Wedding Ceremony Music: Selecting Your Wedding Processionals

By Natalie Kriegler, Music Director, The Capriccio Ensemble

Wedding Ceremony Music: What to Ask Your House of Worship
If your wedding ceremony is to take place in a church or synagogue, then it is advisable for you to confer with either your priest, minister, rabbi or with your church music director/organist, minister of music or cantor. Be sure to inquire as to their list of acceptable musical selections and any restrictions regarding contemporary or other styles of songs to be performed at your house of worship. As the music director of The Capriccio Ensemble, I have encountered several churches who have restricted the performance of “modern-day” music , such as a song by The Beatles or other popular songs or compositions of the last 50 years.

If your church or synagogue prohibits the performance of a Beatle song or contemporary ballad, please know that there are many beautiful classical music selections to choose from. You can always request that your band or DJ play this special song at the cocktail hour or reception, so it will not be missed.

Wedding Ceremony Music: What is the Bride's Processional?
It is important to keep in mind that the bride’s processional combines two wonderful elements of:

  1. Leaving your past single life behind and
  2. Walking with an open-heart , towards a new and beautiful future life with your husband-to-be!

No matter what your musical preferences, the music for your walk down the aisle must be a selection which combines your own unique taste first and foremost with a calm and stately walking tempo. Taking suggestions from your mother, ceremony ensemble representative, or wedding planner are helpful. There are no rules about who must decide upon these selections, but most of our clients prefer choosing their special music themselves. Listening to samples of classical or other music can be a lot of fun and a great way to learn more about your own musical preferences in general. For my own wedding (just this past November), I chose the old-fashioned and traditional “Bridal March” from Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin for my walk down the aisle. I have always considered it to be the most perfect music for a bridal processional; it sounds beautiful, stately and is very calming as well. It is really helpful if the music casts the right mood and is calming for your special moment!

For Jewish brides, traditional Jewish ceremonial music such as Erev Shel Shoshanim or Dodi Li are wonderful selections to consider.

There are many other beautiful and wonderful selections to have performed at your wedding ceremony. Be sure to ask your ensemble, music director or music agency to provide you with a list of repertoire for you to choose from.

Some Ideas for Your Wedding Ceremony Music
If you are a fan of baroque music you can have Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons as a theme for your entire wedding ceremony. The Capriccio Ensemble’s string quartet recently performed at a wedding which was coordinated by world-renowned event specialist, Colin Cowie. Our bride selected a “Four Seasons” by Vivaldi theme with: “Allegro” from Autumn for her bridesmaids/wedding attendants Processional, “Largo” from Winter for her own Processional and “Allegro” from Spring as their wedding Recessional.

At the wedding ceremony of Jerry Seinfeld and Jessica Sklar, The Capriccio Ensemble’s string trio performed“Claire de Lune” by Claude Debussy for Mr. Seinfeld’s entrance and “Arioso” by JS Bach for Ms Sklar’s Processional. The Seinfeld’s wedding Recessional was a piped-in recording of a cherished song by singer Barry White. I considered their wedding ceremony music as “eclectic” due to their variety of selections!

The Pachelbel Canon in D Major is also a very popular and lovely wedding processional. If your wedding ceremony musicians have sent you a sample of this which you find to be too slow or too fast, tempo-wise, you can (absolutely) request that they play it faster or slower as you wish. Most good musicians are open-minded and very flexible about the performance of your special music, and will have little problem adjusting a tempo… especially for the frequently performed “Canon in D Major” by Pachelbel.

We have performed selections which have run the gamut of musical tastes and preferences and find that there are many musical selections which are wonderful for wedding processionals. Provided that your processional selections will reflect your own style and taste as well as to contain the two elements of stately and calm, the sky is the limit in choosing the music that will be best for you.

Wedding Ceremony Music: A Selection of Bridal Processionals
Here are some selections for you to consider for your special walk down the aisle:

  • Canon in D Major (#1 requested) by Johann Pachelbel
  • Wedding March from Lohengrin by Richard Wagner
  • Romanze from Eine Kleine Nachtmsik by WA Mozart
  • “Air on the G Sting” by JS Bach “ Trumpet Voluntary” by Jeremiah Clarke
  • "Arioso” by JS Bach
  • Largo from Winter of The Four Seasons, by Vivaldi
  • Allegro from Spring of The Four Seasons, by Vivaldi
  • Allegro from Autumn of The Four Seasons, by Vivaldi
  • Romance by Hummel
  • “Lara’s Theme” from Dr. Zhivago by Maurice Jarre
  • “Trumpet Tune” by Henry Purcell
  • “Claire De Lune” by Claude Debussy
  • “Love Theme” from Cinema Paradiso by Andrea Morricone
  • "Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” by JS Bach
  • Largo from Sonata in A Major Opus 4 #3 by Corelli
  • Erev Shel Shoshanim By J. Hadar (Jewish ceremonial-traditional)
  • “What A Wonderful World” by David Weiss & Bob Thiele
  • “The Prayer” by David Foster
  • “Heaven” by Bryan Adams
  • “Everything I Do” by Bryan Adams
  • “Stairway To Heaven” by Led Zepplin
  • “The Look of Love” by Herb Alpert
  • “Moon River” from Breakfast At Tiffany’s by Henry Mancini
  • “Here, There and Everywhere” by The Beatles
  • “All I Ask Of You” from Phantom of The Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Have fun choosing the wonderful wedding ceremony music to be performed on your most special day!

By Natalie Kriegler, Music Director, The Capriccio Ensemble

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