"Here Comes the Bride" alternatives: offbeat wedding processional songs

Photo by Velodramatic
Photo by Velodramatic
My fiancee and I are going to be walking into the ceremony together and then meeting in the middle.

As you can imagine, the traditional "Here Comes the Bride" wedding processional song wouldn't really fit us too well.

That being said, does anyone know of any alternatives to that song?

I'm open to anything!

-Shell

Here we go! We've already rounded up AWESOME first dance songs and non-sappy father/daughter dance songs, now it's time to put our Offbeat Bride spin on wedding processional songs.

Here are our favorite "Here Comes the Bride" alternatives, ranging from the classic, the modern, and the totally nerdy (of course).

Classical alternatives

  • Satie's "Gymnopédie No. 1" (hear it)
  • Gustav Holst's "Jupiter, The Bringer Of Jollity" (hear it)
  • "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Symphony 9 (hear it)
  • Vivaldi's "Spring Allegro" (hear it)
  • Handel's Air From "Water Music" (hear it)
  • Mussorgsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition: Promenade" (hear it)

Variations on a theme of traditional

  • Queen's wedding march — I had to! (hear it)
  • Canon In D Remix by Ronald Jenkees (hear it)
  • Etta James' At Last (hear it)

Subtle (and sometimes nerdy) alternatives

  • "Concerning Hobbits" (hear it)
  • The Princess Bride's "Storybook Love" (hear it)
  • The Turret Opera from Portal 2 (hear it)
  • "The Shape of Things to Come" from Battlestar Galactica (hear it)
  • Sigur Rós' "Hoppípolla" (hear it)
  • "Romantic Flight" from the movie How to Train Your Dragon (hear it)
  • "Neville's Waltz" from Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire (hear it)
  • The Skyrim theme (hear it)
  • The theme from Braveheart (hear it)
  • Triumphal March from Aida (hear it)
  • Game of Thrones theme (hear it)

Goth and metal

  • Amhran by Leaves' Eyes — an operatic metal band from Norway (hear it)
  • Apocalyptica's version of "Nothing Else Matters" (hear it)
  • Suite Gothique by Leon Boellmann (hear it)
  • Anything from Gothic Wedding Collection by Vitamin String Quartet (hear it)

Silly

  • The theme from James Bond (hear it)
  • The theme from the Pink Panther (hear it)
  • The theme from Mission impossible (hear it)
  • "A Cadence to Arms" by Dropkick Murphy (hear it)
  • The Jurassic Park theme (hear it)
  • The Throne Room/End Title song from Star Wars (hear it)
  • The Muppets' Somebody's Getting Married/He'll Make Me Happy (hear 'em)
  • Europe's "The Final Countdown" (hear it)

Pop and rock

  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow (hear it)
  • Colbie Caillat's "I Do" (hear it)
  • Adele's "One and only" (hear it)
  • The Beatles' "In My Life" (hear it)
  • Pearl Jam's "Just Breathe" (hear it)
  • Cat Power's version of "Sea of Love" (hear it)
  • Tesla's Love Song (hear it)

Indie

  • Thirteen by Elliot Smith (hear it)
  • Phone Call by Jon Brion from Eternal Sunshine (hear it)
  • Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah (hear it)
  • We Are Gonna Be Friends by the White Stripes (hear it)

Want to see more music selections?

  1. I am going to walk down to "Lego House" by Ed Sheeran (we know it's a break up song, but the lyrics mean more to us!) and we are walking(dancing!!) away to "Love on Top" by Beyonce….we can't help but start dancing no matter what when that song comes on!

  2. We're getting married at home and the "aisle" is pretty short, but, it's just enough time to walk into the opening of "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire. It's got such an epic drop!

  3. The songs that we have picked for ours is:
    Me walking down the isle, "Your Hand In Mine (With Violins)" by Explosions in the Sky
    We are lighting the unity candle and giving our mothers a gift/hugging parents to "Forever" by Ben Harper
    Our processional "Hard to Concentrate" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
    Our first dance "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison. He is sweet enough to take dance lessons with me so that we can dance like we are not in the 7th grade.
    It took a lot of bargaining and a mean game of "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Spock" but I won!
    I hope this helps any of you lovely ladies!

  4. My very close cousin will be playing acoustically "Stand By Me". The first time my fiancée heard it he got really choked up!

  5. I asked my fiancé to pick the song he wants me to walk down the aisle to and he chose "here comes my girl" by Tom petty and the heartbreakers. Which is actually perfect because we're gonna have his nephews carry a banner down the aisle that says "uncle Rudy, here comes your girl" right before I walk down. And since we're having an Up themed wedding, our recessional is gonna be "married life" from the Up soundtrack. :-) but I also considered walking down to "love you til the end" by the Pogues. It's on the P.S. I love you soundtrack and it's such a beautiful song.

  6. My fella doesn't know yet, but I'm going to be coming don the aisle to join the joyride..I know its fast, so I may yet only have the first blast, but hopefully…this is it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5BwpFQ9j5g

    To come back down the aisle together, we're having Bring Me Sunshine by Morecambe and Wize…we're having our reception in Morecambe and both love the song so we had to fit it in somewhere! Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZedhoqYdfTM

    I'd love to work in concerning hobbits, so maybe for the bridesmaids….?

  7. I walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers (not by these musicians but it sounded similar to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulc1N05UmsI )
    Our recessional was an acoustic-but-spirited version of "Signed, Sealed and Delivered, I'm Yours" by Stevie Wonder.

    1 agrees
  8. Our processional song is "Being In Love" by Songs:Ohia. Our entire wedding party, including both of the brides, will be walking in to this song. I'm the one in the big poofy dress, so I'm walking in last, at which point the song repeats, "We are proof that the heart is a risky fuel to burn," over and over again.

    2 agree
  9. I have 11 different ethnicities in my background, and I want to honor them all in some way during my wedding. I'm a small part Blackfoot Native American (not sure which tribe within the current confederation), so while I was looking into Blackfoot-related things I found a great CD by Blackfoot artists that are a mix of very traditional songs, more contemporary but tradition-inspired songs, and instrumental New Age-y pieces. One of those pieces, "Naaji", was so striking and dramatic and felt like a herald to something, so we decided to use it as our processional:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000TDFDXM/ref=dm_dp_trk14?ie=UTF8&qid=1372783937&sr=8-3

    For our recessional, both of us are huge fans of the Rurouni Kenshin franchise, and I have always thought "Kenshin's Theme" would be a great pro- or recessional. Fiancee agreed, so we are using it: http://youtu.be/OCpoO5MyDtI

  10. My fiancé's and my first dance is "Thank You For Loving Me" by Bon Jovi… he's a HUGE fan and we both love that song.

    He's also walking down the aisle to VSQ's version of "Wanted Dead or Alive." If it makes him happy… 😛

    I haven't decided what I want to walk to yet. I'm a huge Jason Mraz fan and I was thinking about "I'm Yours" but I thought it was a bit too fast. I also wanted "I Won't Give Up" but then my stepsister used it at her wedding. Blah.

    I was also thinking about "Falling Slowly" from Once, "Rainbow Connection," or the love theme from Princess Bride (because my fiancé bought be the sword of the Dread Pirate Roberts for my birthday!).

  11. Our wedding was at sunset on the beach, and I walked down the aisle to the instrumental version of "Crimson & Clover" by Tommy James and The Shondells. It made the moment soo surreal- the song still gives me chills!

  12. I am going to be walking down the aisle to the Skyrim theme song! I love the theatrical aspect to it! And, not to mention, FH and I are HUGE Skyrim fans! The whole wedding is going to be loosely based on the game!

    Great list of tracks!

  13. Don't know if anyone has mentioned this group (haven't read through ALL of the comments yet but definitely a lot of them), but a friend turned me on to the group "Vitamin String Quartet". They do some great versions of contemporary songs. One night we stayed up Youtubing as much of their stuff as we could find and when he played their version of "Wonderful Tonight" I cried and said "That's it. That's the song I want to walk down the aisle to." Check them out if you are looking for something classical but a bit different. They have covers of almost anyone you can think of. Metallica, Adele, etc.

  14. The Bubble song from Labyrinth, by David Bowie, aka "As the World Falls Down". :)

    1 agrees
  15. I was just at a wedding where they used Jason mraz's I won't give up. It was really beautiful. It had me tearing up!

  16. I walked down the aisle to "I want to hold your hand" by The Beatles. It was perfect for us.

  17. My husband and I walked down the aisle together, arm in arm, while our guests played Here Comes the Bride on plastic kazoos friends handed out before the procession. It was pretty awesome. Only con? It's hard not to laugh as people make really funny faces when playing the kazoo.

    1 agrees
  18. I'm getting married in 3 weeks(!) and we just chose our ceremony music, which will be played by our friend's string quartet. I'm walking down the aisle to "Do You Realize??" by The Flaming Lips, and I couldn't be more excited about it!

  19. We're having a medieval themed wedding, with extreme artistic license. Our procession is "The Wedding Gift" by Rawlins Cross, it's beautiful! Then I'm walking down the aisle to Storybook Book Love from Princess Bride. We're using the song "sleeping at last" from Twilight for our first dance. The movies are crap, but dammit they have great soundtracks!!

  20. We walked down the aisle to the Throne Room theme from Star Wars and I'm so stoked to see it listed (makes me feel a little less insane XD) It was a super big hit – several people commented about it afterwards (and we kept it a surprise until the rehearsal so there were many high-fives to be had when our families first heard it), and I think it really set the tone for our wedding as "only so serious" – but slightly fun and silly and not a big stuffy affair. I totally wanted to do the Jaws theme but Hubby nixed that as being *too* over the top. In retrospect, I think the Throne Room theme was a good choice – just silly and recognizable enough to be fun and tip a hat to our geeky/sci-fi side, but fitting enough that our more traditional and older guests wouldn't suffer from spontaneous implosion.

  21. Our processional song is 'The Cascades' by Fleet Foxes. Sooo beautiful.

  22. I walked down the aisle to Never Forget by Martin O'Donnell & Michael Salvatori from the Halo 3 soundtrack. Hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZLRqZPorb0
    Not only was it a personal nerdy reference because we're both gamers who love Halo, but it is a stunningly beautiful song. Another thing that made it perfect for us was that the "aisle" was a long walk and the closer I got to everyone the more beautiful the song got. When I arrived at the alter, we specifically instructed them to let the song play all the way to the end so we could hear the whole song, but most importantly so that we could slow down and enjoy that magical moment without immediately hopping into the ceremony. We just listened to the music, held hands and looked at each other. We really took in the moment. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.

  23. Thought I'd share the rest of our music selections for the wedding:
    Bridal Party Processional: "There for You" (Vitamin String Quartet cover of Flyleaf's song)
    Bride's Processional: "Never There" on Halo 3 Soundtrack – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZLRqZPorb0
    Recessional: Punk version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CM_F83qdB4U
    First Dance: "Always" by Zug Izland – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sbl17upni0k
    Father & Daughter Dance: "Learning to Fly" by Pink Floyd – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCB_INs2E24
    Mother & Son Dance: "Simple Man" by Shinedown – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgFQ6WmxdMs (song chosen by mother of the groom)

  24. I walked down the aisle to the opening of Transiberian Orchestra's Christmas Canon. When the second guitar comes in with the first is when we burst through the doors and walked down the aisle. It was amazing.

  25. We did "Con Te Partiro". A song made famous by Andrea Bocelli. Some say it's translated as "Time to say Goodbye" but the Italian is "With you, I leave." The Italian translation is mainly about following this person to ends of the earth and saying good bye to all the old things and time gone by and just being with that person where ever they are. I love this and the song is SO beautiful. My husband and I were both musicians so we hired a live trio of acoustic guitar, violin and cello. It was a-maz-ing. We did "Edelweiss" during the ceremony and the recessional was "I've got the world on a string." Out of everything in the wedding, the ceremony music was one of my favorite moments.

  26. Me and SO are still in pre-planning (hasn't asked, but know it's coming) and we've talked about precessional & first dance songs. We are still in the process of determining final songs. As cheesy as it might sound, the band fun. has always had a special place in our relationship. We started dating when the song "We Are Young" was popular and it was the first song we bonded over. We've seen them live together, and for us the lyrics just say "happy".
    So – I've always loved the instrumental parts of their acoustic version of "Take Your Time (coming home)" and edited them myself. https://soundcloud.com/carreyasaurus/take-your-time-coming-home After reading a couple ideas about using the Vitamin String Quartet, I couldn't help but look at the song "Carry On." So, that's a condender for a processional.
    FH decided on his own that our first dance would be to their song "The Gambler" because its all about spending ones life with their special someone despite anything that comes your way. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rT-5NY83OYI

    To limit the number of fun. songs we have in the list, I've considered using this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jleYj7O2Ghc "Clair de Lune (Instrumental)" by Flight Facilities. Of course, it's all still a work in progress!

  27. My ego wouldn't let me post it before the wedding, but Last of the Wilds by Nightwish ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwES9M0isVM [throw into the metal category]) was my processional, played on violin by one of my dearest friends. I bounced up the aisle, and it just really suited how happy I was PERFECTLY. Of course, the unforeseen side effect of that is that it makes me cry now, but they're happy tears! It just makes my day when this comes on during my drive to work.

  28. We're still in the process of finalizing songs. A classical guitarist is playing our music and this is what we have thus far:

    Music while guests are being seated:

    Nothing Else Matters, Metallica – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuEmEILQwS8&list=UU-kutvv9X61IOkaq35J83mA
    Your Song, Elton John – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4DA4OTAH-k
    Here Comes The Sun – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WRObT9reqY

    Wedding Party Processional:
    Story Book Love, Princess Bride Theme – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4njxT5idas

    My Processional:
    Love Song (Intro), Tesla – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CguZ2eKj_hA
    OR
    I Can't Help Falling In Love, Elvis Presley – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTDERjt2Dl4&list=UU-kutvv9X61IOkaq35J83mA

    Recessional:
    James Bond Theme – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWW_vstJcME
    OR
    You're My Best Friend, Queen – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riEtzmOU8dY

  29. My husband and I are big Burton fans and chose Victors Piano solo to have me walk down the aisle . We wanted our pastors daughter to do it in cello but we having a hard time finding the sheet music. Our co-worker paid for a musician to transcribe it from piano to cello. I don't have it on line but this guitar is the closest we had found http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYt58avYw74

  30. I walked down the aisle to "Storybook Love" and as we left the Chapel we played "Coming Home" both are by Mark Knopfler and are beautiful instrumentals, though you can get a version of "Storybook Love" with the lyrics

  31. I walked in to "England" by The National – which is beautiful, but about a band being frustrated with their record label, nothing romantic at all! No one picked up on that though because everyone was still tearful and we said it was a way to pay homage to our ancestry since both of our grandmothers were war brides from England :)

  32. I squeed when I saw Holst on this list, but having actually played "Jupiter" I would say do the chorale only as the whole piece is nearly 8 minutes long (unless you have a really long aisle or will have everyone come in to the same song). If you're going to go with Holst (which would still be awesome), Fugue a la Gigue or the third movement from Second Suite in F are a bit more manageable timewise. Myself, I chose "Exhilaration" from Southern Harmony by Donald Grantham for the processional, although I briefly entertained using "EVE" from the Wall-E soundtrack.

  33. In our original ceremony (which got postponed), we were going to walk the couple of miles to the ceremony site together, so we had a big old playlist for everyone while thy waited. But weird me, I wanted this song to be queued up perfectly for when it was arrival time (no aisle) (which even then I realized was preeettttty unlikely). But there's something about it that really suits us, and that seems dramatic and edgy enough for the likes of us. Very almost witch house. Maybe freak out our grandmas.

  34. I'm a musicologist, and one of my areas of study is Wagner. If you know the context of the Bridal Chorus within Lohengrin, it's much less charming. In the opera, it is a vocal piece, sung by the chorus after the wedding ceremony, as they guide the bride, Elsa, to the bridal chamber. The marriage falls apart almost immediately, because Elsa feels she should know her husband's name, and he leaves her when she asks him.

    • I know all this, but I love the music and the lyrics of the chorus…so I'm willing to forgive the rest of act 3, haha. Besides, most operas (and in Wagner's case, music dramas) have sad endings. I love Wagner's music so much (his works and German Romantic opera in general have helped get me through some very tough times–I think they have a unique emotional quality I just haven't experienced elsewhere), it would be hard to see my wedding day not featuring it.
      …also, I know my groom's name, so hopefully that helps 😉

  35. I am so excited to walk down the aisle to "Rock Your Soul" by Elisa. I LOVE the way the music swells in the chorus. Our bridal party will walk from the beginning of the song, and I'll come in at 3:52 (you know, approximately :D)

  36. So I'm not great with the names of processional/recessional etc. But I had a friend that played "Final Countdown" during the bridal parties' entrance. I thought that was pretty clever/awesome!

  37. I love these–although as big Wagnerian Opera fangirl planning a "Lohengrin" inspired wedding, I hope to walk down the aisle to the full Bridal Chorus from act III (aka where the "Here comes the bride" tune comes from) sung by a full choir. So the traditional song..but maybe a non-traditional execution of it? I'm still in the planning phases, but music is such a huge deal to me (probably will be like, half my budget lol). It makes me happy to hear how others showed their personalities through the processionals they chose, as well as all the suggestions related to music I've read so far on Offbeat Bride. I'm trying to absorb as much about music-centered weddings (not just opera, but all sorts) as possible to get more ideas and inspiration. :-) <3

  38. For our entrance my husband and I actually used "That Dress Looks Nice On You" by Sufjan Stevens

    And for our after ceremony exit we used "The Throne Room" from Star Wars: A New Hope

  39. As a massive nerd, I have always wanted to walk down the aisle to the instrumental version of Ichiban no Takaramono (translation "My Most Precious Treasure") from Angel Beats.
    It's so gorgeous, and since it plays during the show's proposal scene, it's fitting.

  40. Here bride and groom enter together , we did it on Marry you by Bruno Mars…It's totally not offbeat, lol, but I just love that song!

    Usually they play Mendelson's wedding march.

  41. We're both pretty geeky, and I hate the traditional wedding march. I've elected to use the theme from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I figure we are "boldly going" forward with a new step, and it suits me much better.

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