45 Mellow Wedding Prelude Songs to Play Before Your Ceremony

Set the vibe with these tunes before the festivities begin

Two male musicians playing string instruments outside

Photo by Leo Patrone

Music defines so many of the most important parts of a wedding—the entrance song, the first dance song, the last dance song—that it only makes sense that there should be some good tunes before the festivities even begin. Most wedding guests (the good ones, at least) arrive about 10 to 15 minutes before the ceremony begins, and though you're not required to provide any entertainment for this period, it's not a bad idea to have some music playing to fill the time.

This is called prelude music, and when used, it's played for about 30 minutes before the ceremony start time and consists of mellow songs that set the mood for a meaningful moment. Whether they're played on a speaker or by the string quartet or band, it's important that they create the ambiance you desire.

Match your prelude music to the overall vibe of your wedding. For a rustic wedding in nature, contemporary acoustic songs make a great choice; for a traditional ceremony, you may pick mostly classical, instrumental music.

Generally, five or six songs are the right amount, so take a listen to 45 of our favorite ceremony prelude songs and have fun making your selections.

01 of 45

"Moonlight Sonata," by Beethoven

Why We Love It: "A soft piano melody makes this song soothing and peaceful"

02 of 45

"A Case of You," by Joni Mitchell

Lyrics of Love: "I remember that time that you told me, you said/Love is touching souls"

03 of 45

"Helplessly Hoping," by Crosby, Stills & Nash

Lyrics of Love: "They are one person/They are two alone/They are three together/They are for each other"

04 of 45

"Harvest Moon," by Neil Young

Lyrics of Love: "Because I'm still in love with you/I want to see you dance again"

05 of 45

"God Only Knows," by John Legend and Cynthia Erivo

Lyrics of Love: "God only knows what I'd be without you"

06 of 45

"I And Love And You," by The Avett Brothers

Lyrics of Love: "Three words that became hard to say/I and love and you"

07 of 45

"Serenade, D. 957, No. 4," by Frank Schubert

Why We Love It: "An uplifting and energetic violin performance to set the mood"

08 of 45

"Everything," by Michael Bublé

Lyrics of Love: "And in this crazy life, and through these crazy times/It's you, it's you; you make me sing"

09 of 45

"Real Love," by The Beatles

Lyrics of Love: "Don't need to be alone/No need to be alone/It's real love"

10 of 45

"Still Fallin'," by Hunter Hayes

Lyrics of Love: "I hold on to every word/Like it's the first one that I've heard/It's the only time I've ever felt like this this"

11 of 45

"Ho Hey," by The Lumineers

Lyrics of Love: "I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart"

12 of 45

"Sheep May Safely Graze," by Bach

Why We Love It: "A popular piano piece great for celebrations"

13 of 45

"Yellow," by Coldplay

Lyrics of Love: "I came along/I wrote a song for you/And all the things you do/And it was called 'Yellow'"

14 of 45

"The One," by Kodaline

Lyrics of Love: "Tell me that you want me/And I'll be yours completely/For better or for worse"

15 of 45

"Ave Maria," by Beyoncé

Lyrics of Love: "I found heaven on earth/You are my last, my first"

16 of 45

"We've Only Just Begun," by Carpenters

Lyrics of Love: "And when the evening comes, we smile/So much of life ahead/We'll find a place where there's room to grow"

17 of 45

"Love," by Lana Del Rey

Lyrics of Love: "To be young and in love/Don't worry, baby"

18 of 45

"The Best of My Love," by Eagles

Lyrics of Love: "Oh, sweet darlin'/You get the best of my love"

19 of 45

"Water Music Suite No.3, HWV 350," by George Frideric Handel

Why We Love It: "A robust orchestra to usher in an exciting day"

20 of 45

"Make You Feel My Love," by Bob Dylan

Lyrics of Love: "When the rain is blowing in your face/And the whole world is on your case/I could offer a warm embrace/To make you feel my love"

21 of 45

"(Ummm, Oh Yeah) Dearest," by Buddy Holly

Lyrics of Love: "Dearest, though you're the nearest to my heart/Please don't ever ummm yeah ever ever say we'll part"

22 of 45

"Clair de Lune," by Claude Debussy

Why We Love It: "An emotional piano performance that oozes romance"

23 of 45

"She's Got A Way," by Billy Joel

Lyrics of Love: "She's got a way about her/I don't know what it is/But I know that I can't live without her"

24 of 45

"Can't Help Falling In Love," by Ingrid Michaelson

Lyrics of Love: "Some things are meant to be/So take my hand, and take my whole life too/Cause I can't help falling in love with you"

25 of 45

"The Wind," by Yusuf / Cat Stevens

Lyrics of Love: "I listen to my words but they fall far below/I let my music take me where my heart wants to go"

26 of 45

"#34," by Dave Matthews Band

Lyrics of Love: "Lean upon me/I'll lean upon you/We'll be ok"

27 of 45

"How Sweet It Is," by James Taylor

Lyrics of Love: "Everywhere I went it seems I'd been there before/But you brighten up for me all of my days/With a love so sweet in so many ways"

28 of 45

"XO," by John Mayer

Lyrics of Love: "Your heart is glowing/And I'm crashing into you/Baby kiss me, kiss me"

29 of 45

"Cherish," by The Association

Lyrics of Love: "And I do/Cherish you"

30 of 45

"Crazy Love," by Van Morrison

Lyrics of Love: "I can hear her heart beat for a thousand miles/And the heaven's open every time she smiles"

31 of 45

"Truly," by Lionel Richie

Lyrics of Love: "There's no other love like your love/And I, as long as I live/I'll give you all the joy/My heart and soul can give"

32 of 45

"You and I," by Stevie Wonder

Lyrics of Love: "Here we are on earth together/It's you and I/God has made us fall in love, it's true/I've really found someone like you"

33 of 45

"So Beautiful," by Musiq Soulchild

Lyrics of Love: "Cause it just feels so right/I don't wanna waste no time/If I had to choose I know/I'm going always choose to be with you"

34 of 45

"Come Rain or Come Shine," by Billie Holiday

Lyrics of Love: "I'm gonna love you like nobody's loved you/Come rain or come shine/High as a mountain and deep as a river"

35 of 45

"Evergreen," by Barbra Streisand

Lyrics of Love: "Love soft as an easy chair/Love fresh as the morning air/One love that is shared by two/I have found with you"

36 of 45

"Time After Time," by Iron & Wine

Lyrics of Love: "If you're lost, you can look and you will find me/Time after time/If you fall, I will catch you, I'll be waiting/Time after time"

37 of 45

"Better Together," by Jack Johnson

Lyrics of Love: "It's not always easy and/Sometimes life can be deceiving/I'll tell you one thing, it's always better when we're together"

38 of 45

"The Way I Am," by Ingrid Michaelson

Lyrics of Love: "If you were falling/Then I would catch you/You need a light/I'd find a match/Cause I love the way you say good morning/And you take me the way I am"

39 of 45

"I'm With You," by Vance Joy

Lyrics of Love: "I was just coasting till we met/You remind me just how good it can get"

40 of 45

"Lovin' You," by Minnie Riperton

Lyrics of Love: "No one else can make me feel/The colors that you bring/Stay with me while we grow old/And we will live each day in springtime"

41 of 45

"Lucky," by Jason Mraz feat. Colbie Caillat

Lyrics of Love: "I'm lucky we're in love in every way/Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed"

42 of 45

"Invisible String," by Taylor Swift

Lyrics of Love: "And isn't it just so pretty to think/All along there was some/Invisible string/Tying you to me?"

43 of 45

"Just the Way You Are," by The Piano Guys

Why We Love It: "A beautiful piano rendition of a romantic pop song"

44 of 45

"Steady As We Go," by Dave Matthews Band

Lyrics of Love: "I walk halfway around the world/Just to sit down by your side/And I would do most anything girl/To be the apple of your eye"

45 of 45

"Thinking Out Loud," by Ed Sheeran

Lyrics of Love: "Take me into your loving arms/Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars/Place your head on my beating heart"

Related Stories