The Bridal Entrance Music – Songs to Walk Down the Aisle To
In many traditional weddings (both church weddings and civil ceremonies) the most favoured pieces of music for the bride to enter to (the processional) are either Pachelbel’s Canon in D or Wagner’s Bridal Chorus (from ‘Lohengrin’). But what about brides who do not wish to use the traditional wedding march? What alternative bridal entrance music do people choose for something a little fresh and different? After all, your wedding service will most likely be one of the most personal experiences of your life, so many people want an original alternative to ‘here comes the bride’. . .
Every wedding string quartet probably have their own ideas about the ideal piece of music for a bride to enter to and since playing at over 700 weddings, we have experienced many unique requests as well as original ideas for the bridal entrance music. Many of these are modern rock and pop songs played by the string quartet which have particular significance for the bridal couple involved. I remember a particularly memorable wedding which took place in Essex, where the bride entered to the Guns ‘n’ Roses classic, ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’. The whole event was a real party with everyone getting involved in the celebrations. Although certain pop songs may not be appropriate for that special moment (Abba’s ‘Take a Chance on Me’, the Eurythmics ‘Thorn in My Side’ or ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’ might not be ideal), string arrangements of songs such as The Beatles’s ‘All You Need Is Love’ or Madness ‘It Must Be Love’ do often say it all and raise a few smiles in the assembled guests.
In fact, as an alternative to the Wedding March (which we’ll refer to as the ‘Bridal Chorus’ to avoid any confusion!), couples increasingly choose more modern songs for their bridal processional music. And with many string quartets offering an arrangement service, the options are now very wide indeed. On a cautionary note, do check whether your string quartet arranges their songs from sheet music publications or direct from the track. If music has been arranged from sheet music originally intended from a piano, although it is quicker to do, the end result will lack a lot of the detail contained in the track and may end up sounding a little drab. As ever, the quality of string quartet wedding music can vary a lot between groups, so always listen carefully to string quartet sound samples provided on websites or demo CDs.
Not all couples want to have rock and pop music in their ceremony. Many still feel that classical music offers more atmosphere and elegance for the more formal proceedings of the day. Yet they still do not necessarily want to opt for the standard wedding processional songs that string quartets frequently play. For the entrance music, pieces such as Verdi’s ‘Grand March’ (from ‘Aida’) and the Mascagni’s haunting ‘Intermezzo’ (from ‘Cavalleria Rusticana’) are regular favourites.
One thing to be aware of is to avoid any pieces which may have a religious connotation in a civil ceremony (or one which will take place at a non religious). Always check with your registrars, as pieces such as ‘Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring’ may unfortunately not be allowed.
Here is what we have found to be the top ten classical and modern favourites for the bridal entrance
Wagner Bridal Chorus (from ‘Lohengrin’)
Pachelbel Canon in D
Charpentier Prelude (from ‘Te Deum’)
Clarke Prince of Denmark’s March (Trumpet Voluntary)
Mascagni Intermezzo (from ‘Cavalleria Rusticana’)
Bach Air in D
Purcell Trumpet Tune
Vivaldi Allegro from ‘Spring’ (‘The Four Seasons’)
Verdi Grand March (from ‘Aida’)
Handel Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Modern Songs for the Bridal Entrance
Beach Boys: God Only Knows
Des’ree: Kissing You
Snow Patrol: Chasing Cars
Beatles: All You Need Is Love
Elbow: One Day Like This
Sigur Ros: Hoppipolla
Adele/Bob Dylan: Make You Feel My Love
Ben E King: Stand By Me
James Blunt: You’re Beautiful
Foo Fighters: Everlong
Of course, this list is from 2016 and the favourite pieces of popular music are bound to change as new songs are released and become fashionable. But really – as far as weddings go, anything goes and choosing string quartet wedding music can be as personalised as any other aspect of planning the big day!