Wedding Ceremony Music

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Selecting Your Wedding Processionals

What to Ask Your House of Worship Concerning Your Wedding Ceremony Music:

If your wedding ceremony will be held in a church or synagogue,  be sure to confer with  your priest, minister, rabbi or with your church music director/organist, minister of music or cantor. They will discuss the most appropriate selections with you and generally will provide you with a list of acceptable musical selections. Additionally the music director or priest or cantor will let you know of any restrictions on the performance of secular music or contemporary songs . Capriccio Ensemble has been in touch with as well as performed at many churches who do restrict the performance of contemporary or popular (secular) music. For example if you have your heart set on having your string quartet perform a song by The Beatles, U2, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Elton John or other popular selection at your church or temple for your special day, please be sure to check with the musicians from your church or temple to be sure that these types of selections can be performed. We performed for a bride and groom about 5 years ago at a Temple in Melville NY. They placed a request to have "Bittersweet Symphony" performed as their Recessional music by our String Trio. I had asked the groom if he had cleared this selection with the Cantor and he had assured me that he had advised of this selection. On the morming of the ceremony the Cantor approached our String Trio and asked if we would be performing the very traditional "Siman tov- mazel tov" for their Recessional music. When I told him that we were performing "Bittersweet Symphony" by the Rolling Stones/The Verve instead he asked to hear the music. Much to our surprise when the glass was broken and we started performing "Bittersweet Symphony" the Cantor sang "Siman tov-mazel tov" as he exited down the aisle and was singing the song in the same key as "Bittersweet Symphony" and to it's beat..if you can try to imagine it.  It's something we (all 3 of us) will not forget!

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.  I don't recommend going against the rules of the church just because you are paying for the church or because you may feel that the rules of the church are alienating young people because perhaps the church does not condone music during a Nuptial mass that is secular. Also, there are ways in which a contemporary song that has no lyrics or which sounds very classical in it's effect can be worked into your wedding mass or ceremony in a church. Be sure to ask us about how to do this!  Many years ago, a bride I had met really wanted the Beatles song "All You Need is Love" to be performed at her church wedding mass as the Recessional music. What I did for her (and this arrangement has become a staple for CE) was to preface the Beatles song with a very familiar and acceptable classical work which the church did approve of. As we began to perform the short excerpt of this classical selection and just as I had predicted....the officiating priest left the altar to begin to prepare for the 5:00 PM mass at his church. Therefore when we began to play "All You Need is Love" he had left the altar, and did not know. We never received a complaint about our performance of this "mix" from classical to Beatles and it worked! At another similar church wedding we performed the opening strains of "Danza Pastorale" from Spring of the Four Seasons by Vivaldi and then went right into the performance of "Bittersweet Symphony". In this instance the officiating priest did not know that the music we had performed was non classical and paid us a compliment on the quality of our performance!

What is the Bride's Processional?

The Bride's Processional combines two elements:

  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.

In light of the 2 things mentioned here there is the important aspect of how the music assists you in terms of a walking tempo and in regards to the meaning a particular selection may have to the bride or groom or to you both as a couple. No matter what your musical preferences may be, the music that is ultimately chosen to be performed during your walk down the aisle is, at it's best, going to be a selection which combines your own unique taste first and foremost and will also be a selection that has a calm and stately walking tempo. Whomever you are discussing and coordinating your Processional music selections with..whether it may be  your ceremony ensemble leader/director, your wedding planner, bandleader or DJ please know that these professionals have been performing at ceremones for many years and will be qualified to give you advice, options that will work beautifully and will also do whatever possible to insure that you are happy with your very own Bridal Processional and the Processional music of your bridal party. There are no rules about who must decide upon these selections, however most of our highly valued 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 Chorus from Richard Wagner's Lohengrin for my walk down the aisle. I have always considered it to be perfect music for a bridal processional as it sounds beautiful, stately and is also 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 consider selections from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi as a theme for your entire wedding ceremony. Our string quartet recently performed at a wedding which was coordinated by world-renowned event specialist, Colin Cowie. Our bride selected a Four Seasons Theme for her Ceremony music: Allegro from Autumn was the Processional of her bridesmaids/wedding attendants Processional, Largo from Winter was her/the Bridal Processional and Allegro from Spring was their wedding Recessional.

At the wedding ceremony of Jerry Seinfeld and Jessica Sklar, The Capriccio Ensemble's String Trio performedClaire 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 to be very eclectic due to their variety of selections!

Johann Pachelbel's "Canon in D" 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 for you.

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.

Bridal Processionals and Processional for Your Wedding Ceremony:

Here are some selections for you to consider for your special walk down the aisle:

For a list of Recessional selections feel free to contact us directly.
Have fun choosing the wonderful wedding ceremony music to be performed on your most special day!

By Natalie Kriegler, Artistic Director of The Capriccio Ensemble Visit Capriccio Ensemble on Facebook