How to Choose Processional Music for Your Wedding Ceremony

A bride and her father walking down the aisle during the wedding ceremony.

The bride’s walk down the aisle is one of the most gorgeous parts of a wedding ceremony, and the music you choose to walk to makes a massive impact on how the moment goes. But what factors should you consider as you look into music options for your processional? Here are some things to look into.

How Many Songs?

First, you’ll need to decide how many songs you’ll have for the processional. Do you want one song for one partner’s entrance, another one for the wedding party, and another for the other partner’s entrance? Do you want one partner to share a song with the wedding party and the other to get their own? Do you want to use one song for all three? The answer to this question is up to you, but it’s important to know what you have in mind before you move forward with the rest of your processional decision-making.

Consider Your Venue

A wedding ceremony in a church with guests standing in pews.

This may come as a surprise, but your venue may actually have a say in what music you’re allowed to choose from. If you’re getting married in a church or other religious building, they may have guidelines on what can be used. In fact, you may even need to choose something from a specific list that they provide. Or, of course, they may not have limitations at all, but it’s super important that you check in ahead of time. You don’t need a last-minute song change the morning of your wedding! It’s also a good idea to check in about the acoustics in the location where you’re getting married—an outdoor ceremony may require more or different amplification than a small hall, so keep your venue logistics in mind as well as you make your musical choices.

Consider Your Vibe

What you choose for this music will set the tone for your ceremony, and often even the rest of your wedding celebration, so make sure to keep the vibe of the venue, as well as the vibe for your day, in mind. If you know you want your wedding to be more traditional, it might make sense to choose a more traditional song, whereas if you want things to be more whimsical or wild, a more out-of-the-box tune might be in order.

Keep it Cohesive

Although all your processional tunes (if you choose to have more than one) do not have to be the same by any stretch, it’s a good idea to keep them cohesive in some way or another. If you’re going the traditional route and choosing a different song for the entrance of the bride compared to the other processional music, you’ll certainly want it to be different enough that your guests can clearly hear the change, but you don’t want it to be so abrupt that it feels jarring. Perhaps the pieces could be in a similar tone or style, or from the same era. If you’re choosing a symphonic version of your pieces, you may even be able to get all of your songs played by the same orchestra. Or if you’re having live musicians, you should be able to find pieces for your musicians to play that will feel like they go together well.

Instrumental or Lyrics?

A musician playing a string instrument at a wedding ceremony.

Consider whether you’d like the songs you choose to include lyrics or be only instrumental. If you choose an instrumental version of a song that traditionally has lyrics, it’s a good idea to look up the lyrics to the piece and make sure they go with the feel and vibe you want for the ceremony. Even if you don’t have the words memorized, someone on your guest list is likely to, and you certainly don’t want to be accidentally playing something that sounds lovely without words, but is less-than-savory when lyrics are included.

Don’t Forget the Pace

Although you can walk into the ceremony at whatever pace feels right to you, it’s made much easier when you choose a song that has a tempo that feels comfortable for you to walk with. Sometimes people choose a more upbeat song for their processional, but then find themselves speed-walking down the aisle to keep in pace with the music! As silly as this may sound, when you think you’ve chosen the perfect processional song, practice walking up and down a hallway to the tune and see if the pace feels comfortable to you.

What Means the Most to You?

Perhaps the most important thing to consider as you make this big decision about processional music, is what songs mean something special to you and your partner. If you share love for a certain lyric, musician, or concert, choosing a song that reminds you of this is the perfect call. Some couples may choose an untraditional or unexpected song for their processional, but it’s a piece that means a lot to them or signifies something special to them as a couple. If you’re considering this but are unsure how it will be received, just do it! Remember that this day is about you and your partner joining together and if you know it means something special to you, you should go for it!

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