Music can be a beautiful and important part of your wedding ceremony. It’s a wonderful welcome as your guests arrive and find their seats and helps establish a joyous and reverent mood.
Musically, the typical wedding is divided into several sections including the prelude, the processional, incidental music during the ceremony and recessional.
The prelude music is usually left to the discretion of the musicians. The timing is not precise and the musicians will want to be able to adjust their program according to factors such as the number of people that have arrived and any unexpected delays. If there are a few particular favorites that you would like to include in the Prelude, be sure to mention them to the musicians and they will be included if possible.
In the Christian tradition, the last thing to happen before the processional begins, is the seating of the immediate family, any grandparents, the groom’s mother, and finally the bride’s mother. Traditionally, no one is seated after the bride’s mother. However, this tradition has relaxed somewhat in recent years.
A special song is often selected for the seating of the immediate family. If this is the case, an usher should advise the musicians when the family is about to be seated. The ushers and family should wait while the musicians conclude the piece that they are playing. A pause in the music will be the signal to the ushers that they should start seating the family members when the music starts again.
When the immediate family has been seated, the musicians will once again conclude the piece they are playing. The bride’s maids should wait until they hear another pause in the music. When the musicians start playing again is when the bride’s maids should start.
If the music is to change, another pause will occur between the last person in the bridal party and the bride. This will usually be the maid of honor of a flower girl. The bride, usually escorted by her father, will then start down the aisle. It is very helpful for the musicians to know the number of people in the bridal party and who will be last.
In the Jewish tradition, the family and both parents of the bride and groom are part of the formal processional. Therefore, the processional music usually begins with the seating of any grandparents.
It is important for the bridal couple to select the pieces that they want for the seating of the mothers if applicable, the procession of the bridal party and the procession of the bride. It is not required that the music change for the bride and if the procession is very short, or the wedding is informal, it may be preferable not to switch.
It should also be noted that “Here Comes the Bride” which is actually the Wedding March from the opera, "Lohengrin” by Wagner, is not considered appropriate for a Jewish wedding.
Here is a list of music that is beautiful and appropriate for a wedding ceremony. You can pretty much mix and match the music for the bridal party and bride. There follows a section that suggests some pretty combinations.
Aire on a G String - Bach
Aria – Kuhnau
Bransle de la Torche - Praetorius
Bridal March from Lohengrin (Here Comes the Bride) Wagner
Canon in D – Pachelbel
Come Ye Sons of Art Away - Bach
Chaconne – Purcell
Hartes Ease - Holborne
Hornpipe – Handel (From Water Music)
Hornpipe – Purcell
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring - Bach
Largo from Concerto in D Major - Vivaldi
Largo from Winter – Vivaldi
Minuet Finale from Water Music – Handel
Pavane in Renaissance Style – Wachs
Rigadoon – Purcell
Rondeau – Mouret (Theme from Masterpiece Theater)
Sheep May Safely Graze – Bach
Spring - Vivaldi
Te Deum - Charpentier
Trumpet Tune – Purcell
Trumpet Voluntary – Purcell
Al Kol Eleh – Shemer
Bridal March - Hassidic
Chorsha ha Eucaliptus (On the Jordan)
Entreat Me No to Leave Thee - Avery
Erev Ba - Avissar
Erev Shel Shoshonin
Dodi Li – Sher
Hodaya – Miron
L’Kha Dodi – Zeira
Lu Yehi - Shemer
The Lark in the Clear Air
Loch Ta Boat Song
My Love is Like a Red Red Rose
Canon in D to Come Ye Sons of Art Away or Erev Shel Shoshonim or Hornpipe from Water Music or Jesu, Joy or Largo from Concerto in D major or Rondeau by Mouret or Trumpet Voluntary
Hornpipe by Purcell to Rigadoon by Purcell or Rondeau by Mouret
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring to Bridal March or Hornpipe by Handel or Hornpipe by Purcell or Pavane in Renaissance Style or Rondeau by Mouret or Trumpet Voluntary or Trumpet Tune
Largo from Four Seasons Winter to Bridal March or Jesu Joy or Trumpet Voluntary
Pavane in Renaissance Style to Trumpet Voluntary
Rigadoon to Bridal March or Trumpet Voluntary
Allegretto from Spring - Vivaldi
Concerto in B Flat Major, First Movement, Allegro Moderato – Handel
Hornpipe from Water Music – Handel
Ode to Joy - Beethovan
The Rejoycing From Royal Fireworks Music – Handel
Rondeau (Theme form Masterpiece Theater) - Mouret
Sonatina I - Naderman
Te Deum – Charpientier
Trumpet Tune by Purcell
Trumpet Voluntary – Purcell
Wedding March – Mendelssohn*
Artza Alinu – Flok tuneBashana
Chussen Kalle Mazel Tov
Dodi Li – Chen
Eile Chamda Libi
Haba’ah – Hirsch
Hevenu Shalon Alekhem
Hine Ma Tov
Rad Halaila – Trad. Hassidic
Give Me Your Hand
Rocky Road to Dublin
Scotland the Brave