Processional Songs for Honoring Deceased Loved Ones

by Yvette in — Updated May 15, 2024 — Reading Time: 10 minutes

When couples plan their wedding, they often invest a lot of time selecting songs for the first dance and the father-and-daughter dance.

However, memorial songs are frequently overlooked. Yet, when a bride or groom has lost someone significant, including memorial wedding ideas can be a touching way to honor their memory on the big day.

Weddings are typically joyous occasions, symbolizing the start of a new life together. However, they also offer moments for reflection.

As couples look around at their wedding reception, they may feel the absence of special people who are no longer with them. This realization often prompts couples to find ways to honor and remember their loved ones during the celebration.

One meaningful gesture is to incorporate a memorial wedding song dedicated to those who have passed away. This allows couples to include their lost loved ones in the festivities and provides a moment for quiet reflection for attendees.

As William Shakespeare famously said, “Music expresses words that cannot be said and on which it is not possible to be silent.” Even amidst the happiness of a wedding reception, including a memorial processional song can serve as a beautiful tribute to those who are dearly missed.

Processional Songs for Honoring Deceased Loved Ones 7

Key Takeaway

  • Memorial songs at weddings can provide a special, emotional tribute to deceased loved ones, allowing couples to honor their memory.
  • Songs should aim to create a bittersweet remembrance without causing distress, fitting the generally joyous wedding atmosphere.
  • “Unchained Melody,” “Wonderful Tonight,” and “Hey Baby” are some suitable memorial song options for their poignant lyrics.
  • Personalized musical elements like favorite songs or special performances can make memorial tributes feel more meaningful and customized.

Understanding the Wedding Processional Song

Wedding processional songs are tunes a couple chooses for their bridal team to walk down the aisle before the bride’s entrance. Normally, bridesmaids enter first, but sometimes, the bride goes first, and the music combines both entrances.

These songs are crucial, often the most memorable part of a wedding. They should reflect your love and commitment, setting a positive tone and stirring emotions. Choosing the right song requires careful consideration:

  • Consider the atmosphere you want – formal or informal.
  • Decide between modern or traditional songs.
  • Choose between pop or classical music, considering personal preferences.
  • Consider songs with cultural significance.
  • Think about the emotions you want to evoke.

Regardless of the song, it should make you both feel comfortable and resonate with you:

  • Both partners should love the music.
  • You should feel at ease walking down the aisle to it.
  • The song should hold significance for one or both of you.

Exploring Traditional Processional Wedding Songs

piano, red roses, birthday song

There is a trend to use modern processional songs among couples from all over the world. But, if you live in the traditional camp, there is amazing music to choose from a few centuries old.

The good news is that while it can be overwhelming to choose from the endless list of these songs, with research and some help, you can choose the perfect processional songs for your ceremony.

Classic Processional Songs

Many people are often confused about whether to choose modern or traditional songs. But if you close your eyes and imagine you are walking down the aisle and the song that comes to mind is “The Wedding March” or “Here Comes the Bride,” you may be into traditional songs.

Sure, couples are updating and personalizing all aspects of their wedding ceremony and reception to their liking. But traditional songs bring a spark and allure that evoke sentimental feelings.

These songs are timeless. So even if you look back at your wedding ten years to come, you won’t regret picking them.

The good news is that you can include one or two and blend with modern music. That said, here are some examples of classic wedding processional songs;

1. “Canon in D” by Johann Pachelbel

Canon D is synonymous with weddings these days. So, people cannot believe this piece was forgotten until it was recorded in the late 1960s by the Jean Francois Paillard Chamber Orchestra.

The song from the album The Most Relaxing Classical Music in the Universe 2009 is mostly loved because of the instruments. It is ideal for the couple, parents and wedding party.

2. “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy

Clair de Lune means moonlight, and this piano piece inspired by a poem of a similar name written by Paul Verlaine is one of the most popular pieces of the Claude Dynasty.

It paints the image of starry skies and beautiful paintings, though imperfect. The song is ideal for couples who want to create a dreamy atmosphere for their wedding. Play it for the couple, ring bearer, or flower girl.

3. “Bridal Chorus” by Richard Wagner

Bridal Chorus is a famous processional song initially written for the opera Lohengrin. It became recognized when Princess Victoria, Queen Victoria’s daughter, used it during her wedding ceremony with Prince Frederick William of Prussia. It is a perfect instrumental song to play as the bride makes her grand entrance.

4. “Trumpet Voluntary in D Major” by Jeremiah Clarke

If there is a day you deserve to feel like a queen, it is your wedding day. This solo trumpet piece is perfect for announcing your arrival and will make you feel like a queen arriving for her special day.

5. “Wedding March” by Felix Mendelson

The song is from Mendelssohn’s suite of music to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, composed by Shakespeare. You will often hear it on the organ. It is instrumental and mostly suits the bride.

6. “Ave Verum Corpus” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

This is an incredible piece of oral music inspired by the Eucharist chant going by the same name, which means ‘Hail, True Body.’ It also sounds amazing when played on the strings.

7. “Flower Duet” by Leo Delibes

A vocal duet featuring soprano and mezzo-soprano. This is one of the best wedding processional songs initially composed for Delibes’ opera ‘Lakme.’ Today, many films and television programs still use it.

8. “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” by George Frideric Handel

The song is Handel’s oratorio ‘Solomon’Solomon’s favorite section and was played at the Olympics in 2012 when James Bond and Queen Elizabeth II met. As the name suggests, besides being a song, it is also an announcement perfect for the bride’s arrival.

9. “Air on a G String” by Jonathan Sebastian

Air on a G String is one of the most unique wedding processional songs. It is perfect for a church wedding when the bridal party walks down the aisle. A vitamin string quartet is a perfect choice for playing this processional song.

10. “The Four Seasons: Spring 1” by Vivaldi Recomposed by Max Richter

Four Seasons by Vivaldi is the perfect music choice for a wedding celebration. But this recomposed version has become many people’s choice. It was even featured in the popular series Bridgerton.

Embracing Modern Wedding Processional Songs

woman, bridal party, lineup

Modern processional songs are good for couples who prefer to follow recent trends. These appeal to the bridal party and your wedding guests since most of them can sing the lyrics.

Contemporary Trends

Although classic wedding music has stood the test of time and will not run out of popularity, sometimes a couple may not want a song that everyone else favors. If you prefer walking down the aisle with a modern song, that is perfectly okay.

There are many modern wedding songs to choose from that suit every wedding stage. Most of these songs are original and unique compositions artists developed from scratch.

But some classical songs have been recreated to add a modern touch to them. Some people find that the latter songs sound better than their original versions. Opting for them allows you to blend traditional and modern pieces into your church or destination wedding.

Wondering which modern song to choose for your processional? Here are some suggestions.

1. “Marry You” by Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars’ lyrics on this song are captivating and enticing and sound like they have deep from the heart. The song makes a great entrance that your wedding guests and wedding party will enjoy. Some of the lines you will love are:

“It is a beautiful night
We’re looking for something dumb to do
Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you”

2. “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Haley Reinhart

Although this is a cover song, it is the right choice for brides to walk down the aisle as it is unique. It has a timeless elegance that can’t be compared with trends in terms of lyrics and vocals.

3. “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri

This has to be the most popular wedding processional song from the album, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Down- part 1” 2011. there are countless weddings where brides have used this song. A line that people love is

“I have died every day waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid; I have loved you for a thousand years.”

4. “All Love Everything” by Aloe Blacc

The lyrics of this song are so cute. It is an underrated tune, but you will be happy with this choice.

“Cause I don’t need no money when I’m walkin’ with a diamond
Looking like a million bucks, and you ain’t even tryin'”

5. “Invisible String” by Taylor Swift

This is the perfect song choice for couples who believe in fate and soulmates. The piece from Folklore resonates with those who are into these things.

6. “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Kina Grannis

The wedding procession scene in the movie Crazy Rich Asians leaves many gasping. Viewers are fascinated by the show-stopping decor and the song played, a cover by Elvis Presley.

The piece brings an emotional and romantic element, making the moment unforgettable.

7. “Real Love” by Beach House

This is one of the best wedding songs that anyone would be happy making their entrance with. In the album Teen Dream, 2010, the lyrics say:

“I met you somewhere
In hell beneath the stairs
There’s someone in that room
That frightens you when you go boom
[…] The color you say is black is the one you might lack
In the size of your eyes, is there a righteous prize?”

8. “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars

Here is another hit by Bruno Mars, whose lyrics couldn’t have sounded better. The song makes everyone smile and blush during your wedding processional.

9. “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles

This is one of the perfect wedding songs for parents and bridal parties to walk down the aisle during the procession. The Beatles’ lyrics are on point and make a perfect classic hit.

10. “1 + 1” by Beyonce

A modern wedding playlist should include Beyoncé lyrics. Her songs are beautiful and have a massive presence in ceremonies. This hit song is perfect for your existence, and remember to play Single Ladies when tossing your bouquet.

Processional Songs for Honoring Deceased Loved Ones

Weddings are perfect occasions to bring family together. Sadly, you may not have everyone on your side on this special day. Including them as part of your wedding is beautiful as long as you do so in a way that doesn’t cause distress to anyone.

Fortunately, many ways exist, including having a processional wedding song in their honor.

Significance of Incorporation

Music is one of the most beautiful ways to include a loved one who has left us. Using a special song during your big day is a great way to remember those who passed. While the song plays, think about that person and the memories you shared.

Pick a song that you know will not cause sadness throughout the remaining part of the ceremony. You can be bold or subtle with your choice. The goal is to honor the memory of the loved one and not make your guests sad.

Here are some song suggestions to consider:

1. “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by The Verve

This is considered one of the best indie songs of the 1990s. It has been featured in various movies, television shows and commercials and is one of the greatest hits by The Verve.

It features a classical undertone and a modern tempo. The track featuring vocalist Richard Ashcroft is beautiful. But to honor your loved one, opt for the instrumental version.

2. “Unchained Melody” by Righteous Brothers

Although an oldie, this song is definitely a goodie. It is a romantic choice to remember a loved one who passed away while pleasing the crowd.

3. “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton

This is a simple song that talks about getting to a party with a beautiful woman. It is mostly used for the first dance at the wedding reception. Some lyrics you will love:

“It’s late in the evening
She’s wondering what clothes to wear
She’ll put on her makeup
And brushes her long blonde hair”

4. “Hey Baby” Bruce Channel

“Hey, hey baby
I want to know if you’ll be my girl”

These are some of the lyrics of love. The melody of this composition is beautiful and makes a bittersweet moment.

Incorporating Personalized Elements

Whether you have chosen a traditional or modern wedding, it’s important to add some personalization to make the day unforgettable for you and your guests. There are various ways to make your wedding processional feel personal and aligned with your preferences.

Here are some ideas:

Choose a personal favorite song

The bride’s arrival is usually the most awaited part of a wedding ceremony. Looking stunningly gorgeous is not a choice.

But as you walk down the aisle, ensure the music playing in the background is perfect. Rather than opting for a traditional song, pick one meaningful to you and your spouse.

Consider a musical performance

Make the processional unforgettable with a musical performance. Let your favorite musician or band play your favorite song as you enter. This personalized entrance will wow your guests.

Have a customized arrangement

You can explore different arrangement styles to personalize your processional.

For instance, you can create a candle path leading to the reception if you want something romantic. You can also use decorative pillars and entryway flower decorations.

Think about the unique elements that tell your love story and try to incorporate them into your wedding processional. That way, it will be personal, and you will create an unforgettable experience.

Practical Considerations for a Seamless Ceremony

After choosing the perfect wedding party processional songs, the next step is to think of how things will flow so that the ceremony remains coordinated. It’s wise to have a wedding processional order which can be modern or traditional.

The officiant goes in first with the traditional order and remains at the altar. Followed by the groom, the bride’s parents, the groom’s parents, bridesmaids and groomsmen, the flower girl, and then the bride.

But you don’t have to follow this order if you have opted for a modern style. However, you must plan accordingly to avoid confusion during your big day. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Consider the song timing

Make sure the song you choose is long enough to allow you to walk to the altar at your own pace. At the same time, decide where you want the song to start when walking down the aisle.

Some people prefer to match along with the chorus, but you can choose any other part with the lyrics you love most.

Coordinate with your wedding planner

Make sure that your wedding planner knows the song you have decided to match with. Give them all the details to avoid confusion during your entrance.

Ensure that your technical team is on point

The last thing you want is sound issues when walking down the aisle. Avoid this by working closely with a technical team to ensure smooth audio playback for seamless execution.


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There are many wedding processional songs to choose from. Whether you want a modern twist or prefer classical wedding processional songs, know that the list is endless.

What matters is that you choose songs that tell your love story, making the ceremony unforgettable. You can decide to have one song or several of them.

If you have lost your loved one and want to remember them on your special day, there is music designed to help you overcome loss and move forward with hope. Memorial wedding songs help bring loved ones together to share the memory of the person who passed away but not to bring them down.

Please remember that a wedding is a joyous occasion. So pick a song that offers an emotional tribute to the person you are honoring, making your guests feel connected to them even if they do not know them.

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