How to Plan Your Wedding Ceremony Music and Make Your Song Selections

From the moment the guests file in, your music has the power to set the tone for your ceremony. With such a variety of options available and so much riding on the selection, choosing your music can seem a daunting task. Plan your wedding ceremony music with these tips on selecting your ceremony musicians and selecting the tunes for the different components of the ceremony.

Consult Your Ceremony Site

Be sure to consult with your ceremony site before making your musical selections. Many places of worship do not allow secular music and have strict rules about what songs may be used. If you are holding an outdoor wedding ceremony, make sure that your ceremony musicians will have a place to set up and, most importantly, be heard.

Determine Your Ceremony Music Style

Setting the theme for the entire wedding ceremony, the site will help determine the type of ceremony musicians you use. Steel drums may be perfect for an outdoor beach ceremony, while a bold trumpet quartet will sound impressive in an elaborate cathedral.

Once you have established an overall theme and selected your ceremony musicians, you will need to choose the specific music selections for the different components of the wedding ceremony. This list of popular wedding songs will help you get started with categorized lists of the most requested tunes for each component of your ceremony and reception.


The seats are filling, and the sanctuary is buzzing with guests meeting, greeting and anticipating the big event. Your music selections during the prelude will set the mood for the ceremony; gentle jazz or chamber music works perfectly here. The music should not overpower the mood; rather, it should compliment the budding excitement.


This is a generally solemn moment as important family members are seated. As loving family members relinquish their children into a new life and family, the ceremony music should reflect the significance of the occasion. While the choice is yours, traditional ceremony music usually works best here.


As the wedding party appears at the head of the wedding aisle, the ceremony musicians will switch from the pre-processional to the processional. Consider a tempo that permits the wedding party to walk at an exact pace while heightening the suspense for the wedding guests.

Bride’s Entrance

This is the moment that you and your guests have anxiously awaited. The ceremony music should reflect the excitement and be dramatic and sweeping. The traditional selection is Wagner’s Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride), but many brides are not afraid to insert something a little more reflective of their unique personality. Whatever you choose should be bold and exciting and comfortable for you. Take a deep breath and walk…this is your moment.


You did it! You’re now man and wife, and the music you play while you and your new spouse walk up the aisle should reflect that excitement and elation. Have your ceremony musicians play something something joyous and upbeat. The traditional selection is Mendelssohn’s Wedding March.