Wednesday, 19 Jun 2019

The History of Wedding Music

It does not matter what type of wedding it is, whether it is in a rustic barn or an elegant church; there will always be some form of music that is played at the wedding and reception.

Since the invention of the first wedding musical instruments during the late 1500s, the music played at weddings has gone through quite an evolution.  A typical wedding ceremony during the late 1500s featured a vocalist only.  Of course, nowadays when at a wedding you are more likely to hear a song being sung by someone such as Christina Perri rather than the chanting of a vocalist.  There will be variations in the form or genre of music you will hear at different weddings; for instance, a down home country wedding is going to have much different wedding music than that of a Japanese outdoor wedding.  But the fact remains; there will still be some form of music at both ceremonies.

The First Bridal Song

What is the first song that automatically comes to mind when you think of a wedding?  “Here comes the bride” is that song.  Written in 1850, the tune actually got its original beginning from the opera by Richard Wagner called Lohengrin. The song was first used in a wedding in 1858 during the royal wedding of Princess Victoria to Prince Frederick William of Prussia.  Ever since, it has become the most frequently chosen tune for a wedding procession.

The History of the First Dance

What brought on the traditional “first dance” for a newly married couple?  This tradition comes from the fancy balls of early days when a dance was started by the hosts of the ball starting out with the first dance.  The tradition was that once the hosts started their dance, the rest of the guests were then welcome to join them on the dance floor.  This tradition has become a popular one at weddings now with the bride and groom starting off the dancing with their first dance at the reception.

Cultural wedding dances

As with any other ceremony, wedding dances all vary according to custom and culture.  For example, Indian weddings will highlight a satar, dhol, or other similar Indian instrument.  Indian wedding receptions will typically feature the dance called Bihangra, which is a folk dance that is traditional to that culture.  The popularity of this dance for Indian weddings became so during the 1950s, or so it is told, but it is not 100% certain.

If you have ever been to a real Irish wedding, you will notice that the music often involves lively jigs, and spirited melodies that are accompanying by a fiddle.

The Greeks are famous for having the entire wedding party dance at the reception to the tune of “Orea Pou Ine Nifi Mas”—this means “How Beautiful the Bride is.”  The dance performed is called the “Kalamatiano,” which is an upbeat tune that has been around for many years—some even believing that Homer referred to this dance in the Iliad.


There are many forms of dance music that are used at weddings around the world, according to custom and tradition.  So, whatever music you decide upon for your wedding it should be suitable to how you want to set the mood of your wedding and entertain your guests at the reception.  There is no wrong music for a wedding.