Suggestions for Wedding Music... NOT Canon in D!!

September 17, 2008 at 05:44 PM · My wedding is coming up, and I am having a hard time thinking of unique music to use for the ceremony. I have played a million weddings and I don't want to use any of the traditional tunes- Jesu, Canon, Trumpet Tune, etc. I will have a string quartet and possibly a pianist, and I am wondering if anyone can suggest some truly beautiful pieces that I could use- in major keys! Please help!!

Replies (37)

September 18, 2008 at 01:04 AM · Maybe have just one violinist and a piano, or a violinist and a small chamber group.

I think having a solo violinist would be something very unique and it's not like many people do it.

I've heard the ravel quartet performed at a funeral and was very appropriate (maybe not so much for a wedding). I like this quartet.

It sounds like you obviously want something unique, and this would be it!

The only one I can think of off the bat would be The Lark Ascending, very dramatic, and his happy moments... It'll be a tough decision either way!

September 18, 2008 at 02:46 AM · Maybe 'Ride of the Valkyries'? That would kind of change the tempo of the whole event....

September 18, 2008 at 04:07 AM · On a more serious note, maybe get some ideas from

September 18, 2008 at 04:14 AM · I love Bach double violin concerto's 2nd movement!

September 18, 2008 at 05:13 AM · One unique wedding we did used the Beatles "When I'm 64" for the recessional. It was light hearted and enjoyable for everyone! Another unusual yet beautiful serenade was a request for "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair."

September 18, 2008 at 05:47 AM · Gretings,

that one might be a bit of a downer in Japan...



September 18, 2008 at 06:30 AM · Maybe some period music theme from the 1930's? Popular music like 'Paper Moon', 'What a Difference a Day Made', 'I Don't Know Why (I Just Do)', stuff like that?

An alternative would be a 'Musical' theme. There may be some songs from 'West Side Story, 'Cats', or others.

Pick a theme, and the rest of the ideas will come.

September 18, 2008 at 11:00 AM · Congratulations!

How about the "Wedding Waltz" - available in an arrangement for flute (violin), violin and "chording instrument" - ISMN M-700275-03-7 - (moving your mouse over the downward pointing arrow will bring you to an excerpt of the sheet music) as well as in an arrangement for two violins - ISMN M-700275-01-3 - (same procedure as above) which I find incredibly effective - two violins creating a "wall of sound".

From the same source, there's also "Russisches Liebeslied" (Russian Love Song) as well as "Yasemin" - sound example available here.

Not all of it is in major keys, but all pieces are very beautiful and arranged by a violinist for violinists.

Bye, J├╝rgen

September 18, 2008 at 11:04 AM · I had a string quartet at my wedding and I didn't have any of the pieces you mentioned . . . but the music wasn't that unique either. I just chose pieces I personally really loved: Vivaldi's Largo from Winter, a string quartet arrangement of Ode to Joy for the recessional, Air on the G string, and the theme from Brahms' symphony No. 1 Mvt. 4 as the processional.

September 18, 2008 at 11:31 AM · There is a lovely piece for piano, 2 violins and cello by Catherine Mc Michael called Pax, which is in her collection called "The Rose Quartet". It's very beautiful, but a bit Canon-like in the first section, as far as the repeated chord progression that allows for easy ending after every 4 or 8 bars. It's in G major.

Our quartet has also used some of the short pieces from Royal Fireworks or Water Music...a couple of them are quite fanfar-ish and in D major. We often use the Overture to WM in D for a recessional. You no doubt have this music in your collection.

We've used "You Raise me Up" (Josh Groban song) in some weddings, though as with any 'song' where listeners know the words, it's hard to use just a part for processional.

And I second the choice of the Brahms theme from 4th symphony. Majestic and sophisticated feeling.

September 18, 2008 at 01:36 PM · I had the Largo from Winter played at my wedding as well. We also used Jesu, a movement or two from various Brandenburg Concertos and I came in to The Flower Duet from Lakme. Our Recessional was Happy Together by The Turtles sung by a men's a capella group. A pretty eclectic mix but we enjoyed it.

September 18, 2008 at 02:59 PM · I think the key thing about wedding music should be that it has loads of relevance/meaning for the happy bride and groom rather than follow the expected "trends".

Obviously you know your music, and I expect your chap has plenty of favourites as well - so my suggestion is what I would have thought was the simplest one: For the two of you to sit down with a piece of paper (...and a bottle of wine!) and write down what you would both most love to hear on YOUR special day and THEN consider your musical resources available and research whether there is already a suitable arrangement, or if you have to maybe get a score/piano version and put something together yourself. (Or come back on here for help!)

September 18, 2008 at 05:54 PM · I had a composer friend write a piece for violin and cello for my niece's wedding. Played by my two granddaughters. And another friend wrote the organ recessional for my wedding, decades ago.

Why not commission something? I'm here to say it makes you feel positively 18th century to do so, and it supports the arts as well.

September 18, 2008 at 10:36 PM · My favorite pieces for weddings currently the Sonatas for two violins by Leclair. All of them are beautiful and the fast movements easily work as processionals and recessionals.

Once, I saw a wedding where the bride's family asked for the Theme from Star Wars. The quartet modified an orchestral arrangement to make it work. It actually worked for the recessional - and made people laugh a bit.

At another wedding I recently attended the bride and groom asked for "At Last" the blues/jazz piece. One of the violinists arranged it - and it was really beautiful.

September 19, 2008 at 03:13 AM · How about 'Rondo a la Turk' for the processional? That will keep the tempo up!

September 19, 2008 at 04:36 AM · A friend arranged "Simple Gifts" for our wedding, though I don't have the arrangement! It was lovely though. And I don't know if you consider this cliche and overdone and something your are sick of, but I always like the Andante from Mozart Divertimento K 136 at a wedding. :)

I'd second that Bach Double second movement, too. Beautiful.

September 19, 2008 at 02:04 PM · You may want to steer your mind into thinking about playing music from the movies or pop culture. There is beautiful music out there that's not classical. I once played "Goodmorning Pringipessa" from the movie Life is Beautiful and it went down beautifully. Another favorite wedding was when we had arranged a string trio to play "Here Comes The Sun" from the Beetles for a bride's entrance. It was outdoor wedding, bright beautiful day and it went perfectly.

September 19, 2008 at 05:44 PM · Recently I played at a wedding where we did an arrangement of a Metal ballad (Metallica song, I think?) It really worked nicely!

September 19, 2008 at 06:52 PM · its not really a wedding piece but i think bach's fantasy on "sleeper's wake" would be interesting....we did it in my chaber ensemble as a processional and it was nice

September 19, 2008 at 09:52 PM · Haydn and Mozart's Quartets always seem to lend a great deal of good taste to weddings, especially at receptions. Of course, the Eine Kline Nachtmusick (Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major, K 525), particularly the Romanza is very nice for the Bride's Processional, although the movies have run it into the ground.

September 20, 2008 at 02:24 AM · I have seen a couple of outdoor weddings where the quartet played Ravel and Debussy. Absolutely gorgeous! People at the park, not even involved with the wedding came close just to listen. Ducks were landing in the pond, the azaleas were in bloom - really beautiful.

September 20, 2008 at 06:24 AM · The only string arrangement I've heard of a Metallica song is a song that has words that start "New blood joins this Earth, and quickly he's subdued."


September 21, 2008 at 12:16 AM · My daughter chose Enya's Silver Inches for the bridesmaids entrance and Flora's Secret for her procession and the recessional. The music was absolutely gorgeous and the perfect mood. It still makes me cry to hear it now.

September 22, 2008 at 08:53 AM · No. 1 & 3 of the "Romantic Pieces" for Violin and Piano by Dvorak are really nice pieces and good for weddings.

December 31, 2008 at 07:28 PM ·

Suggestions, I hope this may be of help to you:

Bridesmaids:  Enya "Watermark"

Bridal Entry: Aaron Copeland "Simple Gifts (from Appalacian Spring)" - that's a very grand bridal entrance, however or Trumpet Voluntary (by Clarke I believe)

For the mothers: Bach "Air" from Suite No. 1, or Handel "Air" from Watermusik


December 31, 2008 at 07:46 PM ·

Are The Four Seasons ever performed at weddings? Why not do that. Or the Shostakovich violin duets.

December 31, 2008 at 08:10 PM ·

 On a similar note, I'm playing the piano and possibly violin for my cousin's rehearsal dinner. I literally have no idea what to play; any suggestions?

December 31, 2008 at 08:34 PM ·

Hhmmm... Um maybe Clair de lune or something like that... That's all I can think of unless you're playing things like the Beethoven Sonatas. If so, the Moonlight Sonata is awesome to listen to performed live.

December 31, 2008 at 09:58 PM ·

What about the Borodin quartet in D, first movement?  You could plan cut off points because of course it wouldn't take the whole movement but it is gorgeous, or use the whole thing for the bridal party to walk down to.  I also like Simple Gifts and Spring and Winter from Vivaldi's Four Seasons although I know these are fairly common.  Loch Lomond is beautiful too.  I made an arrangement of it for string quartet that is pretty nice and can be easily made longer if necessary. If you're interested email me. 

December 31, 2008 at 11:00 PM ·

Adam, may I ask, how formal would the dinner be?  Will anyone be accompanying you, etc?  Let me know, I may be able to suggest a few things that may help you. 


:) Valerie

January 1, 2009 at 07:38 AM ·

I third the Bach Double, second movement for the processional.  My other favorite is Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, arranged for string quartet, for the processional.  It's so moving to me.  I also second the Borodin.  That's lovely, too.  Let us know what you decide!

January 2, 2009 at 02:51 AM ·

I've never really thought about quartet literature for that--

Were I to organize a wedding today I would love a chance to order up the Sinfonia from Bach's 29th Cantata-- a splashy arrangement of the E-major Preludio for orchestra and organ.  That music always seems to evoke the patter of a high-class carnival barker and what better way to play people in to a service?

The 2nd movement from the double concerto is useful for during the service, if you want that.  There is a wonderful description of that music toward the end of Dorothy Sayers's Gaudy Night, and it fits very well with this event.  You could do this with 2 violins and piano, or with string quartet.  There's a nice Kreisler recording with that latter arrangement.

 For a graceful exit, there is a good movement from the Water Music (very brisk, in 3) that  should work for strings alone.


January 2, 2009 at 11:15 PM ·


BOLERO by RAVEL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

January 3, 2009 at 12:24 AM ·

I reallly like certain movements of The Four Seasons.

When I hear the 3rd movement of Autumn, I just imagine seeing a bride walking down the isle for some reason. Same thing with the second movement of Winter, largo.

But I find The Four Seasons very wedding appropriate and I'll reccomend them any time someone asks input for wedding music.

May 19, 2009 at 05:39 AM ·

My very good friend Erica walked down the aisle to the second movement of Prokofiev's Vln Conc. No. 2.  It was quite lovely.

May 19, 2009 at 11:19 AM ·

I always thought the Nocturne from Borodin String Quartet No. 2 was lovely.  Not sure where it would go in the ceremony though.

May 19, 2009 at 01:00 PM ·

gee, in as much as this was posted September 17, 2008 , perhaps the wedding bells have already sounded

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