The best time is..."as early as possible". In fact, even a year to a year and a half ahead of the ceremony is not too early. There are several reasons for this...
Book Early To Get The Professional You Want
The earlier you begin your search for a DJ or Musicians for your ceremony, the more likely you are to end up with one(s) you really like. Many of these professionals are booked well in advance, so the longer you wait, the less you will have to choose from. If you begin early, you can take your time, interview a number of good possibilities, and choose someone you really like - someone who will help make your ceremony, and the music played there, the best it can be.
Plan Early So You Can Enjoy The Process
A lot goes into planning a wedding and, in order to enjoy the process as much as possible, planning should start as early as possible so as to avoid rushing. That goes for the ceremony also which, in some cases, is left as one of the last things couples think about.
If you've visited almost any of our site, you know by now what we think about the importance of the ceremony. So, it probably will come as no surprise that we suggest the ceremony planning comes as one of the first things to think about, and with that comes thinking about the music.
Give Yourself Enough Time To Create A Masterpiece!
As you work with your Celebrant to create the marriage ceremony of your dreams, discuss your preferences in music with him/her. At the same time, discuss with your Musicians or DJ your preferences for the music. It is probably best if these discussions occur more or less simultaneously.
In other words, it may take a few meetings and emailings or phone calls before your ceremony comes together the way you want and, since the music is such a vital part of the ceremony, the songs to be used in the ceremony should be an important part of that conversation. Not to mention that some songs may not be acceptable in the setting you choose - some churches have strict rules on what can and what can not be played. It will probably be more efficient if you are discussing these things with your Celebrant and Musicians and/or DJ at approximately the same time.
Encourage both your Celebrant and DJ/Musicians to make suggestions. These suggestions, coupled with your own research and preferences, can help to make the songs you choose the best ones for your ceremony.
Give Your Ceremony Musician A Better Chance To Provide The Songs You Want
Discussing the music with your DJ or Musicians as far as possible in advance provides another advantage... it gives them more time to accommodate any special requests that you may have, and it gives you more time to think about your song choices, and make changes as time goes on.
Of course, it also depends on the type of person you are. If you like to get things finished and settled before you can relax, it's probably best to plan the ceremony well in advance. If you are the type that changes your mind a lot, it may be best to book your DJ well in advance, but save the music planning for a little later in the process to avoid driving both them and yourself crazy with changes/updates/revisions/etc., etc., etc. :)
Now that we've got you thinking about when to start planning, let's discuss some of the basics of researching and choosing your ceremony music.