Wedding Music Guide

It is your wedding, so feel free to pick whatever music you'd like! . This is a sample of what we typically play for a wedding.

For wedding ceremonies we begin by playing background music as guests arrive and are seated. In addition to the processional and recessional, if requested, we will play other music (hymns or incidental music) during your ceremony. We also play as your guests are leaving.

Wedding Ceremony Music

We are happy to help you select music for your wedding ceremony. Whether you have it all figured out, or you're just starting to think about music, we think the following guide will be helpful. Our clients typically choose a few songs they want to hear, usually for the main events of their ceremony such as the processional, recessional, and candle lighting, and leave the rest to us.

The following applies to most weddings:

music performed before the processional, starting about 30 minutes before your scheduled ceremony start time.


music for the bridal party walking down the aisle, it usually includes

Seating of the grandparents and parents

Wedding party processional:

> this may include officiant, the groom and groomsmen, bridesmaids, flower girl and ring bearer, etc.

Bride's processional

Incidental or Meditation Music

for a candle lighting or other symbolic union ceremony, between readings, before or after prayers

Communion Music


to accompany the congregation or a group of singers


music as people exit down the aisle

Bride and groom's recessional

Wedding party recessional:

this may include bridesmaids and groomsmen, flower girl, ring bearer, officiant, etc.

the music after the recessional, played until the receiving line is over or almost all the guests have exited from the ceremony area

You can choose your ceremony music to create the mood you're trying to evoke, whether it's a sunny, breezy, summer wedding in a garden; an intimate gathering on a grassy lawn; a regal ceremony in a beautiful cathedral; a formal ceremony at the capitol building; or whatever you desire. We can help you choose pieces to complement the mood you want to evoke.


>Prelude music is designed to establish the mood and keep your guests entertained after they arrive and before the ceremony starts. We will start to play about 30 minutes before your ceremony is scheduled to start. Our clients usually leave the prelude music entirely up to us, or provide one or two of their families' favorite pieces for us to include in the

program. We generally pick a variety of pleasant, calming classical music for the prelude. If you are having an informal ceremony it may fit the mood to have some lively tunes and popular songs in your prelude. If you have specific songs you would like to hear, please let us know on the information sheet. Keep in mind that the people in the ceremony usually don't get to hear the prelude music, so if the song you choose is a particular favorite of someone in the ceremony it may work better in the postlude.


The processionals are the start of the wedding ceremony. There are usually between one and three processional pieces. For most venues and most wedding parties, one or two songs is sufficient. Whether you choose one or two pieces for the processional depends on how many people you will have participating in the processionals, the length of the aisle in your ceremony venue, and your personal preference.

Seating of the Grandparents and the Parents

We need to know the number of parents and grandparents that we should expect to come down the aisle. The music for the seating of the grandparents and the seating of the parents can be separate or combined into the piece of music chosen for the processional of the wedding party. For separate pieces (not part of the wedding party processional) we suggest shorter pieces such as Wachet Auf by Bach, the Flower Duet by Delibes, The Gift of Love (the Water is Wide), a family member's favorite hymn, or other short pieces.

Wedding Party Processional

We need to know the number of people walking down the aisle during the wedding party processional. Below is a list of suggested wedding party processional pieces. Pieces labeled long work well for long aisles and many attendants or combined processionals with the same music for the wedding party and the bride. Pieces labeled short work well for short aisles and few attendants or as a processional with separate music for the wedding party. These are only guidelines. We can adapt a long piece for a short aisle or repeat a short piece for a long aisle, etc. Canon in D by Pachelbel is a very traditional and well-loved choice for a processional. It can be used for the wedding party processional and continued for the bride. This works particularly well because we can arrange to have the very emotional, moving parts of the Canon occur as the bride is walking down the aisle. Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring by Bach and Tchaikovsky's Waltz from Sleeping Beauty are other pieces that work well as a combined processional for the attendants and the bride.

Bach - Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (long or short, also works well as one piece for attendants and bride)

Pachelbel - Canon in D (long or short, also works well as one piece for attendants and bride

Tchaikovsky - Waltz from "Sleeping Beauty" (long or short, also works well as one piece for attendants and bride)

Campra - Rigadoun (long or short, also works well as one piece for attendants and bride)

Mouret - Rondeau (the theme used for Masterpiece Theatre) (long or short)

Vangelis - Hymne (long or short)

Delibes - Flower Duet from Lakme (music from the Ghirardelli commercials, long)

Handel - Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (long)

Bach - Wachet Auf (chorale "Sleepers Awake", medium)

Roever and Korb - Highland Cathedral (medium)

Handel - Hornpipe from "Water Music" (medium)

Vivaldi - Largo from Winter from the Four Seasons (medium)

Handel - La Rejouissance from "Royal Fireworks" (short)

Purcell - Trumpet Tune (short)

Bride's Processional

Depending on the length of the aisle and the number of members in the wedding party, it may make sense to have only one piece of music for the Wedding Party Processional and Bride's Processional. On the other hand, a slight pause and a change in the music is a definite signal to your guests that the bride is about to appear. Even if you have a short aisle and only a few wedding party members, two pieces may work. At the end of the bride's processional we will end the music at a natural ending point. If you choose a separate piece for the bride we may play a little longer while everyone stands in their places so that the main theme or refrain of the song is heard. The time between when the bride reaches the altar and when the music stops can provide a nice time for photographers to take pictures. A little extra time also lets the guests admire the scene before the ceremony begins. If you are choosing to have two separate pieces for the wedding party processional and the bride's processional, you can choose two that complement each other or choose a contrasting piece for the bride. Often the bride's processional will be a grand and regal, like the Bridal Chorus from "Lohengrin" by Wagner (the tune of "Here Comes the Bride"), Trumpet Voluntary by Clarke, or the Arrival of the Queen of Sheba by Handel. Sometimes people like to mix it up and have the bride walk down the aisle to something a little different, like At Last by Warren (as sung by Etta James) or a favorite pop song. This can work well as a contrast to a more classical wedding party processional, or you can choose several coordinating pop songs for the processionals and recessionals.

Bach - Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (long or short, combined with attendants or separate)

Pachelbel - Canon in D (long or short, combined with attendants or separate)

Tchaikovsky - Waltz from "Sleeping Beauty" (long or short, combined with attendants or separate)

Campra - Rigadoun (long or short, also works well as one piece for attendants and bride)

Vangelis - Hymne (long or short, from the Gallo wine commercials)

Delibes - Flower Duet from Lakme (music from the Ghirardelli commercials, long)

Handel - Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (long)

Roever and Korb - Highland Cathedral (medium)

The Beach Boys - God Only Knows (medium)

Warren - At Last (as sung by Etta James) (medium)

Vivaldi - Largo from Winter from the Four Seasons (medium)

Wagner - Bridal Chorus from "Lohengrin" (short, the tune to "Here Comes the Bride")

Purcell - Trumpet Tune (short)

Clarke - Trumpet Voluntary (short, works well paired with many other pieces for the attendants, in particular Purcell's Trumpet Tune)

Incidental/Meditational Music, Communion Music

If you are having a candle lighting, sand pouring ceremony, rose ceremony, marriage certificate signing, communion, or some other activity in your ceremony where there is no dialog, you may want to have our quartet play a quiet, reflective piece. A short piece is usually sufficient. It is also sometimes nice to put instrumental pieces in between readings. If there is a pop song that is particularly meaningful to the bride and groom it may be nice to have it performed during the ceremony. Here are a few commonly requested songs:

Bach - Arioso

Schubert - Ave Maria

Gounod - Ave Maria

Rimsky-Korsakov - The Young Prince and Princess from Scheherezade

Massenet - Meditation from Thais

Traditional - The Gift of Love (the Water is Wide)

Traditional - Simple Gifts

Traditional - The Ash Grove

Bernstein and Sondheim - One Hand, One Heart from "West Side Story"

Bach - from Suite BWV 1068 (in D or on G string)

Armstrong - Glasgow Love Theme from "Love Actually"

Kocher - For the Beauty of the Earth

Kremser - We Gather Together

Sager and Foster - The Prayer (as performed by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion)

Puccini - Humming Chorus from "Madame Butterfly"

Puccini - O mio babbino caro from "Gianni Schicchi"

Mozart - Ave Verum

Jenkins - Palladio (music from the diamond commercials)

Vivaldi - Largo from Winter from the Four Seasons

The Beach Boys - God Only Knows (medium)

Warren - At Last (as sung by Etta James) (medium)

Billy Joel - Just the Way You Are

U2 - All I Want Is You

If you would like us to play a hymn for your guests to sing along, that is not a problem. Please provide us a copy of the hymn. If it is a four part piece we can usually play it with minor adjustments. If you can provide a piano part we can make an arrangement. Even if you just have a one or two party melody we can play it or arrange an accompaniment for singing. Please let us know if you will also have a pianist, organist, or cantor participating for the hymn.


The recessional is typically a joyous sounding piece with an upbeat tempo to congratulate the bride and groom and send them off with excitement. The March from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Mendelssohn is a classic. The Hornpipe from "Water Music" by Handel, Rondeau by Mouret (the theme used for Masterpiece Theatre), and La Rejouissance from "Royal Fireworks" by Handel are all good choices that complement most processionals. We also have some selections like All You Need is Love and When I'm Sixty-Four by the Beatles, God Only Knows by the Beach Boys, and Gershwin's I Got Rhythm that make cute recessionals. This is another place where it might make sense to put a pop song that is meaningful to the bride and groom.

Mendelssohn - Wedding March from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (a traditional recessional)

Handel - Hornpipe from "Water Music"

Handel - La Rejouissance from "Royal Fireworks"

Mouret - Rondeau (the theme used for Masterpiece Theatre)

Clarke - Trumpet Voluntary (works well as a recessional, also pairs well with Purcell's Trumpet Tune)

Campra - Rigaudon

Beethoven - Ode to Joy

The Beach Boys - God Only Knows

The Beatles - When I'm Sixty-Four

The Beatles - All You Need Is Love

Gershwin - I Got Rhythm


The postlude is another area that our clients typically leave up to us. If the bride and groom have some favorite songs that weren't already used in the ceremony, this is a great time to include them. We continue the joyous mood of the recessional by playing up to 30 minutes of cheerful music while your guests are leaving the venue or going through the receiving line. We generally play a mix of upbeat classical and popular music for the postlude. Postlude music can be especially valuable to entertain guests if the bride and groom are dismissing the guests row by row or if the receiving line backs up into the ceremony area.

Transition Into the Cocktail Hour and Reception

If you hire us for your cocktail hour or reception we will typically pack up our instruments after the postlude and move to your reception location. Once there, we will set up and begin playing when your guests start arriving until our scheduled end time. If you hire us for dinner music we will customarily stop playing if someone wants to give a speech. Please let us know if you have special instructions for the reception.

Venue Considerations

Light: We require moderately good light to read our music, but we can bring battery operated stand lights if necessary. If you know that your ceremony venue or reception hall has low light, for example, if you are using only romantic candlelight, let us know.

Audio: Some wedding venues book multiple weddings or receptions for one day at the same time and have only thin partitions or space between the different wedding celebrations. This can be problematic for all musicians involved. We have had circumstances where we have been in close proximity to other musical groups, DJs, and in rooms with the "elevator" music running on a loop. Also be aware that some venues have sub-standard sound systems that produce an audio hum. Although we do not require amplification, sometimes you may choose to use microphones for speakers or singers during your ceremony or reception and humming and feedback from that equipment can detract from the music. We will strive to give you the best performance possible in all circumstances.

Setup and Other: Some wedding venues do not allow live music or certain music genres. Please check with your venue and let us know if you have any concerns. Believe it or not, some venues will not allow chairs, even for guests! Our quartet has an advantage in this circumstance: all of our members can play while standing, which is a difficult or impossible for some other ensembles.

Weather: We do require shade from the sun or shelter from the rain. Direct sunlight and precipitation are harmful to our instruments (and in some cases, our bodies). If no permanent structure is available, you can provide a tent or canopy, but this is another thing you must clear with your venue. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns. We are happy to help.


Just wanted to say thank you for the great job The Wedding String Quartet did last night. I know I did not get a chance to speak with you, but all of the music sounded amazing! Thanks again for everything :) Best, Rachel

Rachel P.,  
Wedding Ceremony

Hi Radhi, I am writing to let you what an amazing addition you and your string quartet were to the wedding. I only wish I could have been more appreciative on Sunday and that I could have talked with you at length, but alas, I was quite caught up in my wedding. When I first heard you playing I was getting ready in the bridal quarters and, while I am proud to say that I did not cry at all during my wedding, I almost became a faucet when I first heard you play! It was so beautiful! When I heard you play the very first notes, it was like my wedding was starting at that very moment and the whole day was brought to life. It was at that moment that it all began, as all my bridesmaids and flower girls prepared for the processional and scampered around the room to the lovely music that you played. All of my guests have repeated the sentiments to me that you added a beautiful touch to the event. I will recommend you for future weddings or any lovely event where your playing would be appropriate. You are a very talented man for having put together such an amazing group, but even more importantly, you espouse a love and happiness that transcends your music. The extra effort that you made to specialize the songs was more than many others would have done for me! Last, when you played my first dance, "Stand By Me," it was a dream come true and I will cherish that moment always. Deepest and sincere thanks,


From the first time I contacted Radhi Santos from The Wedding String Quartet, he was confident and enthusiastic about performing the ceremony and cocktail hour music for our wedding. He listened to what I wanted the atmosphere to be like, and suggested music to create the happy environment I wanted. Radhi was responsive, super professional, and the trio that played at the wedding sounded incredible. When I think back on my wedding day, one of the things I actually remember is the music String Poets was playing. It was nice not having to worry about this part of the wedding; completely worth it!

Wedding Reception

Thank you all for making this memorial service beautiful and memorable for all who attended. It is impossible to express one's thanks when there are so many sensibilities to take into account on such an ocassion. Your musicianship and the intelligence of the selections made the day for us all. And thank you for co-ordinating with the organist, Jeffrey Workman, and for working with me. I received your name from Robert Saladini, by the way, for whose father you performed a memorial service. He himself is an organist, and he praised your work. I am so grateful. Adrian Birne.

Adrian Birne,  
Memorial Service

I just got back from my honeymoon and have been hearing rave reviews about the wedding. Everyone had such a great time!!! I'm sorry I was unable to speak with you throughout the crazy night, but I had sooooo much fun. Everyone agreed that the music was beautifully performed, and you were beyond amazing dealing with the hectic schedule, making the location changes, and composing Doug and I such a special first dance on short notice. That song was absolutely perfect; I wish somebody recorded it so I could listen to it over and over! Anyway, I was never able to formally thank you for all the work that you did. It was great having someone so professional and so talented that I didn't need to think about the string quartet all day/night... I just enjoyed the music! You are truly incredible, and Doug and I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making our ceremony and reception unforgettable. I would recommend you to anyone and everyone! Thank you a million times, Leslie

Leslie K.,  
Wedding Ceremony and Cocktail hour

Radhi & Company, Kelly and I wanted to offer another word of heartfelt thanks to you guys. We were so pleased with the role (and great music) you played at our wedding celebration last weekend! You helped make it an unforgettable weekend. We will of course recommend you to anyone who asks and we hope we can attend an event in the future that features the String Poets! Our thanks, Dan & Kelly

Dan & Kelly's wedding,  
Dan & Kelly's wedding Wedding and Cocktail hour

I would like you to know how much I appreciated The Wedding String Quartet  braving the wind and the cold to make my ceremony perfect. My guests loved the music and said you guys were awesome. Thank you so much for being prompt, responsive, and excellent musicians!

Ceremony and cocktail hours

The Wedding String Quartet are talented and generous. Our memorial service at Wolftrap was a challenge as it included a classical set, a dove release and several secular pieces interspersed within a program. Extraordinary musicians and professionals, the String poets hit every challenging entry, page turn and pause. As a modest singer, I would recommend String Poets to enhance any gig. They make you sound like a star. Their accompaniment to Josh Groban piece ("To Where You Are") was straight from heaven

Melina S,  
Memorial Cervice

I would like to take this time and thank The Wedding String Quartet for their professional and timely service. The songs was just what we wanted, and was played on cue. Thank you.

-Sheila S,  
Wedding Ceremony

Thank you so much for serving our wedding. The music was beautiful and I want to let you know that we've received many compliments! I'll definitely look out for you if we help out in any future events in the area. You guys were wonderful to work with. THANK YOU!

Kady and Andy,  

We had the String Poets play at our Catholic ceremony and their music was beautiful! The whole day was a big blur but I knew that the music was great after all of our guests asked about them and complimented them. Then when we watched our video - we again saw how wonderful they were! Highly recommend and Radhi was Super easy to work with!

Catholic Wedding Ceremony

We would like to say thank you for being part of our day. It was amazing.

Wedding Ceremony