Classical Wedding Music for Your Contemporary Celebration

Music is a great way to both personalize and set the overall tone of your ceremony. With modern times, more and more couples are thinking outside the box and choosing a variety of songs, realizing there is more to life than “Here Comes The Bride”. One caveat, check with your house of worship or officiant before-hand as many have restrictions on the types of music that they will allow to be played, usually barring any type of “secular” (non-religious/non-classical) music. If that’s the case, don’t worry, there are still a multitude of options to give your wedding a fresh feel while still remaining true to the classics.

“The Prince of Denmark’s March” by Jeremiah Clarke. A popular choice for weddings with a unique tie to history, this beautiful piece was actually used during the wedding of Lady Diana and Prince Charles. It’s a bright and truly unique classical song, particularly striking when accompanied by trumpet and makes a great processional for the bride. Fun Fact: for you Comedy Central fans, this song is regularly featured on The Colbert Report as a theme for recurring features.
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“Winter” Largo or “Spring” Allegro from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi. Couples who are looking to tie the season of their ceremony to their music selections would do well to choose a selection from the Four Seasons, Vivaldi’s best known work. There are four concertos, each for a different season, with three movements each. The Largo portion of “Winter” makes for a graceful, stately procession suitable for mothers of the bridal couple or even bridesmaids. In contrast, the Allegro portion of “Spring” is a quick, light-hearted dance of a song, perfect for the flower girl as well as any other bridal party processional. To capture the true spirit of the Vivaldi pieces, violins should be considered.
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“Air On The G String” by Johann Sebastian Bach. If you can stifle the inevitable giggles that start as soon as you mention the title of this piece, you might just fall in love with this selection for your own wedding. It was given its name when a violinist back in the 19th century was able to play the entire piece on only the G string of his violin after transposing the melody. It also has some classic rock street cred as having been sampled for The Beatles’ movie “Yellow Submarine” and Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”. Pop culture references notwithstanding, the song is a beautiful, lilting melody suitable for any wedding occasion.
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“Wedding March” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Felix Mendelssohn. The most famous classical wedding song that you’ve never heard of, this is a beautiful piece for a grand, festive recessional. Traditionally, it’s often used along with the standard “Here Comes The Bride”, with the standard pipe organ arrangement. I vastly prefer to see it used with other, less stagnant selections, and with the addition of a brass quartet to really bring out the brilliant fanfare.
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“Wachet Auf” (Sleepers, Awake!) by Johann Sebastian Bach. I admit to being terribly biased for this song as it was used for my own wedding for my bridal party processional. It has a whimsical, softly light-hearted cadence which lends well to anything from an evening holiday affair to an afternoon spring celebration. This song sounds beautiful with more delicate instruments; piano, strings and the like, and if you can swing a harpsichord, you’ll be transported back in time instantly.
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Natalie Jennings is a wedding coordinator at La Vida Dulce and Chihuahua enthusiast from the southside of Indianapolis, IN

photo credit: Silver Birch Photography

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One Comment

  1. Posted June 14, 2010 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the selections of Classical wedding songs. I will add this to my new lists of wedding songs.

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