Wedding Music Guide

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It is your wedding, so feel free to pick whatever music you'd like! . This is a sample of what we typically play for a wedding.

For wedding ceremonies we begin by playing background music as guests arrive and are seated. In addition to the processional and recessional, if requested, we will play other music (hymns or incidental music) during your ceremony. We also play as your guests are leaving.

Wedding Ceremony Music

We are happy to help you select music for your wedding ceremony. Whether you have it all figured out, or you're just starting to think about music, we think the following guide will be helpful. Our clients typically choose a few songs they want to hear, usually for the main events of their ceremony such as the processional, recessional, and candle lighting, and leave the rest to us.

The following applies to most weddings:

music performed before the processional, starting about 30 minutes before your scheduled ceremony start time.


music for the bridal party walking down the aisle, it usually includes

Seating of the grandparents and parents

Wedding party processional:

> this may include officiant, the groom and groomsmen, bridesmaids, flower girl and ring bearer, etc.

Bride's processional

Incidental or Meditation Music

for a candle lighting or other symbolic union ceremony, between readings, before or after prayers

Communion Music


to accompany the congregation or a group of singers


music as people exit down the aisle

Bride and groom's recessional

Wedding party recessional:

this may include bridesmaids and groomsmen, flower girl, ring bearer, officiant, etc.

the music after the recessional, played until the receiving line is over or almost all the guests have exited from the ceremony area

You can choose your ceremony music to create the mood you're trying to evoke, whether it's a sunny, breezy, summer wedding in a garden; an intimate gathering on a grassy lawn; a regal ceremony in a beautiful cathedral; a formal ceremony at the capitol building; or whatever you desire. We can help you choose pieces to complement the mood you want to evoke.


>Prelude music is designed to establish the mood and keep your guests entertained after they arrive and before the ceremony starts. We will start to play about 30 minutes before your ceremony is scheduled to start. Our clients usually leave the prelude music entirely up to us, or provide one or two of their families' favorite pieces for us to include in the

program. We generally pick a variety of pleasant, calming classical music for the prelude. If you are having an informal ceremony it may fit the mood to have some lively tunes and popular songs in your prelude. If you have specific songs you would like to hear, please let us know on the information sheet. Keep in mind that the people in the ceremony usually don't get to hear the prelude music, so if the song you choose is a particular favorite of someone in the ceremony it may work better in the postlude.


The processionals are the start of the wedding ceremony. There are usually between one and three processional pieces. For most venues and most wedding parties, one or two songs is sufficient. Whether you choose one or two pieces for the processional depends on how many people you will have participating in the processionals, the length of the aisle in your ceremony venue, and your personal preference.

Seating of the Grandparents and the Parents

We need to know the number of parents and grandparents that we should expect to come down the aisle. The music for the seating of the grandparents and the seating of the parents can be separate or combined into the piece of music chosen for the processional of the wedding party. For separate pieces (not part of the wedding party processional) we suggest shorter pieces such as Wachet Auf by Bach, the Flower Duet by Delibes, The Gift of Love (the Water is Wide), a family member's favorite hymn, or other short pieces.

Wedding Party Processional

We need to know the number of people walking down the aisle during the wedding party processional. Below is a list of suggested wedding party processional pieces. Pieces labeled long work well for long aisles and many attendants or combined processionals with the same music for the wedding party and the bride. Pieces labeled short work well for short aisles and few attendants or as a processional with separate music for the wedding party. These are only guidelines. We can adapt a long piece for a short aisle or repeat a short piece for a long aisle, etc. Canon in D by Pachelbel is a very traditional and well-loved choice for a processional. It can be used for the wedding party processional and continued for the bride. This works particularly well because we can arrange to have the very emotional, moving parts of the Canon occur as the bride is walking down the aisle. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by Bach and Tchaikovsky's Waltz from Sleeping Beauty are other pieces that work well as a combined processional for the attendants and the bride.

Bach - Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (long or short, also works well as one piece for attendants and bride)

Pachelbel - Canon in D (long or short, also works well as one piece for attendants and bride

Tchaikovsky - Waltz from "Sleeping Beauty" (long or short, also works well as one piece for attendants and bride)

Campra - Rigadoun (long or short, also works well as one piece for attendants and bride)

Mouret - Rondeau (the theme used for Masterpiece Theatre) (long or short)

Vangelis - Hymne (long or short)

Delibes - Flower Duet from Lakme (music from the Ghirardelli commercials, long)

Handel - Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (long)

Bach - Wachet Auf (chorale "Sleepers Awake", medium)

Roever and Korb - Highland Cathedral (medium)

Handel - Hornpipe from "Water Music" (medium)

Vivaldi - Largo from Winter from the Four Seasons (medium)

Handel - La Rejouissance from "Royal Fireworks" (short)

Purcell - Trumpet Tune (short)

Bride's Processional

Depending on the length of the aisle and the number of members in the wedding party, it may make sense to have only one piece of music for the Wedding Party Processional and Bride's Processional. On the other hand, a slight pause and a change in the music is a definite signal to your guests that the bride is about to appear. Even if you have a short aisle and only a few wedding party members, two pieces may work. At the end of the bride's processional we will end the music at a natural ending point. If you choose a separate piece for the bride we may play a little longer while everyone stands in their places so that the main theme or refrain of the song is heard. The time between when the bride reaches the altar and when the music stops can provide a nice time for photographers to take pictures. A little extra time also lets the guests admire the scene before the ceremony begins. If you are choosing to have two separate pieces for the wedding party processional and the bride's processional, you can choose two that complement each other or choose a contrasting piece for the bride. Often the bride's processional will be a grand and regal, like the Bridal Chorus from "Lohengrin" by Wagner (the tune of "Here Comes the Bride"), Trumpet Voluntary by Clarke, or the Arrival of the Queen of Sheba by Handel. Sometimes people like to mix it up and have the bride walk down the aisle to something a little different, like At Last by Warren (as sung by Etta James) or a favorite pop song. This can work well as a contrast to a more classical wedding party processional, or you can choose several coordinating pop songs for the processionals and recessionals.

Bach - Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (long or short, combined with attendants or separate)

Pachelbel - Canon in D (long or short, combined with attendants or separate)

Tchaikovsky - Waltz from "Sleeping Beauty" (long or short, combined with attendants or separate)

Campra - Rigadoun (long or short, also works well as one piece for attendants and bride)

Vangelis - Hymne (long or short, from the Gallo wine commercials)

Delibes - Flower Duet from Lakme (music from the Ghirardelli commercials, long)

Handel - Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (long)

Roever and Korb - Highland Cathedral (medium)

The Beach Boys - God Only Knows (medium)

Warren - At Last (as sung by Etta James) (medium)

Vivaldi - Largo from Winter from the Four Seasons (medium)

Wagner - Bridal Chorus from "Lohengrin" (short, the tune to "Here Comes the Bride")

Purcell - Trumpet Tune (short)

Clarke - Trumpet Voluntary (short, works well paired with many other pieces for the attendants, in particular Purcell's Trumpet Tune)

Incidental/Meditational Music, Communion Music

If you are having a candle lighting, sand pouring ceremony, rose ceremony, marriage certificate signing, communion, or some other activity in your ceremony where there is no dialog, you may want to have our quartet play a quiet, reflective piece. A short piece is usually sufficient. It is also sometimes nice to put instrumental pieces in between readings. If there is a pop song that is particularly meaningful to the bride and groom it may be nice to have it performed during the ceremony. Here are a few commonly requested songs:

Bach - Arioso

Schubert - Ave Maria

Gounod - Ave Maria

Rimsky-Korsakov - The Young Prince and Princess from Scheherezade

Massenet - Meditation from Thais

Traditional - The Gift of Love (the Water is Wide)

Traditional - Simple Gifts

Traditional - The Ash Grove

Bernstein and Sondheim - One Hand, One Heart from "West Side Story"

Bach - from Suite BWV 1068 (in D or on G string)

Armstrong - Glasgow Love Theme from "Love Actually"

Kocher - For the Beauty of the Earth

Kremser - We Gather Together

Sager and Foster - The Prayer (as performed by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion)

Puccini - Humming Chorus from "Madame Butterfly"

Puccini - O mio babbino caro from "Gianni Schicchi"

Mozart - Ave Verum

Jenkins - Palladio (music from the diamond commercials)

Vivaldi - Largo from Winter from the Four Seasons

The Beach Boys - God Only Knows (medium)

Warren - At Last (as sung by Etta James) (medium)

Billy Joel - Just the Way You Are

U2 - All I Want Is You

If you would like us to play a hymn for your guests to sing along, that is not a problem. Please provide us a copy of the hymn. If it is a four part piece we can usually play it with minor adjustments. If you can provide a piano part we can make an arrangement. Even if you just have a one or two party melody we can play it or arrange an accompaniment for singing. Please let us know if you will also have a pianist, organist, or cantor participating for the hymn.


The recessional is typically a joyous sounding piece with an upbeat tempo to congratulate the bride and groom and send them off with excitement. The March from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Mendelssohn is a classic. The Hornpipe from "Water Music" by Handel, Rondeau by Mouret (the theme used for Masterpiece Theatre), and La Rejouissance from "Royal Fireworks" by Handel are all good choices that complement most processionals. We also have some selections like All You Need is Love and When I'm Sixty-Four by the Beatles, God Only Knows by the Beach Boys, and Gershwin's I Got Rhythm that make cute recessionals. This is another place where it might make sense to put a pop song that is meaningful to the bride and groom.

Mendelssohn - Wedding March from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (a traditional recessional)

Handel - Hornpipe from "Water Music"

Handel - La Rejouissance from "Royal Fireworks"

Mouret - Rondeau (the theme used for Masterpiece Theatre)

Clarke - Trumpet Voluntary (works well as a recessional, also pairs well with Purcell's Trumpet Tune)

Campra - Rigaudon

Beethoven - Ode to Joy

The Beach Boys - God Only Knows

The Beatles - When I'm Sixty-Four

The Beatles - All You Need Is Love

Gershwin - I Got Rhythm


The postlude is another area that our clients typically leave up to us. If the bride and groom have some favorite songs that weren't already used in the ceremony, this is a great time to include them. We continue the joyous mood of the recessional by playing up to 30 minutes of cheerful music while your guests are leaving the venue or going through the receiving line. We generally play a mix of upbeat classical and popular music for the postlude. Postlude music can be especially valuable to entertain guests if the bride and groom are dismissing the guests row by row or if the receiving line backs up into the ceremony area.

Transition Into the Cocktail Hour and Reception

If you hire us for your cocktail hour or reception we will typically pack up our instruments after the postlude and move to your reception location. Once there, we will set up and begin playing when your guests start arriving until our scheduled end time. If you hire us for dinner music we will customarily stop playing if someone wants to give a speech. Please let us know if you have special instructions for the reception.

Venue Considerations

Light: We require moderately good light to read our music, but we can bring battery operated stand lights if necessary. If you know that your ceremony venue or reception hall has low light, for example, if you are using only romantic candlelight, let us know.

Audio: Some wedding venues book multiple weddings or receptions for one day at the same time and have only thin partitions or space between the different wedding celebrations. This can be problematic for all musicians involved. We have had circumstances where we have been in close proximity to other musical groups, DJs, and in rooms with the "elevator" music running on a loop. Also be aware that some venues have sub-standard sound systems that produce an audio hum. Although we do not require amplification, sometimes you may choose to use microphones for speakers or singers during your ceremony or reception and humming and feedback from that equipment can detract from the music. We will strive to give you the best performance possible in all circumstances.

Setup and Other: Some wedding venues do not allow live music or certain music genres. Please check with your venue and let us know if you have any concerns. Believe it or not, some venues will not allow chairs, even for guests! Our quartet has an advantage in this circumstance: all of our members can play while standing, which is a difficult or impossible for some other ensembles.

Weather: We do require shade from the sun or shelter from the rain. Direct sunlight and precipitation are harmful to our instruments (and in some cases, our bodies). If no permanent structure is available, you can provide a tent or canopy, but this is another thing you must clear with your venue. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns. We are happy to help.