Choosing Music for Your Wedding

To some degree, every girl dreams about her wedding day.  I most certainly did.  But because I started playing the harp at weddings when I was 10 years old, I also kept a folder with ideas from each of the weddings I played (just a little insight into my methodical personality)!

I had ideas about the venue, the dress, the rings, the photographer, yet the music always escaped me.  It felt so personal, and like something I wouldn’t be able to select until “I” was a “we”.

The music you chose for your wedding, and the musicians you select to perform, provide so much more than just ‘songs’.  They become a part of your ceremony as the most dedicated support staff whose goal is to do their part to ensure the entire event runs smoothly.

Prior to the ceremony, the Prelude Music is often happy and joyful yet elegant and calming.  It sets the tone for the guests and, if the bridal party can hear it, hopefully calms any nerves.  Don’t be afraid to choose songs that are special to you or that tell about your love.  Some songs I’ve been asked to play for Prelude Music are:

  • Meditation from Thais
  • Fur Elise
  • The Rose

Depending upon how large of a wedding party you have, you may need more than one song to accompany the Processional.  A natural break for a music change might be after the Mother-of-the-Bride is seated and before the groomsmen enter.  Some songs I’ve been asked to play for the Processional are:

  • Canon in D
  • Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring
  • A Time for Us from Romeo and Juliet

The bride may enter to the same Processional song, or choose her own song to enter to, such as:

  • Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin
  • Ave Maria

The English custom of signing the register in the middle of the ceremony gives the bride and groom a perfect opportunity to select a favourite song as this is the one point in the ceremony they are guaranteed to hear the music!  If no specific song comes to mind, select a beautiful, classical, background piece as the guests will likely be watching you and trying to get pictures anyway.

Then the Recessional…the happy exit of the newly married couple should be marked by something upbeat and proclamatory!!  Some requests I’ve had for the Recessional over the years are:

  • Ode to Joy
  • Alpine Waltz
  • Wedding March from Midsummer Night’s Dream

Whatever you select, remember music is all about the mood you want to create or the story you want to tell. Work with your musicians to make sure it’s all about you.

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"Everyone was very much impressed with the music, especially as it was the first time many of them had seen a live harpist." Officer Patrick Mulligan
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