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The Knot Best of Weddings - 2020 PickChicago Weddings and Events
The Knot Best of Weddings - 2020 PickChicago Weddings and Events

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Wedding Ceremony Basics

  • Prelude: This is the quiet and gentle background music that is played while the guests are being seated. It is essentially there to fill the room with something other than silence.
  • Interlude: A song during the lighting of the unity candle or at another point in the ceremony. It can be instrumental or vocal.
  • Processional: Stately music played as the bridal party walks down the aisle, with the bride and her escort at the very end. Often the bride’s walk is accompanied by a different tune. Here are some popular music examples:
    • George Frideric Handel: Arioso “Thanks Be To Thee”
    • Johannes Brahms: Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (or Lo, How a Rose E’er Bloometh)
    • Johann Sebastian Bach: “Bist du bei mir” from Cantata 508
    • George Frideric Handel: Largo from Xerxes
    • George Frideric Handel: Air from Water Music Suite #1 in F (sometimes known as Solemn Processional from Water Music)
    • Johannes Brahms: St. Anthony’s Chorale. Full name is “Variations on the St. Anthony Chorale” (also known as Variations on a Theme by Haydn)
    • Georg Philipp Telemann: Grazioso (full name is la Grace from Heroic Marches)
    • Johann Sebastian Bach: Wachet Auf or Chorale Prelude on Wachet auf (the German melody name for the hymn “Sleepers Awake” or “Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying”)
    • André Campra: Rigaudon
    • George Frideric Handel: March from Occasional Oratorio
    • Craig A. Penfield: Trompette Jubilante
    • David Lasky: Processional Rondeau in D Major
    • William Boyce: Trumpet Voluntary (Largo Andante)
    • David German: Festival Trumpet Tune
    • David N. Johnson: Trumpet Tune in D
    • Michael McCabe: Trumpet Tune
    • Johann Pachelbel: Fantasia in C
    • John Stanley: Trumpet Voluntary in D Major
    • Jean-Joseph Mouret: Rondeau
    • Jean-Baptiste Lully: Air de Trompette
    • David N. Johnson: Processional
    • Mark Thewes: Festival Trumpet Tune in D Major
    • Jon Roberts: Trumpet Tune in G Major
    • Giacomo Meyerbeer: Coronation March from Le Prophéte (The Prophet) (1849)
    • Marc-Antione Charpentier: Prelude to Te Deum
    • Louis Claude D’Aquin: Swiss Noel with variations
    • Benedetto Marcello: Psalm 19 (The Heaven’s Declare the Glory of God)
  • Recessional: Upbeat, triumphant music played at the end of the service as the bride and groom make their way back up the aisle and exit the ceremony. Here are some example:
    • Bach Gigue from Suite #3 in D Major – great choice for the recessional.
    • Beethoven Ode to Joy from Symphony #9 – famous, was very popular 2-3 years ago for bride or recessional.
    • Clarke Trumpet Voluntary – one of the best choices for bride or recessional.
    • Handel La Rejouissance  – classic, traditional music for the recessional, could be used for the bride.
    • Handel Hornpipe from Water Music Suite – one of the best choices for bride or recessional.
    • Mendelssohn Wedding March – if you like traditional wedding music, you can’t go wrong with this one.
    • Mouret Rondeau from Symphonies de Fanfares  – very happy tune, excellent recessional music.
    • Mozart Allegro from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik K. 525 – simply the best; if you choose another tune for the recessional, have this one played right after – you will love it.
    • Siman Tov, Mazel Tov – Jewish classic.
    • Pachelbel Canon  – this is more of a processional kind of music, but it could work for any part of the ceremony.
    • Purcell Trumpet Tune  – one of the best choices for bride or recessional.
    • Verdi March from Aida
    • Vivaldi “Spring” from Four Seasons
  • Postlude: Music that plays until every last guest has exited the ceremony area. It should revert to the background and last around fifteen minutes. “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles is a contemporary surprise to end of the ceremony.