News - Highline String Quartet

Best Wedding Ceremony Songs for a Traditional Wedding


We get asked this question all the time. You’ve always known you wanted a string quartet to play for your wedding ceremony, but what songs should you pick? First let’s talk about the different moments of the ceremony that you’d typically want music for.


Highline plays prelude music at Bryant Park rooftop wedding in New York City

Highline Quartet plays prelude music at Bryant Park rooftop wedding in New York City

This is the 15-30 minutes before your ceremony starts, and the time that’s on your wedding invitations.  During this time your guests will be arriving and finding their seats. The quartet will arrive 45 minutes in advance to tune and set up so we’re ready to go by the time the first person arrives.

It’s best to pick music that elevates the mood, and blends into the background. Friends and family will be mingling and catching up before the ceremony starts.  We recommend a blend of classical and modern tunes that your guests will enjoy when they recognize the tune.

Here’s a sample playlist:


  • Mozart Divertimento D Major
  • A Thousand Years – Christina Perri
  • Cant Help Falling in Love – Elvis
  • Falling Slowly – Once
  • Mascagni – Cavalleria Rusticana
  • Moon River – Mancini
  • O Sole Mio
  • Sibelius Andante
  • Schumann – Traumerei
  • Stand By Me – Ben E King
  • Air on a G String
  • Vivaldi – Winter
  • Meditation – Thais

Family Entrance

Flower girl walks down the aisle

Flower girl walks down the aisle

Also called the Wedding Processional, this is the part of the ceremony where everyone takes their places before the bride gets ready to walk down the aisle.  Depending on how you decide to set things up you could have lots of people involved, but it’s usually the bride’s mother, the groomsmen, the officiant, and the flower girls at the end.

Here are some songs we recommend for a traditional wedding:

Bach – Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desire
Bach – Arioso
Schubert – Ave Maria

Bridal Procession

The big moment!  The most traditional and timeless song for this is of course, Pachelbel – Canon in D, but here are some alternatives that you might not have heard of:

Pachelbel – Canon in D
Mascagni – Cavalleria Rusticana
Massanet – Meditation



Recessional songsYou’ve tied the knot, you’ve been announced as a newly married couple… time to celebrate!  These songs are upbeat and fit the occassion:

Handel – Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Brandenburg 3



Other Requests

On a few occasions either the bride or a family member/close friend have wanted to play a song with us.  We love playing with members of the wedding!  Depending on how professional this person is, it’s often a good idea to have a rehearsal with us before the big day 😉

Highline Quartet accompanies a bride singing to her husband

Highline Quartet accompanies a bride singing to her husband

Wythe Hotel Wedding, Brooklyn

Congratulations to Rachel and Daniel who got married at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn! The requested pop songs, and we delivered playing the following songs for their ceremony:

Family Entrance – Halo (Beyonce)
Bridal Procession – All My Life (K-Ci and JoJo)
Recessional – Safe and Sound (Capital Cities)



Photos courtesy of Katie Osgood

The Foundry Wedding, Long Island City

Congratulations to Christine and Christian, who were married at the Foundry in Long island City this past weekend! We were even joined by one of Christine’s bridesmaids for a song! She sang “So Are You To Me” by EastMountainSouth. We actually were able to get in touch with the composer and he was nice enough to send us the sheet music!

Adele – Make You Feel My Love
Elton John – Your Song
Family Entrance: Christina Perri’s “Thousand Years”
Christine (Bride) & Jay – Tori Amos – Sorta Fairytale
Recessional – Marry You


Highline String Quartet @ Gramercy Park Hotel Wedding, NYC

Congrats Alicia and Matt!

Alicia & Matt at their Gramercy Park Hotel wedding

It was a beautiful night for an outdoor rooftop wedding ceremony and cocktail hour at the Gramercy Park Hotel Saturday night. The ceremony was intimate, seating 80-100 people on the narrow outdoor rooftop space (photo below). The couple was a fan of Coldplay and we played Yellow as Alicia walked down the aisle.

Highline String Quartet Wins Awards!

We are pleased to announce Highline has received awards from two of the top websites for Wedding Professionals!


WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® recipients represent the top five percent of wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. We can now display this badge on our site:

Highline String Quartet Reviews, Best Wedding Ceremony Music in New York City - 2015 Couples' Choice Award Winner


We also won the Gigmasters Best of 2014 award, which is given to members who earn four reviews, each with a rating of four or more stars, from confirmed GigMasters bookings.

One of the most outstanding GigMasters members for 2014!

Highline String Quartet Surprises Hank Azaria for his 50th Birthday

A couple months ago we were contacted by Hank Azaria’s wife to do something special for Hank’s birthday. What do you get a man who seemingly has everything? A flashmob. We went back and forth on what to play, did some sleuth work to find out his favorite songs. In the end we decided why not play all of them? The final arrangement was a mashup of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, U2, and of course, Happy Birthday and it involved flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, drums, tuba, oboe, and a whole gospel choir in addition to the usual Highline strings. Here are some photos from the big day!


Oheka Castle Wedding, Long Island

Highline String Quartet played Ceremony, Cocktail Hour, and Dinner music at the Oheka Castle in Huntington, Long Island this past Friday, on 3/20.

Oheka Castle grounds

For the ceremony we played:

  • Family Entrance: Flower Duet by Delibes
  • Procession: Canon in D
  • Recessional: Mendelssohn – Wedding March

Cocktail hour was in the huge Terrace Ball Room, and dinner was in the Otto Kahn Room.

Nomad Hotel Wedding Proposal, NYC

This past weekend we were a part of a very special event – David proposed to his long time girlfriend, Lea.  David and Lea had seen our group, Highline Chamber Ensemble, perform a couple times this past year and we were honored when David asked us to be a part of this intimate moment in their lives.

Songs requested: La Vie en Rose, and Young and Beautiful by Lana del Rey.

Here’s some video from the proposal!


David had this to say about Highline String Quartet:

I hired the Highline Chamber Ensemble (HCE) to play a couple songs during my surprise proposal to my girlfriend. I rented the gorgeous hotel rooftop lounge and wine tasting cupola of the Nomad Hotel in NYC and had the HCE play La Vie En Rose upon her arrival to the rooftop as well as Lana Del Ray’s “Young and Beautiful” after the proposal. The music was beautiful and HCE did a great job. They looked great, sounded amazing, showed up early and most importantly played the first song immediately as my girlfriend entered the room. Timing is everything. I first heard them at one of their shows in August and immediately knew they were the perfect group to play my proposal when I was ready.

View the rest of our reviews on WeddingWire!

Midtown Loft and Terrace Wedding, NYC

Wedding Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Music

We were hired to perform at a 007 themed wedding on 8/31/2014 at the Midtown Loft and Terrace.  It is a 2 floor venue with a rooftop where the ceremony was held, then we came downstairs for the cocktail hour.  They even had a 007 ice sculpture which I took this photo of:

007 Ice Sculpture

007 Ice Sculpture for the cocktail hour

The bride had an unusual request, but we were happy to accommodate – she wanted to sing ‘Skyfall’ with us.  We had a rehearsal the week before the wedding, and it ended up being really fun.  She nailed it at the wedding!  Here is a very nice review that she wrote about us on Wedding Wire:

The Review

I hired the Highline String Quartet for my wedding over Labor Day and loved working with them! I must have listened to samples from every string quartet in the NYC area (I spent years in orchestra, so I’m picky) and these guys were my favorite. Ross was very responsive over email and I was surprised their prices were competitive.

Leading up to the big day, everything went great. I wanted to perform a song with them as accompaniment, so we scheduled a rehearsal the week before. They printed out several different arrangements of my song, worked with me to change them to my liking, and all four of them together were able to follow my lead as well as a trained piano accompanist. I’m not a professional performer, so I was initially nervous about our rehearsal, but they were so easy going that I ended up having a great time.

On the day of our wedding, they showed up early. They even risked their instruments to sit upstairs for our ceremony on the roof that we squeezed between freak rain showers! During the cocktail hour, they played fun arrangements of contemporary music, impressing everyone from my opera-going grandmother to my non-musical friends.

I am not sure when I’ll ever need a string quartet again (my next voice lesson maybe … Tuesday evening at home while drinking wine perhaps?) but these guys would be it. They also work with a much larger group so if you need to hire a big ensemble or an unusual ensemble (several cellos for example) they can make it happen. They are consummate professionals and just plain nice. And, according to several of my younger wedding guests, good looking too. So there you go! Hire these guys!