Wedding Music

Music is a central and unifying act of worship during services at the Memorial Church, and your wedding ceremony is no exception. We strive to offer diverse music of the highest quality to augment and enhance the spiritual nature of your ceremony. The following list, by no means exhaustive or prescriptive, contains the most common musical selections chosen for weddings here.

There are primarily three types of songs to consider for your ceremony: preludes, processionals, and recessionals. As you choose music for your ceremony, please consider the mood that you would like to create.

For any questions about music, please contact Carson Cooman at carson_cooman@harvard.edu.

 

Making your music selections

Step 1: Choose Prelude

The organist will generally play 15-20 minutes of prelude music before the ceremony. Most couples leave prelude choices to the organist’s discretion (since they will likely hear none of it!), but you may choose pieces to be included if you wish.

Listen to Prelude Music

Step 2: Choose Processional(s)

The processional accompanies the entry of the wedding party, including family, attendant's, and bride/groom. Some points to consider:

  • Do you wish to have just one processional for all entering (particularly if you have a small wedding party), or have a separate piece for the bride’s entrance?
  • Would you like the processionals to be quiet and elegant, or bold and stately? 
  • Would you like to have a shift in mood for the bride’s/groom's entrance?
  • Most couples’ mothers enter at the end of the prelude music, but you might wish to choose a specific piece for their entrance. 

Listen to Processional Music

Step 3: Choose Recessional

At the end of the ceremony, the recessional accompanies all as the recess the church. Consider whether you would like the recessional to be fast and joyous, or broad and elegant.

Listen to Recessional Music

Step 4: Alternate Music & Hymns

Some couples also choose to include additional music for certain parts of the ceremony, such as a musical interlude. You might also discuss with your officiant whether any congregational hymns should be included in your ceremony; the hymnal in our pews is the Harvard University Hymn Book, 2007.

Step 5: Tell us your music selections

Once you have chosen your ceremony music, please contact either your assigned organist or Carson Cooman (carson_cooman@harvard.edu) to finalize your selections.