Getting Married? My Top 10 Traditional and Non-Traditional Wedding Song Suggestions

Are you recently engaged and trying to plan your wedding ceremony music and not quite sure where to start? Do not worry, you have many different options when it comes to the songs and who you hire to provide the music, and it is not quite as overwhelming as you may think. 

Many people opt for a DJ for their wedding ceremony AND reception not realizing that there are many musicians, from string quartets to pianists to jazz musicians, who would love to share their talents with you and contribute to your special day!

With the accessibility the internet provides us today, there is a countless number of websites where musicians can sign up to advertise for weddings and events in their area. Many musicians are relying on this advantage to book their schedules and earn a living sharing their talents. So before you settle for just a DJ, make sure to google wedding musicians in your area!

Just like DJ's are able to provide their clients with song lists, wedding musicians are able to do the same! Here is my recommended list for traditional and non-traditional wedding repertoire. Every wedding is as unique as the bride & groom, so when and how these songs are used is totally up to the bride & groom.

A typical wedding ceremony needs music for:

  • Prelude: A time period when guests are arriving and sitting down 
  • Bridal Party Entrance: May include grandparents, parents, bridesmaids, flower girls/ring bearers
  • Bride: The bride should ALWAYS have her own song
  • Unity/Candle-lighting: Some ceremonies including a unity ceremony when the bride & groom light a candle or participate in some other act symbolizing their unity as one, this is a great opportunity for a solo song 
  • Postlude: When the bride & groom are announced as husband and wife for the first time and walk out of the ceremony and the bridal party follows as well as the guests

Traditional Wedding Ceremony Repertoire:

  • Trumpet Voluntary (Clarke)
  • Air on the G String (Bach)
  • Bridal Chorus (Wedding March) (Wagner)
  • Wedding March (Mendelssohn)
  • Entrance of the Queen of Sheba (Handel)
  • Hornpipe from Water Music (Handel)
  • Ave Maria (Schubert)
  • Canon in D (Pachelbel)
  • Wachet auf (Bach)
  • Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (Bach)


  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow
  • A Thousand Years (C. Perri)
  • Someday My Prince Will Come (Snow White)
  • Going to California (Led Zeppelin)
  • Here Comes the Sun (The Beatles)
  • She (Elvis Costello)
  • All of Me (John Legend)
  • Lean on Me (Bill Withers)
  • Skinny Love (Bon Iver)
  • Wonderwall (Oasis)

Traditionally a cocktail hour takes place between the wedding ceremony and reception, while cocktails and appetizers are being served. Whether or not this happens at the same venue as the ceremony or at a different location where the reception will also take place, there is plenty of time for music to accompany drinks and food. As the title suggests, cocktail hour, an hour is a good amount of time for transition from ceremony to reception. This is a great opportunity for light and joyous background music. These songs are not as particular so to speak as the ceremony songs, and any of the songs listed above can be put on a list for this time. You can even request the musician use their own expertise to put together a list, if they are well seasoned wedding musicians, they will know exactly what to play!

Hopefully this was helpful! Planning for your special day should be anything but stressful, and with all the options out there for every single aspect of a wedding day it is easy to get overwhelmed! My ultimate tip for you, keep it simple, remember after all the day is about you, your fiancee, and the love you share! Don't forget to enjoy every moment!


Best, B

Brittany Stockwell