Wedding March Music Plays On

For over 100 years the most popular wedding march music has been Wagner's Bridal Chorus. Today this is commonly referred to as the Processional.

The term "wedding march" refers to a piece of music played in march tempo accompanying the entrance or exit of the bride.

Its usual placement at the beginning of a wedding ceremony does not match its placement in Wagner's opera. In the opera, the chorus is sung after the ceremony by the women of the wedding party, as they accompany the heroine Elsa to the bridal chamber.

Ironically, the marriage in the opera between Elsa and Lohengrin is an almost immediate failure. Which may cause you to think twice about selecting it as part of your ceremony music.

The Lutheran and Roman Catholic church have generally steered clear of Wagner's Bridal Chorus due to its borrowing from theatrical and Pagan elements. They regard it more secular than that which inspires worship.

It's mostly omitted from Jewish weddings, also, because apparently Wagner was hostile toward Jews.

The Canon in D is not exactly a wedding march – but has become quite popular as a wedding processional. Consequently it gets categorized as such. You can learn more here.

"Prince of Denmark's March" written by Jeremiah Clarke became popular as a wedding march processional after being televised in Lady Diana's wedding to Prince Charles. It had been incorrectly attributed to Henry Purcell as "Trumpet Voluntary".


Wedding March from Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream, written in 1826 seem to have found a traditional spot at the end of the service. For Western ceremonies, the bride and groom march down the aisle to a lively recessional tune.

Toccata from Symphony for Organ No. 5, by Charles-Marie Widor, written in 1880 would be the choice for your ceremony provided you had a skilled organist. Unlike other musical choices, you would not hear this piece arranged for other instruments.



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