How to choose wedding ceremony music, part 3: the recessional

I can’t believe it’s September already—summer is winding down and fall is about to arrive. We have a quite a few wedding ceremonies and cocktail and dinner receptions, some booked as far away as 2019, but rescheduled multiple times due to COVID. Now is the time to celebrate!

Part three in our series about how to choose wedding ceremony music is perhaps the most straightforward part of the ceremony. The recessional is the point in the wedding ceremony immediately following the signing of the register where the couple walk down the aisle at the conclusion of the ceremony. Unlike the wedding party and bridal processionals or the signing of the registry where there are many different kinds of music possibilities, the recessional music can be summed up as Loud, Fun and Upbeat!

The music can be classical, as there are many really loud and fun pieces of classical music that should great, or pop, and there are also lots of choices available. In this post, we are going to look at a number of possibilities and there are even a few suggestions and tweaks that I can suggest so that you get the most out of your song selections. As in previous posts, this is something that only live musicians can really do, and we can absolutely personalize the recessional music to add that extra special something that you and your guests will remember for many years to come.

Let’s dive in.

The recessional is the loudest and most fun part of the ceremony. The bride and groom are married, and the guests are cheering and clapping. So exciting! The number one tip for recessional music is that it should be upbeat and fun! In Church or religious wedding song selections could be anything from the romantic Mendelsohn’s Wedding March (the most traditional) to something more modern like the Ma Richter recomposed Vivaldi.

Pop selections

For pop selections there are so many good songs to choose from. Once you have a song that is both upbeat and fun, there are a few options how we can customize that to suit the recessional.

The full song, or your favourite part?

One thing that I like to recommend for the recessional is starting from a favourite part of the song. Most often this is the chorus, but it could really be any part of the song that is important to you, we can make it happen! Depending on how many guests you have the full song might be more appropriate, however, we can also start at any point in the song and loop back to the beginning, so that you and your guests get the full experience.

Guest Exit music

Another option (and one that we would recommend for larger wedding ceremonies) is that we may be able to perform an additional song as the guests exit the ceremony space. Most often the choice of song would have the same feel and upbeat, fun character as the previous song to keep the energy up.

A piece of advice that I give clients is: try to think of the recessional or guests exit music as a prelude to the reception.

In summary, try to choose music that is fun and upbeat, and if you need any help we are happy to provide advice!


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