Whether you’re looking for traditional classics or modern music to be played by a string quartet or a full orchestra, some of St. Louis' best musical minds offer the perfect pieces for your wedding ceremony and reception.

David Halen, St. Louis Symphony concertmaster

There are some very beautiful violin pieces for a wedding ceremony. Salut D'amour by Sir Edward Elgar was written as an engagement present. It is a Victorian view of expressing love to a matrimonial partner. Meditation from the opera Thais by Jules Massenet is about following one’s partner everywhere, and Romance is an exquisite lyric and composition by Amy Cheney Beach. Flower Song from Lakme by Leo Delibes is about a venture down to the river to gather flowers. And Spring from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi is a perennial favorite for good reason.

Tom Sudholt, Radio Arts Foundation host

For the ceremony, there’s always the traditional piece, Mendelson’s Wedding March, from his suite of music to Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Another common selection is Trumpet Voluntary by Jeremiah Clarke, as well as Pachelbel’s Canon in D, which was not popular until the '70s when people came to know the slow, dreamy version by the Jean-Francois Paillard Chamber Orchestra that was recorded in the '50s. During the ceremony, when some couples light a unity candle, they opt for Bist Du Bei Mir (Be, thou, with me), an aria in the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach to be sung solo. It’s a gorgeous piece written by Heinrich Stölzel, with lyrics as lovely as the melody.

Steve Schankman & Bradley Baker, Contemporary Productions

During the ceremony, Pachelbel’s Canon in D is a great choice that is played at many weddings. For a more contemporary feel, many couples choose 100 Years by Five For Fighting or The Beatles’ All You Need is Love. For slow dances at the reception, Etta James’ At Last is good; and to get the party started: Lady’s Gaga’s Just Dance, Earth, Wind & Fire’s September, Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive and Pink’s Raise Your Glass. These all get people dancing and can be found on wedding playlists throughout St. Louis, as well as other cities.

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