Non-Traditional Ceremony Music

In what seems now like a past life, I was a classically trained opera singer. Ok, so not really. I sang opera, and I was majoring in Voice at a small liberal arts school and was being trained by someone who once was an opera singer. I have also taken 9+ years of piano lessons and so, from all these piano lessons and opera singing comes a severe appreciation and love of music. All types of music. Especially a love of classical music. Deciding what music to use in our ceremony, therefore is very hard for me. Because, I love some pieces so much and want to use them, but they are not “traditional” ceremony music.

But, as Ryan just said to me, “Nothing else is normal about our wedding.” Yes, he did just tell me that. Boy really knows how to make a girl crazy, right? So, throwing caution to the wind, and saying who cares if everyone thinks our music choices are strange, if we like it, it’s gonna be right!

We decided long ago we did not really want to have anyone sing at our wedding, and would prefer to use mostly instrumental music. Being a “wedding singer” myself, I know how hard it is for brides to pick a song. I cannot tell you how many times people have said to me, “I want you to sing but I do not know what. You can just pick some songs for us right?” Plus, total confession, I am picky about vocalists. REAL picky. Annoyingly so. So, I would rather not deal with (1) finding someone to sing that lives up to my very high standards and (2) picking an actual song for them to sing. So, some choices. (Bless Youtube for making all this so available to us – I imagine once upon a time, brides had to go get CD’s to actually test out all this music!)

I LOVE Debussy. LOVE. I remember the first time I heard “Clair de Lune” played by an accomplished pianist live. I melted. It’s just the most romantic and emotional piece there ever was. Again, though, not a typical “wedding” song.

I’m not sure if this can be a “processional” song. I suppose if nothing else it can be pre-ceremony music, but I may try to sneak it in as processional or use it DURING the ceremony at some point. I just don’t think it “moves” enough for processional. And, it’s not really “GRAND” enough for a bridal processional…

But can I sneak in Debussy otherwise? Maybe some “Arabesque”?

I think this could work QUITE lovely for a bridesmaids processional. It’s romantic but is also has some major movement to it also and a little bit of grandeur. But is it TOO Fast?!

Bach is another favorite, and this is just gorgeous.

I think this would be LOVELY for our late afternoon wedding. It’s not as fast as the Arabesque but it still has some subtle movement to it as well, so I think I may go with it for the Bridesmaids.

So, Bridal processional. It needs to be something romantic. And, I’d prefer something with a little grandeur.

This is big on Romance, but not so high on the Grandeur… aahhh Liszt.

Then there is this.. I mean, you have to love the name, “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.” Thank you, Mr. Handel.

Upbeat. Grand. Not so romantic. hmm… But I do love it, it’s so peppy.

I still haven’t decided exactly how the ceremony will “go” – meaning, whether we will do a unity candle, what readings, etc. so other ceremony music and its necessity is up in the air. We also plan on using something fun and different for our recessional, but we haven’t exactly picked that yet either. Although I’m going the traditional “classical’ music route, what other fun or different music are you using in your ceremonies?

Happy planning!

ceremony music

Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here

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