Entrance Music

I’ve been wanting to talk to you all about entrance music for some time, ever since I spent an evening discussing this with an engaged friend recently. iPhone and earphones were dragged out to prove my point. And now I’m going to prove it to you. Er, I hope.

{Image: Nielen Bottomley from Amy & James’ wedding}

Thing is, weddings are (to some degree) theatre. Not in the sense that they should be fake or melodramatic, but rather that they showcase real emotion in a way that translates to the guests. They’re a way of bringing other people into your relationship to feel what you feel for one another, if just for one day. And as an actor will tell you, a great theatrical production requires one thing: a great entrance. I actually learnt this lesson from my friend Nikki. When she married the lovely Brendon some years ago, they chose Nessun Dorma for her entrance. Nix wanted to walk in at that crucial moment when the music swelled and Pavarotti sang “Vincero! Vincero! Vincero!” And I’ll be honest, I thought it was a little dramatic, especially since it’s a long song and we had a very, very short aisle. Seriously okes, that aisle took five steps to walk up, no matter how much you dragged your feet. But I was her bridesmaid, so it was my job to say “Great idea!” and make it happen. So we worked out the exact moment when the other bridesmaid and I were to walk in so that Nikki got her moment. And it would have been brilliant. The song would have built, quietly, in the little church. Then suddenly, the doors would have flung open to the summer day outside, and we would have walked down the aisle, with Nix following as the music built to a crescendo.

Except that some numpty at the venue opened the door on the first note. So there Tracy and I stood, with Nix off to the side pissing herself laughing because we just had to stand there at the entrance until the right moment. At first, people stood up, took a few pictures. Wondered why we weren’t moving. We smiled, but after an embarrassing while stopped making eye contact. Tracy was all “let’s just go!” and I was all “no, we can’t” under our breath. Man, it was AW-KWARD deluxe. Nowhere to go, and when would Luciano just hurry up and sing his way to victory already?

And then a funny thing happened. Our note finally came, we straightened up, turned the smiles on and walked our five steps down the aisle. We turned. And with the sunlight behind her, Nikki stepped into the church on her brother’s arm. She was glowing. Brendon was beaming. And our hearts rose and burst with Pavarotti’s wonderful voice. It was a MOMENT.

Of course, Nix isn’t the only bride to get this. Right here on Cap Classique is one of my favourite entrances in a beautiful wedding I featured right here. (This is the one that got the iPhone out.) Ingrid and Pieter were married on the beach at Strandkombuis on a beautiful summer day. They chose Florence & the Machine’s Cosmic Love as their processional and now, whenever I hear the song, I imagine it floating out over the dunes as Ingrid slowly makes her way to her delighted bridegroom. Go on, listen to the song while you look at their pictures. Goosebumps.

So, while there’s nothing wrong with a bit of ‘Here comes the bride’, take a moment to really think about your entrance. You’re going to be feeling the world of emotion, whatever the soundtrack. But adding that soundtrack can really enhance the experience for your guests and is yet another way to stamp your personality on your wedding.

Here are a few alternatives to the usual. What songs are you considering?

Grand entrances

  • Viva La Vida – Coldplay
  • Nessun Dorma – Luciano Pavarotti
  • O Mio Bambino Caro – Maria Callas


  • Moon River – Henry Mancini
  • The Luckiest – Ben Folds
  • Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley/Vitamin String Quartet

Fun & upbeat

  • All you need is love – The Beatles
  • Oh happy day! – The Edwin Hawkins Singers/Ladysmith Black Mambazo
  • I do, I do, I do, I do – ABBA

Boho weddings

  • You and I – Ingrid Michaelson
  • Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes
  • Your Love Gets Sweeter – Finley Quaye

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