Music for your wedding

The music you choose for your wedding helps to set the mood for the day but choosing it can be bewildering, particularly if your musical education ended some time ago!



The music at Westbury-on-Trym is provided by professional musicians who are well qualified, so you can be confident and imaginative in your choices. David Ogden, the Director of Music, is a church musician with over 30 years’ experience of playing for weddings. The organist, Richard Johnson, was Organ Scholar at Oriel College in Oxford, and holds the LRSM diploma in organ performance. If neither David nor Richard are available to play for your wedding another professional organist will be booked on your behalf – there is no change in the fee if this is the case.

The choir

The parish church choir sings for Sunday morning services and at weddings. Usually around 10 to 12 singers will make up the choir for your wedding, but if the date of your wedding is during the school holidays there may be fewer choristers available than in term time.

Other musicians

If you would like other players or professional singers booked, this can be arranged at an extra cost. The musicians can play at the entry of the bride and during the signing of the register – you might like to think about having a string quartet, harp, trumpet, flute, violin or a vocal soloist – for example, a professional soprano. If you would like to discuss the options please contact David Ogden.


Choosing your music

There are four sections the service that you can use music for: the gathering, the arrival of the bride, the signing of the register and the recessional.

The Gathering

This is music that is played while guests arrive in the church before the service begins. The organist will play a selection while your guests assemble. You don’t need to choose these, list them in your order of service.

The Arrival of the Bride

This is music played for the bride’s arrival. You need to choose one piece of music, which is usually stately and regal. The organist will play for the amount of time it takes for you to move down the aisle to the front of the church, so you don’t need to worry about how long it is. The most popular pieces of music played during the processional are:

• Wedding March from Lohengrin (popularly known as Here Comes The Bride) by Wagner
• Arrival of the Queen of Sheba by G. F. Handel
• Trumpet Voluntary by Jeremiah Clarke
• Grand March from Aida by Verdi
• Trumpet Voluntary by Stanley
• Trumpet Tune by Henry Purcell
• Hornpipe from the Water Music by Handel
• The Rejoicing from Music for the Royal Fireworks by G. F. Handel
• Morning from Peer Gynt by Grieg
• Spring from the Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi
• Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel

Listen to these suggestions:

The Signing of the Register

Usually at Westbury-on-Trym the register is signed in the sacristy, which takes about 8-10 minutes. During this time, the choir will sing an anthem or the organist will play a piece, which they will choose. If you have a particular request please discuss this with David Ogden well in advance.

Pieces that the choir often choose for weddings include:

Irish Blessing by Bob Chilcott
• For the beauty of the earth by John Rutter
• Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd by Howard Goodall
• Jesu joy of man’s desiring by J.S. Bach
• The Lord Bless You And Keep You by John Rutter
• Faith, Hope and Love by David Ogden (an arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon)

Listen to these suggestions:

Alternatively you may like to arrange to have a friend, relative or a professional musician sing or play your own choice of music. Please discuss this with David Ogden before you make any arrangements.

The Recessional

As you walk together down the aisle as husband and wife, the recessional music is played – triumphant, joyful and celebratory. Traditional recessional music includes:

• Wedding March from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Mendelssohn
• Toccata from Symphony No 5 by Widor
• Trumpet Voluntary by Jeremiah Clarke
• The Rejoicing from Music for the Royal Fireworks by Handel
• Hornpipe from the Water Music by Handel
• Grand March from Aida by Verdi

Listen to these suggestions:


It is traditional to choose three hymns to be sung during the service. The most important things to bear in mind when choosing hymns are:

– that the words are appropriate for a wedding (Fight the good fight, for example, doesn’t bode well for the future!)

– that you choose a tune that lots of people will know. If you particularly want some words that have an unfamiliar tune, it is possible to choose a different tune that fits the words.

There are many websites that include audio files of hymns so that you can hear what they sound like, and will also give you the words so you can include them in the order of service. Often they will include every possible verse of a hymn and you will decide whether you want to cut any verses – usually three or four verses of a hymn would be sung.

Try for a comprehensive database of hymns. If you download words from here make sure that you proof read them carefully, as the spellings are American English (e.g. Savior, not Saviour).

If you plan to print the words of the hymn in your Order of Service then you need copyright permission to do so if the words are still under copyright. Copyright exists in creative works such as hymns for 70 years after the death of the writer. During that period, it is illegal to reproduce the works in any form without the permission of the copyright holder (or their appointed agent). Therefore, should you wish to reproduce the text of a hymn in your order of service, you will need the permission of the copyright holder for which a charge of between £10 and £25 is usually made.

Some popular choices are:

• All Creatures Of Our God And King
• All People That On Earth Do Dwell
• Amazing Grace
• And Did Those Feet In Ancient Time (Jerusalem)
• At The Name Of Jesus
• Dear Lord And Father Of Mankind
• Father Hear The Prayer We Offer
• For The Beauty Of The Earth
• Give Me Joy In My Heart
• God Of All Living
• Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer
• How Great Thou Art
• I Vow To Thee My Country
• Immortal Invisible God Only Wise
• Lead Us, Heavenly Father Lead Us
• Love Came Down At Christmas
• Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
• Morning Has Broken
• O Jesus I Have Promised
• One More Step Along The World I Go
• O Worship The King
• Peace, Perfect Peace
• Praise My Soul The King Of Heaven
• Praise To The Lord The Almighty
• The King Of Love My Shepherd Is
• The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want
• To God Be The Glory, Great Things He Hath Done

Listen to these suggestions:

And the last word…

Please be on time for your wedding! With the choir, organist, clergy and verger all in attendance there may be 25 or more people from the church involved, and arrangements made in particular for collecting the children in the choir at the end of the service. It has been known for brides to be as much as 25 minutes late which causes problems for everyone involved, especially as they may have commitments elsewhere – you certainly don’t want half the choir or the organist to have to leave before the end of the service if they have another wedding that day.

It is especially noticeable when there are children in the congregation that a late start means that they are grumpy and noisy by the time the service reaches the vows – being on time helps to avoid this.

Thank you.