Don’t panic!……and book The Piano Guy
So, one of the things I ofter have to deal with is brides and grooms who really love the idea of having live wedding music in the ceremony but either they haven’t thought about it or perhaps they are struggling. I tell them all not to stress – I do this all the time! I offer all my lovely couples a online video consultation to get this sorted with minimum stress! You have a brew (or maybe a gin lol) on your sofa……..I have a coffee sat at my home, at my piano and I play you examples and guide you to the right songs!
Why is wedding music so important on your big day?
Music has a an amazing ability to throw you back win time to memory of the past. It can be the soundtrack of a memory that when heard years in to the future, takes you right back to the moment it happened, in this case one of the happiest moments of your life – your wedding ceremony. However, I have found that people tend to book more readily with their sense of sight than their sense of hearing. Of course this is absolutely fine and there are so many things to thing about – the dress, the decor, suits, flowers, rings, Cars…….you get the idea. But, in my experience we have found that when it comes to the wedding day, it is the music that sets off people crying and really sets the mood.
If you might need some wedding music inspiration read on. In this article I am going to break down the ceremony, outline what music needs to be considered; the wedding ceremony song order, how many songs for wedding ceremony? what is popular? what are the alternatives?……..and try to give some examples of my favourite wedding ceremony music.
Wedding music as the guests are seating in the ceremony room.
Before the wedding ceremony starts it is very common for the registrars to want to interview the groom in the ceremony room. This interview is to confirm your identity and contains sensitive information. Incidentally, if you are looking for info about a typical wedding ceremony you can check out the FAQs on one of our industry friends page – Your Ceremony – the Cheshire registrars. If you scroll down the FAQs you will see the question, “What music will I require for my ceremony ?“. The first item they show is “Play list for guests sitting, around 15-20 minutes worth”. This is the time between the guests being allowed in the ceremony room (after the groom interview) and the bridal entrance. It is about 15-20 minutes of music to set the mood. We recommend you let me do my thing. But if you have some special songs that you would love to hear (remembering of course that the Bride is NOT in the room at this time) you can let me know – and of course you can check out my song list for wedding music inspiration. Generally this should be a little low key music to set the mood such as Your Song or Have I told you lately that I love you.
Wedding Music for walking down the aisle
Now comes the all important bridal entrance – or what was traditionally called the processional……..the modern equivalent of “Here comes the bride” moment (more on this later!). This is an extremely personal choice of song as it has to be something that means something to you and it will likely be captured by your videographer or friends on smart phones. This is the moment where the door are opened, the bridal party starts walking up (yes, people always say down but it is actually up) the aisle, starting with flower girls/Page boys, then bridesmaids and finally, in all her glory, the beautiful bride. This is also (usually) the moment where the Bride is revealed to the Groom for the first time. Choosing the best wedding processional music can be difficult so let us try to break it down in to a few key areas.
Wedding ceremony songs – with singing.
I am a piano/vocalist first and foremost. So if you want a special song with special words to be sung professionally – I am your (piano) guy! Below is a list of some of the most popular songs to walk down the aisle to. You will notice that one of them is “The One” by Kodaline. This is a great example of a song where its lyrics are really appropriate and moving for a bridal entrance. For example it starts “Tell me, tell me that you want me, and I’ll be yours completely, for better or for worse”. With a bit of timing (often a nod between the me and the wedding coordinators) it works so well if the Bride walks in on the chorus “You make my heart feel like it’s summer, when the rain is pouring down. You make my whole world feel so right when it’s wrong, that’s how I know you are the one”. It is such a wonderful lift and really helps make it the most perfect moment. Check out this video of me singing “The One” for a beautiful bride as she walks down the aisle.
Instrumental Piano music for walking down the aisle (no singing please!)
Some people prefer not to have any vocal content as the bride makes her way to the alter. Whereas some people want to hear the lyrics, others would prefer not to have any and the piano to be a solo instrument. I am by trade a singing pianist but he is a pianist all the same, I did all my exams as a kid……and I would be happy to provide an instrumental piano piece for you if this is what you want for your wedding music. So below are the top 5 instrumental piano songs for bridal entrance – note there is some overlap with other lists as the songs take on a character of their own when performed on instrumental piano.
Top 5 instrumental piano wedding songs
- A thousand years – Christina Perri
- How long will I love you – Ellie Goulding
- Heaven – Bryan Adams/DJ Sammy
- I can’t help falling in love with you – Elvis Presley
- Widest Dreams – Taylor swift
Traditional wedding music for walking down the aisle
For those people who are looking for a more traditional bridal entrance here is a list of traditional or light classical pieces that sound great on piano. Oh……and I mentioned early I would say more about “Here comes the bride” or what is actually called The Bridal Chorus by Wagner. Well I have played that once in ten years. However there is a beautiful modern arrangement of it by Jonathan Cain which puts a modern twist on a traditional piece.
- Canon in D – Johann Pachelbel
- Bridal March – Jonathan Cain (arrangement)
- Flower Duet
- Nuvole Bianchi – Einaudi
- I giorni – Einaudi
Music for the Signing of the Schedule.
What they used to call “The Register” is now the schedule. However this is still a legal document that you must sign in the presence of the registrars, witnessed by your chosen representatives. During the time the schedule is on the table, the registrars will likely inform your guests that photos and videos may not be taken due to it containing sensitive data. Then they remove it, replace it with a dummy schedule so you can pose for your signing shot. The photographer may direct you and call up others, like your parents or bridal party to be part of the shot. Only when this is done, and if you want, does the registrar announce that guests a free to snap away. During this time a little music to entertain your guests is a really nice touch. Also note – this will likely be the first opportunity to you have to really sit and listen to the music. So if there is anything particular special you would like to hear – now is a good time. Two songs is usually enough but some people like to pick three just in case. Again check out the song list for inspiration.
Music for your Grand Exit
Traditionally known as the recessional, this is the moment when your registrar announces you to the world as a married couple for the first time. They will get all your guests upstanding and ask them to welcome (with rapturous applause) for the first time – the new Mr/Mrs & Mr/Mrs YOU! Then you come bounding down the aisle with your bridal party and your guests following behind you as you leave the ceremony area. For this I always recommend an up beat song that your guests might clap their hands to – with a jaunty tempo to it that you can saunter to. Below is a list of the top five songs for wedding recessional:-
- Signed Sealed Delivered – Stevie Wonder
- Marry you – Bruno Mars
- I gotta Feeling – Black eyed peas
- It must be love – Madness
- We are Family – Sister sledge
Alternative wedding songs
Whilst the most popular choices for wedding music are listed here, it is important to add that it is your day……you should make it a reflection of who you are. As such if you are a little alternative – should not the music be? Check out this list of our my 5 alternative wedding ceremony songs – and if you have something interesting or different, why not ask. You never know…….I might be able to make it work…….try me!
- One day like this – Elboy
- Ever Long – Foo Fighters
- Handbags and Gladrags – Stereophonics/Rod Stewart
- Nothing else matters – Metallica
Finally a few FAQs about wedding ceremony music.
What music do you play during a wedding ceremony?
It is your choice (unless you want me to “do my thing”) – see the advice above
How many songs do we need to pick?
The most important songs that you really should choose are the bridal entrance and grand exit. As an experienced professional I can fill everything else in to a high quality. But you may want to have more input and that is fine too…..this is just the minimum I need. You can also choose 2 to 3 songs during the sining of the schedule and maybe 2 songs for pre ceremony as the guests are getting seated.
What is the most played song at a wedding?
By far the most popular song has been “A thousand years” by Christina Perri.
Can I have a different song for the bridesmaids before the bride enters
Absolutely! In fact this has become somewhat of a trend recently. A lot of people are asking for the Canon in D as the bridesmaids (and of course any flower girls or page boys) enter the room. Then I watch the door to see when the bride is ready. When she is ready (often the wedding coordinator gives me the nod) I musically blend into the bridal entrance song.