4 Traditional Songs to Walk Down the Aisle

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Written By Aaron Smith

Rev. Aaron Smith enjoys sharing insights from over 10 years of wedding officiating experience.

The most common song to walk down the aisle is the Canon in D. This is the song that you will likely hear if you see a wedding in a movie or tv show. Other popular songs are the legendary At Last by Etta James, Bridal Chorus by Richard Wagner, and Ave Maria by Franz Schubert. 

Where have I heard that song before? 

These traditional wedding songs have been featured in countless cinema storybook weddings not to mention a wedding you have most likely attended in person. Each of these songs has become naturally a part of the bridal procession. In other words, if you heard any one of these songs at a wedding you would anticipate that the doors are about to open, the bride is preparing to approach the altar, and it’s time for the wedding to begin. You also wouldn’t bat an eye. You wouldn’t say, hmm this song doesn’t really fit the occasion. Quite the contrary, if you heard one of these songs it would be the impetus, the clarion call to let everyone in earshot know that the most important part of the wedding is about to begin. 

Canon in D

The song, Canon in D just may be the head over all the other song’s shoulders clear standard and most played songs during a wedding processional. This instrumental typically played by an organist in a church setting is the epitome of what a wedding song does which is to announce what is about to happen, set the stage for the wedding to commence, and evoke emotion while bringing all of the attention to the bride. This song also has a special way of setting apart this moment from everything that has happened before and everything that will happen after this moment. Apart from the moment when the officiant decries the announcement of the bride and groom and of course all of the endearing moments along the way, this song trumpets the entrance of the undisputed star of the day, or the bride. 

Canon in D gets your attention like none other. It’s also a distinguished tune that can be recognized in any form. When you hear it, you immediately know what it is and usually what event you’re attending. This song is such associated with weddings that if you hear it in another setting it almost sounds out of place. 

But in a wedding setting, it pulls everything together. This song lets every attendee know that they are at the right place at the right time. You wouldn’t want to hear this song played if you are in the parking lot. But if you’re in the building you immediately feel a sense of awe. 

songs to walk down the aisle
4 Traditional Songs to Walk Down the Aisle 2 songs to walk down the aisle

At Last by Etta James

This song, oh my this song. At Last, by Etta James is also an iconic song that truly and completely encompasses the moment of the wedding beginning. A more personal expression, this song puts everyone at ease with one of the greatest all-time voices backed by the most soothing sounds that accompany it. 

The irony of the lyrics suggests that at last, the moment has arrived that the loves will unite in holy matrimony and at the same time anyone who has been waiting for the wedding to begin is also put at ease. 

This is one of the all-time greatest songs that just happen to enter the orbit of wedding bliss to become so closely associated with this most important day. The marriage of the moment and the song would make someone want to sneak in a wedding where they don’t even know the couple just to witness such a majestic pronouncement. If you choose At Last as your entrance song, you will not be disappointed. 

Bridal Chorus by Richard Wagner

Similar to Canon in D, the Bridal Chorus may be one of the most chosen songs for the wedding entrance. This is the most recognizable song that seems like it was not only made for a wedding but perhaps all weddings. Someone may even wonder why they didn’t hear this song or that they haven’t had the full wedding experience if they didn’t get a chance to hear this song. 

The bridal chorus is recognized by children and adults alike. It’s mimicked at an early age and it’s also a tune that can be heard anywhere. The only question when choosing or not choosing this song, in particular, is how traditional someone wants to be. 

Ave Maria by Franz Schubert

Ave Maria is the sophisticated traditional choice for the bridal processional. This song suggests that the moment is both delicate and serious. Like the other songs, no one will question this choice and everyone’s attention will begin to focus on the meaning of the moment. Like the officiating minister will likely share when they say no one should enter into this moment unadvisedly, this tone is consistent with taking this moment to heart and remaining thoughtful throughout this day. 

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