Wedding Music

Wedding Music

There are no hard and fast rules on what music can be played but it is important to understand that no two churches, organs, organists or choirs are the same. The important thing is to discuss your ideas with the organist and the Rector of the church. At a typical church wedding there may be two or three hymns, a processional piece as the bride walks up the aisle, some pieces during the signing of the register and a recessional piece as the married couple walk down the aisle together after the ceremony. Additionally, the bride, groom or their families may like to choose some or all of the music that is played as the guests arrive.

For typical hymn choices click here

At St. Martin’s we have a fabulous new three manual dual specification Hauptwerk organ with 53 speaking stops giving a wide range of authentic pipe organ tone and suitable for playing everything from the classics to the  contemporary. We also have an excellent Yamaha digital grand piano which can be used for accompanying the congregation, soloists or just played solo, as desired. Both organ and piano can be used in the service, though not simultaneously by one player! If you prefer to use recorded music, we have a good sound system and can accommodate all common types of media.

Our choir will normally help to lead the hymn singing and can sing during the signing of the register, if required. Visiting choirs are also welcome.

Many of the popular pieces may be used at different positions in the service, depending on your taste. Some pieces may also be played at different speeds and in different styles to suit the required atmosphere. The attached audio files are organised as recommendations for Processional, Arrival/signing of the register and Recessional pieces. If you would like something specific at a particular point in the service, then please discuss it with the organist.

Music as your guests arrive

You can either let the organist choose what is played or make some suggestions, depending on your tastes and the mood you wish to create. The quantity of music before the ceremony will depend on the number of guests and the weather. In good weather, most of the guests may stay outside until 5 minutes before the service! It is common for guests who may not have seen each other for some time to chat before the service so it is usually a good idea to allow for 10 to 15 minutes of music before the service, with some spare in case the bride is late. Any good organist will be able to fill in as necessary.

The idea is to make guests feel comfortable and create an atmosphere of calm and anticipation.

These are typical pieces suitable as the guests arrive or during the signing of the registers:

Canon in D – Pachelbel

Air from the Water Music – Handel

Nimrod from Enigma Variations – Elgar

Rhosymedre – Vaughan Williams

Chanson de Matin – Elgar

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik – Mozart

Listen to brief clips of all these


At the entrance of the Bride

It is important to be aware that the procession of the bride usually only takes about 30 seconds. In most cases, the organist can adjust the length of the processional piece to fit. Some couples like to use the Pachelbel Canon in D for the entrance music. The use of this piece needs discussion with the organist and careful synchronisation as once a certain section is reached (after about 45 seconds) then the organist has to continue to the end which could mean that the couple would be waiting for a couple of minutes.

Popular choices are:

Bridal March (from Lohengrin) – Wagner

Arrival of the Queen of Sheba – Handel

Prelude to a Te Deum (also known as Trumpet Tune) – Charpentier

Prince of Denmark’s March (also known as Trumpet Voluntary) – Clarke

Trumpet Tune – Purcell

The Rejoicing from Music for the Royal Fireworks – Handel

Finale from Music for the Royal Fireworks – Handel

Listen to brief clips of all these

Signing the register

The signing of the register usually takes around 8 minutes. This is enough time to perform a whole suite of music or around three pieces. St. Martin’s welcomes instrumental and vocal soloists or groups and we can provide organ or piano accompaniment, as required. Please discuss your wishes with the organist. Any of the sung pieces below may be just played.

Popular choices are:

Jesu, joy of Man’s desiring

Pie Jesu from Requiem – Faure

Panis Angelicus – Franck

Ave Maria – Bach/Gounod

Ave Maria – Schubert

O for the wings of a dove – Mendlessohn

The Lord Bless You and Keep You – Rutter

Liebster Jesu, Wir sind heir – Bach

Prelude in D (“Air on a G string”) – Bach

Listen to brief clips of all these click here

Exit of the Bride and Groom

This is the part you will remember best, so choose wisely!

Popular choices are:

Wedding March – Mendlessohn

Toccata from Symphony no. 5 – Widor

Sortie in Eb – Lefébure-Wély

Nun Danket – Karg-Elert

Hornpipe from The Water Music – Handel

Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4 in G – Elgar

Tuba Tune – C S Lang

Crown Imperial – Walton

The Rejoicing from Music for the Royal Fireworks – Handel

Concerto in A minor, 1st mvt, BVW593 – Bach/Vivaldi

Listen to brief clips of all these

Typical order of service

Music as the guests arrive (if specified)

e.g. Canon in D – Johann Pachelbel

Entrance of the Bride

e.g. Prince of Denmark’s March – Jeramiah Clarke

Welcome and Introduction

The Minister



e.g. St Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians 13:1-13


The Minister

The Marriage

The Signing of the Register

e.g. Pie Jesu from Requiem – Gabriel Faure

Ave Maria – Franz Schubert

“Romance” from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik – W A Mozart



The Lord’s Prayer




e.g. The Wedding March – F Mendelssohn