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May 23, 2014

Here are a few simple suggestions to guide you in the planning of your wedding music.

How to find the right musician for your wedding
• Word-of-mouth recommendations can provide you with great leads.
• Get recommendations from local music stores.
• Do an internet search for the type of musician you are
looking for.
• Search for online reviews of musicians you are
interested in.
• Ask your venue to provide you with ceremony and
reception musicians that they recommend.
• Select a few musicians to contact. Hear them perform live. Ask for sample demo recordings. Ask them for client references. Contact those references and ask for their opinion of the musician you are considering hiring.

Questions to ask the musician
• Does the musician provide a free consultation to help you plan your music?
• Do they have a strict repertoire or are they willing to learn new songs?
• Do they play the style of music you are looking for?
• Are they willing to accompany vocalists or other instrumentalists if necessary?
• Will they attend your wedding rehearsal if you want them to?
• What backup plans can they offer if they are not able to perform for your wedding?
• Do they provide you with a written contract?

Find out the total cost to you including mileage, set up fees, rehearsal, practicing with other musicians, learning new music, etc. Once you find the musician that best represents your wishes and you want to proceed with hiring them, you will probably be asked to provide a deposit and sign a contract.

Finding music for your ceremony
Your musician should be able to offer advice and provide you with a variety of music to choose from. Here are some free music resources to help you find wedding song ideas.
• Do an internet search for online wedding music samples.
• Your local or central library may have wedding music resources including sheet
music and sound recordings.
• Many wedding web sites have lists of ceremony and reception music.
• You can listen to music samples at the major bookstores online and at your local retailer.
• Local music stores have a wealth of sheet music and recordings and can offer wonderful advice.
• Discount chain stores sell wedding sampler recordings as do card shops and wedding shops. 

Things you can do to help your musician

• Tell your musician any special song requests that you have. It can sometimes take 4-8 weeks to special order music, so it is important to do this well in advance of your wedding. Your musician will appreciate some time to learn the music as well.
•If you have a vocalist or an instrumentalist that needs accompaniment, be sure and let your musician know.
• If you are having a traditional wedding ceremony, you will want to confer with your musician regarding the following items.
• Prelude Music. Your musician provides music to set the mood while the guests are being seated and waiting for the ceremony to begin.
• Parents and Grandparents Song. Sometimes bridal couples want a special song played when the parents and grandparents are seated. Bridal Party Processional. This song is played when the bridal party walks in.
• Bridal Processional. This song is played when the bride walks down the aisle. It can be a continuation of the bridal party processional or it can be a totally different piece of music. This music is usually grand and festive.
• If you are having a Unity Candle and/or Rose Presentation, music is often performed.
• Signing of the Wedding License. If this is part of the ceremony, music provides a nice background.
• If you are having Communion or Mass, music is often played or sung. 
• Recessional. This music is played at the conclusion of the ceremony when the bride and groom make their exit. This music is usually bright and lively.
• Postlude Music. Your musician provides music for your guests to enjoy while the guests are being ushered out. 
• If you are having a non-traditional ceremony, you will want to meet with your musician early in your planning stages, so that you and your musician will have time to locate and select the music that will reflect your style of wedding.
• If you prefer using recorded music for your ceremony rather than hiring a musician, check that your wedding facility has adequate sound equipment available. Ask if a sound technician is available.

You’re almost done! There are just a few more details to cover. Does your musician need to provide his/her own instrument or is the instrument available at the wedding location? For example, if you hire a pianist, find out if there is a piano available and how much it costs to reserve. What is the sound quality of the instrument? How often is it tuned? Your musician should be taking care of all these details, but you’ll want to make sure that is the case. If a piano is not available, you may wish to rent one from a local music store or find out if your pianist will provide a portable piano. Some clergy and churches are selective as to the type of music they allow, be sure and check this out with the person officiating at your wedding. Some facilities and churches have sound technicians, and some even require that you hire one for your event. You would want to hire a sound technician as soon as possible to insure his/her availability for your event.
By following the above suggestions, you can enjoy your wedding day knowing that your musician will create a perfect musical setting for your wedding!
This article was written and copyrighted by Sharon Planer, July 14, 2013.

Questions to ask your music provider

  • Do you have my date open? 
  • Have you done events at my ceremony and/or reception location before? If not, are you familiar with them? 
  • How long have you been in business? 
  • How many weddings have you done? How many do you do in an average weekend? 
  • What sets you apart from your competition? 
  • Are there any other services that you provide, such as lighting design? 
  • How far in advance do I need to secure your services? 
  • What is your pricing? Does this include setup and breakdown between ceremony and reception locations?
  • How much is the deposit and when is it due? When is the final payment due? 
  • If the event lasts longer than scheduled, what are the overtime charges? 
  • What is the continuous music charge? 
  • When can I expect to receive my contract from you? 
  • Are there any additional fees that could accrue that I am not taking into account?
  • What is your refund policy if for some reason I need to cancel or alter my date? 
  • Do you carry liability insurance? 
  • If I hire musicians for the ceremony and want them to play at the wedding rehearsal, what is the extra charge?
  • Can you assist me in choosing the music for my processional, recessional, Father-Daughter Dance, etc.?
  • How extensive is your music library or song list? What genres can you cover? Can I give you a specific list of songs I want or don’t want played?
  • Can you provide us with wireless mics for the ceremony?
  • Does any of your equipment require special electrical outlets that I need to inform my wedding site about?
  • What kind of space or stage do you require for the DJ or band? 
  • How much time will you need for setup, sound check and breakdown on the day of the event?