Choosing the right music for your ceremony is difficult. There are so many unique moments, and you want to set the right mood for each them. We are going to break down each part of the ceremony to help you better know where, when, what type, and how much music is appropriate.
As guests are seated
To set the mood, music should already be playing when the first guest arrives and as guests are seated. The music choice is entirely yours, but most couples prefer a romantic mood and select a style that suits them — smooth jazz, wispy piano notes from Windham Hill artists, or chamber music provided by string or woodwind ensembles.
While parents are seated (sometimes)
Parents of the bride and groom are last to be seated by the ushers and, occasionally, the parents or bride and groom will request a special song. Keep it short, so your bridal party isn’t kept waiting.
When the Bridal Party enters
It’s customary for special music to be playing as bridal party couples approach the ceremony area, and there are a couple of ways they can enter the room:
- The groomsmen appear from the side aisles, make their way to the front, and wait for the bridesmaids walking down the center aisle.
The groomsmen and bridesmaids walk down the center aisle together, as couples.
- Popular music to play during the bridal party’s entrance includes the soothing strings of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, (used as the theme music to the PBS television series Cosmos); The Trumpet Voluntary, a dramatic organ piece with Baroque flourishes, (scored by Classical Wedding Traditions); or Contemporary Artist Enyas ethereal New Age hit, Only Time. Also in demand are Ode to Joy, (from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Classical Wedding Traditions), and Air, an arrangement for trumpet and strings from Handel’s Water Music Suite.
- As the music nears its final strains: The Maid Honor and Best Man are the last couple to enter. Followed by the Ring Bearer, Flower Girl, and finally, the Bride
Bride’s walk to the altar
The bride may enter the room on her father’s arm or between her mother and father, (a common sight). A special song should lead her down the aisle. Whichever song she selects, it’s bound to be too long! A DJ can work with her, editing her favorite song to fit the length of the processional, which might be Here Comes the Bride, or Ave Maria or Prelude in C, or any of the bridal party music selections. As the bride arrives to the “alter”, the music softly fades.
During the candle lighting ceremony
The ceremony is short, and the music will be, too. Brides should expect to hear no more than 45 seconds of their favorite song for this wedding rite. Choose background music or select a meaningful excerpt from your song.
At other special ceremony moments
It might be a live singer, for example. You decide what these moments are. Remember to tell your other entertainment providers about these special guests.
After the ceremony, as everyone departs
Let your personality shine for the recessional! You and your groom are glowing and the bridal party is relieved. Play some energetic traditional music or rousing contemporary tunes. If your ceremony is elegant, appropriate choices might include the Bridal Recessional or At Last by Etta James and What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong.
Light-hearted music includes Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles or You’re My Best Friend by Queen. Contemporary selections could include From This Moment by Shania Twain, When You Say Nothing At All by Allison Kraus or Circle of Life by Elton John. It’s not uncommon to play something heavier, too, so make this music yours.
Remember that the bridal party is right behind the bride and groom, and your guests will closely follow. They’re ready to stretch and talk. One or two more songs and they’re good to go!