came, one will spread our, ashes ’round the yard.” I like this one for mid-ceremony.

Falling Slowly – Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

Somehow it is comforting to know that even though Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova broke up at the end of this movie, they were together in real life. There is a lot of sadness in this song, but it is overpowered by hope and redemption, especially during the choruses when the power of their two voices together mix in harmony. I’d love to hear an instrumental version of this for the processional.

Aeroplane Over the Sea

Another classic that will be well-loved throughout the ages. My favorite place for this is as the recessional as either an instrumental or a with vocals and cello/guitar. It is at once so celebratory, wistful and bazaar. My favorite line of any song is the last “When we meet on a cloud, we’ll be laughing out loud, we’ll be laughing at everything we see. Can’t believe how strange it is to be anything at all.”


Jack Johnson Wedding Music

Jack Johnson Wedding Songs

I fell in love with Jack Johnson’s music in college at Lewis & Clark in Portland. At the time it seemed like there was just nothing else out there like he was doing. His music sounded like surfing in Hawaii… sitting around a campfire after a long day out on the water.

I fell out of love with his music for a time as I often do when artists go on to be hugely popular and I can no longer pretend they are my little secret. But now I’ve come to my senses, and I’m into it again. I’ve been really inspired by his songs lately and even wrote a bunch of my own, borrowing chord progressions and rhythms from some of his albums.

Below are my handpicked top five Jack Johnson wedding songs for your ceremony or reception.


I recorded a cover of Jack Johnson’s “Constellations” with my friend Franchot Tone on the guitar. I’ve spent so much time over the past year exploring different coast lines either kayaking or sailing that this song resonated in a lot of ways. He manages to capture something both beautiful and wholesome and mysterious all in one song. You can see yourself there on the beach watching the kids play in the surf, or later in the song sitting under a tree and waiting out the rain. It’s so specific to time and place and yet universal. Nice work.


What a perfect song for the first dance of the bride and groom. This album was first released on his album “Sleep Through the Static” in 2008 and recorded at the Solar Powered Plastic Plant in LA (making it his first album not recorded in Hawaii.) Jack Johnson’s performance of “Angel” is perfecto, but something about this version of Angel by Jess Delgado seems to do the song a new kind of justice.

Better Together

I can only come to the conclusion as evidenced by this song and many others that the man is definitely in love with his wife. Again the word wholesome comes to mind. I’d recommend this as a casual recessional for a small ceremony or a first dance.

Key lyrics:

Our dreams, (and) they are made out of real things
Like a, shoebox of photographs
With sepia-toned loving
Love is the answer…

I Got You

This is a cool video of Jack having fun in Hawaii. I image this song sung by a guitar strumming groom.

Banana Pancakes

He manages to take something so mundane and make it all cozy. How does he do that? Even the very first line transports me somewhere I want to go. I recorded my own cover of this song and had a great old time playing it last year when we were down in Baja on a sailing trip and that’s what we had for breakfast. There were some particularly harrowing moments on that journey where I definitely wished I was inside making pancakes… with Jack Johnson 🙂

Can’t you see that it’s been raining?
Ain’t no need to go outside…

Hopefully that gives you some ideas if you’re looking for a little Jack Johnson wedding music for your big day. The Ashlings love to learn new songs, so pick your favorite and we’ll add it to our repertoire if you’d like us to play at your reception or ceremony.

Popular Wedding Songs for Generation X

We’ve played dozens of weddings over the last four years, and they are almost always for people around our age, Generation Xers. There is probably a quality to our music that resonates with this generation. I did a little research and was surprised to find that Generation Xers actually don’t feel like a generation at all. But I was also surprised to find how well I fit the description… it was a little disconcerting. Some highlights: first generation to come home to empty houses with both parents still working, we’re entrepreneurial, individualistic, feel misunderstood, want to save the neighborhood, not the world, late to marry etc. Does this resonate with anyone else out there?

I decided to make a list of some of our most popular requests from this generation. I love how they are a mix of mainstream and alternative.


Many of us can remember the first time we heard the Jeff Buckley version of this Leonard Cohen song. It’s powerful, romantic, painful, and vulnerable with redemption possible at the end. Probably one of the most cathartic songs about the complications of love and the relief of finding it at last.

Beloved One

Our generation really made the career of Ben Harper, so it is no surprise that we claim this one as our own. I love the honesty and simplicity of the lyrics: “We have both been here before, knocking upon loves door, hoping for someone to let us in.”

All I Want Is You

We grew up on U2 and your favorite bands as a kid stay with you for life. Bono has this incredible ability to mix vivid imagery with memorable choruses and melodies. The story on him is that all of his love songs, every single one, was written for his wife. So I can’t think of a more appropriate catalogue of songs to dig up for a Gen X wedding. “You say you’ll give me eyes in a moon of blindness, a river in a time of dryness, a harbour in the tempest.”

Good Feeling

I’m definitely borrowing the idea for this song from the show “How I Met Your Mother” a TV series basically written by and about our generation. On the show the Violent Femmes song is performed by the LA band The 88, and their version is less gritty than the original but beautifully done in their own style. I like this song as an idea for the first dance: edgier, likely not understood by the grandparents, by a high resonance with folks our own age.

These are just a few of the most popular wedding songs for Generation X that we’ve come across. We’d love to know if you have any suggestions.