Bridal Processional Options

October 15, 2017, 2:27 PM · When it comes to playing violin for weddings, I try to offer brides the same repertoire all the time. Now that I'm preparing for my own wedding, though, I would really like it to be unique. Does anyone have any suggestions for great/unique classical/sacred pieces that are stately enough to be used as a processional? I'm thinking about using string quartet for the seating of the parents and grandparents, and for the beginning of the processional, climaxing with organ for the bridal entrance. Thank you!

Replies (12)

October 15, 2017, 2:51 PM · I've always loved Bach for weddings. My high school violin teacher played the Andante from the second Bach solo sonata for our processional. It worked really well. Of course, she's really good and was unfazed by the pressure; not sure one should expect that level of performance from a typical wedding gig player (no slight intended!)

Other movements that could work are the Loure from the 3rd Partita (and use one of the peppier movements for processing out) or the Largo from the 3rd Sonata.

Along similar lines, the Handel D Major Sonata (first movement: in, second movement: out) could be effective (and would be easier to pull off).

October 15, 2017, 6:27 PM · I used the Grieg "Aus Holberg Zeit" as the prelude music, and then used the march from "Tannhauser" as a bridal processional. Tannhauser would probably work in an organ arrangement; it's got a grandeur similar to the traditional wedding march from Lohengrin, but without feeling as cliche'. I used recorded music, though.

At the wedding of my best friend, with recorded music, I suggested she use the big string theme from the "Jupiter" movement of Holst's Planets. That's just the perfect length for an entrance in a not-huge room. It would probably work arranged for string quartet, and you could go through it twice, with the organ used the second time, if you wanted length and extra grandeur.

October 15, 2017, 6:40 PM · First word, congrats on your wedding!

How about Vivaldi's Summer Presto for bridal entrance? (I'm kidding :-)) - but if you find this a not-too-crazy idea, then why not?

At the other extreme, Romance by Amy Beach. I felt immediately in love with it the very first time listened to it (per Marry Ellen's suggestion on romantic pieces on another thread). This is a deep and soothing piece but still with its dramatic moments. The choice of music obviously depends what atmosphere(s) you want to bring to your wedding.

October 15, 2017, 7:36 PM · I play for a lot of weddings, but for my own wedding I used the Overture to the Royal Fireworks Music for my processional.

There's an OK string quartet arrangement of the Promenade from Pictures at an Exhibition.

October 15, 2017, 9:33 PM · Other options (arrangements necessary):
–the Nimrod movement from Enigma Variations.
–the finale from the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony
–for a prelude (unless, like me, you dig the quiet processional): the slow movement from Bach's F minor Harpsichord Concerto. There should be a ton of arrangements of this out there.
–the theme from Finlandia
–Rachmaninov's Bogoroditse Devo
–the last movement from Alexander Nevsky (but you really need the chorus and bells for the full effect)
October 15, 2017, 10:00 PM · Honestly if a bride were to ask me to play Nimrod, I would try to talk her out of it--it would be very difficult to stop on a dime (which is a necessary attribute of an effective processional--you don't want 30 seconds of extra music once the bride has reached the altar)but more importantly it has an association with funerals ever since Princess Diana's.
October 16, 2017, 2:48 AM · Last wedding processional I played was last Friday and it was Con te Partiro, as made famous by Andrea Boccelli, which was the bride's request but works fairly well (if you don't know the lyrics are about saying goodbye).

The wedding was outdoors, on a windy day, with a major road next to the location. Good practice for tone production....

October 16, 2017, 8:05 AM · Fair point about Nimrod and its associations. And I agree about the challenge of finding a good stopping point. We got around this by just using one piece of music for the entire processional. And I think Hsiao-mei probably didn't play the repeats. We also walked slowly as it was a small church. :-)
October 16, 2017, 8:24 AM · Oh! Another cool piece: check out Boccherini's 6th String Quintet. We used the Passa Calle for a recessional for someone's wedding. The Minuet and/or Ritirata could work for a processional. These have the sense of familiarity without being cliched and they aren't very difficult to play.

October 16, 2017, 8:29 AM · My wife walked down to Strauss' Morgen. I transcribed it for solo violin, string quartet, harp and we had a friend singing. Bridal party walked to the violin solo (she helped them by pacing them out to the music.) She entered with the vocal entry. Her timing was so perfect walking down the aisle she hit the small flight of stairs we were to climb together at "silently we will look in each other's eyes..." It was perfect.
Edited: October 19, 2017, 7:06 PM · If you are getting married in the winter....want to incorporate an organ and string quartet...this is easily doable.

It’s not classical but lovely and memorable and not often used.

Sarah McLachlan - Song For A Winter's Night

Edited: October 30, 2017, 3:46 PM ·



And, of course, the arrangements are readily available and free!!

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