(A teach-in for the bridal party)

(The organist plays for 20 to 30 minutes while
the guests assemble in church.)

Soft & Restful 
Folk Tune
Chorale Prelude: “Schafe konnen sicher weiden”
Salix (Plymouth Suite)
Minuets 1 & 2 in G minor (Suite - The Water Music)
Gavotte in G
Le Carillon
Romance sans Paroles (Op.7.)
Pastorale in E - Psalm 23 (Seven Sketches on the Psalms) 
Soft & lively
Basse et Dessus de Trompette
Air & Gavotte 
Pieces for Mechanical Clocks 
Rhythmic Trumpet (Baroques Suite) .......................
Fugue in C (a là gigue)      
S.S. Wesley

Fairly loud  
Hornpipe (Suite “The Water music”)
Galliard for a Festive Occasion
Introduction and Allegro in A minor
Menuet Gothique (Suite Gothique)
Organ Concerto #2 (16 Organ Concertos)
Loud and involved
Overture (Die Fledermaus) 
Overture (Die Meistersinger)
Gold & Silver Waltz  . /     l ...

Loud and brilliant
Sortie Toccata
Fugue à la Gigue 
Toccata in G (Suite No.1)......................
Toccata in F      
Finale in Bb

My organ loft at Perth Cathedral

(The choice of as many contrasting pieces
to fill 20 to 30 minutes is required.)

(These are all from my repertoire and I would recommend them.   All  are excellent and known to most organists but the bride's organist will prefer naturally to choose from his own library of music.

The aim, especially in large weddings, is to 'ramp up' the music in the course of the recital to increase tension which is brought to a climactic declamatory halt on the playing of the bride's fanfare.  Yes, the organist is the stage manager!)

N.B. One never hears music of this calibre at a rock/pop concert so please, please don’t ask for a bouncy pop number (that requires a drum kit) to be played in a church.  The organist most likely will not have the piece anyway!

If I had ever been asked for this I would have required c. 2 hours to score the pop number for organ and rewrite the whole arrangement.  Then I would have charged the bride an extra £60 for the work!



The Bride enters the church
on her father's/relative's arm,
aiming to glide up the aisle


From here on, to find an illustration
on You Tube, click on the Name of each Piece

1. Bridal Procession (Lohengrin) 
   (The traditional "Here comes the bride")


2. St.AnthonyChorale
  (Quiet, peaceful & dignified)
    Ideal for the entry of a bride of more mature years.


3. Minuet (Berenice) 
   (Quiet peaceful and dignified)

    For a long aisle the whole minuet is possible; for a 
    medium aisle it can be played without repeats; a very 
    short aisle could require the theme in recapitulation 
    without repeat.  A very versatile piece.

4. Trumpet Voluntary - Andante (Op. 6 No.6) 
   (Starts where the trumpet enters - very dignified but makes an impact)

5. The Sovereign's Fanfare in Bb (Music for a Royal Wedding)
   (Very dignified but makes a tremendous impact with the full rich 
....organ timbre and brilliant solo trumpet.  May be used simply to
    announce the bride's arrival followed
perhaps by the Berenice Minuet
    to take her down the aisle.  Version here by the Locke Brass Consort.)

6. Fanfare in D
  (Yet another impressive piece - a dialogue between fanfare trumpet and
   full organ.  The bride's entry will certainly be noticed!)

C S Lang
1. for any wedding
2. for a small wedding  (25 to 50 guests)
3. for a small wedding  (25 to 50 guests)
4. for a medium/large wedding  (100 to 200 guests +)
5. for a very large wedding (300 to 400 guests +)
6. for a medium/large wedding
(100 to 200 guests +)

The choosing of the piece, however, will by governed by the tonal dimensionality of the instrument and, of course, the performing ability of the organist of the church.


Ideally the bride should process in with a hesitant walk – counting left 2 3, right 2 3, left 2 3, right 2 3, etc. or left 2, right 2 for music which has 2 or 4 beats in each bar.  In this way she appears to float down the aisle.  Remember on her wedding day she is, if only on this one occasion in her life, a princess – mystical yet regal.  Make the most of it!  Too many brides walk, march, often clump and plod down the aisle.  Avoid this at all costs!

The other reason one should take a slow dignified pace is that most Presbyterian churches and a number of Anglican churches are fairly small architecturally with a short aisle.  If one rushes up such an aisle, the poor organist barely has time to play about 16 bars and has to find a quick way to come to a halt.  This is not aesthetically desirable. 

When playing a bride down a short aisle as in the picture below, it may be advisable for the bride to allow about 16 bars of music to be played before setting off down the aisle.  The arrangement of the bridal party at the chancel steps with the transfer of bouquet from bride to bridesmaid etc. will allow for a number of concluding bars to be executed.

( E.g.:Short aisle in a small Anglican church

(E.g.: Frequently seen design of an average Presbyterian
church.  Note the absence of a centre aisle but
the inclusion of two short narrow side aisles.)

I do remember playing for a friend's wedding in an unfamiliar Presbyterian church with an extremely short aisle.  At the wedding rehearsal on the evening before the marriage, I had just about 'played the bride in' and had but only two bars to go when she reached the communion table.  The minister roared out: "You can stop now Mr. organist!" 

I certainly did but then roared back even louder: "No, I damned well won't!  You may have no respect for me, a stranger, but you might have some for Wagner.  Will these 20 seconds be keeping you from your after dinner tipple?"  He never replied as he realised there and then that if my professionalism is ever breached, I would devastate the devil!

(Many a Parish 'meenister' in Scotland tends to consider himself
a piece of his almighty god that has floated down to Earth
or clawed his way up from the Infernal  Nether Regions!?)

(E.g.: Typical long aisle of a large
parish church or small cathedral)



(Bride and Groom exit - the long procession
down the aisle followed  by the Bridesmaids,
the Bride's parents and the Groom's parents
and sundry relatives)


Wedding March (Midsummer Night’s Dream)
(Traditional wedding march – now well overdone.)


Toccata (Symphony No.5)
(Duke of Kent first to use this – now heard too often)


Triumphal March “Nun danket alle Gott”
(As its name states – triumphal.)


First Movement (Sonata No.3)
(Big opening – very uplifting.)


Trumpet Voluntary (Op.6 No.5)
(My preference for a medium to large wedding)

Introduction to Act 3 (Lohengrin) 
(the pure magnificence of Wagner for that very special big wedding)
Although this is heard by full symphony orchestra, a pipe organ arrangement is available.


Walk out counting “left and right and
left and right”
to retain dignity and
show that you two are in control.

As you can see or may have gathered, the organist's objective is to make the bride feel and act like royalty on her one special day when “she is the brightest star in the heavens”.  If he has fulfilled that onerous sonic responsibility, he is well worth his fee.


Hymns during the service - usually two

  • Love divine all loves excelling
  • Come down, O Love divine
  • O perfect Love, all human thought transcending
  • O God, whose loving hand has led Thy children to this joyful day
  • The voice that breathed o’er Eden that earliest wedding day
  • O Father all creating
  • Praise my soul the King of heaven
  • Lead Us, Heavenly Father, lead Us
  • Guide Me, O Thou Great redeemer
  • All My Hope on God is founded

There are not too many wedding hymns available from which to choose.  One can choose a softer hymn as hymn No.1 and a more robust hymn as No. 2.  Too many times I have had a bride or her mother request "The Lord's my shepherd".  This is the 23rd Psalm and if one reads it through carefully, it becomes obvious that the 23rd Psalm is a funeral psalm!

The words are important.  So if any tune is not well known, an alternative better known one can be substituted provided it has the same metrical formula.  The organist will advise on this and let one hear various hymn tunes. 

The bride should see the organist well in advance (6 weeks?) after a morning service to arrange a meeting when he will help choose her music [depending on a) the organ & b) whether he has the music or no].  He must also agree to attend the rehearsal before the wedding.

Now when the bride and groom go out to sign the register after they are married, there is a space of some 5 to 8 minutes.  The organist usually plays during this to ‘fill in’ the break.

Nevertheless if the bride has a friend who is a competent singer or if the organist can provide a singer, this person may perform during this hiatus.  It’s an ideal place to have a favourite piece of music of the bride, groom or a parent sung.

Anthem or vocal solo during the signing of the register

If the church is an Anglican one, the choir may be engaged to sing at the wedding.  In this case they will have been trained to sing a number of wedding anthems and one of these will be sung at this point. E.g.:

Although I eschew the current pop numbers within a church wedding, I readily admit that there are several songs from a previous era which are standards of worth with fine melodic content and sound lyrics which reflect the nature-given emotions in matrimony.

As we are in modern times, a number like this should be considered if it pleases a young bride and groom or their parents.  There may even be a relative or family friend who can competently sing a number of choice.

Here are a few examples which may be guides to that genre:-

Now may you thoroughly enjoy your wedding reception


I wish any bride who reads this page
 and has found it beneficial,

a happy and memorable wedding day.


This material was put in print thanks to the prompting of Jem, a former pupil of mine who requested I give her some advice on the choice of musical input for her wedding.  I hope she found this of value and of help in setting a good sonic seal on her very special day.  Fare well, Jem and may you always have happiness and prosperity as your close companions!

Straight from:-