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Wedding Ceremony Music

Choosing music for your wedding ceremony shouldn't be a harrowing experience. In this section, we'll break down the standard parts of a wedding ceremony that usually have music, standard choices for the various musical pieces, and the types of musicians you may need based on the "feel" or "setting" of your wedding.

Parts of a Wedding Ceremony

Part Description/Notes
Prelude Up to 30 minutes of music before the actual ceremony begins.
Processional One or two separate pieces for the bridesmaids and bride to walk down the aisle.
Interlude Hymns or other pieces to accompany various parts of the service.
Recessional A lively, stately march as the bride and groom exit.
Postlude A piece or two as guests leave the ceremony area.


Preludes are the quiet, mood-setting music leading up to the ceremony. Usually 20-30 minutes long, the preludes set the tone for the service. If you're having an informal or non-traditional service, you can opt for some lively pieces. Some churches have specific pieces they will allow and not allow, so make sure you check with them before making final selections. The last prelude is generally reserved for the seating of the mothers and/or grandmothers.

Name Composer Used For... Trumpet Brass Strings
Air from Water Music Handel Prelude MP3 MP3 MP3
Air on the G String Bach Mothers   MP3 MP3
Ave Maria Schubert Mothers MP3    
Bist Du Bei Mir Bach Prelude MP3    
Largo from Winter (Four Seasons) Vivaldi Prelude      
Largo from Xerxes Handel Prelude      
Prayer from Hansel and Gretel Humperdink Prelude   MP3  
Ne Timias, Maria Luis De Victoria Prelude      
Where Sheep May Safely Graze Bach Mothers     MP3


The processionals accompany the bridal party as they walk down the aisle. Depending on the length of the aisle and the tastes of the bride/groom, you can use one or two separate processionals. Both are generally stately and majestic, but if you're using two, try to save the "punch" for the bride's processional. Once you pick them, make sure you go over the specific part of each piece you'd like to walk down the aisle to, as processionals generally only last 30-60 seconds depending on the aisle and how fast the bride walks.

Name Composer Used For... Trumpet Brass Strings
Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin Wagner Bride MP3 MP3 MP3
Canon in D Pachelbel Bridesmaids   MP3 MP3
Grand March from Aida Verdi Either   MP3  
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring Bach Bridesmaids MP3   MP3
Rigaudon Campra Bride   MP3  
Trumpet Voluntary Clarke Bride   MP3  
Trumpet Voluntary Stanley Either   MP3  

Interlude, Service Music

Interludes are important in both traditional and non-traditional services. Make sure you check with your church when picking service music, as many churches have certain pieces they will allow and not allow. The songs listed here come from both classical and popular music.

Name Composer Used For... Trumpet Brass Strings
All I Ask Of You Webber Interlude     MP3
Ave Maria Bach Unity Candle MP3    
Panis Angelicus Franck Unity Candle     MP3
Lord's Prayer Malotte Unity Candle      
One Hand, One Heart Bernstein Interlude      
The Prayer Sager Interlude      
Wind Beneath My Wings Henley/Silbar Interlude      


The recessional is the time to shine for the bride and groom. This is generally the liveliest piece of the wedding. Lots of movement and notes, with a fast, festive tempo. The music should mirror the festive mood that concludes the ceremony. This is generally a great place for the trumpet, especially a piccolo trumpet.

Name Composer Best With... Trumpet Brass Strings
Arrival of the Queen of Sheba Handel String Quartet     MP3
Canzona per Sonare no. 2 Gabrieli Brass Quintet   MP3  
Hornpipe from Water Music Handel String Quartet     MP3
Hymn To Joy Beethoven Strings + Trumpet      
La Rejouissance Handel Strings + Trumpet MP3    
Prelude to Te Deum Charpentier Brass Quintet MP3    
Procession of the Nobles Rimsky-Korsakov Brass Quintet   MP3  
Trumpet Tune Purcell Brass Quintet MP3 MP3  
Wedding March Mendelssohn Strings + Trumpet MP3 MP3 MP3


The postlude is a new but popular entry into the wedding ceremony. Think of it as a transition from the ceremony to the reception. The formality of the ceremony is juxtaposed with the festive, "let your hair down" atmosphere of the wedding reception. Many of the pieces are therefore light classical, jazz, or popular music to help make that transition as guests leave the ceremony area after the recessional.

Name Composer Trumpet Brass Strings
All You Need Is Love Lennon/McCartney   MP3  
I'm Getting Sentimental Over You Dorsey      
Fly Me To The Moon Bart      
Rondeau (Masterpiece Theatre) Mouret MP3    
Somewhere Over The Rainbow Arlen   MP3  
What A Wonderful World Armstrong      
When I'm Sixty-Four Lennon/McCartney   MP3  

Types of Musicians

The type and number of musicians will be guided by your personal taste, and of course by your budget. This list is just a suggestion for those of you looking for somewhere to start. To learn more about the various instruments and ensembles we offer, visit our brass ensemble and string ensemble pages.

Feel Setting Recommendations
Formal Church Most churches will recommend an organist and many Catholic churches require a cantor (soprano, alto, or tenor vocalist). A string trio/quartet or brass trio/quartet for the prelude, then trumpet and organ for the processional/recessional.
Formal Indoors Brass or String Trio, or a mixed group like Violin, Cello, Trumpet, or Violin, Cello, French Horn.
Formal Outdoors Brass or String Quartet for a larger sound. Brass Quintet or String Quartet plus Trumpet for the best outdoor sound. Or a mixed Quartet of Violin, Cello, Trumpet, and French Horn.
Semi-Formal Indoors If there is a piano on-site, you might consider Piano, Violin, Trumpet. A Brass or String Trio is nice as well.
Semi-Formal Outdoors Brass or String Trio, or a mixed Trio of Violin, Cello, Trumpet.
Informal Indoors String Duo, Piano plus Trumpet, or a different kind of mixed Trio like Trumpet, Sax, Trombone.
Informal Outdoors Brass or String Trio, or Trumpet, Sax, Trombone, even Trumpet, Sax, Guitar. Great for beaches!

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