The best wedding piano music for your ceremony: Suggestions
Suggestions for the best classical and traditional wedding piano music.
Fair or not, what most people will remember from a wedding are the food and the music. Whether good or bad, those are the things that stay with wedding guests. So, it behooves a bridal couple to consider carefully their music, and to choose what will be beautiful, as well as appropriate.
Couples who want piano music should meet with the pianist early on. They need to talk to him or her about what kind of music the pianist is comfortable and/or experienced in playing. Some musicians will not play Top 40 songs at weddings. Most, however, will assist the couple in choosing good music. The couple also needs to ask the pianist if he or she can provide all the music. If they have a special selection in mind, they may need to go ahead and order the sheet music so the pianist can practice it beforehand.
The music choice will be determined, to some extent, by where the wedding is held. Some churches will not allow any music other than classical or sacred to be played in their sanctuary. Couples should acquaint themselves with the venue’s bylaws beforehand and should abide by them. A venue other than a church probably will not have restrictions on music, but the couple should keep in mind that music should be tasteful and suitable for the occasion. There are many lovely contemporary Christian songs available, and these are usually more suited for a vocalist than just piano, but if the pianist is expected to accompany the vocalist, this needs to be discussed in advance, as well.
The bride and groom should think about what songs or hymns they like and should make a list for the pianist. They should come to a decision on what music they want for the seating of the mothers, for the wedding party to process in to, and what they want for the bridal processional. “The Wedding March” can always be used, but there are many other lovely songs that are just as suitable. When Diana, Princess of Wales, married, she processed in to the “Trumpet Voluntary,” which is a beautiful, and different processional.
The music can, and should, change, if the wedding party is a large one. Hearing 10 verses of the same song is a little monotonous. Changing the song midway through the processional and recessional of the wedding party will add variety and will be more pleasing to the ears.
The couple should also discuss with the pianist what time before the service they expect him or her to begin playing (about 30 minutes is customary), and whether he will be playing with any other musicians. The pianist should be furnished with some kind of program indicating when the piano music will be included.
Ideally, the couple will spend many years together, and when they think about their wedding video, they don’t’ want to watch it in 10 years and cringe at the music they chose. This happens often when the couple chooses current love songs on the pop charts. Even if it is the music they danced to when they met, it may just not be appropriate for a wedding.
One example that comes to mind is a real-life happening at a small, country church wedding, when neither the pianist nor the minister was informed as to the couple’s musical choices. As the newly married couple processed down the aisle, the singer sang “Tonight I Celebrate My Love for You.” While this may be a great love song, it was in no way appropriate for the venue or for the composition of the congregation. There was muffled laughter as the couple walked out of the church. The bridesmaids and groomsmen were red with embarrassment because they too, had to walk out to that music. It was not a happy situation.
So, the couple who stays with the sacred or classical selections will probably be better off in the short and long runs. These songs will offend no one, are lovely and appropriate for the occasion. And in 15 years, when they are watching the video with their teen children, there will be few cries of, “Oh Mom! How could you have that in your wedding? That was so lame!!”
When a couple keeps in mind that the wedding music should be beautiful and appropriate for any ears in the congregation, they will generally choose well.
Herewith is a list of some beautiful pieces, both classical and sacred, that are heard often at weddings, and are appropriate.
- Trumpet Voluntary (Clarke)
- Sheep May Safely Graze (J.S. Bach)
- Canon in “D” (Pachelbel)
- Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (J.S. Bach)
- Ode to Joy (or the hymn “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee)
- Ave Maria (Bach or Schubert)
- Air on a G String (J.S. Bach)
- Air–from the Water Suite (Handel)
- The Lord’s Prayer (Malotte)
- Laudamus Te (Vivaldi)
- Panis Angelicus (Franck)
- New World Symphony–No. 9 in E minor (Dvorak)
- Intermezzo in A (Brahms)
- Entreat Me not to Leave Thee–Song of Ruth (Gounod)
- “Be Thou My Vision”
- “Come Thou Almighty King”
- “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty”
- “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”
- “Morning has Broken”
- “O Perfect Love”
- “O Worship the King”
- “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”
- “Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us”
- “Crown Him with Many Crowns” (this is an excellent recessional)