How Many Songs Do You Need for a Wedding Ceremony – FYI

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( — October 2, 2019) — How many songs do you need for a wedding ceremony? This might sound like a rather arbitrary question, but the wedding ceremony music is rather crucial for many people. You see, the music during the wedding ceremony processions lifts the mood during the wedding, makes it a worthwhile event and, most importantly, it sets the tone of your special day. 

How Many Songs Do You Need For a Wedding Ceremony

The ceremony follows a specific order. Therefore, you really need to prepare a top-quality wedding ceremony music checklist that will make this the most memorable day of your life. Don’t know how? Read the suggestions we’ve prepared for you and discover how.

Basic Program

The basic ceremony program involves the following stages:

  • Preludes. This is light music that sets the mood while guests take a seat and wait for the ceremony to begin. It’s a good idea, but not exactly mandatory.
  • Processionals. This is the most important music: it accompanies the entry of the family, attendants, and of course, the bride. 
  • Recessionals. It’s the music played at the end of the ceremony. It tends to be bright and lively – basically, a joyful musical celebration.
  • Interludes and Postludes. Sometimes couples play songs during significant moments, such as when the guests head to the exit, but they’re not mandatory.

What Songs to Use?

It depends on the couple’s tastes, but our recommendations for each stage are the following:


  • Basic. Because preludes aren’t mandatory, you can either choose to play a musical piece during this part or not, but if you opt for the former, be sure to pick something that fits the ambiance of every solemn ceremony.


  • Basic. This is the bridesmaids’ (and sometimes the groomsmen) entrance. We recommend Canon in D (Pachelbel), Air (Bach) and Spring (Vivaldi) for them. If the groomsmen and come before or after them, you can use the same music.
  • The flower girl. If the flower girl is walking with the bridesmaids, they’ll walk with the song you choose for them; but if she comes with the bride, either you can pick a separate track for her or start playing the official bride song with her entrance. And speaking of which…
  • Bride song. Such an important event calls for an important song. We personally recommend two classics: Here Comes the Bride (Wagner) and Canon in D (Pachelbel). However, since this is the bride’s special moment, it’s up to her tastes.
  • Sand ceremony / Unity candle / Hand binding. You can add a quiet piece in here, but it’s best to leave it silent, due to their solemn nature.
  • Communion. Depending on the length, you can add a piece in here too. The one we recommend the most is a big classic: Ave Maria (Schubert).


  • Basic. When the couple is walking down the aisle, there are some traditional pieces you can choose from: Wedding March (Mendelssohn), Rondeau (Mouret), La Rejouissance (Handel) and Hornpipe from Water Music (Handel).


  • Basic. Once again, this is not mandatory, so it’s up to you.

Find Good Musicians

Needless to say, you can pick the best pieces in the whole world, but the beauty will largely depend on the musical arrangements you make as well.

During your intensive research, keep in mind some key factors:

  • Point Person. This is the musicians’ leader who helps couples put together an appropriate musical arrangement. S/he’ll tailor the orchestra according to your personal desires, so keep a good relationship with them.
  • Ensemble. You can arrange the sound of certain instruments according to your tastes, but you need to balance the sounds together, or else, a classical piece – no matter their beautiful composition – will turn out awful.
  • Vocals. Singers are a good option, but a bit harder to handle than simple instrumentals, so only consider them if you’ve got a clear idea of how you want your music to sound like.

Finally, some last considerations.

How do I choose my wedding music?

Wedding music is essential. First, pick your band and start brainstorming. Familiarize yourself with the stages we spoke about and decide for the style you want. Pick some tracks and sample them out over and over until you finally reach a decision.

How many songs do you need for a wedding reception?

A reception party tends to last around 4 hours, with 15 songs per hour, so, on average, you must prepare a playlist of up to 60 songs beforehand.

So, how many songs do you need for a wedding ceremony? If we take into consideration the four stages we spoke about, a minimum wedding ceremony music checklist, the reception included, could take up to 60 songs. Again, keep in mind that you can omit music during wedding ceremony stages, so it still largely depends on the couple’s personal tastes. Still, we recommend you to add as much wedding ceremony music as you can in this special day because, as we stated in the beginning, it’s going to become the hymn of your most special day.