How to Choose the Music for Your Wedding Ceremony

By Flautist Monique Vossen

Want to add a touch of class to your wedding ceremony? Flautist Monique Vossen shares with us the advantages of having live music at your ceremony along with her top 10 processional and recessional music choices.

Image by Coralee Stone Photography

Choosing the music to walk down the aisle to can be a difficult and daunting task! Couples often pick a song from their iPod playlist, and this can be fine. However, including live music in your ceremony will not only improve but help create a festive & intimate atmosphere for you and your guests.  As a flute player, I often receive comments about how the flute added to the intimacy of the ceremony, whilst making it more memorable.

If you don’t know a lot about musical instruments it can often be a tricky to know who or what to select for your ceremony. Start your search by asking musicians for demo tracks that you can listen to. Many wedding bands and performers will have these up on their websites. Once you get a feel for what you prefer, you'll be able to narrow down what instruments and style of music you prefer (i.e. do you love the haunting notes of the flute & violin, or are you a jazz-loving couple?).

Many musicians like myself are classically trained; but this doesn't mean we only play classical music. For example, I am able to play blues, jazz, and pop tunes along with more traditional classical music. So make sure you ask!

What Do You Mean by Processional and Recessional Music?

Processional music is the song/s that the wedding party and bride walk down the aisle to. You can either have a song that your wedding party walks down the aisle to and a separate song for when the bride comes down the aisle. Or you can have one song for both the wedding party and bride.

The advantage of having live musician/s is that they will slow down or speed up the music depending on your walking pace, as well as stop the music at the appropriate time when the bride arrives at the altar. With your iPod you could be left awkwardly waiting for the music to stop!

Recessional music, on the other hand, is the song which the bride, groom and wedding party leave the ceremony to. I think it's important to select a song that means somethign to you as a couple. And choose something a bit more upbeat - this is a celebration song for the Bride & Groom!

Image by Coralee Stone Photography

Top 10 Choices

Top 10 Processional Songs:

·         La Vie en Rose, Edith Piaf

·         Higher Love, James Vincent McMarrow

·         How Long Will I Love You, Ellie Goulding

·         Skinny Love, Bon Iver

·         A Thousand Years, Christina Perri

·         Hoppipolla, Sigur Ros

·         Your Song, Elton John

·         Marry Me, Train

·         At Last, Etta James

·         Gymnopedie No. 1, Eric Satie

Top 10 Recessional Songs:

·         Love on Top, Beyoncé

·         Let’s Stay Together, Al Green

·         You Make my Dreams Come True, Hall & Oates

·         Love Never Felt so Good, Michael Jackson featuring Justin Timberlake

·         Feelin’ Good, Michael Bublé

·         At Last, Etta James

·         Lovely Day, Bill Withers

·         (This Will Be) An Everlasting Love, Natalie Cole

·         Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours, Stevie Wonder

·         Home, Phillip Phillips

Still Confused About What to Choose?

Musicians often have repertoire lists of music that they play on a regular basis at weddings, much like the lists above.  If you are still confused, make sure you ask for this so that you have a list as a starting point.  But don't be confined by the list - it's perfectly acceptable to request your favourite songs for the musician/s to play.

It is also good to consider background music for your ceremony. This is a lovely option for when your guests are arriving and when you are away getting your photos taken (imagine your guests milling around the garden sipping their drinks as they listen to beautiful music). I often play background music as well as the ceremonial music at weddings and it always goes down a treat!

Remember - live music will add a touch of class to your special day in a way in which a pre-recording can't. So if you want to enhance the atmosphere and make your day more memorable for you and your guests, choose to have musicians at your ceremony.



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