Walk Down the Aisle to the Perfect Wedding Processional Song

Walk Down the Aisle to the Perfect Wedding Processional Song
Indulge me for a moment while we get one thing out of the way: There is nothing actually wrong with Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus.”  (Except for the parodies that get stuck in your head so easily, but … let’s not think about that too hard.) It’s fairly likely that your mother and grandmother had the “Bridal Chorus” as a wedding processional song (at least, if your family has been American for a generation or more!).  If making your grand entrance to the strains of something truly traditional floats your bridal boat – do it.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to pick personalized wedding ceremony songs for the celebration to be tasteful and true to you. But that’s the thing about personalized wedding ceremony songs: They’re a great way to make the wedding true to you. It’s oh-so-memorable to walk down the aisle to something unexpected.  And you can go classic or go wild with your processional song – whatever your personality calls for. If you’re struggling to generate ideas for wedding ceremony songs … well, naturally, we’ve got 20 awesome suggestions!  Even if none of these quite suit, they’ll get you going in the right direction toward something that feels like the perfect wedding processional music for you. groom's reaction to bride walking down the aisle

Brian Bossany Photography

3 Things to Consider Before You Pick Your Processional Song

There are a few things to get squared away – preferably before you start making your list of processional song possibilities, let alone narrowing them down.
  1. Check with the venue for any requirements – especially (but not exclusively) if you’ll have a church wedding. Depending on the nature of the setting and what’s nearby, there might be restrictions on the type, volume, or format of music you can have.  (In fact, one of the exceptions to “someone in your family probably had ‘Here Comes the Bride’” happens when your clan is Catholic – the “Bridal March” is considered secular music and most Catholic churches won’t allow it.)
  2. Make sure that you and your intended are on the same page about the mood you want for your wedding music. Discuss not just traditional versus modern, but funny versus romantic and instrumental versus vocal, too – and find the places you’re each willing to compromise if you don’t agree.  If there’s any chance at all of pushback from family members, be prepared to support each other’s song decisions.
  3. 3. Once you are in list-making mode, ask relatives if they have processional song ideas. Mom or Dad might have forgotten to mention a family tradition on one side or the other that strikes just the right note with you – and there’s nothing that helps family and friends feel involved like whipping out a notebook and writing down their suggestions to discuss with your one and only.  (Even if your “discussion” consists of crossing out the choices you don’t like with a bold black marker.)
bride waiting to walk down the aisle with her dad

Jeannine Marie Photography

Traditional Wedding Songs

These are mostly instrumental choices … though some of them do have lyrics; vocal stylings might be a great thing to ask as a wedding present from a friend with opera chops!  However you decide to have them played, these classic processional songs are sure to please the most tradition-minded couple and family. (They’re also a good choice if you want the guests to stand for the bride’s entrance.  For some reason, the more traditional the song, the more likely guests are to stand up without your prior hint to an audience plant.) father walking his daughter down the aisle

Melissa Oholendt Photography

Special mention for a couple of Christian classics ideal for religious church weddings: Traditional hymns like the Irish classic “Be Thou My Vision” “For Those Tears I Died (Come to the Water),” by Russ and Marsha J. Stevens.  It’s actually a bit less funereal than “Amazing Grace,” though it can be just as much of a tearjerker as it sounds like!

bride with her father before walking down the aisle

Rene Tate Photography

If you want a traditional processional, but still would prefer to inject some life into the wedding ceremony, look to other wedding music. Try making a playlist of lesser-known favorites to set the mood while the guests are finding their seats, or compromise on an old-time bridal march plus a bolder recessional song choice.  For that matter, if you’re stuck with the traditional “Wagner coming in, Mendelssohn going out” duo of ceremony music, but don’t want to be, those make great ways to add your own spin while honoring a more traditional family.

Not-So-Traditional Processionals

Maybe the right processional song for you has a touch of solemnity, formality, and romance, but still feels fresh because you’re sampling from a wider song list.  There’s so much territory in between novelty and timelessness! These instrumentals and lyrical songs range from the intimate to the epic.  What makes them so wedding-perfect is that the songs still feel rooted in the history of the wedding ceremony – even if some of them are quite new.

parents walking their daughter down the aisle

Laura Lee Photography

If you need to give your modern choice a more traditional spin, it might be worth finding room in the wedding budget for live musicians to play during the ceremony.  Everything gets an air of old-world dignity when played by a string quartet – or, better yet, a musician on a traditional instrument from the bride’s or groom’s culture.   (For that matter, why not pick something more traditional and hire a saxophonist to jazz it up?)

Who Needs Tradition Anyway?

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with traditional processional songs – but that’s just not you.  Maybe “you” is a funny processional song, or something that puts your unconventional wedding in context by alluding to a shared interest.  Take your ceremony music to the next level with – well, practically anything you like!  But we’re partial to these offbeat songs.

mother walking her daughter down the aisle

MRD Photography

And of course, even if you end up falling back on an old favorite instead of a bold groove, you can always make it your own with an unconventional performance.  Wagner performed by theremin and beatboxer, anyone? Go forth and choose your wedding processional song.  Whatever you decide … if you love it, and your spouse-to-be loves it, it’ll be just right! What do you want to hear when you walk down the aisle?  Anyone have tips for when you and your fiancé find yourselves singing a different tune?  Let’s crowd-source a playlist in the comments!

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Shannon Carufel
May 16, 2019 09:08

Looking forward to trying one of these as well!!

May 16, 2019 09:08

Look forward to trying one of these!

May 16, 2019 09:08

I am walking down to “the rose” so I’m definitely not traditional!!!! It’s a once in a lifetime thing, I want this to be fun

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