Walking down the aisle to a traditional wedding march is a custom that many brides look forward to on their wedding day. Whether the bride makes the journey down the aisle themselves, or escorted by her father, mother, grandfather, brother or other special person, the bridal march is an important aspect of any wedding ceremony.
Traditional Wedding March Songs
Selecting a familiar, traditional song signals to everyone when the bride makes her entrance.
One of the most famous wedding march songs is aptly named Wedding March. Composed by Felix Mendelssohn, it was a part of the Shakespearean play A Midsummer's Night Dream. It became popular after being used in a royal wedding and continues to be popular today.
Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
Another very famous march song is the Bridal Chorus, also known as Here Comes the Bride. It was composed by Richard Wagner for the opera Lohengrin. However, controversy surrounds this song. It's not usually played in Jewish wedding ceremonies, as the composer was one of Adolf Hitler's favorites, according to Judaism 101. Additionally, some Christians object to the tune for the aforementioned reason and the fact that the song and opera do not honor Christian values.
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
Christian wedding music often includes the song Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by Johann Sebastian Bach as part of the processional. Though there are several versions of song lyrics over the years, it is usually an instrumental piece.
In a Catholic wedding ceremony an instrumental or soloist version of Ave Maria by Franz Schubert is commonly used as the bridal march. The familiar song is one that didn't originally begin as a Christian song but one where religious lyrics were later added.
Prince of Denmark's March (commonly known as Trumpet Voluntary) by Jeremiah Clarke is one many choose for their wedding march. Again, this is a composer and tune not without controversy due to Clarke's suicide, but it remains popular. Many couples choose to add an actual trumpet to organ or piano tunes.
Canon in D
Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel was likely written in the 1600s. The song features repeated lines which makes it one that nearly everyone quickly recognizes.
Air (Water Music Suite)
Air (part of the Water Music Suite) by George Frederic Handel is the perfect song for a wedding on the water. That's because it was composed for King George I during his travel on the River Thames.
Symphony No. 9
Symphony No. 9 by Ludwig van Beethoven is arguably one of Beethoven's most famous piece. It contains the popular Ode to Joy which works well as a recessional song. Couples should select an abbreviated version for the march; the entire symphony is over an hour.
Nontraditional Bridal March Songs
Not everyone wants to play a traditional song for their wedding march. If you are planning a nontraditional, contemporary religious or non-religious ceremony, you may want to choose an alternative song.
- Love songs for weddings that might be used as part of the march can include songs like Unforgettable and What a Wonderful World.
- Songs by famous groups, like the Beatles, or contemporary adult rock, pop or country artists are also commonly played as marches.
- Add your favorite Broadway show tune or movie love song to the list of possibilities.
- Friends or family members may compose an original piece for your wedding and perform it.
Traditional Wedding Music
The lovely songs used as traditional wedding marches will never go out of style. However, you can always consider the possibility of a nontraditional march if the conventional wedding music is not your style.