There are an infinite number of options for music for today’s wedding ceremony. For some couples, the choices are clear, but for others the process can seem daunting. This is an attempt to map out the basic possibilities of where to start in choosing wedding music and to give a broad perspective on how to begin (and perhaps end) the process of making the musical repertoire choices and selections that will help establish and color the backdrop and mood of the day you’ve been dreaming of. 
I enjoy working with couples to find just the right music for your tastes and preferences – and the thoughts below are primarily to cover the “basics” – many of you may be way beyond this stage, in which case I’d be delighted to speak with you directly about any choices you may already have in mind and to assist with making them happen. But here’s a starter, particularly for those who need some thoughts to get rolling:
First – a May 2016 update – I have several easy-print PDF versions of repertoire lists – you’ll find ensemble-specific repertoire listings here. Alternately, you’ll find a quick overview of some popular options that work for almost any combination of instruments in this 2012 entry below:
For a reperotoire list of popular options that work well for most ensembles in PDF form click here.
If you’d like a basic overview of “Ceremony Music 101” – with basic explanations of terms like “repertoire,” “prelude,” “processional,” and more, and an overall explanation of how the music of the day is most commonly set up, click here.
If you’d like to read some thoughts about traditional choices vs. less traditional choices, click here.
For a list of some popular choices with links to YouTube videos (not my own – but to give you the idea of the melody) click here
For my recent articles about wedding music repertoire in the Vermont Bride Magazine blog, click here
For the repertoire section of my blog click here. I’ll be updating this blog section as time goes on!
I’ve put together a list below of some popular wedding ceremony choices. This is only the beginning – there are simply too many choices to list – but many couples find it much easier to work from a list, and these are all great options, with the recognizable sound and popular classical feel many couples are looking for, with options that are not necessarily the same that you hear at every wedding. Also – many of these are represented in YouTube videos in the page I’ve linked above. And again, if you’d like the list in pdf, click here. (and again – our May 2016 update: for ensemble-specific repertoire lists click here).
(Please note: the list below applies to almost every instrumental combination, but some are not workable for lever harp. Please ask to confirm. Also – some of my pages list additional pieces that work well for a particular combination, and there are too many to list, and we’re always game for trying new ones when workable! The list below can either be just a start, or it might be all you need. Best wishes in finding your perfect selections!)
A Few Popular Processional Options:
Canon in D                               Pachelbel
Bridal Chorus                           Wagner
Ode to Joy                               Beethoven
Air from “The Water Music”       Handel
Trumpet Voluntary                  Clarke
Trumpet Tune                         Purcell
Air from Suite in D Major         Bach
Allegro from The Water Music  Handel
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring      Bach
Sheep May Safely Graze          Bach
Ave Maria                              Schubert
St. Anthony Chorale              Brahms
A Few Popular Recessional Options:
Wedding March                                           Mendelssohn
La Rejouissance                                           Handel
Hornpipe from “The Water Music”                 Handel
Gigue from Suite in D Major                         Bach
Danza Pastorale from The Four Seasons         Vivaldi
Allegro from Flute Sonata in F, Op. 1 #11      Handel
Allegro from Brandenburg Concerto #2 in F   Bach
Music During the Ceremony
(candle lighting, communion, or other ritual, meditative moment, etc.):
The Rose        Amanda McBroom
Simple Gifts        Traditional
Amazing Grace        Traditional
On Eagle’s Wings        Michael Joncas
Allelujia                English Hymn
Most of the Processionals listed above also work well in the middle of the ceremony.
There are many more possibilities for any part of the ceremony. Consider the following:
Virtually Any Hymn
Many Celtic, other folk, pop or show tunes
Many more classical options, depending on instrument combination