Wedding ceremony music is used to create the appropriate atmosphere. The actual music selections are usually determined by the personal preferences of the newlyweds, and sometimes the religions attitudes of clergymen (believe it or not some wedding ceremony locations do not allow Wagner’s “Here Comes The Bride”).
There are five styles of music at wedding ceremonies:
1. Prelude (Pre-Wedding) music
This is the music that sets the theme for the actual ceremony. This usually begins approximately 15-30 minutes before the ceremony is scheduled to begin while guests are being seated. Selections are often light and lively, and played in a low volume allowing guests to socialize.
2. Bridesmaids’ entrance music (Processional)
As we continue to build toward the bridal entrance, the music for the entrance of the bridesmaids is generally more formal, and presented at a higher volume than the pre-ceremony music. The first few notes are a cue that the ceremony is about to begin. While many couples use traditional marches, others choose other beautiful classical selections such as Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” and Pachabel’s “Canon In D”.
3. Bridal March music
When the Processional music begins, everyone knows the Bride is about to arrive and the guests should stand in honor of her! Because of this, processional music should be joyful and triumphant. Wagner’s “Here Comes The Bride” is the overwhelming choice of Brides to enter their wedding ceremony area. Brides who are marrying for the second time or more often select a less formal musical selection.
4. In-Ceremony music
During the ceremony, a soloist may sing or play a musical instrument just before the actual wedding vows begin. Sometimes a poem read by a guest may be included.
5. Recessional music
The recessional music usually begins immediately after the officiant declares to the guests “Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce to you, the new Mr. & Mrs. … ” or similar introduction.
Music for the Recessional is similar to the processional in that it is generally joyful and triumphant. It is often accompanied with the ringing of church bells or chimes. Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” is the music selection chosen by most newlyweds at the conclusion of their wedding ceremony.