Walking out at the end of your wedding ceremony is a joyous affair – you’re finally married! After all that waiting, all that prep, and possibly all that anxiety too. We’ve definitely seen some relieved couples in our time! Some couples don’t really like to be the centre of attention, sometimes you can tell that either bride and groom haven’t been to many weddings before, and they just aren’t that comfortable experiencing a completely new thing. Well, no matter what the run up was like, the ‘recessional’ or walk-out music can be a moment to really celebrate. Or it can be a regal, traditional, poignant snapshot in the day. Whether you choose something bold and upbeat like ‘Happy’ by Pharrell or something grand and traditional like Widor’s ‘Toccata’ (which is what Charles and Diana walked out to), there is one thing that we recommend – that your music has a ‘pow’ factor right at the beginning. Woohoo! YOU ARE MARRIED!
A lot of our clients ask us our opinion on what music works really well at the end of a ceremony. It’s a matter of taste. I’ll always suggest something I have seen before or can imagine working, but I may not have the same taste as you! So here is a list of songs that have been chosen by our previous clients, from the last few years, in order of popularity. I have written some pointers for some of the songs to make them work the best for the moment too.
And the winner is….
Higher and Higher by Jackie Wilson
This song has been chosen by our clients a whopping 17 times in the last 4 years! The sentiment is perfect, is well known without being cheesy, it’s upbeat and joyful. You can watch our version here (scroll to 7 minutes in) or a minute snippet here on instagram. Our only advice would be to wait at the top of the altar for say 20 seconds in to where the song kicks in before walking down!
This Will Be (An Everlasting Love) by Natalie Cole
Chosen 11 times since 2015 where we first performed it as a flash mob at the end of a client’s wedding. It’s such a feel good song, and an obvious sentiment for a wedding. We perform this both a capella and with piano (no backing track just yet!) at various points across the ceremony. Both versions work really well, though my favourite for an exit is with piano. Watch the a capella version here, and a snippet with piano here.
Happy by Pharrell Williams
The biggest hit in 2013, this one is still popular, along with our Happy – Oh Happy Day mash up (that’s a video of our 9 piece choir with piano and guitar). It’s less popular as the years go on, but for me, the beginning of this song is perfect for a recessional piece – bam! it’s straight in , gloriously joyful, gets the congregation moving and clapping immediately and puts a smile on everyone’s face. Watch our a capella version and a snippet of us performing it live with a backing track.
Oh Happy Day – a classic by Edwin Hawkins
This is proving to be quite popular in 2019! A top tip for those who have civil ceremonies – sometimes the registrar will let you have this song to walk out to even though it’s religious. We find that some registrars are more lenient than others so you can only ask and see what they say! As with Higher and Higher, we recommend waiting at the altar for 20-30 seconds, soaking up your guests’ happy faces before walking down the aisle. if you walk to quickly, the song will have hardly started before you are out the door. Check out a very old version of us doing it here (we look so young…), an a capella version here and a snippet of us singing it last year too.
Signed Sealed Delivered by Stevie Wonder
This song never fails to bring a vibrant, celebratory atmosphere to the end of a wedding ceremony. Again, it’s straight in to the song for that pizzazz moment- whether with piano or backing track – and our male singers absolutely love singing it. Here’s the entire song with backing track and a snippet of us from this May as well.
All You Need Is Love by the Beatles
Our a capella version of this classic is popular throughout the ceremony, but some clients also like a more traditional ‘Love Actually’ style version of this song, which we also do. The trad version probably works better at the end.. even though we love our version, it probably works better as an entrance, though there’s been nothing stopping people from picking it!
The next few are equally as popular!
Feel the love/lovely day by Rudimental and Bill Withers
First performed by us in 2013, this has been a staple request from our clients at various points in the ceremony, it works for both entrance and exit. As with some of the other song, it’s best to take your time walking down the aisle for this one, especially if we’re performing it with backing track over piano. With the latter, we can shorten the introduction of the song to get to the meat of the song quicker. Watch our Ont’Sofa performance here.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Motown classic by various artists!
At Last by Etta James
Other songs over the years that have been requested are:
Lovely Day – our a capella arrangement works really well for outdoor weddings.
Feeling Good – this has a slowish start and our arrangement is quite different to Nina Simone’s version.
Stand By Me – this song generally works as a sing-a-long number in civil ceremonies but some clients have picked it for the recessional, it has a happy vibe to it!
Love On Top – for RnB fans of Beyoncé, it’s a long track that really ramps up at the end.
No Diggity – more 90s RnB for those who fancy a bit of nostalgia to walk out to.
Everybody’s Free – works for a capella weddings for a more chilled vibe, reminiscent of the film Romeo and Juliet.
A Thousand Years – this usually features as an entrance but as an exit, it’s romantic and uplifting.
Rather Be – i think this really works for an exit but it hasn’t proved particularly popular.
You’ll Never Walk Alone – blatantly for Liverpool fans. Or musical theatre fans.
Thinking Out Loud – for the romance and tenderness.
Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now – it’s a good choice, especially if you love 80s music.
You Are My Destiny – an upbeat Lionel Richie tune. (Only available with piano)
Movin’ On Up – the Primal Scream one. It’s a great choice if it means something to you!
What about MP3s and organ music?
You don’t have to have us sing you out. If the traditional vibe suits you and your occasion, then go for it! Popular organ recessionals include the Wedding March by Wagner or Mendellsohn, Tocatta by Widor and the Queen of Sheba by Handel. We also get requests for other songs not on our list which are sung as solos, and requests to play MP3s, like Wifey by Next and Marry You by Bruno Mars.
Even if the song you want isn’t on this list, hopefully by listening to a few you can get a sense of what will work for your wedding. Many clients commission us to do something new especially for their day, you can to. Have fun working it out!