Non-Traditional Ceremony Music

In considering the ceremony music for the wedding, I feel completely clueless–I’m not the most musically inclined. In fact, while I appreciate music, I have no memory for songs or lyrics or even the names of musicians. And perhaps this is why the music thing has been stressing me out so much. I don’t even know where to start. This is further complicated by the fact that I fear Mr. Peppermint and my parents want very different things (I find myself in the middle of this debate).

My parents (and most parents for that matter) have not even thought of the possibility of music that is not classical. In almost every wedding they’ve been to, the bride has walked down the aisle to Wagner’s “Bridal March”. That’s what they’ve come to expect. Granted, I’m not sure I want to walk down to Elvis’s “Love Me Tender” (a suggestion found in the Knot’s suggestion of non-traditional choices), but I’m also not sure I want the “Bridal March”. And more modern songs often have more meaning to me. I tried to broach the subject with my parents this weekend, but we didn’t really get anywhere…Is there a happy medium? Should contemporary songs be relegated to the reception only?

I’ve thought of using the Mancini theme from Two for the Road (my favorite movie!) as a prelude or maybe even processional. Mr. Peppermint really wants to use the Beach Boys’ Wouldn’t It Be Nice? as our recessional (with lyrics). At first I thought that was too contemporary, but I have to admit it has grown on me…right after the minister says “You may now kiss the bride” to hear the upbeat crooning of the Beach Boys does have a sort of appeal. And I feel like recessional music could be something more fun and celebratory…

What are your thoughts??


Mrs. Peppermint

LA/Palm Springs
Wedding Date:
December 2007
Manly-Man Ring! ... with pink accent.
Bridesmaid Gifts
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Emily, Guest @ 3:43 am

    My fiance and I love music and we don’t want the normal pomp and circumstance that most people had.

    Mothers and Special Guests: Edelweiss (from the Sound of Music). It had sentimental value to both mothers

    Grooms/groomsmen entrance: University of Georgia Fight Song (my fiance is a HUGE fan)

    Bridesmaids Entrance: In My Mind I’m Going To Carolina (James Taylor)

    Brides Entrance: This is My Father’s World (old school hymn, except the instrumental version)

    Unity Candle: To Make You Feel My Love (Adele)

    Recession: “The Army Goes Rolling Along” (The “Army Goes Rolling Along” is played at the conclusion of every U.S. Army ceremony and all soldiers are expected to stand and sing. My fiance is a Captain in the Army and he wants all his groomsmen – Army buddies – and all those who are in the Army or who have been honorably discharged to stand and sing as we leave. When we get to the arch of sabres, they are going to sing the last verse and then I get smacked on the rump).

    First Dance: Wagon Wheel – Old Crowe Medicine Show.

  2. Member
    angelicaoconnell 2 posts, Wannabee @ 7:09 pm

    I am a fan of the untraditional as well. I am walking down the aisle to Marry Me by Train. I love that song and its so fitting. My dad made a comment that makes me think twice about using it. He said he was unsure about using a song with words because he doesnt want people focusing on the words but on me instead. Thoughts???

    I cant figure out what song to exit to though…?

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    Laura, Guest @ 8:13 pm

    angelicaoconnell, I am using Marry Me by Train to walk down to, too! We are using the Hawaiian version of Somewhere over the Rainbow to seat the parents, and It Had to Be You by Harry Connick Jr. for the bride and groom to exit on. It has such a nice big intro to it, and then so cute and romantic as we leave.

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Kim, Guest @ 9:59 am

    Hey guys I am getting married on 9-10-11 and we are music lovers, and don’t want the traditional ceremony music, I am looking for a good song for the bridesmaids to walk in to.. any ideas? also i am walking down the isle to Amazed by Lonestar, should i do lyrics or is this too much? were walking out together to Feels good by James Brown :) i think this is the hardest part of the wedding lol HELP PLEASE :) :)

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Sinner Ella, Guest @ 2:32 am

    Well, we were married 10 years ago and didn’t even think of music other than the first song that was to be played as we walked out onto the patio for the reception. It was a hip hop song and it was a SMASH!
    We’re renewing our vows this year and my husband decided that he wants Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue” to be played. Not sure at which point or how we’re going to work it, since we won’t have a DJ or band and we’re probably doing the ceremony at a public park, but we’ll figure it all out. I also LOVE old blues and Jazz and as cliche as it sounds I totally plan to hear Etta James croon “At Last” out of a speaker at barely tolerable high volumes.
    I like the idea of contemporary music, but am not a huge fan of the music on the radio, so I will probably only have a few currently popular songs to play and the rest will mostly be disco and classic rock. May even let the daughter bust out some awesome Journey karaoke. (she’s 8 and I feel proud of myself that she could sing Journey and Kansas before Beiber)

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    Sinner Ella, Guest @ 3:38 am

    And I totally just scored via YouTube. Gonna use Kashmir by Zepplin, but covered by the violin. Look up Circa Paleo, Kashmir or Hot Violin Girl on YouTube. Perfect for the husband’s entrance. May have to use it as we both come in from the sides. There are AWESOME Electric Violin versions of Canon D on there for those of you interested, as well.

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    AAA-C, Guest @ 5:09 am

    We’re getting married 9/10/11 in Boston. It’s a same-sex wedding, two guys, so no wedding party or anything traditional. Any suggestions on what 2 guys could walk up to?

  8. Member
    justanotherbelle 157 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:08 pm

    Just read through all of these and got some GREAT songs bookmarked!

    The one song that I’ve actually decided on for the ceremony wasn’t listed here.
    “Somebody Love” -the Weepies
    I’m walking down the isle to it.

  9. Guest Icon Guest
    Nontraditional Wedding Songs | Wedding Songs, Guest @ 5:28 am

    […] the first wedding part, at the religious ceremony, nontraditional songs will mean to exclude even the classic music category. In fact in most of the […]

  10. Guest Icon Guest
    Karen Keller, Guest @ 4:47 pm

    Aaaaa! I’ve been thinking about my ceremony music for months and months. I’m a very non-traditional person, but ultimately, I couldn’t find a better processional song than Pachelbel Canon. Some songs are cliche for a good reason.

    Others I considered, which would be fabulous, especially for those who like songs not in English:

    “Baby” by Os Mutantes (Brazilian – lots of versions, some in English, some in Portuguese, all very cool)

    “Je T’aime Moi Non Plus” Serge Gainsbourge and Jane Berkin — though song would have to be cut off midway, before all the raunchy sex sounds, ha!

    “Sweet Disposition” Temper Trap — unfortunately my fiance doesn’t like indie music so we couldn’t consider this one. Makes me cry to imagine a bride walking in during the very dramatic chorus!!

    As for our recessional, we are going with quite possibly the most awesome song in the entire world (ok ok I know it’s a personal thing):

    “Expresso 222″ by Gilberto Gil — original version from late 60s, where he’s singing by himself in a stadium. Awesome.

    I used to live in Brazil so I’m Brazil-centric!

    For a surprise during the wedding, I plan to record myself playing the guitar and singing Carla Bruni’s “Quelqu’un M’a Dit.”

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    Karen Keller, Guest @ 5:06 pm

    By the way here’s the recording of the Gilberto Gil song I mentioned, in case anyone’s interested in hearing it:

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    Karen Keller, Guest @ 5:09 pm

    And here’s a more recent version some may prefer:

  13. Member
    camuy82 7 posts, Newbee @ 10:50 pm

    I have been working on this for months! glad i checked in here…here is what i have so far…just not sure which i am going to use and where :(

    marry me (train) for groom song
    island in the sun (weezer) for the wedding party
    love story (taylor swift) i may use this as my song

    for the parents seating and the recessional i am still working on it…songs i love as well…bittersweet symphony of course, U2 beautiful day, bruno mars marry you, jack johnson better together, somewhere over the rainbow-israel, jason mraz-lucky, plain white ts -rhythm of love, waiting on an angel-ben harper…..just so many good ones!!!!!!!! i looked for along time so hopefully this list helps some people

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    lillypad bride, Guest @ 1:15 am

    thank you to everyone who has posted (especially the ladies who used/are using Vitamin String Quartet!)- i am using the following for our october wedding:

    seating of grandparents/parents: can you feel the love tonight (piano instrumental)
    bridal party entrance: butterfly waltz (piano & cello)
    bridal entrance: yellow (by coldplay but performed by Vitman String Quartet)
    sand ceremony: marry me (train- 1st verse & chorus)
    exit: (possibly) here comes the sun (instumental)

    Reception Music:
    first dance: what a wonderful world (louis armstrong)
    cake cutting: ?
    bouquet toss: it’s raining men (the weather girls) OR can’t hurry love (phil collins)
    garter toss: ?

    I am still in the air about the exit song, and not locked in on the party entrance song- still playing with that. i originally chose “can you feel the love tonight” for my mom to walk in to- when i was little i sang this to her one year for mother’s day- but since my dad passed in august, she’ll be walking me down the aisle now. i’m concidering also “bless the broken road” (instrumental version) as our exit- my fiance doesn’t care for Rascal Flatts but the song is sooo perfect……& he loves louis armstrong’s voice so when i told him that’s what i wanted to dance to he was very happy :o)

    any suggestions for different party entrance & exit songs? we want to go with instrumentals for the ceremony with the exception of “marry me” & we’re not having “father/daughter” & “mother/son” dances. should we have songs for cutting the cake?

  15. Guest Icon Guest
    Mya, Guest @ 7:53 am

    OK, we don’t want to the traditional music either, but I’m having a hard time deciding. I was thinking Marry me by train for the processional and then I do by Colbie Caillat, but then I was wondering if that would be too much.. i dunno… having a dilemna here, less than 3 months out now too!!!

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    alison, Guest @ 7:43 pm

    what is everyone’s opinion about walking down the aisle to satellite by the dave matthews band vitamin string quartet version or crystal by stevie nicks

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    Lauren D, Guest @ 9:19 am

    Love this post! It gave me so many ideas for ceremony music!! But I’m still looking for recessional! I want something upbeat to start the party!! We are having a DJ here’s what we have so far:

    Pre ceremony: VSQ Don’t stop believing,

    Parents and Bridal Party: The Theme to Forrest Gump

    My entrance: VSQ can’t help falling in love with you



  18. Member
    alianora 84 posts, Worker bee @ 12:51 pm

    I am not quite sure how we are going to do it. I am getting married in a small ‘chapel’ in the reception hall. So the aisle is very very short.
    He wants to come out to ZZ Top, Well Dressed Man, and because of this thread I want to come out to the Princess Bride theme, but I think the bridesmaids, flower girl ect will have to start the song for me or it would only a 30 sec snipet lol. I also really liked the idea of Kiss The Girl from The Little Mermaid, I may have to use it for the registry signing. But I am not sure about the parents sitting down…does there have to be music for them?

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    melodywms, Guest @ 8:56 am

    My daughter used Making Plans by Miranda Lambert as her processional. It was an outside, country setting, Her bridesmaids had were in place when they changed over to her song. She came down a long hill and crossed a creek in a horse drawn wagon, the song was the perfect length for that her entrance and her trip down the aisle.

  20. Guest Icon Guest
    Angela, Guest @ 10:41 am

    Okay I am getting married in July ouside of the Glamorgan Castle in Ohio and I want to do nontraditional ceremony music as well but Im a country girl and love country but I like pretty much all types of music, country just hits the heart for me. But a castle kinda clashes with country so I was hoping to get some help! Thanks so much in advance.

  21. Guest Icon Guest
    Carissa, Guest @ 10:50 am

    I have one suggestion which I would like to submit for a Non Traditional wedding procession song:
    Bittersweet Symphony – The Vitamin String Quartet
    Bittersweet Symphony – The Aranbee Pop Symphonic Orchestra

    Both are very beautiful and powerful. It doesn’t make mockery of the moment of entrance for the bride, yet is not old fashioned and stale.

    Kind regards, Carissa

  22. Guest Icon Guest
    Guest, Guest @ 4:14 pm

    Here is what we are doing for ours:

    Seating of special guests and bridal party processional (in order: grandparents, moms, groomsmen/bridesmaid) – all i want is you by the vitamin string quartet

    Bridal Processional (me and my dad) – The Winner Is by Danna and Devotchka (little miss sunshine soundtrack)

    For the when the officiant says “you may kiss you bride” presenting “Mr. & Mrs Awesome” (should all be right after another) and processional (when we walk out, then the groomsmen/bridesmaids) we are doing take care by beach house

  23. Guest Icon Guest
    kelly, Guest @ 7:17 am

    I’m looking at all these ideas and think i’m going to go with either hallelujah VSQ or cant help falling in love VSQ for my processional when i get married in Rhodes.
    I know the lyrics for the 1st aren’t exactly romantic but OMG the string version is amazeballs

  24. Guest Icon Guest
    Dreyah, Guest @ 2:33 am

    Thank you all for posting. You made it easier on me and helped me “finally” come to a decision on my processional and recessional.
    Processional: Bruno Mars – Rest of my life
    Recessional: Bob Marley – Could you be loved.
    Just wanted to share!

  25. Guest Icon Guest
    IndianaBride, Guest @ 9:46 pm

    I’m all about non traditional music, getting married in a church so there are some limits. But if anyone has any helpful song titles w/ artists..starting from prelude to last song. I’m open to read all you can give. We’re into all types of music, from Rock to Celtic, throw it at me. THANK YOU MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Guest Icon Guest
    Bethany, Guest @ 7:31 am

    I know I’m a little late for the original post, but I am still looking for suggestions for non-traditional music for my ceremony, and this has been very helpful!

    I will be using “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros for my recessional, and most likely some Explosions in the Sky song for me to walk in to.

  27. Guest Icon Guest
    Anna, Guest @ 10:16 am

    What do you guys think about a bride walking in to an instrumental version of the final countdown or the Pink Panther theme song???

  28. Guest Icon Guest
    fotograf ślubny, Guest @ 4:55 am

    What’s Going down i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It positively helpful and it has helped me out loads. I hope to give a contribution & assist other users like its aided me. Great job.

  29. Guest Icon Guest
    ziconess, Guest @ 3:45 pm

    Great thread!

    So far for me..

    Ben E King – Stand by me
    Sam Cooke – You send me
    Van Morrison – Someone like you

    Nina Simone – Feeling good

    Middle bit
    Nicola Hitchcock – No reality
    Newton Faulknor – Dream catch me

    Florence & the Machine – You’ve got the Love

  30. Guest Icon Guest
    CanuckKatie, Guest @ 8:15 pm

    how is this for contemporary… I found an instrumental acoustic version of P!NK’s F*@%* Perfect (which is perfect!–no words for the older generation in the crowd) for the processional, and Raise your Glass as the recessional.

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