This piece is one of the most frequently used wedding marches, and is generally played on a church pipe organ. At weddings in many English-speaking countries, it is commonly performed as the bridal party files out at the end of the service. It is frequently teamed with Richard Wagner's "Here Comes the Bride." (Like Wagner, Mendelssohn was from Germany, but he was Jewish).
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) wrote this piece in 1843 as part of his suite of incidental music for a production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The play had always been a favorite of the composer and when he received a commission from King Frederick William IV of Prussia to write some music for a Potsdam production of the play of A Midsummer Night's Dream, he produced one of his best known works. It was one of several commissions for theatrical music Mendelssohn received while in the post of music director of the King's Academy of the Arts and of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. The "Wedding March" is the backdrop for the climactic wedding scene in the play.
This piece only became widely used in weddings after Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, Victoria, The Princess Royal, used it when she married the Crown Prince of Prussia on January 25, 1858. Queen Victoria and her husband Albert were very fond of Mendelssohn and loved to spend afternoons playing the composer's "Songs Without Words" and singing selections from his oratorios. Mendelssohn often used to play for the royal family while on his visits to Britain.