Non-Traditional Wedding music

At the beginning of next month, I’ll be getting married. It’s less than a month away, and we still have lots of lose strands we’re trying quickly to get into place. One thing we’ve not decided on yet is music.

We’ve decided to go against the traditional Wedding March for her walking down the aisle, but are kind of stuck on what, exactly, to use.

What music did you use (or do you plan to use) at your wedding? Or are there any particular pieces that stick out as something you could use as wedding music?

It doesn’t have to necessarily be for the aisle-walking, either. Ceremony, reception, (honeymoon…), whatever.

Modern or classical, it doesn’t matter, just as long as it’s easily obtainable. For the ceremony, we’d probably prefer something non-lyrical, but don’t let that limit you.

My wife and I walked down the aisle to Aretha Franklin singing “Say a Little Prayer,” and we played the Young Rascals’ “Good Lovin’” at the conclusion of the ceremony. Both seemed to work well.

A while back, my friend got married and asked me what kind of music they play in Finnish weddings when the bride is walking down the aisle. I sent her this link, which (it’s in Finnish) has links to .wav files of the most common Finnish wedding marches. For example, the first link, by Melartin, is from an old Finnish movie version of Sleeping Beauty. Go international! Try one of them!

I really love Pachelbel’s Canon in D, but it might be too close to the traditional Wedding March you’re looking to avoid.

You say “walking down the aisle”, so is the wedding in a church or some other venue? If it is in a church you’d better consult with them, as some churches have rules on what can and can’t be played. A few actually discourage or outright forbid the traditional Lohengrin march.

I know you say that’s not what you want, but it might have a bearing on what can and can’t be played, if the wedding is in a church.

If you don’t want something religious, but with a classical sound, there are some Bach cantatas that are pretty good, and the Brandenburg concertos have an “epic” sound.

There was a couple hoping to have their wedding at the local church here (where my wife and daughter sing in the choir) - they wanted a Wizard of Oz theme, which might have worked - Follow the Yellow Brick Road for the trip up or down the aisle, Over the Rainbow could have worked somewhere

…But one of the songs they wanted was Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead - the curate said no and stood his ground - so they went elsewhere to get married.

Most of the couples here use either traditional western music (Wagner or Amazing Grace) or Disney songs (‘Beauty and the Beast’ always seems rather insulting to whoever the bride is walking with, but nobody else seems to mind).

One that stood out, though, was the couple that wanted ‘What a Wonderful World’ as their entry song. That’s a song that always gets to me, so I had to make an effort not to tear up before starting the ceremony.

Handel’s Music for Royal Fireworks or Water Music suites have some very nice passages quite suitable for wedding music imho. Princess Diana had a wonderful selection of music played at the royal wedding in 1981, if you can find a site that lists them. There’s another one I’m thinking of but can’t recall the name of either the selection or the composer, unfortunately.

Good luck - like someone else mentioned, if the wedding is in a church, you’ll likely have to run the choices by the minister and organist.

I missed the edit window!

The music played at Charles and Diana’s wedding were the following fanfares, hymns and anthems:

• the first piece of music was ‘Fanfare Royale’, by Major W. Jackson (played by the State Trumpeters)

• during the bridal processional: ‘Trumpet Voluntary (The Prince of Denmark’s March)’, by Jeremiah Clarke

• during the ceremony: ‘Christ is made the sure Foundation’, by Henry Purcell; ‘I vow to thee my country’, words by Sir Cecil Spring-Rice, music by Gustav Holst; ‘I was glad’, by Sir Hubert Parry; and ‘Let the people praise thee’, by William Mathias (specially composed for Diana and Charles’s wedding)

• during the signing of the register: ‘March from the Overture to the Occasional Oratorio’, by Handel as well as ‘Let the Bright Seraphim’, sung by Dame Kiri te Kanawa and ‘Let their celestial concerts all unite’, performed by the Bach Choir

• during the recessional: ‘Fanfare, Rejoicing’, by Major A. Richards and ‘Pomp and Circumstance, March No. 4 in G’, by Edward Elgar

The above is courtesy a web page on Diana.

Two classical pieces I really like are Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze” and “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” I would call them traditional, but not overplayed (yet).

Just please don’t use Pachelbel’s Canon. Every wedding I’ve attended for the last ten years has that one. What was once a beautiful piece now just makes me roll my eyes. I feel sorry for the poor musicians who have to play it over and over.

Might be appropriate, as the bride makes her entrance, to play Hail to the Chief.

I don’t remember our entire program, but I do know we had Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise as pre-ceremony music (sung by a soprano), and I believe my wife walked down to the Charpentier’s Te Deum (prelude), and we walked out to the Widor Toccata.

I thought it all worked rather well. The Toccata in particular I thought was a nice exit. Here’s a performance. I don’t remember what the attendants entered to.

Best Friend by Queen?

If you’re getting married in a synagogue, you’re unlikely to be allowed to use the traditional Lohengrin march, unless the synagogue is very Reform. Wagner’s music is not favored in a lot of synagogues because Wagner was such an antisemite and because the Nazis liked his music (though I think it’s mostly because the Lohengrin march is so closely associated with Christian wedding ceremonies, and it’s not in for Jewish weddings to try to be too much like Christian weddings these days)

I was Best Man at a wedding that had the theme from Star Wars as the processional and Elvis’ Burnin’ Love for the recessional. That was pretty cool. The groom was miked for the video and when the bride made her entrance with the Star Wars theme just starting to build you can hear him, in the video, say “Awesome” to himself.

We walked down the aisle to Tom Waits’ Little Trip to Heaven on the Wings of Your Love, and it was fantastic. :slight_smile:

Our aisle-walking song is most likely going to be a choral version of Pachelbel’s Canon. (Link)

Signing of the registry will be Hard to Concentrate by Red Hot Chili Peppers. (Link)

We haven’t decided on the exit music yet.

We’re not having dancing at our reception but The Luckiest by Ben Folds seems to be a popular choice for the first dance. (Link)

Never mind that it’s from his worst album, but I always thought I’d like one of the two versions of David Bowie’s “The Wedding” played at mine. It’s from Black Tie White Noise, which I find almost unlistenable otherwise.

I love Rimsky-Korsakov’s PROCESSION OF THE NOBLES- wish I could link. Or you could go showtune and have the wedding song One Hand, One Heart from West Side Story (or better yet, Sunrise Sunset- Topol’s not doing a lot these days so he’d probably sing it himself).

ETA: You can listen to the first minute of R-K’s PotN’shere (it’s track six).

Since someone brought up David Bowie, how about “Soul Love”? If you are planning to have fast dancing at the reception, Bowie’s “Sufragette City” is great.

Other non-traditional music: Leonard Cohen’s “There ain’t no cure, there ain’t no cure, there ain’t no cure for love.”. Van Morrison’s version of “I Put a Spell on You”. Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight”.

For instrumental, Mark Knopfler’s “Once Upon a Time…Storybook Love”. I think it was from A Princess Bride.