Couples often spend a lot of time thinking about their wedding ceremony music. Processional and  recessional songs are high on the list of musical priorities. But pre-ceremony music often gets short shrift in the long list of decisions to be made. We encourage you not to settle for any old thing, but instead to make intentional choices to set the tone for your special day. 

Here are some ideas that you can use for inspiration when choosing your own pre-ceremony music.

String Quartet Optional

Many couples default to the string quartet, either live or pre-recorded. We love a string quartet! But there are other instrumental choices that you can make that will still be classic, and will also be more unexpected. 

How about an acoustic guitar duet? Or a single harp? Get swingy with a small jazz trio. You could also go big with a full orchestra. (If it's pre-recorded, we mean. No one expects you to hire the local philharmonic to trudge up a hill to your ceremony site.) 

Photo by Dani Leigh Photography 

Brett & Maggie’s Wedding at Chesapeake Bay Beach Club

Also keep in mind—there's no rule that says you have to go "unplugged" pre-ceremony. An instrumental rock band could also be an excellent and intriguing choice. Or, just pick some of your favorite songs and ask your wedding DJ to play music in a similar style!

Classical Music vs. Contemporary Music

Going with a classic string quartet or even a solo piano doesn't mean you have to choose classical music. You certainly can if you like—there's a reason classical music is, well, classic. 

Recently, a bride we're working with was inspired by the series "Bridgerton" on Netflix for her pre-ceremony music. The show plays string covers of contemporary Top 40 hits, which is a great way to give current audiences some context for the music of the era. After all, the Regency ballroom was basically the dance club of its time! Our bride wanted to do something similar for her pre-ceremony tunes, and we were happy to comply.

This is a really fun way to keep the music classy but not classical. You can pick instrumental covers from a single artist with an extensive catalogue like the Beatles or Beyonce, or just choose a selection of assorted contemporary hits. 

This advice holds true for your ceremony music, too!

Consider the Transition

When choosing your wedding prelude songs, think about the transition into your wedding party processional. There should be a clear, but not jarring, transition from pre-ceremony music to processional music. 

A good way to transition smoothly is to choose music from a similar genre, or with similar orchestration. If your processional song is piano and guitar, your pre-ceremony music could be piano and violin, or simply guitar. 

Photo by Dani Leigh Photography
Brett & Maggie’s Wedding at Chesapeake Bay Beach Club

Give Them Something to Listen To!

Whatever you choose, make sure you choose something! No one wants to arrive at an event and sit in silence for 20 minutes. If you don't have a DJ playing music for your ceremony, you can still put together an awesome playlist to provide a little entertainment. Plan for at least 30 minutes of music, but 45 would be even better in case you get started a few minutes late.

If you need help selecting fun or romantic songs for your pre-ceremony time, we can help! Our team are pros at choosing wedding songs for all parts of your big day. 

Header Photo by Dani Leigh Photography 

Published on:

Monday, June 14, 2021