Wedding Prelude Music

Before specific talk about your wedding prelude music, let's imagine your wedding for a moment....

It’s about 20 to 30 minutes before your processional begins, and you and your bridal party are excitedly making your final preparations. Your wedding guests are beginning to arrive, so it's time for your wedding prelude music start!

So let’s get down to the “nitty-gritty” of planning this musical part of your wedding.

Firstly, this music serves more than one purpose:

  • It sets the mood and tone for the entire wedding itself.
  • It affords you the opportunity to share music-–be it vocal or instrumental--that holds special meaning for you.
  • It provides a pleasant atmosphere for your guests while they await your arrival. After all, who wants to sit at such a festive occasion for 20+ minutes and hear silence?  And, as a bonus, it can be helpful in holding down the noise factor of your guests. They can get pretty chatty!

So let’s get down to the “nitty-gritty” of planning your wedding prelude music.

Tip:  It is generally 15 to 30 minutes long. How long depends on such things as your personal preference, the wedding size, and the degree of formality.

Tip:  As a rough guideline, allow 3 to 3 ½ minutes per piece of music. Obviously then, the length of your wedding prelude music and the length of each song will determine how many songs are performed. Using this rule of thumb will quickly give you an approximate idea of how many songs will be played during your prelude.

Tip Just because a song may be listed as wedding prelude music does not mean that it can't instead be used as a processional, recessional, or even as special music within the wedding ceremony itself. Many pieces are quite interchangeable in that regard, so as long as it is okay with the officiant, you have quite a bit of flexibility!

List of Wedding Prelude Music

For reference ease, the wedding prelude music has been further broken down into 2 lists:  traditional and contemporary.  At this point, we have a bit of a conundrum!  The lines between traditional and contemporary music are somewhat blurred because those 2 words sometimes mean different things to different people. 

Therefore, an arbitrary point has to be set somewhere!  So in an attempt to keep things simple,  nothing on the "traditional list" was written past the 1960s, while the "contemporary list" contains songs from the 1970s to the present. 

The "Traditional" List

  • A Time For Us (Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet
  • Air (from Water Music--Handel)
  • Air On A G String (Bach) (Piano version)
  • Air On A G String (Bach) (String Version)
  • Arabesque No. 1 (Debussy)
  • Arioso (Bach)
  • Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod)
  • Ave Maria (Schubert)
  • Be Thou With Me (aka Bist du Bei Mir) (Bach)
  • Brandenburg Concerto No. 4: Allegro (Bach)
  • Canon In D (Pachelbel)
  • Clair De Lune (Debussy) (Piano Version)
  • Clair De Lune (Debussy) (Orchestral Version)
  • Edelweiss
  • From This Moment On
  • Fur Elise (Beethoven)
  • Greensleeves
  • Gymnopedie No. 1 (Satie)
  • Hallelujah Chorus (Handel)
  • Hawaiian Wedding Song
  • Hornpipe (Allegro Maestoso from Water Music) (Handel)
  • Humoresque (Dvorak) (Piano Version)
  • Humoresque (Dvorak) (Violin Version)
  • Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring (Bach)
  • La Rejouissance (The Rejoicing from The Royal Fireworks) (Handel) (Organ Version)
  • La Rejouissance (The Rejoicing from The Royal Fireworks) (String Version)
  • Largo (Ombra Mai Fu) (Handel)
  • Liebestraume: Love Song No. 3 (Dream Of Love) (Liszt)
  • Love Is All Around---disc 2, song #9
  • Meditation (from Thais) (Massenet)
  • Melody In F (Rubinstein)
  • Minuet (from Berenice) (Handel) (Organ version)
  • Minuet (from Berenice) Handel (Orchestral version)
  • Moonlight Sonata: Adagio Sostenuto (aka Piano Sonata No. 14 in C# Minor) (Beethoven)
  • Nocturne No. 2 in E-Flat Major (Chopin)
  • O Mio Babbino Caro (Schicci)
  • Ode To Joy (Beethoven)
  • On Wings Of Song (Mendelssohn)
  • One Hand, One Heart
  • Panis Angelicus (Franck)
  • Pastoral Symphony (from The Messiah) (Handel)
  • Pathetique Sonata No. 8 in C Minor: Adagio Cantabile (Beethoven)
  • Priere A Notre Dame (Boellman)
  • Rigaudon (Campra) (Organ version)
  • Rigaudon (Campra) (String version)
  • Rondeau (Theme from Masterpiece Theater) (Mouret)
  • Salut D'Amour (Elgar)
  • Sheep May Safely Graze (Bach)
  • Sleepers, Awake (Cantata No. 140) (Bach)
  • Sunrise, Sunset
  • Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky)
  • Te Deum: Prelude (Charpentier)
  • The Four Seasons: Autumn (Vivaldi)
  • The Four Seasons: Spring (Vivaldi)
  • The Four Seasons: Summer (Vivaldi)
  • The Four Seasons: Winter (Vivaldi)
  • The Maid With The Flaxen Hair (La Fille Aux Cheveux de Lin) (Debussy)
  • The Swan (Saint-Saens)
  • To A Wild Rose (Macdowell)
  • Traumerei (Schumann)
  • Variation On A Theme of Paganini (Rachmaninoff)
  • True Love
  • Unchained Melody
  • Unforgettable
  • When I Fall In Love
  • Waltz In A Flat (Brahms)
  • Wedding Day At Troldhaugen (Grieg)

The "Contemporary" List

  • A Whole New World--(Peabo Bryson/Regina Belle Vocal)
  • A Whole New World (Piano Version)
  • All I Ask Of You
  • Always (Atlantic Starr Vocal)
  • Beauty And The Beast---song #1
  • Bless The Broken Road
  • Butterfly Kisses (Piano Version)
  • Butterfly Kisses (Bob Carlisle Vocal)
  • Can You Feel The Love Tonight--song #7 (Instrumental Version)
  • Endless Love (Piano Version)
  • Endless Love (Wedding Tracks Vocal/Instrumental)
  • Evergreen (Piano Version)
  • Evergreen (Wedding Tracks Performance)
  • Everything I Do (I Do It For You)
  • Have I Told You Lately (Piano Version)
  • Have I Told You Lately (Wedding Tracks Performance)
  • Here And Now---song #9
  • I Do (Cherish You)
  • I Will Always Love You (Piano Version)
  • I Will Be Here (Wedding Tracks-Steven Curtis Chapman Vocal)
  • Music Of The Night
  • One True Love
  • The Rose (Piano Version)
  • The Rose (Vocal Version)
  • The Wedding Song (There Is Love)
  • Through The Eyes Of Love
  • Up Where We Belong
  • Wind Beneath My Wings
  • You Are So Beautiful
  • You Light Up My Life (Piano Version)
  • You Light Up My Life (Debby Boone Vocal)
  • You Raise Me Up (Josh Groban Vocal)
  • You Raise Me Up (Piano Version)

What's next?  Your  wedding processional of course!

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