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The Overture or Prelude

This is the music that is played before the ceremony and commences as the guests begin to arrive. If yours is a less formal ceremony, you might choose to play some popular songs that express the way you feel about each other (e.g. "Close to You" by the Carpenters or "You Are The Sunshine of My Life" by Stevie Wonder). You might also include here any song of special significance to you as a couple (e.g., the song that was playing when you met or when you decided to get married.) If you are having a less formal wedding, and the song is appropriate to the occasion, you might also want to incorporate it into the ceremony itself (see interludes/signing of the register).

For less formal or traditional ceremonies, some of the more ambient, atmospheric New Age music works really well. See interludes/signing of the register for some suggestions.

You'll always want to keep in mind the age range of your guests in terms of the suitability of any particular selection. Remember to discuss your musical choices with your officiator.

For the overture, you'll need approximately one half-hour of music, but plan for an hour just in case there are any unexpected delays, etc.

Classical selections:

  • O Jesu, Joy of Loving Hearts - Brahms
  • Ave Maria - Bach/Gounod
  • Ave Maria - Schubert
  • Canon in D - Pachelbel
  • Ich Liebe Dich - Grieg
  • Panis Angelicus - Franck
  • Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - J.S. Bach
  • Be Thou But Near - J.S. Bach
  • Exsultate Jubilate K 165 - Mozart
  • Romance - Debussy
  • Songs - Brahms
  • Airs - Handel
  • On Wings of Song - Mendelssohn
  • The Swan - Saint-Saens
  • Chant d'Amour - Gilette
  • Suite for Organ - Georg Philipp Telemann
  • The Musical Clocks - Franz Josef Haydn
  • Voluntary in C - Henry Purcell
  • Voluntary on Old 100th - Henry Purcell
  • Suite for a Musical Clock - George Friedrich Handel
  • "Sleepers Wake" (Wachet auf) - J.S. Bach
  • Larghetto - Giambattista Bassani
  • Suite No. 3 for Orchestra - Bach
  • "Prelude" to Afternoon of a Faun - Debussy
  • Air in F - Handel
  • Piano pieces by Chopin, Debussy, or MacDowell

Go to:
Interlude/signing of the register
Classical instrumental

New age


Classical: Instrumental

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling - Stainer
Panis Angelicus - Franck
Canon in D - Pachelbel
Ave Maria - Bach
Ave Maria - Schubert
Air on the G String - Bach
A Wedding Prayer - Williams


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