Best Wedding Recessional Songs

What are the best traditional and contemporary wedding recessional songs?

The recessional signals the end of the wedding ceremony and the start of the festivities. It begins once the officiant introduces the newly married couple to the guests and the bride and groom make their way down the aisle. It is typically more jubilant and upbeat than other music used during the ceremony. The top traditional choice for the recessional is Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. Right behind that choice is Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary. However, this is a time where you can get a little creative.

Many couples choose to use contemporary songs as part of their recessional. If that is what you would like to do, consider playing James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good),” U2’s “Beautiful Day,” or Smash Mouth’s “I’m a Believer.”Typically, you will need only one song for your recessional. Afterwards, you will move into the postlude.

Listed below are the best wedding recessional songs. For your convenience, we have compiled the songs in a playlist, making it easy for you to listen to a sample or purchase a song. A detailed listing and brief commentary about each song is provided below the playlist.

Best Wedding Recessional Songs

Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah

This wonderful oratorio by George Frideric Handel was composed for Messiah HWV 56 in 1741. It is the most well known movement and was written with words taken from the book of Revelation. It is found in both instrumental only and with the powerful choir, which only adds to its glorious sound. It is a favorite choice to announce to the world the new couple after a ceremony.



The Wedding March

This is another very popular song played as the bride and groom make walk down the aisle after the ceremony. It is very traditional and was created by the German composer and conductor known as Felix Mendelssohn who wrote it for A Midsummer Nights Dream, which is a romantic comedy by William Shakespeare. Although it is typically called “The Wedding March, it’s official name is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, incidental music, Op. 61 Wedding March. It is another song that does not require words; it is felt in the heart.



Trumpet Voluntary in D or “Prince of Denmark’s March”

This piece is by Jeremiah Clarke, but was incorrectly attributed to Henry Purcell for a number of years and is still often listed as such. They are the same piece of music, no matter how it is listed. This song has also been used for the prelude and the recessional, but is most commonly used for the processional. This song was used during Prince Charles & Diana’s Processional and as Dutch royals Maurits and Marilene’s recessional.



I Got You (I Feel Good)

This jumping, lively song is a high-powered signature James Brown hit written by him and first sung in 1965. Why not proclaim to the world how you both feel after the nuptials? This song really sets the mood for the happy couple.



The Four Seasons

Every guest has heard this lovely but traditional song by Vivaldi. It is a splendid group of four violin concertos. Antonio Vivaldi wrote them in 1725 as part of a set of twelve. They represent the four seasons and vary greatly in style to fit the seasons. This is an excellent traditional choice for prelude songs. It is an instrumental music piece that needs no words. It is divided into four pieces: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Of the four, “Spring” and “Autumn” tend to be favorite for the Recessional.



Other songs you might consider for the recessional:

  1. “Air On The G String” from Orchestral Suite No.3 by Johann Sebastian Bach
  2. “Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” by Georg Friedrich Handel
  3. “At Last” performed by Etta James
  4. “Beautiful Day” performed by U2 – A nice rock song with an upbeat theme.
  5. Brandenburg Concerto No. 4, Allegro moderato, BWV 1046 by Johann Sebastian Bach
  6. “Eine Klein Nachtmusik,” Serenade No. 13 in G major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – This is a great song to use either during the recessional or the postlude.
  7. “From This Moment On” performed by Shania Twain
  8. “Gigue” from Suite No. 3 in D Major performed by Johann Sebastian Bach
  9. “Hornpipe” from Water Music Suite by Georg Friedrich Handel – Also known as Concerto Grosso, Op. 6, No. 7; it is a very nice choice for the bride’s processional or the recessional.
  10. “I Cross My Heart” performed by George Strait
  11. “In My Life” performed by The Beatles
  12. “La Rejouissance” from Royal Fireworks Music by George Frideric Handel – A nice piece that is too short to use except for the bride’s processional or the recessional.
  13. “Love Me Tender” performed by Elvis Presley
  14. “Ode To Joy” from The Ninth Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven – Classic song, especially for the Bride’s entrance or the recessional.
  15. Rondeau from “Suites de Symphonies, Premiere suite, Fanfares” by Wynton Marsalis
  16. “Trumpet Tune” by Henry Purcell
  17. “Trumpet Tune in D Major” performed by Jeremiah Clarke
  18. “What a Wonderful World” performed by Louis Armstrong
  19. “When I’m 64” performed by The Beatles or John Denver



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