The prelude is the period before the actual ceremony starts. During this time your guests are arriving, finding their chairs and getting settled in. The music that is played greets them and sets an ambient tone of beauty and anticipation.
The style of music you select should be part of the theme that you're using for the entire ceremony. For example if you're going to do a more R+B theme you might have the pianist or band play "Here and Now" by Luther Vandross without vocals softly in the background. This song might come back during the ceremony as the music for the bridal entrance. This creates a great aural memory for you and your guests. If you were more interested in a classical motif, perhaps Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" would be a good choice.
Here are some songs that have been popular for prelude ambient music according to My Wedding Music.com:
Top 10 Prelude Songs
1. Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley
2. Falling in Love – The O’Neill Brothers
3. Arioso – J.S. Bach
4. Forrest Gump Main Theme – from Forrest Gump
5. Annie’s Song – John Denver
6. Imagine – John Lennon
7. Angels Watching – The O’Neill Brothers
8. Air (from Water Music) – George F. Handel
9. Somewhere Over the Rainbow – from The Wizard of Oz
10. Air on a G String – J.S. Bach
As you can see there is a lot of variety and no there's no right or wrong. As a wedding band that performs in the Los Angeles area, we've seen lots of differences. It makes the whole event special and fun!
In the next post I'll go over some suggestions for the Processional, which is when the wedding party begins to make their entrance.