Popular wedding music choices


The Ceremony


Congratulations! You are now at that exciting stage in your life when your whole existence is centred around the 7th most stressful life event (according to Pain Doctor)… marriage. These are majorly exciting times with more than enough to plan and think about SO here are some tips to ensure the music side of events runs smoothly.

Can’t decide what kind of musician you want? String quartets, harpists and violinists are by far the most popular choices of musician for the wedding ceremony for a traditional feel.



Music specifications


Make sure your musicians have your song specifications for: the ceremony entrance, the signing of the registers and the exit. Signing the registers can take a few minutes so maybe think about having a few choices for this part.


If you’re having a non-religious civil ceremony, it’s good to keep in mind you may not be able to use religious music in England or Wales. Check with your registrar if they enforce this law so you’re in no danger of being booted out of the building halfway through the wedding ceremony!



Common confusions


Did you know – there are two popular wedding marches people often mix up! Make sure you know if you want your amble down the aisle to be accompanied by Mendelssohn (written for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) or Wagner (here comes the bride, naaah naah nah naaah…) from the opera, Lohengrin as Elsa marries her unknown hero.


‘Here comes the bride’ may be one of the first tunes that pop into your head when the ‘w’ word is dropped but it hasn’t actually been around for that long. It was first used as a wedding march at the royal wedding of Princess Victoria to Prince Frederick William of Prussia in 1858, only 8 years after its premiere.


To deepen the confusion, there are also two different popular ‘Ave Maria’s which are also commonly confused. Schubert and Gounod both set music to the ancient Latin, although Schubert’s setting became popularised more recently with Beyonce’s rewrite.


Stuck for inspiration? Here are some popular ceremony music suggestions selected from our in-house repertoire list (or alternatively, make a quick enquiry to our team): -



·      Adele ‘Make you feel my love’

·      Beyonce ‘Halo’

·      Bruno Mars ‘Marry you’

·      Christina Perry ‘1000 years’

·      Des’ree ‘Kissing you’

·      Ed Sheeran ‘Perfect’

·      Elton John ‘Your song’

·      Eva Cassidy ‘Songbird’

·      Hozier ‘Take me to church’

·      McFly ‘It’s all about you’

·      Snow Patrol ‘Chasing Cars’

·      Take That ‘The Greatest Day’



·      ABBA ‘I do I do I do’

·      The Beach Boys ‘God only knows’

·      The Beatles ‘All you need is love’, ‘Here comes the sun’

·      George Gershwin ‘Summertime’

·      Etta James ‘At last’

·      Elvis Presley ‘Can’t help falling in love’

·      Frank Sinatra ‘Strangers in the night’

·      Louis Armstrong ‘What a wonderful world’

·      Queen ’Somebody to Love’, ‘You’re my best friend’

·      Stevie Wonder ‘Isn’t she lovely’

·      Meredith Wilson ‘Till there was you’



·      Bach ‘Jesu Joy of Our Desiring’

·      Beethoven ‘Ode to Joy’

·      Clarke ‘Trumpet Voluntary’

·      Debussy ‘Clair de Lune’

·      Delibes ‘Flower Duet’

·      Jenkins ‘Palladio’

·      Mendelssohn ‘Wedding March’

·      Mozart ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’

·      Offenbach ‘Barcarolle’

·      Pachelbel ‘Canon in D’

·      Puccini ‘Nessun Dorma’

·      Schubert ‘Ave Maria’

·      Wagner ‘Wedding Chorus’


Awkward avoidance…


It is always a good idea to do some research into the contexts of your chosen songs, even just as simply as reading through the lyrics! Many a time has a musician started played with trepidation the Les Mis classic, ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, hoping the tightly embracing couple will not remember the lyrics describing the crushing of a young girl’s dreams beyond repair as she struggles with poverty, prostitution and tuberculosis.


But for our own hilarity here are some of our favourite inappropriate wedding song choices: -


·      Lionel Bart ‘As Long as he Needs Me’ – a real banger looking at the positives of staying in a toxic relationship

·      The Beatles ‘Yesterday’ – yearning for a time far from the present, before love broke you

·      The Fray ‘How to Save a Life’ – exploring in great detail how love can easily turn to bitterness

·      The Killers ‘Mr Brightside’– a banging party tune hammering home the jealous paranoia of being madly in love


The Reception




Breathe out, undo your tightly bound hair plaits and move onto the real party of the day, the reception. First things first; what mood are you going for? A jazz quartet would be perfect to spark a lively atmosphere, or perhaps a string quartet would be ideal for a more formal occasion.


Is it a posh black-tie event? Usually our musicians wear all-black for their events – if you find this too funereal for your wedding do you have a desired dress code? (Musicians will never pass up a chance to dress up and party like fools. Guaranteed.)



Did you know it only became popular to wear a white wedding dress from the marriage of Queen Victoria in 1840? Before this, brighter colours were more traditional such as red, blue or even good old spill-able, rip-able, practical black.




There are a few practicalities to keep in mind when thinking about live music, starting with room capacity and feasibility. Think about the size of the ensemble and how much equipment they have (this will directly affect their setup time), is there access to enough electric plug sockets? You don’t want your 4-piece jazz band scraping their instruments across the walls to fit into that primely placed alcove in the corner of your front room.


Does the venue have any noise restrictions? This is useful information to pass onto the ensemble, so they can adjust their sound levels accordingly. Quite often now venues will be legally required have sound limiters in place to ensure the noise doesn’t become a nuisance to neighbours… sometimes resulting in a lively wedding party being plunged into blackout! This will never be an issue with acoustic classical musicians, far too genteel. However, to avoid this with amplified soloists or bands, liaise with your musicians so they know to be aware of their balancing.


Aside from that don’t bother worrying about equipment. Ensembles will usually have all the equipment they need, although it is always a good idea to liaise with musicians to make sure they have access to everything required.


Lugging massive PA systems can be a real drag (!) on the tube for your band and others around them. It’s worth checking if there is parking required / available for the musicians at the venue?


Do you want to get your cringe on and incorporate some karaoke? Check with your band if this is something they can offer (and if their pride won’t be seriously damaged).



Some first dance song suggestions…



·      Aladdin ‘A whole new world’

·      Beauty and the Beast ‘Tale as old as time’

·      Bruno Mars ‘Just the way you are’

·      Des’ree ‘Kissing you’

·      Ed Sheeran ‘Thinking out loud’

·      Elton John ‘Can you feel the love tonight’

·      Madness ‘It must be love’

·      Paramore ‘The only exception’

·      Sam Smith ‘Stay with me’

·      Take That ‘How deep is your love’

·      Tangled ‘I see the light’



·      Ben E King ‘Stand by me’

·      Dirty Dancing ‘Time of my life’

·      Cyndi Lauper ‘Time after time’

·      Eva Cassidy ‘Fields of Gold’

·      The Killers ‘Human’

·      The Marcels ‘Blue Moon’

·      The Temptations ‘My girl’

·      The Wizard of Oz ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’


Classical (can be arranged for band)

·      Bach ‘Air’ from ‘Suite No.3’ in D Major

·      Debussy ‘Clair de Lune’, ‘The Girl with the Flaxen Hair’

·      Delibes ‘Flower Duet’

·      Chopin ‘Nocturne’ in Eb Major

·      Einaudi ‘I Giorni’

·      Offenbach ‘Barcarolle’

·      Puccini ‘O mio babbino caro’

·      Rachmaninov ‘Vocalise’

·      Satie ‘Gymnopedie No. 1’

·      Schubert ‘Ave Maria’

·      Tchaikovsky ‘Waltz’ from Sleeping Beauty

·      Yiruma ‘River Flows in You’


But if you’re an edgy hooligan who spurns gushy societal norms here are a few alternative song choices for your first wiggle as a married couple: -


·      Aqua ‘Barbie Girl’

·      DJ Casper ‘Cha Cha Slide’

·      Kings of Leon ‘Sex on Fire’

·      LMFAO ‘Sexy and I Know It’

·      Los Del Rio ‘Macarena’

·      O’Brien ‘Time Warp’

·      The Police ‘Every Breath You Take’

·      Queen ‘We are the Champions’

·      Rihanna ‘Rude Boy’

·      The Ting Tings ‘Shut Up and Let Me Go’

·      The Tweets ‘Chicken Dance’

·      Village People ‘YMCA’

 If there are any songs you would like that you can’t find on our repertoire list (drop us an email) we will be more than happy to source it for you cheaply online or refer it to our in-house arranger.


The music choices to soundtrack your wedding should reflect you as a couple, your friends and family you have around you and the atmosphere you want to give one of the most significant days of your life. If the music goes well, almost anything else can be forgiven!


Take all the time you need to make these important decisions and happy arranging :)