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A bride’s guide to the top classical music for your wedding

Classical music adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to any wedding ceremony or civil partnership, whether in an historic church, a hotel or a registry office.

However, there are a few rules to bear in mind.

  • Any music played as part of a religious wedding ceremony in church will need to be cleared with your vicar or priest in advance. This doesn’t mean all music has to be religious, but it does need to be appropriate.
  • Music for a civil wedding or a civil partnership will have to be cleared with the registrar in advance.
  • You may have non-religious music in a religious ceremony, but you can’t have religious music in a civil wedding or civil partnership ceremony.

Already know what you’d like and when? Call us at Matters Musical on 01306 741007, as some of our acts get booked up months in advance.


Classical music tips for wedding ceremonies

The secret to choosing the best classical music for a wedding is to match the wedding music with the mood of each important moment of the wedding ceremony.

Consider what sort of wedding ceremony music you like. Often a classical group will be able to play at every point required in the ceremony, a very cost-effective way of getting a variety of music from just one group of talented wedding musicians!

Be realistic about how much space you have available. A full gospel choir might fit into a church but be a bit of a squeeze in a registry office. Similarly a trumpet fanfare might sound amazing in a hotel ballroom but be a little overwhelming in a small registry office.


Here are our classical act suggestions for each part of the ceremony:

Before the ceremony

Your guests will probably have arrived nice and early (especially your grandparents), and some guests may have travelled long distances too. Relax them with gentle, romantic background music that they can also talk over, as they may not have seen each other for some time.
Consider: a harpist, harp and flute duo, string quartet, classical guitarist
Something unusual: handbell ringers


Your entrance

This is the big moment when everyone stands and you walk in. Whatever music you choose, make sure it lasts long enough for you to walk down the aisle and isn’t too long so you’re left standing at the front for ages!

Consider: string quartet playing the Wedding March, a fanfare of trumpeters, a bagpiper to celebrate your Celtic roots

Something unusual: saxophone quartet playing “Another One Bites the Dust”



If you want to have hymns sung at your wedding, your non-vocal guests might appreciate someone helping them out a bit, especially if they don’t know the tunes!

Consider: organist, classical/opera wedding singer(s), gospel choir


The signing of the register

This is the moment that you and your new other half have to do the paperwork, and it’s often the point where proud parents join you both for photos etc. In a church this might happen in the vestry, away from public view. This leaves your guests sitting there, so why not entertain them with some lovely music.

Consider: all of the acts listed so far. No need to bring in anyone else – they are already there and would probably appreciate the chance to have a solo spot!


Your exit

It’s done, you’re spliced, now go celebrate! Go out in style with music that’s joyous, fun and sums up your new life together. Remember that friends and family will follow out, so you’ll often need more than one piece of music to give everyone time to get out.

Consider: your favourite pop tunes played with a classical twist, steel band, Indian drummers, military marching band, the choice is yours!


Classical music for your drinks reception

Wedding photos can take ages, so many couples opt for a drinks reception at their venue to entertain guests between ceremony and meal. (It also means you know where the relatives are when they are needed for the photos!) Keep the music flowing but the costs down with our top tip: use the same musicians twice!

Yes, the musicians who played at the church will probably be more than happy to come to your venue and play for a while at the drinks reception too. Out of courtesy, make sure they are happy to play for an occasion where people will be talking, especially vocalists or larger format groups.

And that leads us to a similar top wedding money saving tip – use your evening entertainment act twice! Some large format bands and orchestras offer a pianist or small acoustic section for the drinks reception, with the remainder of the group joining them later to entertain at your evening wedding party.


Not sure what music you’d like at your wedding?

Call us to discuss your requirements, and we’ll recommend classical groups that are talented, versatile and right within your budget.