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Mendelssohn’s Wedding March for YOUR Recessional?

The first prominent use of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, from the Ballet “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” was for the wedding recessional Princess Victoria, daughter of Queen Victoria, to Prince Frederick William of Prussia (pictures below).  In my experience, this remains the most popular wedding recessional today.

 Choosing Music for your Processional | Wedding Resources, Ideas, and Tips | Vermont Bride Magazine


For those of you who don’t summon the tune to mind at the mere mention of the title, or who just enjoy listening, here’s a video of the Berlin Philharmonic playing this popular piece:



Many people associate this piece with the organ – here’s a magnificent organ you might enjoy:



Now that you all know what music I’m talking about, you’re probably thinking either A) yes, definitely – it just wouldn’t feel like a wedding without walking back up the aisle at the end of the ceremony to that music! OR B) Ooh – no – I think that’s a little TOO traditional for my taste! Or perhaps C) hmm… maybe – what are the other choices? 

One thing to consider is that some religious denominations do not consider the Mendelssohn Wedding March to be appropriate at a sacred service, due to themes within the story line of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” 


The basic storyline of the play and the ballet is a comedy which involves love potions, magic spells, and misplaced passions, but in the end, couples reunite and wedding festivities ensue for three happy couples. 

So if you are having a religious ceremony, particularly a Catholic ceremony, you will want to discuss this option with your priest, minister or other officiant. Other than the potential religious conflict, primarily for some Catholic weddings, it all boils down to your personal preference, and your personal tendency toward tradition or toward more unique and personal choices.


Choosing Music for your Processional | Wedding Resources, Ideas, and Tips | Vermont Bride Magazine


If your response to the above was “What are our other choices?” then you’re in luck, since the options are many. A few alternatives I’ve found to be popular: “Rejouissance” from Handel’s Water Music; “Allegro” from Vivaldi’s Spring; or from a different angle: the Beatles “I Wanna Hold Your Hand;” or Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida.” And for those of you who would specifically prefer something that NOT so traditional, well, the sky’s the limit! Just keep in mind that in most cases you’ll want music that’s upbeat and celebratory as well as easy to walk to. Please check back – I’ll be posting an article on recessional alternatives soon, with more thoughts and additional possibilities I’ve experienced – both popular and VERY unique! 

Meanwhile, I thought that you might enjoy this little a cappella rendition of the Mendelssohn – particularly the non-traditionalists out there!


 Choosing Music for your Processional | Wedding Resources, Ideas, and Tips | Vermont Bride Magazine

Many thanks to Angel B. at for sharing the photos of Princess Victoria’s wedding festivities above. 

Lisa Carlson is a flutist offering ensembles for weddings and other occasions in duos, trios, quartets in a variety of instrumental combinations, and staff wedding music writer for Vermont Bride Magazine. She also maintains a private flute  studio in Montpelier, Vermont, in addition to teaching flute at Upper Valley Music Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, and online.