History of Wedding Music

Weddings are historically one of, if not the, the biggest day of many people’s lives and music has traditionally played a huge role in weddings all over the world. The music one chooses to walk down the aisle to is very significant and should be selected with care. There are many options and types of songs for brides and grooms to consider, with choices often influenced by religion, location, and personal preferences. For example, in a traditional liturgical setting, there are a number of hymns and tunes that are habitually sung, including the Bridal March (Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin) and All Things Bright and Beautiful.

Music isn’t just an enhancement or an optional extra: on a wedding day it plays a much larger role than simple entertainment for those who are gathered to celebrate the union between man and woman. For example, music is often used to announce the arrival of the bride at the church. This is the moment when, for centuries, the instantly recognizable Lohengrin’s Bridal Chorus, better known as “Here Comes the Bride” has been played. Today, some couples choose to use more modern pieces such as Jeremiah Clarke’s “Prince of Denmark’s March” at this point in the proceedings.

Music plays a huge role in the newly married couple’s exit as well, with a happy song for a lively exit being a popular choice. One of the most frequently used songs for this purpose is Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The music discussed so far is that which is regularly used during Western weddings. Other cultures use music for other reasons and feel that music has a different role to play in their matrimonial ceremonies. For example, the zaffa in Egypt is an alternative form of wedding march that is played as a belly dancer leads the bride to the wedding hall accompanied by instruments and sometimes even torches and flames. Jewish celebrations, on the other hand, feature a specific song for the groom’s entry.