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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.