How to Plan the Perfect Wedding Ceremony Music

by | Aug 25, 2020 | Finding Musicians, Hiring Musicians, Inspiration, Wedding Ceremony Music | 0 comments

So you’ve hired your wedding ceremony musicians and they are the perfect group for you. They sound amazing, they’re romantic, they’re beautiful, and they’re such a good fit for your event, it’s gonna be awesome. But now, is the scary time of planning out music.

It’s scary because most people aren’t musicians. They don’t know exactly what parts of their ceremony can music fit into. Within those specific parts of the ceremony they don’t really know what kind of songs fit the vibe of that part of the ceremony. They’re worried that they might choose the wrong song or if they leave it completely up to the musician, maybe it won’t fit their personality.

So, that’s why it’s really great that if you’re able to plan out your music yourself then you’re going to be able to have a wedding ceremony that fits you as a couple and really shows that off to all of the guests that are there.

If you have a videographer, it’s just gonna be an amazing soundtrack for your wedding video that you’d be able to play for years, for your grandkids, for their grandkids’ grandkids. They’ll be like, “That’s the couple who had the most amazing music playlist”. We’re going to help you do that.

I’m a musician, I’ve literally played hundreds of weddings and I also planned my own wedding back in September. I picked out specific songs for each parts of the ceremony and I’ve developed a system, a schedule of events for wedding ceremonies and the types and number of songs that fit into each of those parts of the ceremony. I’m gonna share that with you so that you too can have the perfectly planned wedding ceremony music.


So, the first thing that you need to do is you need to ask your musicians, “What songs are on your list?”, “What’s in your repertoire?” is what musicians like to call it because that is kind of the palette of colors that you’re going to be able to incorporate into your music plan.

Some musicians are able to learn new songs specifically for you but others have restrictions on that and you need to find that out ahead of time. In fact, I’d try to find that out before you hire them if that’s important to you. After you do that you’ll have your palette of songs that you could choose from and then we dig into the meat of the wedding ceremony.


The first part of the wedding ceremony is called the prelude. Prelude means before, it happens before the wedding ceremony officially starts. As your guests are all kind of getting seated, finding each other, maybe having the valet park their car.

You’re gonna want 20 to 30-minutes of music before the ceremony actually starts before the time that is printed on your invitation so that you get your guests entertained.

So for that part, I typically suggest five (5) to seven (7) songs and these don’t have to have a specific style. Although it’s kind of fun to keep it varied so that your guests are entertained. I personally like a combination of classical tunes, of pop tunes, of jazz tunes. Think a little bit more subdued cocktail hour because we’re getting people in this reverent mindset waiting for the wedding ceremony to actually start. So again, find the seven (7) songs for your prelude.

Procession of the Mothers

Some couples like to have the Mothers walk in together, it’s a really nice gesture. That way the Mothers have something to do before the Bride or Groom’s Father walks them down the aisle. And so the Procession of the Mothers can have its own special song.

I recommend in between the prelude and the Procession of the Mothers, the musicians should have a signal maybe from the wedding planner to stop playing that way it clears the air and gets your guests ready for the events to come.

So the Procession of the Mothers, that’s your first opportunity for a special song. And this is a really nice way for you to choose a song that might have some significance to your Mothers. I’m thinking like a Disney song where it pays tribute to your Mothers role in raising both you and your fiance to the beautiful adults that are about to get married today.

Procession of the Wedding Party

Next, after that would be your Procession of the Wedding Party. So this is typically when the Bridesmaid and the Groomsman walk arm-in-arm or side-by-side down the aisle followed by your ring bearer, flower girl, and I’ve even seen some like ring bearing dogs or cats at one point.

This is the part where you can continue the same song from the Procession of the Mothers or you can have another song just keep in mind that each of this processions are gonna be pretty short maybe like 30-seconds to a minute because depending on how long your aisle is so sometimes it just smoother to have the same song for both of those processions.

Again with this one, it can be a really fun song that honors your friend’s role in your life to that point. This is where we start to get into more traditional wedding songs on the classical side, I’ve heard a lot of Jesu, ‘Joy Of Man’s Desire’, on the classical side. Things like Christina Perry’s, ‘A Thousand Years’ tends to work here but we might actually save that one for the Procession of the Bride that happens later.

Procession of the Bride

So, after the final member of your Wedding Party arrives on the aisle typically the musicians pause again to clear the air and then your officiate might ask, “Please rise”. And that’s when is everybody’s head turns behind you and looks at the end of the aisle for the Bride to walk down, of course, it can be groom too.

And then for this, we typically recommend the most special song that you choose on this list. This is the one that most people have been dreaming of for their entire lives so they’ll have a good idea in mind of what they want. The most popular classical one is Pachelbel, ‘Canon in D’, and then the most popular wedding ceremony on the pop side song is Christina Perry’s, A Thousand Years.

So, walk slowly, enjoy that beautiful song, arrive at the aisle and again musicians pause to clear the air for the officiant to start.

Unity Ceremony

From then on out, the musicians typically don’t play until later in the ceremony. That way everybody can hear the officiant and it just transitions much smoother. In the middle of some ceremonies, many couples choose to do a unity ceremony.

This might be the lighting of the Unity Candle or the Planting of a Tree, or I’ve seen some creative ones like here in Milwaukee, beer is a big thing so I’ve seen people mix two (2) different beer styles like here’s the Bride’s beer mix it with the Groom’s beer and combine it, they drink it. It’s a great time, wish I had some of that beer.

But during this part, it’s a great idea to have a song playing because when you guys are manipulating the objects that are in your hand, it’s quiet, it’s silent, we don’t want people to have awkward silence.

So, this is the fun area, people have been pretty creative about that like they’ve done the Toy Story, ‘You’ve Got A Friend In Me’ or just some other really fun songs that highlight your personality in a moment that music is appropriate.

So then, the Unity Ceremony is over, you exchange your rings, your vows, and finally, the officiant gets the point where he announces you as the newly married couple.


This is a great chance to choose an energetic party song as your recessional song. That’s the name of this section, Recessional Song. You choose a nice fun tune, with that everybody is gonna cheer for once you guys start walking back up the aisle.

The most popular recessional song in late years has been Bruno Mars’, ‘Marry You’ but just choose a nice fun, poppy, energetic song for this section. So that song will play while you walk back up the aisle followed by your Wedding Party members, followed by your families, and then followed by the rest of the guests out towards the next area like for cocktail hour or for the reception.


So, once the recessional song is done playing then I recommend picking three (3) more songs for the postlude. That’s the name of this section of the ceremony where people are getting up out of their sits and walking back up the aisle. So three (3) songs again and instead of the more subdued feeling that we had in the prelude, postlude is the time where we can stay in that poppy, happy-go-lucky fun reception style songs. So pick your fun pop tunes, to jazz tunes, even some upbeat classical if you’re sticking with the more classical vibe for your wedding.

So, again we would want to have a very clear music plan and we would want to collaborate with the musicians on this so that there’s no confusion and they don’t play the wrong songs or they don’t get this style wrong for what you guys had in mind.

So just to review, prelude before the ceremony starts – five (5) to seven (7) songs. Procession of the Mothers and Procession of the Wedding Party that is kind of – one (1) linked song and that is a really nice song. Procession of the Bride – one (1) song and the Unity Ceremony – one (1) song, recessional – one (1) upbeat party song, and then the postlude as your guests heading towards the next area – three (3) songs should do it for that.

So, if you want to hire a beautiful wedding ceremony musician who can follow all of these instructions and has a completely organized in our system, check out Browse through some of the amazing wedding ceremony musicians. You’ve got your String Quartets, your harp players, your keyboard players, your guitars and singers. And then you can even find DJs if you’re not necessarily looking for a live musician for the ceremony.

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