Wedding Music Tip #3

Image of a violin being played and the title "Wedding Music Tip #3", for a blog posts about classic wedding songs


Classic wedding songs used to be social cues. When I was a lad we knew when to stand and when to sit based on the tune that was being played. These days, I have to tell guests when it’s time to stand or sit. I like it when couples select music that’s meaningful to them personally, but there is something to be said for these classic wedding songs and the pageantry they invoke.

If you want to know how to find those classic wedding tunes, here are the names for those compositions that have a special place in the wedding music canon.

The Processional

We’ve all heard that beautiful tune traditionally played as a bride walks down the aisle. Richard Wagner composed it for the romantic opera Lohengrin. He called it Treulich Geführt, which can be translated to English as “Faithfully Guided”. Stirring stuff.

This composition has various names in English. Some label it the “wedding march”; others the “bridal chorus”. If you Google up any combination of those words with Wagner’s name, you should get great traditional results. There’s a rather lovely rendition of Treulich Geführt in the original German on YouTube, and Wikipedia has the lyrics (which none of us know) in German and English.

If you have a bagpiper, a modern traditional tune for the processional would be Highland Cathedral.

The Recessional

That rousing tune we know as the end of a wedding is—very inconveniently—known by the same name in English as the traditional tune for the processional! In the era of Google, the best way to distinguish them is by their composer.

Felix Mendelssohn composed it for a production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1842. There’s a lovely rendition of Mendelssohn’s wedding march by the London Symphony Orchestra here.

Just like its Wagnerian counterpart, it is the quintessential classic wedding song and cannot be beaten for pomp.

Still looking for your track? Have a look at my other wedding music posts 😉

Published by Trevar Alan Skillicorn-Chilver

Trevar Alan Skillicorn-Chilver is an authorised celebrant, a playwright, a teacher and quite a few other things!

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