How Long Should Your Wedding Processional Song Be? (Guide) (2023)

A bride walking down the aisle is one of the highlights of a wedding ceremony, but how long should a wedding processional song be? How many songs can you play for the wedding processional, and what songs can you add to your wedding playlist?

Should it cover the whole entourage, or should the song be just for the bride?

How can the choice of wedding music [1] make your bride walk down that aisle with confidence?

Check: Black Wedding Reception Songs

Factors to consider when picking out a wedding song

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Every couple wants their special day to reflect their relationship, and selecting the right song is one of the most important elements in conveying that message.

Aside from the length of the processional, here are 3 important factors to consider before you cue your wedding song.

Lyrical significance

Picture this: You hear a song, it’s catchy, it’s got a good beat, and it stirs some tingly emotion in you. Perfect for your wedding procession, right? Well, that’s not always the case.

You see, music is art, meaning that it is not always as it seems. What you think might be the meaning behind the song might not actually be.

A prime example of this is the famous “Every Breath You Take,” by the Police. While the song seems sweet, the lyrics are inappropriate for a wedding song. In fact, the composer, Sting, insists that the song is about jealousy and obsession geared at a lost lover – not a message for someone you intend on spending the rest of your life with.

When considering what song to have for a wedding, the most important factor is to find one whose lyrics convey the love that you have for each other so that everyone in attendance feels it.

It speaks to your relationship, reflects both of you, and conveys all of the joyous feelings you have on your special day.

Another option is to go for a popular tune that shows off your individual styles. Better still, try to pick a song that has meaning to you both so that it carries a personal significance.

The tone of the event

How Long Should Your Wedding Processional Song Be? (Guide) (2)

It’s best to match the tone of the music with that of your celebration; if it’s a more formal affair, then something classic or timeless like a string quartet, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D,” or Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” could work perfectly.


Likewise, if what you are aiming for is a more relaxed experience, then something more modern or upbeat like acoustic guitar or piano could really set the mood. You can even settle for a favorite pop tune if the both of you share one.

Regardless, you must pick something with meaning such as a song associated with your relationship’s history or even one that has personal significance in your own life.

Type of Venue

The type of venue matters greatly when choosing a processional song, both in terms of how it affects the acoustics of the space and the overall ambiance of the event. Some venues (churches) may place restrictions on the type of music played.

Outdoor weddings may call for a grand entrance with uplifting music. This allows the bridal party to make its way down the aisle slowly and gracefully. Indoor venues, where space can be tight, might require a more intimate piece of music.

Likewise, a grand ballroom with high ceilings may require a more powerful instrumental arrangement to fill the space, while a small outdoor garden may require a more intimate and delicate instrumental arrangement.

Additionally, different types of venues may evoke different moods or feelings, and a processional song that complements the venue can help to enhance the overall atmosphere of the wedding.

For example, a song with a more modern or contemporary feel may be more fitting for a loft or industrial-style venue, while a more traditional or classical song may be more fitting for a church or historic mansion.

How Long Should a Wedding Processional Song Be?

How Long Should Your Wedding Processional Song Be? (Guide) (4)

The wedding processional song is an important detail that must be well thought out when planning a wedding.

On average, ceremony music should last around 3-4 minutes to allow the whole wedding entourage to participate in the processional.

That should include everyone from the bridesmaids, groomsmen, ring-bearers, and flower girls.

There are, of course, things to consider when thinking about how long the songs should be.

For one, the length of the aisle is a vital thing to consider when deciding on a song since this will dictate the time needed for everyone to complete the procession.

Consider the participants, too, especially if there are participants who will need assistance due to limited mobility.

(Video) How To Order Your Wedding Ceremony Processional

They may need extra time to complete the procession as well, so you may have to choose a longer wedding processional song.

In an interview for Martha Stewart’s website, (2) pros from Apple Music stressed the importance of getting a rough estimate of how long the procession is expected to take before deciding how long a wedding processional song should be.

“Processionals can vary in length based on several factors, so the music should match the timing,” they explain. “For smaller weddings, one or two songs could cover a processional.”

You can divide your wedding processional song into three parts, including the pre-processional music.

ALSO CHECK: Best Mother Son Dance Songs

Pre-processional Music

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This is also known as “prelude music in a classical wedding ceremony.”

It is usually played for around 15 minutes to allow guests to take their seats before the actual processional.

It also gives time for the groom and the celebrant to walk to the front to position themselves before starting the actual processional properly.

Check out these great wedding processional songs.

Prelude music is considered optional and is meant to set the atmosphere for the wedding ceremony itself.

You may want to hire a band to play an instrumental version or any popular or any acoustic song to your liking for this part.

Playing processional music ends once the groom and celebrant are in their proper places.

CHECK: How to Ask for Song Requests on Wedding Invite?

Music for the Bridal Party

The music for the bridal party should start playing a few seconds before the first member of the bridal entourage prompts to enter.

(Video) Walking Up and Down the Wedding Aisle: How To - Processionals and Recessionals

During rehearsals, timing should be observed enough for editing to be done so that the music starts to fade a few seconds before the bride’s entrance.

Although engaged couples often pick traditional songs for the bridal party, non-traditional wedding processional songs may be used.

Country wedding processional songs are an excellent option to replace the usual all-time favorite tunes.

Music for the Bride

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Classical wedding songs are usually the songs of choice for the bride as she walks down the aisle.

The music for the bride’s entrance should be played for a few seconds before the bride walks down the aisle.

It should continue playing until the bride reaches the place where the groom and celebrant are.

The music should stop playing only when everyone is comfortable in their positions, most especially the bride.

Check out these top 3 bridal entrance songs.

About the Bride and Bridesmaids

The length of time in which aisle songs are played depends on how long it takes for the bride and bridesmaids to walk down the aisle.


How Long Does the Bride Walk Down the Aisle?

Although the bride’s walk depends on factors such as the length of the entire aisle, and even the pace at which the bride can walk, on average, it should take only around 30 seconds to one minute for the bride to walk down the aisle without incident.

How Long Does it Take for Bridesmaids to Walk Down the Aisle?

This depends on the number of bridesmaids you may have. Bridesmaids walk down the aisle in pairs with the groomsman.
Each pair should take around 30 seconds to complete her walk down the aisle during the procession.

(Video) A Guide to Your Wedding Ceremony and Wedding Processional


The procession is one of the most important parts of a wedding, whether it’s a traditional wedding or a modern wedding. The procession introduces to everyone the star of the wedding day — the bride.

Each step that the entourage and the bride take down the aisle should be timed in order to build a sense of climax to a highly celebrated occasion.

The timing dictates how long should a wedding processional song be. It is important to be mindful of this so you can build a dramatic atmosphere during the procession without boring your guests.

This is why the choice of wedding love songs and the timing are essential to set the perfect atmosphere on your wedding day to have the ultimate wedding ceremony.

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  • 1. Naroditskaya I. Music in the American Diasporic Wedding [Internet]. Project MUSE. Bloomington: Indiana University Press; 2019 [cited 2022 Mar 7]. Available from:
  • 2. Schreiber S. The Best Processional Songs for You and Your Wedding Party [Internet]. Martha Stewart. [cited 2022 Mar 7]. Available from:

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Katie Anderton

I’m a freelance journalist/writer/content marketer with BA Hons in Journalism.


How Long Should Your Wedding Processional Song Be? (Guide)? ›

But, generally, one song is long enough for up to 9 introductions. That could be the parents, grandparents, one to five sets of the wedding party, the best man and maid of honor, and the newlyweds. (Get ready to do a little math.) The average song is 3 minutes long.

How long does processional music need to be? ›

Well, on the one hand, the average song length is 3-5 minutes. But the average time for someone to walk down the aisle is about 30 seconds. So, each person will only have one tiny snippet for a song as they walk down the aisle.

How many songs do you need for wedding processional? ›

Usually people choose two processional songs—one for the family and wedding party, and then a more dramatic and emotional song for the bridal processional.

How do you plan a wedding processional song? ›

To really personalize the ceremony, you and your partner could each choose your processional songs in private, and not share them until you walk down the aisle. Find a song that represents the way you feel about your partner, a tune they love that you know they'd be thrilled to hear, or one that holds a special memory.

How long should a wedding playlist be? ›

A good rule of thumb is 15 songs per hour. A typical wedding reception will see about 3 hours of dancing after dinner and all the formalities are over. That is just 45 songs.

Do Bridesmaids walk down the aisle to the same song as the bride? ›

Wedding music commences, either a separate song for the Bridesmaids to enter and a different song for the Bride. Alternatively, the entire wedding party can use just one song.

Do I need music to walk down the aisle? ›

To make a grand entrance, you're going to need to pick a suitably grand entrance song to walk down the aisle to. Your choice of processional song will help set the tone for the rest of your wedding ceremony, and you can continue your chosen musical theme for other important moments, such as your first dance song.

Should processional song be upbeat? ›

The songs playing during your processional may perhaps be a classical number, something slow and emotional. So your recessional song should be an upbeat tune that gets everyone moving. It's the best way to walk back down the aisle, we think.

How many songs do you need for the aisle? ›

You will want between two and three throughout your ceremony. Similarly, some weddings have prayer readings which you may want music for – however this is not an essential.

What is the normal wedding processional? ›

From walking down the aisle first to last, the traditional order is: Mother of Bride, Mother of Groom, Grandparents of Bride, Grandparents of Groom, Groom, Officiant, the Wedding Party, Maid of Honor and Best Man, Ring Bearer, Flower Girl and lastly the Bride and her Father.

What makes a good processional song? ›

While processional songs can reflect the personality of the bride and groom, the critical variable is tempo. Processionals shouldn't drag, but nor should they have to run down the aisle. As a benchmark, the traditional Bridal March (Here comes the bride) has a beats-per-minute (BPM) of 76.

Who picks the song to walk down the aisle? ›

You get to choose who (if anyone) walks you down the aisle, and you get to choose the song you walk to. If you prefer to go the more traditional route with the "Wedding March," that's great! If you go a more personal route with a song that means a lot to you or to you and your partner, that's also special.

How do processional songs work? ›

The processional song is the wedding ceremony music that is played while the wedding party (bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc.) is walking down the aisle.

How should a wedding playlist flow? ›

Keep it 90% Fast Songs, 10% Slow Songs

Or maybe every 10-12 songs, throw in a slower one. People want them… just not as much as the fast ones! So structure your playlist to have a lot of highs and upbeat tunes, but then add in some slow ones too to keep a flow going.

How many slow songs do you play at a wedding? ›

Something to keep in mind is that too many slow songs can bring down the mood of a wedding reception. A good rule of thumb is to have one slow song for every five fast songs. Guests typically need a rest from dancing after about 20-30 minutes, which equals about five fast songs.

How long should a wedding prelude be? ›

The pre-ceremony usually lasts around 20-30 minutes, so it's worth noting you'll need about eight or more wedding songs for this part of the day, setting the scene as your guests arrive and take their seats.

Does the maid of honor walk first or last? ›

After those people take their places, the best man and the groomsmen traditionally walk down the aisle, in order to protect the groom from evil spirits or attackers. Then the bridesmaids make their way down the aisle, followed by the maid of honor.

Does the best man walk down the aisle with the maid of honor? ›

The best man follows the bridesmaids and groomsmen and can walk down alone or with the maid of honor. He may also be the ring bearer for some weddings, and will stand next to the groom at the altar. Should you choose to have the maid of honor walk down separately, they should follow the best man.

What songs do bridal party walk down the aisle to? ›

70 Best Processional Songs for Your Wedding Party
  • "Bridal Chorus," by Richard Wagner.
  • "Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World," by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole.
  • "Wedding March," by Mendelssohn.
  • "Can't Help Falling in Love," by Haley Reinhart.
  • "Earned It," by the Weeknd.
  • "Only Time," by Enya.
  • "Stay With Me," by Sam Smith.
Jun 2, 2023

Is it OK to cry walking down the aisle? ›

While a few tears of joy during your wedding day are perfectly normal, even to be expected, let's be honest: No one wants to be that bride who bawled her eyes out the entire time she stood at the altar (yeah, you know the one).

Do I have to smile walking down the aisle? ›

Smile and acknowledge your guests as you make your way down the aisle. It can be uncomfortable to have everyone looking at you and potentially taking pictures. Don't be afraid to smile and make eye contact with your friends and family while you walk.

Do the bride and groom walk down the aisle to different songs? ›

Wedding Ceremony Songs for Walking in and Walking out

A processional song is the music that you and your wedding party will walk down the aisle to – you can have one song for everyone, or choose a separate song for your grand entrance.

Do you stand during wedding processional? ›

"It just isn't practical and it is not polite." Amy Greenberg, wedding planner in Sherman Oaks, California, completely agrees, adding that in the majority of instances, guests should not be asked to stand during the ceremony.

What is the traditional exit song for the bride and groom? ›

Mendelssohn's “Wedding March” and Beethoven's “Ode to Joy” are traditional wedding recessional songs, but you don't have to follow tradition on this one. We've gathered a list of both classic and surprising recessional wedding songs to spark your imagination with a few behind-the-scenes factoids.

How long should my aisle be? ›

The average aisle width for two people walking down the aisle together measures about 5 feet—we recommend adding on an additional 2-3 feet if you have three people (bride + parents, or two bridesmaids + one groomsmen) walking down the aisle together or have aisle decor pieces that will take up some of that space.

Can you walk down the aisle to the same song as first dance? ›

Well, let's start things off with wedding songs to walk down the aisle to. You can use the same one for the first dance or use separate tracks to make the bride's entrance more dramatic.

What is the difference between processional and prelude? ›

Prelude: Music that plays as guests are arriving and finding their seats. Usually fairly subdued. Take a look at our playlist idea here. Processional: The wedding party's entrance.

Who walks the mother of the bride? ›

The mother of the bride is traditionally escorted by her son if she has one. Otherwise, any close male relative, the best man, or a groomsman walks with the mother of the bride during the procession.

Who does groom walk down aisle with? ›

4. Groom. If the groom is walking down the aisle, he may do so solo or escorted by one or both parents. In a nondenominational ceremony, the groom and his crew stand on the right side of the venue.

Who does the maid of honor walk with? ›

Typically, the maid of honor walks down the aisle with the best man, but this "head bridesmaid" could also walk behind the bride. If you have two MOHs and only one best man, you could either have him escort both MOHs down the aisle or tap another VIP (such as one of your brothers) to serve as a second escort.

How many minutes is a processional? ›

How long does a wedding processional take? A wedding processional typically lasts between three to five minutes, depending on the number of people taking part. The bride's walk down the aisle can take up to one minute of that time.

What type of song should I walk down the aisle to? ›

When you think of songs to walk down the aisle to, you probably envision classical wedding entrance tunes (like the "Here Comes the Bride" chorus). If you want an ultra-traditional bride entrance, classical music is the way to go.

What is a wedding processional for dummies? ›

The processional begins with the bride's mother and follows with the groom, best man, paired-up wedding party, flower girl, and ring bearer. It ends with the bride making her entrance escorted by her father who "gives her away" to the groom.

How many songs do you need for a wedding prelude? ›

Generally, five or six songs are the right amount, so take a listen to 65 of our favorite ceremony prelude songs and have fun making your selections.

How long should dancing last at a wedding? ›

Dancing should last anywhere between one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half hours. There will be a natural ebb and flow to the dance floor for the remainder of the evening, but believe us when we tell you that an hour is way too short and anything past two hours starts to get a little tiresome.

How many songs will a wedding band play? ›

They typically perform about 4-7 songs and then take a 10-15 minute break. Singing, performing, and maintaining a high level of energy all takes a lot of a person! In order for them to perform their best, the breaks will be necessary.

How long are wedding entrance songs? ›

The average song is 3 minutes long. It can take 20 seconds for a couple to prepare and get from the entrance to their seats or the dance floor. As you increase the number of introductions, add on another song.

Should the last song at a wedding be slow or fast? ›

If you want a private last dance with just your partner, choose a slow song to create an intimate moment and re-focus the attention on you, the couple. If you'd rather go out with a bang, especially if you're having an after-party, pick a high-energy tune for all your guests to enjoy.

How long should a first wedding song be? ›

Your first dance should be around two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half minutes long. Longer can feel awkward, but too short and your videographer and photographer won't be able to properly capture the moment. How do we pick a first dance song? There's no one way to choose a first dance song.

How many songs in a processional? ›

Most civil ceremonies will have: One song during the processional (walk down the aisle / bridal entrance) Three songs during the signing of the register. One song during the recessional (exit of the married couple)

How long should a wedding aisle runner be? ›

Generally, you want your aisle runner to cover the length of the entire aisle from the back row of guests to the front row of guests. Though there are no hard and fast rules about this, it's not common practice to have a runner that's shorter than the length of your aisle.

How long should an officiant talk at a wedding? ›

It's then the officiant's job to get the bride and groom ready for their journey ahead. This message can be anywhere from 5-15 minutes, depending on the stories they tell and wisdom they inspire.

How long should a walkout song be? ›

In general, walk-up songs should be between 30 seconds and 1 minute long, as this duration allows the player ample time to make their way to the plate and get settled without drawing out the process for too long . According to Major League Baseball (MLB) rules, each walk-up song can be no longer than 90 seconds.

How long is the prelude music in a wedding ceremony? ›

This is called prelude music, and when used, it's played for about 30 minutes before the ceremony start time and consists of mellow songs that set the mood for a meaningful moment.

How long should a recessional song be? ›

The length of this uplifting or inspirational music piece should be the same as that for other interlude songs - two or three minutes. 14) Exit of the Bridal Party: The upbeat, celebratory music of the recessional should last as long as it takes for your bridal party and guests to leave the ceremony area.

Is 3 minutes good for a song? ›

If you're a songwriter you'll want to ensure your tracks are the right length. Too long and the listeners get bored, too short and you have no room to build momentum in the song. So what's the perfect duration? Three minutes is often believed to be the sweet spot in pop.

Can a song be 3 minutes? ›

The root of the "three-minute" length is likely derived from the original format of 78 rpm-speed phonograph records; at about 3 to 5 minutes per side, it's just long enough for the recording of a complete song.

Is 7 minutes too long for a song? ›

Different genres of music tend to have different lengths. For example, pop songs are typically between three and four minutes long, while rock songs can be anywhere from five to seven minutes long. Jazz songs can be around eight minutes long, and classical songs can be over ten minutes long.

What is the difference between wedding ceremony prelude and processional? ›

Prelude: Music that plays as guests are arriving and finding their seats. Usually fairly subdued. Take a look at our playlist idea here. Processional: The wedding party's entrance.

What is the order of a wedding processional? ›

From walking down the aisle first to last, the traditional order is: Mother of Bride, Mother of Groom, Grandparents of Bride, Grandparents of Groom, Groom, Officiant, the Wedding Party, Maid of Honor and Best Man, Ring Bearer, Flower Girl and lastly the Bride and her Father.

Who walks out first in recessional? ›

Wedding Recessional Order at Jewish Ceremonies

At the conclusion of a Jewish ceremony, the newlyweds exit first. They are followed by: The bride's parents. The groom's parents.

Does the groom walk down the aisle? ›

Groom. Traditionally, he walks down the aisle solo but some grooms prefer walking down the aisle escorted by both parents. Other grooms prefer a more subtle approach by entering the ceremony from the side of the venue (following the officiant and followed by the groomsmen) to take his place at the altar.


1. A guide to Wedding Ceremony Music
(David Rothstein Music, Inc)
2. How to Start a Wedding Ceremony (What to Say and Do!)
(Unboring!Wedding - Mark Allan Groleau)
3. How to Walk Down the Aisle | Perfect Wedding
4. Wedding Processional Guide
(Best Gift For Your Wife - Dreamlines Dress Sketch)
5. Officiate the Perfect Wedding Ceremony with This Script (Like a Pro)
(Unboring!Wedding - Mark Allan Groleau)
6. Sample Wedding Ceremony
(Chuck Oldright)
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