"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!


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)


  • 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)


  • 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?

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  1. If I ever have an actual wedding, I promised myself I would walk down the aisle to Jean-Joseph Mouret's "Rondeau" (a.k.a. the theme song for Masterpiece Theater). I've always liked the regal aspect of the melody. Plus, my man frequently calls me his "princess"/"queen" so it fits.


    On a side note, my cousin walked to a piano version of "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof, which I also think is a nice song in lieu of Pachelbel's "Canon in D" or Wagner's "Bridal Chorus."

    2 agree
    • We had the parents walk in to "rondeau". All of them kept asking "Why does this sound familiar."

      We just giggled.

      1 agrees
  2. I am going to use an instrumental version of The Islander by Nightwish (we are having a few of their songs, since they are one of my FH's favorite bands). I think the feel of their music loans itself well to medieval themes.

    1 agrees
    • Yay! You had me at Nightwish. I was thinking of using Sleeping Sun as the first dance! But this has me thinking good things!

      2 agree
  3. Damnit, where was this thread three months ago when we were trying to find music for our wedding?

    I started frantically polling my friends for suggestions because instrumental music mostly all just sounds like bookstore background music to me.

    I threatened to enter to Ride of the Valkyries but decided against it.

    The most entertaining suggestion we got was the Jaws theme:p

    I really wanted to use Aniron, from Lord Of the Rings for the processional because 1) I liked the idea of using music from the sound track of a movie I love so it would have some meaningful association for me (See above), 2) we were both linguistics majors, so a song in Quenya was appealing, 3) we were getting married in the redwoods, so it seemed to find the setting, 5) It's the theme for a romance. Unfortunately, it is just to somber for a processional:( We compromised and used it as prelude music.

    He entered to Winter, from The Four Season. I entered to the Vitamin String Quartet cover of Shania Twain's From This Moment On and we used Appalachian Spring: VII. Doppio Movimento: Variations On a Shaker Hymn (Simple gifts) for the recessional (We found out later than his parents had played Simple Gifts at their wedding. Which was kind of neat.)

  4. The Tribesmaids have convinced me to go ahead with my plan to arrange Locke and Celes' themes from FF6, so that they're blended the way they are in the game's ending. I'll get a few friends to help me record the arrangement and then I guess we'll walk down the aisle to it!

    This is a recent decision (I've been on the fence and finally told myself it was okay today) so I have no idea how it will turn out! But apparently someone else used the separate themes at different parts of the processional and it was awesome, so I am optimistic.

    2 agree
  5. I walked down the aisle to "Arioso," a beautiful celtic song from the Highland Serenade wedding CD. Our first dance, however, was to Storybook Love 🙂

    1 agrees
  6. I am seriously thinking of walking down the aisle to "Forever" by the Beach Boys. However, every time I hear it I can't help but think about Uncle Jesse and Rebecca on Full House. I can't tell if that makes the song is a good or a bad choice!!!

    2 agree
    • I want to involve "Wouldn't it be nice" by the Beach Boys…"wouldn't it be nice if we were older/then we wouldn't have to wait so long". I'll be 46 for my wedding so it makes me smile, plus it's just about the most optimistic song ever…

      1 agrees
      • We are going to start our recessional to "Wouldn't it be nice" by the Beach Boys. We chose it mostly because it is so upbeat and optimistic, and partly because it's pretty ironic when we finally are married.

        1 agrees
  7. I'm stuck between two:
    Michael Buble's Everything
    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbQvxo50GQU&w=420&h=315%5D
    I love the lyrics so much, and it's just so jazzy and happy! But it's Michael Buble, so my sister might just kill me! 🙂

    And Ed Miller's My Love is Like a Red Red Rose (a gorgeous rendition of Robert Burn's poem). The song starts at about 1:10.
    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ov-jgO6Zptg&w=420&h=315%5D
    Ed Miller is a Austin-based Scottish folk singer, and my mom and I just love him. The lyrics again and so gorgeous, and it's slower and more processional-like.
    So, I'm stuck.

  8. I started my processional with Here Comes The Sun, the song my mom walked down the aisle (I had a long walk) and when I got to the end of the aisle to start towards my groom, the bluegrass band played Rainbow Connection (Muppets). It. Was. Perfect.

    2 agree
    • We're planning on having me walk down the aisle to Here Comes the Sun, and recessing to either Rainbow Connection or Life's a Happy Song (from the new Muppet movie). 🙂

  9. From Battlestar Galactica, there is also of course "Roslin and Adama" which is actually a love theme:

    There are several other variations of that like "Adama Falls", "Roslin and Adama Reunited" and "So Much Life", as well a solo piano version

    3 agree
    • I am walking down the aisle to "Roslin and Adama Reunited"! It's my favorite of all the BSG tunes. My only dilemma is that I cry each and every time I hear it. He wants to walk down the aisle to "Battle Without Honor or Humanity" from the Kill Bill soundtrack.

      We've narrowed our recessional down to "Starlight" by Muse or "Two Step" by Dave Matthews Band.

      1 agrees
    • I love "Roslin and Adama"! I agree, though, that it tends to make one cry. I'd love to include that in my ceremony as well as "The Shape of Things to Come." I thought about walking down the aisle to it myself, but I can't let go of "Aniron" from LOTR. I'm really an elf at heart.

  10. We had our ceremony in a church, and were required to have "litugrically appropriate" music. But I hated all the traditional songs (which made me think of every wedding I've been to ever). So we got to walk in to an organ rendition of Finlandia, which is majestic and beautiful and "approrpriate". 🙂 Plus, since it WAS in a church, our theme in our readings and everything was inclusion of everyone, even non-catholics, and the lyrics I've learned to this song so beautifully encompass that:
    This is my song, oh God of all the nations,
    a song of peace for lands afar and mine.
    This is my home, the country where my heart is;
    here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
    but other hearts in other lands are beating
    with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine
    My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
    and sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine.
    But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
    and skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
    This is my song, thou God of all the nations;
    a song of peace for their land and for mine.

    1 agrees
    • We're getting married in a Catholic church too, and we're struggling with the readings and music! Did you have to choose from the "Together For Life" book? I'd love any help you'd be willing to give!!!

      • Yeah, I was a little surprised we had such limited options for wedding readings. But we chose Song of Songs (2:8-10, etc etc etc), Romans (12:1-2, 9-18), and Matthew (5:13-16), because they seemed to be the nicest, and not as much… in your face as the others. For music, I don't remember much except Finlandia, and then my friend sang a stunning song in Latin. I have no idea what she was saying but it had me in tears. Anyway, hope it helps. 🙂 Good luck! (Personally, I would just say don't do it in a church at all… but obviously that's my own opinion.)

  11. I'm a huge Wagner nerd, and I've always wanted to use the motif for Valhalla, the home of the Gods:

  12. We are getting married in church, the priest expected Here Comes the Bride, but I used my powers of persuasion! I said that 'Here Comes the Bride' isn't a hymn anyway, just a piece of instrumental music, so could I not pick a different instrumental instead? He couldnt see why not, so I'm having 'Sally Cinnamon' by the Stone Roses (Piano Version – on youtube) – the real version is one of 'our' songs, and the instrumental is beautiful 🙂

    2 agree
  13. My hubby walked in to the theme from the original Batman TV show, and I walked in to Lovecats by the Cure. 🙂

    5 agree
  14. I'll be walking in to a slight variation on one of the songs listed – Chicane's Poppiholla. We're concluding with the rather marvellous Something Good Can Work by Two Door Cinema Club. Nothing but upbeat!

    2 agree
  15. Selecting music is basically my favorite part of wedding planning. For the party's entrance, we're using Old Pine by Ben Howard:

    For my walk, I'm choosing Lullaby by the Dixie Chicks, which I know is a mother-daughter thing but I don't care:

    And finally, for the recessional, I Believe in a Thing Called Love by The Darkness:

    1 agrees
    • Hi Liz,

      I was thinking of the same exit song as you – the darkness! Are you having that actually song or do you have a singer and musician?

      Or if your wedding had already taken place, congrats! And how did the song go down?? Thanks!

  16. I told my brother that when the day comes, he's going to pick out my wedding music (he's a classical music buff). Of course, the first thing he suggested was "March to the Scaffold" (this song is complete with a little 'head bounce' at the end), so maybe I'll have to rethink letting him decide…. 😉

    Although I think the exit music will be the theme from Up! I've got siblings and family members who play clarinet, saxophone, piano, and french horn so I could totally whip up an arrangement of that.

  17. ok – question:

    so are you guys having the wedding party walk down to one song and then the bride walks down to another song or are you using the same song for the whole thing – flowerpeople, maids, and brides?

    i can honestly say I have never paid attention before!

    • I had two songs. Instead of a flower girl, all kids in attendance were invited to grab a bucket of confetti and sprinkle it up the aisle. So, the confetti kids did their thing to "Lollipop" by The Chordettes. This was the perfect length to give them time to sprinkle, but not so long that everyone was waiting for the song to end. Then, I played a different song, about 3:40 long, for the bridesmaids and myself to walk in to. We had to cross a small field to get to the tent, and then our parents walked up the aisle ahead of us. The song was just the right length for all of that, and still ended seconds after I got to the top of the aisle. So, to answer your question, I used two separate songs because of the confetti kids. If you're having a regular flower girl and lots of bridesmaids, I'd recommend using one song for them, and then a second song for you to walk in to.

    • Traditionally I think you use different songs for the attendants vs. the bride, but really, you can do whatever you want!

  18. We walked in to "Come rain or come shine" sung by a friend while her husband played the guitar.

    1 agrees
  19. I walked in to the acoustic version of "Everlong" by the Foo Fighters. It was perfect!

    1 agrees
    • Sorry I just have to correct something.
      It's "Goodnight Julia" by Yoko Kano (and possibly accompanied by the Seatbelts, which was her orchestra/band for almost all of the Cowboy Bebop soundtracks).

      5 agree
    • I LOVE that you're doing Wonderwall! I actually took the lyrics to that and made it into flowers for my bouquet. I love love love that song.

      1 agrees
  20. Vitamin String Quartet is a great option to look into if you want a classical sound, and they've done everything from pop to goth to metal to punk, so it's really easy to go sweet and/or subversive.

    My husband and his family walked to Downstream, from the Braid soundtrack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiWXrVXOMAU

    After a pause, my mom and I walked to The Postal Service's Brand New Colony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcqQDM-qOG0

    The recessional was going to be Be Still My Heart, also from Postal Service: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFHkfnyAstg

    My friend manning the iPod slipped and managed to start up the wrong song, specifically: Voltaire's All the Way Down. It actually worked out because it resulted in my husband and I rushing out before anyone caught on to how depressing that song is.

    It was great choosing our own music! It felt like telling our story a little bit. Downstream is beautiful and geeky and comes from a game about love lost and found. Brand New Colony reminds me a lot of how I feel about the things we do to improve our lives together, and Be Still My Heart is so very close to the story of how we started dating that we always seem to drop everything when it plays.

  21. I was just at a wonderful wedding this weekend where the groom came in to the theme from Final Fantasy IV and the bride to the theme from FF VI. It was awesome!

  22. I walked down the isle to Flyleaf's "Treasure." It's kind of "our song," plus I'm a totally Flyleaf freak so… obvious choice lol. We also kissed to Kiss me Deadly by Lita Ford, and walked out to The Darkness's I Believe in a thing Called Love.

  23. Much to my FMIL's dismay I'll be walking down the aisle to Angels and Airwaves' "The Adventure"! And "Storybook Love" shall be the first dance. 🙂

    1 agrees
  24. I plan on walking down to Josh Groban's When You Say You Love Me. It's a beautiful song and it can be used instrumental only as the bridesmaids walk.

  25. I'm thinking of walking down the aisle to Rose's Theme from Doctor Who.

    4 agree
  26. I walked dow to Nick Cave and the Bad Seed's "The Ship Song"
    Every time I hear it, I have to stop whatever it is that I'm doing and just listen

    3 agree
  27. I am planning to have the wedding party walk down to "The Shape of Things to Come" from BSG, and I'm thinking of walking down to "Aniron" from The Fellowship of the Ring. For the recessional I like the Throne Room Medley. Hooray for nerdy music! There are so many awesome songs on this list!
    Question, though: how long does a processional usually take? I'm so attached to my musical choices that I'd hate to cut them off, but I don't want to be standing there awkwardly as the song finishes, either.

    • You just have to time your own processional and practice it at the rehearsal. I used one song for my "confetti kids" that was about two minutes long. All kids in attendance got to grab a bucket of confetti and sprinkle it around for the duration of the song. Then, I used a different song for my two bridesmaids and myself to walk in to. That song was about 3:40 long. It was just enough time for my bridesmaids to walk in, and then for me to walk in, our parents to walk up the aisle, then my bridesmaids, and then me. You just have to practice. Even on the day of the ceremony, we had to subtly adjust our walking speed to where the song was so that I'd arrive at the top of the aisle just as the song ended.

    • I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking of using Aniron from the Fellowship of the Rings as my song.

      I was a bit concerned over whether it would feel too slow – but its absolutely beautiful.

      • Yeah, it is kind of slow. I think that works really well with it coming after "The Shape of Things to Come," though, because that piece ens with a lot of energy, so the contrast will lend drama to the slowness. If that makes sense. So if you're playing a song before it, maybe pick one that isn't so subdued, and you will still catch people's attention when you enter. 🙂 Not that anyone won't be paying attention…

        • I can't say I'm familar with "the Shape of thigns to come" ..

          I plan on using "Concerning Hobbits" for the Bridal Party, which is probably one of the happiest songs in LOTR soundtrack and its tempo is pretty close to 120, which is close ot a classic march tempo. So its actually a bit fast – the phrasing allows for some pauses.

          I was thinking aniron would be a huge contracts – I'm just afraid of too slow. My other consideration suprised no one's mentioned

          "Danielle's Wings" from Everafter. Check it out.

          1 agrees
  28. I did "Just Breathe". My husband had his own processional and it was to "Call Me Irresponsible" by Frank Sinatra.

    2 agree
  29. I got married on 6/16 and I just realized I have no idea what we/I walked down the aisle to! We just told our musician to pick something and he said "I got it" and he did. The music was awesome, but I have no idea was the song was. Maybe I'll ask him…

  30. I am a total Queen fanatic, and so, while it may be over the top, I'm heavily leaning towards Freddie Mercury's "I was Born to Love You"

    2 agree
  31. I will be walking to the piano version of Only Hope by Mandy Moore….. I jusrpt love they way it sounds when played that way. Also my processional will be walking into You are the only exception by para more absolutely one of my favorites!

    1 agrees
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