If it is a civil ceremony or civil partnership then you can have any music you want as long as it doesn’t have any reference to God or religion. Most of the information on this site refers to civil ceremonies in the UK, but I have found that religious ceremonies (usually Church of England) are similar and allow even more freedom of choice by also allowing music that has religious content. If the ceremony is in a church, then you will usually find that the minister conducting the ceremony will probably offer guidance about music choices.
Before the ceremony begins everyone has to be seated and music is uaually provided just to allow people to settle. This part is traditionally called ‘The Gathering of the Congregation’, but it isn’t really a part of the ceremony, and anything is suitable for this section. It is not usually necessary to make any music choices for this part of the days procedings. However, I have occasionally been given a list of pieces for this part also.
After ‘The Gathering of the Congregation’ the ceremony, as far as any musician is concerned, can then be divided as follows:
The Entrance (Procession or Processional)
The Signing (of the Register)
The Recession (Recession or Recessional)
Please select any of the above links to take you to the relevant page.