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Wedding MusicYour wedding music choices set the tone of your affair and reflect a celebration of your new love. You’ll need to consider all the programmatic elements as you decide on individual songs and your overall mix of music. Most festivities consist of a prelude, the processional, the ceremony itself, a recessional and a postlude, and each of these will call for musical selections that are unique in tone and mood. Additionally, your range of options may be affected by rules set down by your religious faith or your venue. Keeping some things in mind as you move through the process might make finalizing your choices a little easier.

Prelude and Processional Music

Prelude music, consisting of songs lighter in tone than the rest of your program, usually plays while your guests enter and take their seats. Depending on your venue and preferences, music during this segment could consist of classical and liturgical songs, or instrumental versions of popular selections if you’re marrying in a secular location. Next, processional music plays as your wedding party slowly walks into the ceremonial space. This music should be different than your prelude, signaling a dramatic shift that tells your guests the proceedings are about to begin.

Here Comes the Bride?

In traditional Western ceremonies, the bride enters after the rest of the wedding party, accompanied by her father. Music used to signal her arrival has included songs such as “Bridal Chorus” by Richard Wagner, Felix Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” or Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” However, this is an area in which many couples are breaking from tradition. Some opt to enter the space at the same time, with each half of the couple walking down a separate aisle. You could also decide to enter together, with each of you accompanied by parents. In these cases, you still might want a different piece of music as a dramatic change, calling attention to you and your beloved’s entrances. 

With all of this in mind, remember that you do have the option to simply play a longer processional piece. This is especially appropriate if you’ll be both stationed at the front rather than one of you walking into the venue. However, you could also opt for longer processional music to cover the wedding party’s entrance as well as your own, if you’ll be walking into the space after them.

Other Music

You may also decide to include some musical interludes or special songs during other significant events in your wedding—for example, the lighting of a unity candle. Additionally, you could ask family members or friends to sing solo pieces during parts of the ceremony. These are interspersed with other elements, such as poems or scriptural readings, during the program.

How You Make Your Exit

The recessional music is the signal for you, your new spouse and your wedding party to walk out. Songs played during this segment are usually bright and lively, intended as a joyful celebration of your new union. You could pick a song that closely matches the general aesthetics of the rest of your wedding music, or you might select something stylistically different to signal your exit. Moreover, consider adding some postlude selections to be played afterwards, while your guests leave the ceremony space.

Picking your wedding music can be an exciting adventure, and you might have a little trouble making up your mind. With so many possibilities, you and your beloved want to ensure that you make choices reflecting your style and mood as well as celebrating your love for each other. Whether you’re marrying in a house of worship or you’re tying the knot in a more secular location, keeping the order of your program in mind should also help you pick appropriate songs for each portion of your ceremony.

Category: Ceremonies Marriage


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