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Choosing Bridal Entrance Music - Advice from the Manor House String Quartet
For many traditional weddings where the couple have hired the services of a string quartet, the most popular pieces of music for the bride to enter to (the processional) are either Pachelbel’s Canon in D or Wagner’s Bridal Chorus (from ‘Lohengrin’).
But there are many brides who wish their wedding music to be a little different and want to choose pieces of music that have more of a personal significance to them. What alternative bridal entrance music do people choose for something a little fresh and original? After all, your wedding service will most likely be one of the most personal experiences of your life, so many people want a memorable alternative to ‘here comes the bride’. . .
Every wedding string quartet probably have their own ideas about the ideal piece of music for a bride to enter to and since playing at over 600 weddings since we formed the quartet in 2005, our group have experienced many unique requests as well as original ideas for the bridal entrance music. Many of these are modern rock and pop songs played by the string quartet which have particular significance for the bridal couple involved. We played for a particularly memorable wedding which took place in Essex, where the bride entered to the Guns ‘n’ Roses classic, ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’. The whole event had a real party atmosphere with everyone getting involved in the celebrations and guests singing along enthusiastically! Although certain pop songs may not be appropriate for that special moment (Abba’s ‘Take a Chance on Me’, the Eurythmics ‘Thorn in My Side’ or ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’ might be less than ideal), string arrangements of songs such as The Beatles ‘All You Need Is Love’ or Madness ‘It Must Be Love’ do often say it all and raise a few smiles in the assembled guests.
In fact, as an alternative to the Wedding March (which we’ll refer to as the ‘Bridal Chorus’ to avoid any confusion!), couples increasingly choose more modern songs for their bridal processional music. With many string quartets offering an arrangement service, the options are now very wide indeed and there is an increasing trend for brides to come up with some very creative ideas for their ceremony music. On a cautionary note, do check whether your string quartet arranges their songs from sheet music publications or direct from the track. If music has been arranged from sheet music originally intended for a piano, although it is quicker to do, the end result will lack a lot of the detail contained in the track and may end up sounding a little drab. It is always far better if the string arranger has written the track by ear, although this takes many hours of careful work.
As ever, the quality of string quartet wedding music can vary a lot between groups, so before booking any group, always listen carefully to string quartet sound samples provided on websites or demo CDs.
Not all couples want to have rock and pop music in their ceremony. Many still feel that classical music offers more atmosphere and elegance for the more formal proceedings of the day. Yet they still do not necessarily want to opt for the standard wedding processional songs that string quartets frequently play. For the entrance music, pieces such as Verdi’s ‘Grand March’ (from ‘Aida’) and the Mascagni’s haunting ‘Intermezzo’ (from ‘Cavalleria Rusticana’) are regular favourites.
One thing to be aware of is to avoid any pieces which may have a religious connotation in a civil ceremony (or one which will take place at a non religious). Always check with your registrars, as pieces such as ‘Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring’ may unfortunately not be allowed and we have even experienced one rather strict registrar who refused the couple's request for 'God Only Knows' by the Beach Boys.
Here is what we have found to be some of the most popular classical and modern favourites for the bridal entrance
Wagner Bridal Chorus (from ‘Lohengrin’)
Pachelbel Canon in D
Charpentier Prelude (from ‘Te Deum’)
Clarke Prince of Denmark’s March (Trumpet Voluntary)
Mascagni Intermezzo (from ‘Cavalleria Rusticana’)
Bach Air in D
Purcell Trumpet Tune
Vivaldi Allegro from ‘Spring’ (‘The Four Seasons’)
Verdi Grand March (from ‘Aida’)
Handel Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Modern Songs for the Bridal Entrance
Beach Boys: God Only Knows
Des’ree: Kissing You
Snow Patrol: Chasing Cars
Beatles: All You Need Is Love
Elbow: One Day Like This
Sigur Ros: Hoppipolla
Adele/Bob Dylan: Make You Feel My Love
Ben E King: Stand By Me
James Blunt: You’re Beautiful
Foo Fighters: Everlong
Of course, this list is from 2013 and the favourite pieces of popular music are bound to change as new songs are released and become fashionable. But really – as far as weddings go, anything goes and choosing string quartet wedding music can be as personalised as any other aspect of planning the big day!
Author: Manor House Music
Manor House Music - professional String Quartet and String Duo offering classical and modern music for weddings, parties, functions and special occasions.