Planning a Medley for a Wedding Ceremony

We often hear the question “How do I go about planning a medley for a wedding ceremony?” Custom-arranged music communicates highly personal and intimate connection, making the major life event of marriage unforgettable for everyone present. Every couple has “our song” — imagine getting married to it!

We make it happen.

 Factors to consider when designing a medley include:

  • The distance the wedding party will walk
  • How many couples or individuals in the party
  • The order in which they will enter
  • The distance between the parties (usually four counts of music is enough)
  • The pace at which they will walk
  • Whether to provide a custom song for the other parties as they enter
  • The tempo of the music
  • The length of each selection

When the music starts, the parties begin to proceed into position, either to their seats, or to their position in the ceremonial arc. The music selected should have a tempo pulse in the range of 50 to 80 beats per minute. A metronome is helpful for making selections (there are free metronome apps for smart phones) – or, listening for a tempo that could work is another workable approach (We can do the math to figure out beats per minute and the right number of bars for each selection.)

Processional Footstep Diagram

As we put together a medley, we calculate the number of bars of music from any selected piece that are needed to get the party into position, then write a transition to the next piece for the next party – until the bride is in place, to a beautiful ending transitioning into opening remarks by the officiant. It’s a nice touch to add a quote from the traditional Mendelssohn wedding processional to announce the Bride’s entrance (“Here Comes The Bride”), with a transition into her favorite selection.

Any preferred selection can be inserted into the piece for performance during any part of the ceremony itself, concluding with a recessional for the wedding party and guests to exit –usually something upbeat.

Our most frequent request is for music for string quartet, or quartet plus piano and/or voice. Any style of music can be arranged for these instrumentations – there’s no limit to the kind of music you can have. Past requests range from Bach to Jobim to U2.

Here are examples of medleys we’ve done:

About Jon Burr

Staff Arranger Jon Burr is also the site administrator for arrangerforhire.com.

Active as a bassist, composer, and arranger since the beginning of his career, Jon's work has appeared on recordings by Chet Baker, Sir Roland Hanna, Mark O'Connor, Barry Miles, Arlyn Valencia, and many others. As a bassist he's performed or recorded with Tony Bennett, Stan Getz, Horace Silver, Stephane Grappelli, Mark O'Connor, Rita Moreno, Barbara Cook, Eartha Kitt, and many others.

Jon writes in a variety of styles, ensembles large and small, with experience in many instrumental configurations. You can hear his work on his websites jonburr.com and Jon Burr Quintet, and is receiving rave reviews from Arranger for Hire customers. His arranging reel is available on request (email us on using the site form). He also writes about cooking at The Improvising Chef.