How to Choose Your Ceremony Songs


Firstly, there is no one way to have a wedding and just like your love is unique, no two wedding ceremonies are the same! If you want to limbo down the aisle, dance embarrassingly down the aisle, or ride down the aisle on a gorgeous white stallion (epic) that is entirely your prerogative. Just know that whatever you choose will be wonderful and amazing because it is your wedding day!

That being said, I do have some tips and tricks to help you figure out exactly how to pick your perfect ceremony songs! Let’s get to it.


Ceremony Breakdown

Traditionally, ceremonies are broken down into four parts: the Prelude, the Processional, the Ceremony itself, and the Recessional. I recommended 3 songs for a full ceremony: (1) family & bridal party entrance, (2) the grand entrance, and (3) the recessional.

Prelude: Welcome music about 15 minutes before the ceremony starts, signaling everyone to find their seats.

Processionals: The formal entrance of family, the wedding party, the groom(s) and the bride(s). 

Ceremony Traditions: Optional music to accompany a special tradition during the ceremony.

Recessional: The formal exit of family, the wedding party, and the bride(s) & groom(s). 

Prelude Music

Mellow instrumental music works great to set the mood and allows your guests to mingle without distracting vocals. However, having vocals during your prelude music can also be extremely lovely! Think about how you want your guests to feel as they take their seats. Relaxed? Thoughtful? Excited? Dreamy? This is your opportunity to set the tone for your ceremony.

Tips & ideas from my repertoire:

  • Slow & instrumental piano

  • Folky/ambient guitar

  • Acoustic vocal versions of your favorite love songs

Processional Songs

This is the part of your ceremony when you make your way down the aisle and take your place for the ceremony. Typically, important family members like parents and grandparents walk first, followed by the bridal party, flower girls, ring bearers, or dogs of honor. Finally, the bride (or groom if same sex couple) makes their grand entrance down the aisle.

Pick songs with slow to medium tempos that you can walk to. Do you like soulful R&B? Chill indie-folk? Classic Motown ballads? Acoustic pop? Do you and your person have “a song”? Think about the music that you love and that makes you feel something. Close your eyes and picture yourself walking down the aisle. If it makes you emotional or gets you excited, then that might be your song!

Processional song Ideas from my repertoire:

  • I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You - Elvis Presley

  • How Long Will I Love You - Ellie Goulding

  • A Thousand Years - Christina Perri

  • Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers

  • The Best Part - Daniel Caesar ft. H.E.R.

  • River - Leon Bridges

  • La Vie En Rose - Louis Armstrong

  • XO - Beyonce

  • First Day of My Life - Bright Eyes

  • Songbird - Fleetwood Mac

*Note: Don’t worry about walking exactly on the beat or timing everything to a specific recording. The beauty of having me play live means that I can time the songs to you! I will watch as you and your loved ones make your way down the aisle and end the music when you get to your spots for the ceremony. I can loop sections of songs to make them longer, cut sections out to make them shorter - I can even turn an up-tempo song into a slow, beautiful ballad.

Ceremony Traditions

Light instrumental accompaniment during a wedding ritual can make your ceremony flow seamlessly. Soft music under your knot tying ceremony, sand ceremony, prayer time, communion, etc. can combat awkward silence. Or perhaps, you’d like to have a moment of prayer to your favorite worship song or hymn. You don’t have to add music to your ceremony but it can be a lovely addition.

Tips & ideas from my repertoire:

  • Soft & instrumental

  • Worship song or hymn

  • Moment of meditation or prayer with light accompaniment

Recessional Songs

After you say your “I Do’s” it’s time to celebrate because… OMG YOU’RE MARRIED! Choose a fun, upbeat song that gets you excited to dance off into the sunset together!

Recessional song ideas from my repertoire:

  • How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - James Taylor

  • Let’s Stay Together - Al Green

  • You Are The Best Thing - Ray Lamontagne

  • Sweet Pea - Amos Lee

  • Stand By Me - Ben E. King

  • Sugar Pie Honey Bunch - The Four Tops

  • Marry You - Bruno Mars

  • Signed Sealed Delivered - Stevie Wonder

  • I Choose You - Sara Bareilles

Mikaela Kahn