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Wedding Ceremony Music Guide

Everything You Need to Know About Planning Your Wedding Ceremony Music

Planning Wedding Ceremony Music

Setting the Tone with Ceremony Music

When considering wedding songs for your big day, your initial focus may be on the song you will walk down the aisle to. However, it’s crucial to think about the overall impact the music selection is in setting the tone for the entire event. Do you want to theme certain parts of the evening to specific genres? Maybe chill instrumental hip-hop for a laid back feel? String covers of pop hits, classic Jazz, or traditional classical music? Music for your wedding is very important in creating the perfect vibe. Take a look at these essential tips and useful suggestions to choose the perfect music for your ceremony.

Wedding Ceremony Music Order


Wedding prelude music is the music playing prior to the ceremony as guests are arriving and getting prepared for the ceremony. If your going the traditional route theres nothing like classical string music to set the tone of the ceremony. However there are tons of modern artists such as Vitamin String Quartet, 2CELLOS, The Pianos Guys that do instrumental covers of every genre from 80’s rock, 90’s hip hop and even modern pop hits. This his can be a really fun twist on traditional classical music.


Set the mood with a captivating entrance song. Wedding processional music is for the entrance of the extended wedding party, family, attendants, and the bride. While the same song can be used for all, it is recommended to switch to a different song as the bride makes her grand entrance to create a more dramatic effect. The number of processional songs required will vary depending on the size of the wedding party and the length of the aisle. Typically, two processional songs are selected—one for the family and attendants, and a more emotional and dramatic song for the bride’s entrance.  Personally I think it is important for the Bride to select a song of that has some sentimental value to her or her family.


At the conclusion of the ceremony, the wedding recessional music is played. This music is meant to go along with you as you exit and is usually cheerful, energetic, and celebratory, reflecting the happiness of the moment. This is a great time to pick a song that really represents you as a couple. There is usually one main recessional song, but it’s a good idea to have a few additional upbeat, celebratory songs as guests are departing.

Music to Consider: Interludes & Postludes

Some couples opt to incorporate interludes or musical pieces during important moments like the unity candle ceremony or the signing of the ketubah. Consider including a postlude as well, which is a song played as guests depart the ceremony. To add a unique touch, consider having a violinist or a group of bagpipers play as guests make their way towards the exit. Some couples even request the musician to lead guests out in a procession-like manner.

Wedding Song Checklist

Prelude: Played before the ceremony while guests are arriving and being sat for the ceremony.

Processional: Played at the start of the ceremony as an entrance song for the extended wedding party, family, attendants, and the bride.

Recessional: Played at the conclusion of the ceremony for the bride, groom, and wedding party as they leave.

Interludes & Postludes: Either played during a formality included in the ceremony or as extra songs after the recessional while guests transition to the cocktail hour.

Live Musicians

Something to think about, just because you like how one instrument sounds, including it may not be as easy as just including it to your ensemble. For example, you might want to add a trumpet, but then to balance it out you’ll need three or four string pieces such as a cello, violin, viola and harp, or else the horn will awkwardly stand out. Just ask the musicians what would work best.

Here are a few combos to think about:

Acoustic Guitarist

Two violins or a violin and cello

Trio with two violins and a cello

Brass or wood wind trio with a string instrument

Adding a piano or organ to any of the trios or quartets if one is available, or including a harp with any of the combos listed above can really jazz up an ensemble. For more unique ceremony music, there are steel drum bands, electronic keyboard, violinists with loop pedals or a ukulele players.

Furthermore, even if you are fond of a particular instrument’s sound, incorporating it into your ensemble may prove to be more challenging. For instance, you may desire to introduce a trumpet, but to balance it out, you will also need to include three or four string instruments like a cello, violin, viola, and harp, otherwise the trumpet may seem out of place. It would be advisable to consult with the musicians to determine the most suitable arrangement.

Planning the Perfect Songs for Your Wedding

Getting Inspiration and Organizing Music

Wedding planning and creating the perfect playlist for the evening can be overwhelming but nowadays there are many streaming services available to help you organize playlists and discover similar music. These tools are extremely helpful when it comes to organizing music for the evening and gathering inspiration. Spotify has thousands of wedding playlists and a great music discovery system.

Things to Consider

Think about your Venue’s Layout and Size.

The size of your ceremony space is very important when putting together your ensemble. For example, a huge brass quintet and a small space will be way to loud and can overwhelm the space. If your ceremony is outside, you probably can’t use a traditional piano, but an electric keyboard can work great if a power supply is available.

Find the right guest to musician ratio.

Consider the ratio of guests to ceremony musicians when planning. For a gathering of 200, a quartet is suitable. To save money, you could opt for a duo or trio with a sound technician. Alternatively, you could ask your band or DJ to provide additional equipment. Keep in mind what instruments will sound best when amplified. Guitars and string instruments, such as violins and cellos, usually resonate well at weddings.

Consider your venue’s acoustics.

The venue’s environment plays a significant role as well. If you are hosting your event indoors, you can take advantage of the acoustics in the room for better sound quality. However, if your event is outdoors with a crowd of 200 people, a duo may not be heard. It is important to plan ahead for outdoor settings by having microphones or enough musicians to counteract external noise.


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