String Quartet Music to walk up the aisle to….
By vaughan • 4th July 2009 • Posted in: Weddings We've Played At
One of the main services we provide for weddings and civil partnerships is playing music for the ‘processional’ (walking up the aisle). Very often, couples have a firm idea of what they’d like playing, even before they hire a string quartet or string duo and there are certainly some popular pieces which can make a wedding seem very traditional, even when the ceremony is being held in a contemporary or civil wedding venue.
Firstly, when a wedding is not being held in a church, we are not usually allowed to play music that has a religious association, although some registrars are more flexible about pieces than others. For example, a piece such as Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring would probably not be acceptable, but something like ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams or ‘God Only Knows’ by the Beach Boys would be at the discretion of the individual registrar – some will allow it, and some will not.
In terms of processional music, obviously it’s entirely up to the couple getting married what they have and we’re more than happy to play virtually anything from our playlist. There are though some very traditional bridal – here’s a short description of each one.
Pachebel’s Canon in D. (see earlier blog entry!)
Mendelssohn’s Wedding March from ‘A midsummer nights’ dream.
There is a sound clip of this on our playlist page and most people will recognise it instantly. This first was written in 1843 and became popular in 1847 , receiving a boost in 1858 when Queen Victoria’s daughter (the Princess Royal) used it at Windsor to exit her wedding. Since then it’s become a very traditional piece for the end of the ceremony as the couple walk back down the aisle. Originally composed as a piece of incidental music for the Shakespeare play ‘A midsummer Nights Dream’, it is upbeat and celebratory in nature.
Wagner – Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin (Here Comes The Bride)
A traditional choice for the Bridal entrance, this is from Wagner’s opera ‘Lohengrin’ – often played for weddings on a church organ, this has been popular since the mid 19th century but works beautifully for string quartet. In the original opera, the piece is actually sung after the ceremony and unfortunately the marriage is a terrible failure, but nonetheless the music itself is an enduring favourite for processional music everywhere. The piece is quite formal and elegant and it’s so synonymous with weddings, as soon as the first few bars are played, guests will usually stop talking and stand up. Again a sample of this can be heard on the jukebox of our playlist page.
Mozart – Wedding March from the Marriage of Figaro
Composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, this is a popular and jubilant piece which can be used either at the beginning or the end of the wedding. It’s probably a slightly less common choice than the Wagner or Mendelssohn as a wedding march but nonetheless it’s a charming alternative for people who want to keep their wedding music traditional, yet would like something a little bit different.
Naturally, there are lots of other popular classical choices such as Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Bach’s Air on a G String, Handel’s Music from the Royal Fireworks, Purcell’s Trumpet Tune, Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary (The Prince of Denmark’s March) or Charpentier’s Te Deum.
These days, plenty of couples wish to hire a modern string quartet who play pop music and of course, we’re happy to oblige – whether this is for the drinks reception, or even the ceremony itself!
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