Ceremony Music Overview

More than likely your reception will be full of musical moments, but why not incorporate some sweet melodies into your wedding ceremony? As you’re planning the big day, here are a few ways to incorporate fun, traditional, or romantic music into the ceremony:

Processional: The processional is the most obvious time of the ceremony for a musical overture, but you don’t have to rely on the traditional Wedding March or Canon in D. Instead, opt for an instrumental version of your favorite love song or pay homage to your heritage by selecting a traditional wedding song from another nation. An easy way to breathe life into traditional wedding marches is to hire a live band or musician to perform the music live.

Unity Candle/Communion: If you’re planning on lighting a unity candle (or any variation of it) or taking communion during your wedding ceremony, it’s the perfect time for a musical performance. It removes any silent awkwardness while you’re performing your tasks, enhances the mood, and gives your guests something to focus on. While an instrumental selection is appropriate, this is a great opportunity to incorporate a more contemporary or meaningful song into your ceremony. Ask a musically gifted friend or loved one to sing a tune that’s significant to you and your fiancé or appropriate for the moment.

Paying Tribute: If you’d like to honor the memory of a deceased loved one, particularly a parent, sibling, or grandparent, music is a beautiful way to pay tribute. Hire a performer or ask a friend/relative to sing a song that represents the late loved one or was particularly meaningful to them.

Vows: If you or your fiancé is a gifted singer or musician, performing a song during the ceremony is a romantic and moving way to express your love and devotion. This can really be done at any time during the ceremony but shortly before or after the vows is a poignant moment, just be sure you can keep the emotion in check and get through the song without sobbing.

Recessional: Add a little personality to your ceremony and steer clear of the traditional music for your recessional from the church. Instead, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate with an upbeat, quirky, or romantic musical selection. You’re officially husband and wife! Exit the ceremony on a high note.

More on Ceremony Music

Ceremony Music Tips

Ceremony Music Tips

Ceremony Music Tips

Hiring Your DJ to Play During Your Ceremony Makes Sense and Saves Money. A string quartet will run you between $300 and $500 per hour. Your DJ will charge you between $100 and $300 to run your ceremony.

When it comes to planning your wedding, a lot of attention is paid to the reception part of the day, but there’s also quite a bit to be considered when it comes to the ceremony itself.  One key question you may be asking yourself is, “Who will be providing the music for the ceremony?”  If you are having your ceremony at the same site as your reception, chances are your DJ will gladly provide music of your choice for your ceremony for considerably less (or at no charge) than it would cost to hire a string quartet or other musicians.

Live music is beautiful, but when you are on a budget, prerecorded high-quality digital versions are just as effective.  Your DJ will also have the microphones needed for your officiant and any readings you may have during your ceremony.

In terms of the music, you have unlimited options.  Some couples prefer traditional music and others prefer more contemporary options that reflect their personal taste.

The following are some examples in Ceremony Music Tips:


Canon in D
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Ave Maria
The Four Seasons: Spring
Lohengrin: Bridal Chorus
Midsummer’s Night Dream: Wedding March


Storybook Love from the movie “The Princess Bride”
When I’m Sixty-Four: The Beatles
Over the Rainbow: Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole
All I Want Is You: U2
Lovers in Japan: Coldplay
Lucky: Jason Mraz
Into The Mystic: Van Morrison

For a great mix of traditional meets contemporary, look into the Vitamin String Quartet.  They perform classic string versions of music for hundreds of artists – from The Beatles to Guns ‘N’ Roses.

Also, be sure to check out Fred Benedetti for some great instrumental guitar selections.

To make your ceremony easier to envision, the following is a sample of a timeline including notes where a special song is typically played.

Ceremony Timeline

Guests arriving and seated by ushers (ushers distributing programs) Prelude music playing

Ceremony begins

1. Groom and officiant processional Select a Song
2. Grandparents then parents processional (Select a song – usually same song as number 1)
3. The parents will light the candles (if you decide on a unity candle)
4. Bridal party processional Select a Song
5. Bride’s processional Select a Song
6. Bride and groom give flowers to the parents (optional) Select a Song
7. Readings (this is not as popular these days)
8. Vows
9. Unity candle or sand ceremony Select a Song
10. Bride and groom recessional Select a Song