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by Sherry Lattin|

As you plan the music for your ceremony, first consider the style of music that you want. What tone and ambience do you want to have? Romantic? Joyful? A combination of those styles? Do you want traditional music, classical, or contemporary pop? If you have live musicians, what style of music is most suitable for the ensemble?

Entrance of the Bride

When meeting with couples, I first ask the bride what selection she would like for her processional. Then we build everything else around that piece of music. Brides, you may either want to make your entrance to a march style that can begin with a fanfare and make for a grand entrance. Examples are the traditional “Bridal Chorus”, also known as “Here Comes the Bride,” and “Trumpet Voluntary” by Clarke. Or, you may wish to have your entrance softer, more elegant and flowing to a selection such as Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” There are many pieces that fit both styles and if you wish to use selections less traditional than those mentioned above, just consult your musicians and they should be able to provide you with many options.

Entrance of the Family and Wedding Party

In my consultations, I then back up to music for the wedding party. Do you want their processional to be in a similar style to your processional or would you prefer them to have a contrasting selecting so that your entrance is more pronounced? You can use this same process for the music for seating of grandmothers and mothers. However, I also like to ask if there are any particular selections that are meaningful to the mothers and grandmothers. Sometimes grandmothers and mothers wish to walk in to music that has particular significance for them.

That will take care of your processionals!

During the Ceremony

Next, do you need music during the ceremony? If you are having a unity ceremony such as a unity candle, sand ceremony, wine box, or perhaps communion, you may wish to have some light background music as these ceremonies take place. If you have a vocalist, you need to inform your ensemble as soon as possible so they can be certain they have the music and most importantly, that the vocalist’s selection is in the proper key that the vocalist needs. The music you choose for mid-ceremony can be a special selection to the couple, a non-descript piece that just provides lovely background, or even a prayer such as “Ave Maria” or “The Lord’s Prayer” which can be performed either with a vocalist or simply as instrumental pieces.


Let’s finish!  The recessional- the joyful moment after you become husband and wife. You turn to your family and friends and have that fun, exciting walk back down the aisle enjoying all the smiles and perhaps even cheers and claps. This selection most often is upbeat and joyful. Even non-traditionalists seem to love “The Wedding March.” It’s just such a great recessional. But again, there are so many selections to choose from and you will surely find “the one” that will fit your style!


Postlude music, which is the music played while your guests leave the ceremony and move on to the cocktail hour or reception, is most often of that same joyful, upbeat feeling.


As a final step, I ask my couple to choose their prelude music. I allow for ten selections, but note that we may or may not be able to play all of these selections in the pre-determined time. I also recommend not listing these selections in a program unless it’s for your own personal reasons.   The prelude music is not a concert and your guests are going to be arriving at different times. They may or may not recognize which selection is being played as they arrive.   Personally, I also appreciate the flexibility as it allows me to add on pieces if things are getting started a little late or I can skip to a shorter selection if the wedding start time is drawing near.

Many couples are concerned about having to select so many pieces for prelude. You don’t have to!!! If there are any pieces that you love and want to have played, then write them down- even if it’s only one or two pieces. It’s also important to let the musicians know of any selections you absolutely do not want played. For the rest of the prelude, trust your musicians! I will ask for a style- do you want joyful and upbeat , soft and romantic, or a combination.   Then leave it to your musicians. They know what is appropriate and will make for lovely prelude music for your guests.duo silhouette

As you start the process of selecting your ceremony music, be sure
to ask your musicians for a playlist and if you have special requests, in particular pop music that may not already be in their repertoire, these requests should be made as soon as possible to allow time to acquire the music, arrange for the ensemble if necessary,and please keep in mind there will be an additional cost for such requests.  

Finally, remember there really is no wrong choice when it comes to music. It’s your wedding! What do YOU want? What works for you? What do you picture and hear in your mind as you’re coming down the aisle. That’s what is important! Enjoy the process- it really can be quite fun!