Music for a Church Ceremony

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A wedding in a church requires music that respects the surroundings while reflecting the celebratory nature of the day. Here are several processional and recessional pieces to consider.

Entry / Processional:

Wagner – Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin

Jeremiah Clarke – Prince of Denmark's March

Handel – Arrival of the Queen of Sheba

Handel – Prelude Suite from the Royal Fireworks Music



Vivaldi - Gloria in Excelsis Deo

Mendelssohn - Wedding March from A Midsummer Night's Dream

Mozart - Alleluja from Exultate Jubilate

Widor - Toccata from Organ Symphony No. 5

More in:

Comments [10]


I could never have used the Wagner because of the words we sang as children:
"Here comes the bride, short fat and wide;
See how she waddles from side to side" etc. I wasn't short, fat and wide, but still..

Apr. 27 2011 03:42 PM
Earl B. from St. Louis

In our own wedding 50 years ago come years' end, we left the choices to a friend who officiated at the organ. But can there be any more joyous recessional than In Dir ist Freude, from the Orgelbuchlein of Bach? Surprised none of the other comments included this one.

Apr. 20 2011 07:15 PM
Regina Poltrack

Several tracks from Lascia Ch'io Pianga and Dank Sei Dir, Herr (spurious) from Classical Barbara album!

Apr. 20 2011 06:28 PM
Michael Scarborough from Sunnyside Gardens

23 years and 4 days ago, my wife and I, both with a heavy does of Celtic blood and both former professional singers, were happily married to this playlist:

Pre Prelude: Highland Airs played on the Highland Pipes.

Prelude: Bach - Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring

Seating of the Mothers: Bach - Air on a G String

Mozart - "Alleuia", sung by soprano

Processional: Purcell - Trumpet Voluntary

Congregational Hymn - Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation

Following the vows - Mozart - Duet from Die Zauberfloete - "Bei Maennern..."

The Prayer - Malotte - The Lord's Prayer , sung by baritone

Recessional - Widor - Tocatta

The piper was Larry Cole, certainly the best professional piper on the East Coast. The organist was the inimitable Bill Whitehead.

It was grand.

Apr. 20 2011 11:35 AM

Hi all,
If you're looking to participate in our "share your wedding playlist" contest, here's the link where you can leave your selections:

Thanks for participating!

Apr. 19 2011 11:26 AM
Barbara from New York City

Bach - Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring played on organ and flute; Copland's theme and variations on the Shaker hymn, "Simple Gifts" from Appalachin Spring

Apr. 19 2011 09:52 AM
antonella nebuloni from New york, NY

Processional: Jeremiah Clarke: The Prince of Denmark's March.

Recessional: Trionfi Amore from Orfeo & Euridice by Gluck

Apr. 18 2011 07:42 PM
antonella nebuloni from New york, NY

Processional: Jeremiah Clarke: The Prince of Denmark's March.

Recessional: Trionfi Amore from Orfeo & Euridice by Gluck

Apr. 18 2011 07:38 PM
Anna Daniher from Hackettstown, New Jersey

Regal and very important sounding is the order of the day. One of my choices would be Bethoven's "Consecration of The House". Not a common wedding choice but grand and beautiful. Kate is no ordinary bride.

Apr. 18 2011 04:33 PM
David from Flushing

As much as I like the music of Handel, the so-called "Arrival of the Queen of Sheba" has far too quick a tempo. It is better suited for a marathon race than a stately procession. Likewise, the "Fireworks Music" seems unsuitable for its militaristic themes.

Better choices can be found in other Handel works such as the "Water Music." The introduction to the oratorio "Joshua" would be a charming, though brief entry. The "Solemn March of the Ark of Covenant" from the same work is a far more majestic piece.

Handel did write a wedding march for his oratorio "Joseph and His Brethren," but that is a rather raucous piece with blaring trumpets and a pace suggestive of skipping.

Generally, it is best to select a church piece that sounds well on the organ rather than orchestral recordings.

Apr. 18 2011 03:00 PM

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