28 Top Choices for Wedding Processional Music

by dave

The Wedding Processional (part 4)

(Part 4 of a 4-part article)

Your wedding processional marks the culmination of your life so far and the transition into an even greater phase of your life. Make sure your wedding processional music is up to the task!

For this final part, here are many exciting and less-commonly-used processional choices. And know there are even more great choices out there—there simply is no shortage of music for you to choose from!

More choices

So if you want to choose distinctive wedding processional music, start here!

Preview links (iTunes Music Store, etc.) for many of these pieces are included with  my Guide to Selecting Memorable Church Wedding Music.

A few of these pieces may be familiar to some guests, but not nearly as common as certain overused pieces. Check out these ideas, roughly listed from soft to majestic:

  • George Frideric Handel: Arioso “Thanks Be To Thee”

Can be performed by organ alone, or organ plus a solo instrument (such as trumpet, violin, flute). For what it’s worth, scholars don’t believe it was written by Handel. But don’t let that stop you.

  • Johannes Brahms: Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen (or Lo, How a Rose E’er Bloometh)

Written for organ but could be played on a piano. Would be especially appropriate near Christmas-time, but can be used throughout the year.

  • Johann Sebastian Bach: Arioso, also known as Sinfonia (or Adagio) from Cantata BWV 156 and also as the Largo from Harpsichord Concerto in F Minor (BWV 1056)

A very flexible piece when it comes to instrumentation. Can be performed on an organ, piano, classical guitar, or an organ/piano with almost any gentle solo instrument.

  • Johann Sebastian Bach: “Bist du bei mir” from Cantata 508

Written as an aria (to be sung), but for a wedding, use an organ or piano, or organ/piano plus a solo instrument.

  • George Frideric Handel: Largo from Xerxes

Can be performed by organ or piano alone, by harp, or by organ/piano plus a solo instrument (flute, violin).

  • George Frideric Handel: Air from Water Music Suite #1 in F (sometimes known as Solemn Processional from Water Music)

Written for small orchestra, but typically performed on an organ for weddings. If you are lucky enough to have a harp or string quartet available, this is an exceptional choice.

  • Johannes Brahms: St. Anthony’s Chorale. Full name is “Variations on the St. Anthony Chorale” (also known as Variations on a Theme by Haydn)

Typically, just the opening Theme (Andante) section is played (for time reasons). Written for orchestra, but can be performed on either an organ or piano for weddings.

  • Georg Philipp Telemann: Grazioso (full name is la Grace from Heroic Marches)

Can be performed on an organ, organ plus either trumpet or violin.

  • Johann Sebastian Bach: Wachet Auf or Chorale Prelude on Wachet auf (the German melody name for the hymn “Sleepers Awake” or “Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying”)

Often performed on an organ, but the combination of organ and trumpet works very well (as would other loud solo instruments).

  • André Campra: Rigaudon

For organ.

  • George Frideric Handel: March from Occasional Oratorio

For organ.

  • Craig A. Penfield: Trompette Jubilante

For organ.

  • David Lasky: Processional Rondeau in D Major

For organ.

  • William Boyce: Trumpet Voluntary (Largo Andante)

Can be performed by organ plus trumpet or organ alone.

  • David German: Festival Trumpet Tune

Can be performed by organ alone or organ plus trumpet.

  • David N. Johnson: Trumpet Tune in D

For organ or organ plus solo trumpet.

  • Michael McCabe: Trumpet Tune

A great choice of organ processional music if you’re looking for a distinctive, majestic, stately sound.

  • Johann Pachelbel: Fantasia in C

For organ.

  • John Stanley: Trumpet Voluntary in D Major

Often performed on an organ but can also be performed by an organ with trumpet.

  • Jean-Joseph Mouret: Rondeau

Well-known as the theme to PBS’ Masterpiece Theater.

This is a wonderful, majestic example of organ processional music but can be made even more impressive by also using a trumpet!

  • Jean-Baptiste Lully: Air de Trompette

For organ.

  • David N. Johnson: Processional

Can be performed on an organ alone, organ plus trumpet, or piano plus trumpet.

  • Mark Thewes: Festival Trumpet Tune in D Major

For organ.

  • Jon Roberts: Trumpet Tune in G Major

For organ.

  • Giacomo Meyerbeer: Coronation March from Le Prophéte (The Prophet) (1849)

Originally written for orchestra, but typically played on an organ for weddings.

  • Marc-Antione Charpentier: Prelude to Te Deum

Originally written for orchestra, but typically played on an organ for weddings.

  • Louis Claude D’Aquin: Swiss Noel with variations

Wonderful for Christmas-time ceremonies. For organ.

  • Benedetto Marcello: Psalm 19 (The Heaven’s Declare the Glory of God)

For organ.

These processional music ideas were pulled from my Guide to Selecting Memorable Church Wedding Music. Check it out! Or if you’re just getting started, you might be interested in my Church Wedding Music 101 videos to get you started.

Wrapping up

If you’re planning a wedding, start the process of finding wedding processional music now! Think about the style you want to use and how much music you’ll need.

As you listen to music, note your reactions, such as what you like, what you don’t like about it, and even what makes it close but not exactly what you’re looking for. Understanding your reaction will help you make your choices.

What pieces have grabbed your attention? Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

© 2009 – 2010, Wedding Music Unveiled. All rights reserved.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris H. September 29, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Augsburg Fortress publishes a fine collection of Trumpet Tunes for Organ by David Johnson. 30 tunes of varying difficulty (less than $1.00/piece). This is a handy resource when you’re trying to get out of the traditional trumpet tune “rut”.

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Steve November 13, 2009 at 2:37 pm

It’s great to have a larger listing of processional options. Many of the brides I’ve worked with are familiar with only one or maybe two (the commonly used ones). But after they hear other options, most will opt to try something else. This list has been a wonderful help!

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Kate April 30, 2011 at 5:21 am

This is such a huge help…. Thank you!! I was concerned I was going to have to settle for something heard at all other weddings.

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