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

Jon Burr is a composer, arranger, producer, recording engineer, bandleader, bassist, and educator from Yonkers, NY.. and a Finale user since 1996. As owner/operator of Arranger for Hire, he serves music arranging and production customers from around the world. A veteran touring bassist, his performance credits include Tony Bennett, Buddy Rich, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Eartha Kitt, Rita Moreno, The Hot Swing Trio, Stephane Grappelli and many others. Arranging customers have included the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, Chilean Astronomy Society, The Milpitas Community Concert Band, The Honey Taps, The Montclair Kimberly Academy’s annual musical, and many others. He writes for and leads his own ensembles, including the Jon Burr Quintet. His arrangements for Swedish YouTube artist Kim Andersson have received over 5 million views on Facebook and YouTube.