How to Set the Mood of Your Wedding Day with Wedding Prelude Music

Wedding Prelude Music

Okay, picture this. 

It’s your wedding day, and everything is set up and good to go. It’s about 30 minutes before your ceremony starts, and your friends and family are arriving to take their seats. 

But, take a minute to really imagine this. What’s happening in the background? What do you hear? If you’re imagining it’s quiet, how do you feel about that? 

Chances are, it’s not the vibe you’re going for. Right from the beginning, you want to set the mood of your wedding day, and an excellent place to start? With your wedding prelude music! 

What is Wedding Prelude Music? 

First and foremost, let’s chat about what wedding prelude music even is. 

Usually, your guests will start to arrive about 30 minutes before the ceremony starts. This interim is the prelude to the ceremony itself.

wedding string quartet wedding prelude music
Photo Courtesy of Mollie Nardecchia

You can use that time to really set the mood and tone for the rest of your wedding day! Go for a string quartet to play some elegant songs during the wait. Or if your wedding vibe is more modern or non-traditional, a string quartet can still bring your own personality to your wedding day with the prelude songs you choose. 

A string quartet plays a custom playlist during a wedding prelude.
Photo Courtesy of the 5280 Wedding String Quartet and Mollie Nardecchia

What to expect with the prelude music for your wedding: 

Your ceremony prelude music will be softer and serve as the background to set the mood. People will be able to hear their own conversations since the music won’t be loud enough to drown their conversations out. And since it’s usually softer, background music, amplification is generally not an issue. 

It also acts as a  great segue into the ceremony for when the bride starts walking down the aisle! At that point, the music and the bride will be the main focus for your guests. 

What are the best wedding prelude songs? 

Choosing the best wedding prelude songs really depends on your wedding, your personality as a couple, and the mood you want to create for your big day. 

Traditional wedding prelude music:

Classical instrumental music gives such a soft, elegant, ethereal tone for your wedding ceremony. If that’s the mood you’re hoping to set, you can’t go wrong with playing those during your wedding ceremony prelude! 

Some of our favorites for this genre are:

    1. Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy

Why we love it: A timeless, classical piece that sounds fantastic with a string quartet. If you want your wedding to be remembered as classic, timeless, and romantic, this is a perfect choice to include in your prelude playlist. 

        2.  Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by Johann Sebastian Bach

Why we love it: A well known piece (even if you don’t recognize the name) that is a perfect blend of subtlety and an uplifting pace. A great piece of music to have in your wedding prelude if you’re looking for a classical touch without it sounding too “boring.”

        3.  E Major Violin Concerto by Johann Sebastian Bach

Why we love it: If you’re looking for a Bridgerton style wedding, this is a great choice for your wedding prelude. The epitome of classical music with a romantic flair. We definitely can see this being played for a garden wedding. 

Modern wedding prelude music:

Traditional, classical music for your wedding might not be the tone you’re trying to set. And if it’s not, then all the more power to you! 

If you’re looking for more modern wedding prelude music, here’s our suggestions: (P.S., if you’re thinking you want modern music with a traditional flair, these songs all sound great played by a string quartet!) 

    1. Yellow by Coldplay

Why we love it: If your wedding mood is unique, non-traditional, or even unconventional, this song is the perfect fit for your wedding prelude playlist.

    1. Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran

Why we love it: While we won’t call him the king of modern romantic music (more on that in a minute), Ed Sheeran definitely has his place in weddings today. This song is a beautiful choice!

    1. XO by John Mayer

Why we love it: If you’re wanting some subtlety in your wedding ceremony music, this song is a great choice. With its sweet lyrics and soft, subtle pacing, this song will flow seamlessly into your wedding prelude playlist.

How to choose the best wedding prelude music? 

Choosing the best prelude wedding music really comes down to your personality as a couple and the mood you want your wedding day to have. 

To playlist?

Plenty of couples want to plan out exactly what songs will play during the prelude and the ceremony itself. And they have fun with highlighting their favorite songs and bringing more of their own personality to the prelude. 

If that’s you, then perfect! You can absolutely hand off a playlist of curated songs to your string quartet for them to play during the prelude. 

As you plan out your ceremony prelude playlist, assume each song is 3-5 minutes long. So, you can safely bet on 7-10 songs being played during the time before your ceremony starts. 

Or not to playlist? 

Other couples want to be totally hands off since curating music can be overwhelming (and you’ve already got so much going on with wedding planning anyway). 

If that’s the case for you and your partner, no worries! Some wedding string quartets can curate entire playlists for you so you don’t have to worry about hand selecting the entire list. 

With us at Listeso Music Group, couples often give us the general mood of the wedding or a handful of songs that they’re thinking of. And then we’ve picked out some excellent songs that fit into that mood and genre! 

How to add personality when choosing your ceremony prelude songs: 

If you’re looking to add some personality and pizzazz to your ceremony, the music you choose for your prelude can help you do that! 

Plenty of couples combine the elegance and timelessness of a string quartet with classic rock, Metallica, or even The Beatles (seriously, if you’re a fan of The Beatles, we play them all. the. time). 

If you like jazz music, ask your string quartet to play certain jazzy songs that you like. Or if you like the pop songs on the radio, plenty of string quartets will be able to nail those during your prelude,  too! 

What to know before choosing your prelude music: 

There are, of course, a few things to keep in mind when choosing your wedding ceremony prelude songs. 

Know your audience

Ultimately, your ceremony music comes down to what you and your partner like. But it’s also important to keep your audience in mind.

A wedding guest and her toddler son relax next to the wedding string quartet as they play a custom playlist during a wedding prelude.
Photo Courtesy of the Kennedy Wedding String Quartet and Erin Tetterton Photography

In addition to your friends, your parents and grandparents may be sitting there, too. And they might not be raving about hearing Cardi B’s WAP while they wait for the ceremony to start. (Then again, they might!) 

Either way, just keep in mind your entire audience, and maybe choose a few songs that will be a good fit for them, too. 

Talk with your string quartet

Be sure to talk with your string quartet, too, about what songs you want played throughout the ceremony. 

Make sure that your string quartet knows the songs you want. Often, string quartets will have a list of the songs that are in their repertoire. And if they’re not, some will learn the songs for a reasonable fee. 

With Listeso, we work with a great arranger. Even if the song you are dying to have for your prelude isn’t written for strings, our arranger can write it out for a string quartet! 

And keep in mind that the best songs for string quartets have melodies (like The Beatles!). Eminem isn’t going to work too well, and some rap songs just don’t sound all that great on a violin! 

Your wedding ceremony music doesn’t just include the processional, bridal march, and recessional. Don’t forget about what songs you might play during the ceremony prelude, too! As your guests start to arrive, this is the perfect time to set the mood of your wedding day with your prelude music. 

And if you’re thinking about adding a string quartet to the mix on your wedding day, we’d love to help make your day unforgettable! Get a quote from us here!