Help! I need a wedding ceremony song

July 29, 2008 at 09:12 PM · I am not a violinist, but I am getting married and I plan to have a violinist play during the ceremony. I want to have a song that is beautiful but I don't want to hear the same old ceremony songs like Pachelbel's Canon in D. Does anyone have suggestions for a good ceremony song to be played by a solo violinist?

Replies (26)

July 29, 2008 at 09:50 PM · Death and the Maiden?

July 29, 2008 at 10:55 PM · La donne e mobile?

(Don't laugh - a mischievous friend of mine played that at a wedding reception!)

July 29, 2008 at 11:02 PM · I once played "banjo and fiddle" by Kroll at a wedding for a processional. Not very traditional, but everyone loved it.

They got divorced 3 months later so that might be a warning! ;)

Some movements of Bach for solo violin could be really good. You will need to hire a really good violinist for that.

July 29, 2008 at 10:56 PM · You can narrow your choices by making a few simple decisions:

Violin alone, or violin with piano/organ/keyboard?

Pop, Folk, or Classical?

Slow tempo, chipper tempo, or in between tempo?

You can always buy one of those tacky Wedding Music CDs, at any number of fine retailers, (online, or brick and mortar), or you can get the violinist you hire to play pieces for you, and choose what you like. There are a lot of beautiful and appropriate pieces to pick from.

I personally like "Sheep May Safely Graze" by J.S. Bach, or "Intermezzo from 'Cavalleria Rusticana'" by Pietro Mascagni.

Congratulations, and Happy Wedding Planning!

July 30, 2008 at 01:58 AM · Personally, I love the second movement from Bach's Double Violin Concerto.

July 30, 2008 at 12:34 PM · some suggestions:

Tempo di Minuetto-Fritz Kreisler (a piece in 3/4 time, begging to be a processional).

Adoration-Borowski (an excellent, though slightly cheesy recessional/postlude)

Sicilienne-Paradies (beautiful and short; can be made shorter without repeats)

some nice, but longer slow selections:

Adagio in E Major, K. 261- Mozart

2nd movement of Sonatina #3 by Schubert

2nd movement of Spring Sonata by Beethoven

2nd movement of Concerto #1 in A Minor by Bach

2nd movement of Concerto #1 in C Major by Haydn

(see a trend...)

The Mascagni Intermezzo is a great piece, but there is lots of betrayal/fighting to the death during and after when it is played in the opera!

July 30, 2008 at 01:28 PM · Anniversary Song (Waltz)from the movie "The Al Jolson Story." More often played for anniversary celebrations, but it's romantic and fits weddings to, in my opinion.

The music is still in "copywrite, but the words and audio performance can downloaded from the internet (different sites) and it is easy enough to transcribe the familiar tune from that. Or you can buy the sheet music at a music store for about $4.

Another one that really works (for the parents, especially) is "Sunrise, Sunset" from "Fiddler on the Roof."


July 30, 2008 at 02:26 PM · Em, Liebesfreud (Love's Joy) by Fritz Kreisler?

Grand, and happy, very nice piece.

Another vote for second movement from Bach's Double Violin Concerto. Similar to Canon in D, but you need 2 violinists, though.

July 30, 2008 at 04:18 PM · Bach's "Air on the G String" would seem to provide the proper mood (depending on how your ceremony is structured). The slow movement of the 1st Tchaikovsky quartet would also work, but I don't know if there is a violin only arrangement. The old Shaker tune "Simple Gifts" was sung solo at our wedding (Quaker), but I again don't know if there is a solo violin arrangement (shouldn't be too hard to come up with one).

Congratulations and good luck!

July 30, 2008 at 05:27 PM · I played "Sheep may Safely Graze" on the violin at my brother's wedding, with a vocal soloist (a friend of the bridal couple) and an organ accompanying both of us. It turned out nice. They also said I could choose something on my own for background music while the guests were filing in, so I played the 2nd and 4th movements from the Handel violin sonata in F major, which were just fun and sprightly and cheerful for people as they came in and got settled. I'm also partial to Vivaldi's Largo from Winter and I had that played at my own wedding.

July 30, 2008 at 05:49 PM · I recently played "La vie en Rose" for the bride to come down the aisle. Not traditional but it had a nice touch to it. Of course there is always "Con te Partiro". Again, not traditional but also lovely. We've all done the "Thais" Meditation and that works. "O mio babbino caro", the Offenbach "Barcarolle", the second movement of Vivaldi's "Winter" concerto, Drdla's "Souvenier". Those are just a few. Someone suggested earlier listening to some of the wedding compilation cd's for some ideas. That is probably the best. If you have a violinist in mind you could always ask them what they think too. If they do this sort of thing regulary they probably have some non traditional stuff they already have prepared.

July 30, 2008 at 06:14 PM · One of the reasons many people choose Canon in D is that there are many good stopping places which is something very important to consider because you may need more or less music than you think for how long it takes to walk the aisle. Basically, the best thing is to discuss this in advance with your violinist what he/she suggests. A few beautiful yet simple tunes with ample stopping places are Simple Gifts and Loch Lomond. I have also used Vivaldi's Spring on solo violin for a bridal entrance. An idea for a possible recessional could be What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. Good luck with your planning!

July 30, 2008 at 08:09 PM · I used Handel's "Largo" from Xerxes for the procession of my attendants, which works well on violin and piano (or organ). I also had a cellist play the Bach Arioso (which you can find for violin) in the middle of the ceremony. Both gorgeous pieces that have a similar flavor to the Pachelbel canon but aren't so overused.

July 30, 2008 at 08:26 PM · I am also fond of Largo from "Winter" by Vivaldi (four seasons)

or the Romance, 2nd mvt from Eine Kleine Nacht musik.

Good luck!

July 30, 2008 at 09:54 PM · What part of the ceremony are you talking about - Prelude, Seating of Family, Wedding Party Entrance, Unity Candle, Recessional? Also the ensemble is important to know - what works for violin and piano does not alwasy work with a solo violin. Excerpts from Vivaldi's Seasons are good and varied enough to serve different aspects of the ceremony and most will work as for solo violin. Pachelbel really doesn't work for solo violin IMHO - so it's good to avoid as you obviously want to do. There are tons of wonderful Bach pieces that work great on solo violin (just look at a Suzuki book) If you really want something different, get a Celtic fiddler to play a variety of tunes for the various parts of the ceremony. Ashokan Farewell is beautiful and works on solo violin.

July 30, 2008 at 10:18 PM · I had a request to play a song called "My Memory" ...I played in a duo with a guitarist, and it was pretty easy to extract the melody from the piano part. I have the sheet music if you want it emailed...

Check my profile or visit this link ( for a quick example of how it sounds (it was a "rough draft" recording of the first section we sent to the bride).

I thought it was great for something a little different, and very sweet. It could potentially work well for solo violin for a clever violinist...but works fantastically as a duo piece also.

July 30, 2008 at 10:57 PM · There are many great options above - perhaps also the Dvorak Romance in F minor? It is a bit long (9 mins?) but very moving and probably off-the-beaten-path in the wedding world.

July 31, 2008 at 06:02 AM · I've done Elgar Salut d'amour. It seems to fit. As someone else said, it depends on what part of the ceremony you will play in.


July 31, 2008 at 05:01 PM · William Ryden's Wedding Album, Vol. 1 has a lovely version of the Schumann song Du Ring an meinem Finger. It can be found on Shar under string quartets for about $13 (it includes many other selections too).

July 31, 2008 at 05:35 PM · "I've done Elgar Salut d'amour. It seems to fit."

That's a beautiful tune.

A possible problem with playing 'real' music as processional is cutting it down to fit. I've played countless unusual tunes for weddings (on piano)but I think my favorites are the traditional processional tunes. People are accustomed to these tunes and recognize what's going on when they hear them - that's why they're used so much. I once played the theme from Batman for the ring bearer to walk up the aisle... you might try that!

For my (our) wedding we had wonderful music for prelude (string quartet, piano and voice, etc.)and postlude (brass and organ)and standard tunes for ceremony - played well, of course.

We had many wonderful friends offer their musical talents which made it a memorable event for all who attended.

July 31, 2008 at 10:25 PM · As Bonny notes stopping points are something to consider. Also, a song that can extend easily if things go too slowly. I heard a duet of Jesu, Joy of Man's Desire. Great. The wedding party was behind schedule due to some drama. That song kept going without any problem. They never ran out of song and it came to an elegant conclusion to fit the cast of characters.

The worst thing is when you have a song and you end too soon. Things happen and I have heard players start over and then have to stop in the middle because the bride was late.

August 1, 2008 at 10:11 PM · Making it fit depends on two things: Picking a piece with lots of stopping points, and having a player who has a knack for doing this. It is easier with a solo instrument as long as the piece is amenable, which usually means a very simpel chordal structure that comes back to the one or 5 chord regularly. Jesu is good, except there is one part where is goes on a bit with no good stopping point. The Wagner wedding March and the Trumpet Voluntary are unmatched at having easy control over the timing. A good wedding musician will be adept at adjusting tempo, judging whether to repeat back or go on and at that critical end, being able to roll back a couple of measures to stretch the ending if needed. So yes, if timing on the entrance is improtant, go standard for this piece, eveything else can afford a little more leeway.

August 2, 2008 at 01:56 PM · More advice for Anna:

Get a decent wedding coordinator. Get a wedding coordinator that has years and years of experience. Get a wedding coordinator that is your mother's, or grandmother's age.

Any experienced musician can time just about any piece down any length of aisle, but if you don't have a competant coordinator standing in the back, giving decent cues, it is difficult to pull off the music well.

Also, if you are getting married in a church/temple/cathedral, make sure the music you choose gets the okey-dokey from the minister/rabbi/priest. Many houses of worship have rules about what kind of music can be used, and what cannot be used.

August 3, 2008 at 09:06 PM · I played a wedding once where the bride wanted Canon in D (you know, that New Age tune by George Winston....)for her bridesmaids processional. The minister told me he would signal to me when I should begin playing... so I began when the agreed upon cue was given. After lord knows how many minutes and improvised variations with no one processing, the wedding coordinator came up behind me and told me they would be ready to begin soon! It went off without a hitch, but....

Make sure one person is in charge of the event and that everything is clear to worker bees and support people so that the special people of the day only have to do (and see)what they are there for.

I once did a wedding in a resort area where the bride's mother flew in for breakfast a couple of times so that we could discuss music for the wedding.. seriously!! When the bride finally flew in to meet and hear me play, she told me she didn't like any trills in music. I played her wedding 100% trill free.

August 3, 2008 at 10:10 PM · Trill free? Really?

August 4, 2008 at 12:02 AM · The trill is gone...

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