Choosing your Ceremony music can be a daunting task and it can be difficult to know where to start, do you go very traditional or do you try and do something bespoke, modern and stylish?
As the Violinist in nationally acclaimed Violin and Cello Duo ‘The Chapel Hill Duo’ I have guided hundreds of Brides through the process of choosing their ceremony music and have played for Ceremonies of all types. We have played at many weddings where couples were happy for us to choose the music for them, but in our experience it makes for a much more romantic and memorable day when couples put thought and time into choosing their own music together.
Whilst a couple should feel like they can choose whatever special song defines them as a couple it’s perhaps best not to go with things like the ‘Jurassic park theme’ or ‘Thriller’ for the Bride’s entrance, even if it is an ‘in’ joke between the couple. Things like this can always be left for later in the ceremony or for another part of the day (we have played the Star Wars theme during a ceremony before now, as well as David Guetta’s ‘Titanium’ and ‘Don’t You Worry Child’ Swedish House Mafia!)
A warning to Grooms: surprise entrance music like the Darth Vader theme is never a good idea, no matter how funny it seems like it would be when you’re out on your stag! You think I’m joking? We’ve had a few of these over the years despite us advising strongly against it… In the end they always reconsider, much to our relief! I can understand the idea behind this; to do something different, fun and meaningful that you will remember and look back on as a couple for the rest of your lives together. But believe me, chaps, there are better, safer ways to do this…
So, here are our top 10 choices for the entrance of the Bridal party…
10. The Traditional Bridal March and Wedding March
I feel like I have to put these two very Traditional tunes on the list, although they have definitely fallen out of fashion in the last few years. Wagner’s Bridal March, or the ‘Here comes the Bride’ one, is traditionally played for the entrance of the Bridal party and the Mendelssohn Wedding March is traditionally played for the exit, although they can be swapped around.
Sometimes people specifically ask for these for various reasons, either they want a very traditional ceremony, or they genuinely like the music, but I can’t stress enough that YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE THESE PLAYED FOR YOUR CEREMONY IF YOU DON’T WANT TO!
It’s unbelievable the number of times I’ve heard Brides say ‘You mean I don’t have to walk down the aisle to the ‘Here Come the Bride’ one? As if it were their only option! Yes, there is a lot to be said for tradition and these two beautiful pieces do have a lot of tradition behind them which can add a special touch to your day, but having said that, there are more modern traditions that we will get to later which can be just as special.
9. ‘How Long Will I Love You’ by Ellie Goulding
Slow songs really work well to walk down the aisle and this little gem from Ellie Goulding works really well. One of the most important things for an aisle song is to make sure it gets to the main part of the song quickly, if the introduction is too long it is quite easy for the Bride to get down the aisle before the song gets to the interesting part. ‘How Long Will I Love You’ has a wonderful musical shape to it that just fits really well with any entrance.
8. ‘Signed, Sealed Delivered’ by Stevie Wonder
Some Brides like to walk down the aisle to an upbeat song and this joyful number from Stevie Wonder is a great choice for the Bridal party that wants to skip down the aisle to something jazzy. We played a beautiful wedding several years ago where the flower girls were carrying little slates which read ‘Signed’, ‘Sealed’, ‘Delivered’, ‘She’s Yours’. Adorable!
7. ‘All You Need is Love’ by the Beatles and From Love Actually
Who can forget that iconic flash-mob scene at Kiera Knightly’s wedding in Love Actually where they play ‘All You Need is Love’. It’s just so romantic and in a lot of ways this classic song is the perfect song for any part of the ceremony. Somehow it manages to work for the entrance music as well as the exit music and anywhere in between.
6. ‘At Last’ by Etta James
This is another one that works really well just because it is the right speed to walk to – and for a lot of couples the feeling of ‘at last!’ is quite prominent throughout the day. With a very short introduction this beautiful jazz number doesn’t feel odd if you have to cut it a little short. ‘At Last’ works particularly well to enhance the atmosphere of a vintage styled ceremony.
5. ‘Tale as Old as Time’ from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
I do love a good Disney song and lots of Brides (and Grooms) out there do too. A word of warning however, if Disney or this song makes you emotional, have a little ‘practice’ walking down the aisle to it at home. We’ve played this for a few Brides who have burst into tears as soon as they heard it (it’s making me a little emotional right now as I write this!)
I do think that this is one song which really does work better as an instrumental for weddings, rather than having the lyrics, as quite a few Brides will object to their husband-to-be being referred to as a ‘Beast’! But you’ll still get to enjoy the beautiful melody which everyone will recognise.
If you’re not a fan of Beauty and the Beast there are loads of other great Disney songs that work very well, our favourites include ‘At Last I see the Light’ from Tangled and ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ from the Lion King.
4. Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in D’
We haven’t had much classical music so far but this wonderful piece which is over 300 years old has become a sort of modern-tradition in recent years. With some people getting fed up with the Wedding and Bridal Marches this is a wonderful classical alternative. The music is exactly the right speed to walk down the aisle to and it’s very easy to shorten it (or even extend it!) to fit the length of your aisle. ‘Canon in D’ is arguably the best song to walk down the aisle to, it has all the elements to make your day that extra little bit special. It is especially good as a live performance rather than a recording as good musicians will be able to build the music so the entrance of the Bride is the biggest part. I’m biased, but I think having live music can really make a wedding ceremony and this is definitely a song that work best live.
3. ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran
We love Ed Sheeran’s songs and a lot of them work really well for Ceremony music. ‘Thinking Out Loud’ is one of his older songs now but it is still one of our favourites and is a great choice if you want something a little more upbeat to walk down the aisle to. If you like Ed Sheeran but would rather something more recent ‘Perfect’ works really well (and ‘Shape of You’ is just wonderful for exit music!)
2. ‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri
This is quite possibly the most romantic wedding song we currently play. It is so beautiful and even though we have played it so many times it still manages to make us go soft and gooey inside whenever we play it. It never fails to make a Bride feel special.
1. Whatever ‘Your’ special song is!
By far the most special and romantic ceremonies we have played for have been when a couple choose a song together that means something special to them. Maybe it was the song playing when you first saw each other across the dance-floor? Your road trip anthem? Or just a song that you both REALLY love. We have played all manner of things for ceremonies, some of them quite different, but it doesn’t matter because it is a day to celebrate the love between a Bride and Groom and the music we played represented that. Some song requests you wouldn’t even have associated with love, but then those ceremonies turned out to be some of the most romantic we’ve ever played at!
Remember also that there are some great ways to personalise your favourite song, if you hire musicians to play it live there are a lot of ways they can adjust it to help make it work. If the words are a bit gloomy, go for an instrumental version. Bittersweet Symphony is a great example of this, the melody is lovely but the words are a bit of a downer so it definitely works better as an instrumental. If a song is too fast or ‘clubby’ get your musicians to slow it down and calm it down.
Do you love heavy metal but don’t think it would be appropriate for your aisle song?
Maybe think about getting your musicians to arrange a version of your favourite song that isn’t quite so ‘metal’!
The possibilities are endless.
If you’re really stuck pop us a message at www.chapelhillduo.co.uk/contact or www.Facebook.com/ChapelHillDuo and we will see if we can help. Good Luck!