Prelude songs are songs played while the guests find their seats and wait for the ceremony to start. These songs not only keep the guests entertained, they also help set the mood for the ceremony.
Prelude music is usually played for about 15-30 minutes. A number of songs are played during the prelude since it takes a while for all of the guests to arrive and find their seats.
The bride and groom often does not choose the prelude music themselves and tend to leave it to the discretion of the wedding musician or DJ, although they can do so if they want.
Prelude songs are often soft, mellow songs that make nice background music. Modern prelude songs tend to be love songs or songs with pretty melodies.
The wedding musician/DJ usually plays the prelude music right up until the bridal party arrives for their big entrance. At this point, a cue is often given to the musician/DJ to inform him or her that the bridal party has arrived so that he or she can wrap up the prelude music and begin playing the first processional song.
If you do choose to select the prelude music yourself and you’re not sure if you prefer traditional music, modern music or religious music, here are some popular prelude songs for you to choose from:
Prelude from Cello Suite No. 1 – Johann Sebastian Bach
This piece is from the Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, which was composed by Bach between 1717-1723.
Romanza – Anonymous
This is a guitar piece known by a number of names such as Estudio en Mi de Rubira Spanish Romance, Romance de España, Romance of the Guitar and Romance d’Amour. Experts suspect the piece was written sometime in the 19th century.
Sonata in A – Domenico Scarletti
This piece is a keyboard sonata which was originally written for harpsichord and was later transcribed for other instruments. Scarletti composed this piece sometime in the 1600s.
Water Music – George Frederick Handel
The Water Music suites were composed by Handel in 1717 at the request of King George I. Two movements from the suites, Air and Hornpipe, have since become popular wedding songs.
The Harmonious Blacksmith – George Frederick Handel
This piece is the final movement of Handel’s Suite No. 5, which was composed and published by Handel in 1720.
Across the Universe – The Beatles
Across the Universe was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and performed by the Beatles. It was first released on a 1969 charity compilation album, No One’s Gonna Change Our World.
Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley
Can’t Help Falling in Love was written by Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore, and George David Weiss and performed by Elvis Presley. It was featured in Presley’s 1961 film Blue Hawaii and was released on the film’s soundtrack.
Silly Love Songs – Paul McCartney
Silly Love Songs was written by Paul McCartney and performed by Wings. It was released on Wing’s 1976 album, Wings at the Speed of Sound.
All of Me – John Legend
All of Me was written by John Legend and Toby Gad and performed by John Legend. The song was dedicated to Legend’s wife Chrissy Tiegan and was released on Legend’s 2013 album, Love In The Future.
Dance Tonight – Paul McCartney
Dance Tonight was written and performed by Paul McCartney. It was released on McCartney’s 2007 album, Memory Almost Full.
Religious Wedding Songs:
Ave Verum Corpus – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ave Verum Corpus is a motet, a religious choral piece, composed by Mozart in 1791 to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi.
Benediction Nuptiale – Camille Saint-Saens
Benediction Nuptiale was composed by Saint-Saens in 1859 and was dedicated to Madam la Marquise de Mornay. It became a popular wedding song after it was performed at the wedding of Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles at Westminster Abbey in 1922.
Liebster Jesu, Wir Sind Hier (Blessed Jesus, We Are Here) – Johann Sebastian Bach
This piece is from Bach’s collection of chorale preludes written for organ sometime between 1708-1717 while Bach was an organist at the Ducal court in Weimar, Germany.
Praise To The Lord – Johann Gottfried Walther
Praise To The Lord is a chorale prelude written by German composer Walther, a cousin to Johann Sebastian Bach, in the 18th century. The piece is based on the hymn originally written in German by Joachim Neander in 1680, which was later translated to English during the 19th century.
Prelude on the Old 110th – John Joubert
Hopefully this list will help you choose the perfect wedding ceremony songs for your big day!