Wedding Ceremony Music

Wedding Ceremony Music
Your choice of music will set the tone for your wedding ceremony. However, there are some special rules you'll need to keep in mind when selecting your wedding music.

Choosing Your Wedding Ceremony Music

There are generally five places in your wedding ceremony that you'll need to select music for:

  • Prelude: This is the music played before the ceremony to welcome guests as they are seated.
  • Procession: The procession is the music by which the members of your wedding party enter the ceremony location.
  • Ceremony: Ceremony music is often performed before readings or the lighting of the unity candle.
  • Recession: Typically louder and faster paced than the processional music, the recessional is the music at the end of the ceremony.
  • Postlude: The postlude is played while guests are waiting to leave the ceremony location. Like the recessional, this music has a joyful tone.

The first person you should consult when selecting your wedding ceremony music is your officiant. Many officiants have strict rules regarding what type of songs are acceptable in a wedding ceremony and may not allow secular music at all. Some churches will also require that you use a particular musician or consult their music coordinator to get your selections pre-approved.

If you wish to include secular music in your wedding ceremony, try to choose songs that match the overall level of formality of your event while paying tribute to your unique relationship as a couple.

For example, you could take inspiration from the first song you ever danced to or the song that was playing in the background on the night your fiancé proposed.

Finding Performers

Couples who want live music for their wedding ceremony should look into booking performers several months before the big day. In larger communities, the most popular performers will book their schedules very early. Prices vary, but expect to spend $200 to $500 for each musician in addition to providing reimbursement for travel costs.

When hiring professional musicians, ask if you can attend a function where they'll be playing to get a better feel for their sound. Listening to website demos is helpful, but nothing replaces a live performance for helping you make an informed decision.

If you're on a tight budget, an alternative to hiring professional musicians would be to have a friend or family member perform as their wedding gift to you. A talented local college student who is studying music may also be a good choice. The professors in the music department should be happy to recommend promising students if you ask nicely.

Including Music in Your Wedding Program

Your wedding program is used to help guests understand the flow of your ceremony, so it's a good idea to include the name of the performer and the title of the piece with each musical selection. Naming the music in your program is especially helpful when you've chosen non-traditional songs that won’t be automatically recognized by your guests.

If there will be young children at your wedding, you may want to include a note in your program that indicates whether or not a particular piece will be very loud. This will let parents know that they might need to cover a child's ears or remove him from the ceremony location to prevent crying that might disturb other guests.

Sending Thank You Cards

If you have live music at your wedding ceremony, it's important to remember to send thank you cards to the performers. You have up to three months to send thank you cards after your wedding, but it's best to send them as soon as possible. A simple handwritten note expressing your appreciation for the musician's contribution to your special day takes just a few minutes to write, but shows your thoughtfulness in a big way.

Many of the wedding invitations and programs featured on The Printable Wedding come with matching thank you cards that can be used to create a cohesive look for all your wedding stationery. Print out a large stack of cards and purchase several books of stamps before your wedding, enlisting the help of your bridesmaids if necessary. Then, you'll be able to easily write and mail thank you notes as needed.


Written by: The Printable Wedding Team