How To Hire Wedding Musicians

Learn about about the importance of wedding music at you ceremony or reception and decide which musical group will best serve your needs. Hire one of our experienced wedding ensembles:

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Nothing sets the mood for a wedding ceremony and reception like the music you choose for each. For example, a string quartet playing classical tunes from the balcony of a church will create a completely different atmosphere from a Spanish guitar being played for an outdoor ceremony. Likewise, a jazz trio playing background music during dinner connotes a more relaxed atmosphere than a deejay who spins Top 40 tunes to entice guests onto the dance floor.

Ceremony music is nearly always traditional classical music. Recessional
music, played after the marriage ceremony to accompany the now married couple back down the aisle, is upbeat and festive. Most churches and temples have specific rules governing what can and cannot be played at weddings. Some do not allow secular love songs during services. Clergy members have ideas about what is appropriate in the services they conduct. Be sure to discuss this long before the ceremony. The communal singing of hymns, for example, is a frequent part of wedding ceremonies that take place in houses of worship. The singing is part of the service and according to the custom of the church or temple. At weddings in other locations, group singing often feels overly intimate and somehow unsuitable.

Music during cocktails should never be so loud that it overwhelms conversation. On the other hand, some volume increases the excitement level, especially at the beginning of a Boston party, and gets a celebration off to a good start. There's nothing wrong with having to speak up to be heard, as long as the high-decibel level doesn't last the entire party. Experienced wedding musicians have ideas about what is and is not appropriate music for wedding ceremonies and receptions. They are aware of the proper times for musical fanfares, those musical introductions to special parts of the reception, and of the kinds of music and songs they prefer for different parts of the wedding ceremony. Be sure to discuss your own musical preferences. Musicians will often learn a special song or two, if they're given plenty of time and the sheet music, or are told how to and the music or an arrangement you like.

How much you can spend on your ceremony musicians will often determine whom you hire. I've heard everything from $400 for student performers to $1800 and up for professionals. But don't let the price the performer charges sway you in your decision making. Of course, a student is going to be cheaper, but a student can also be a risky hiring decision. For example, I've heard of students who backed out of a wedding at the last minute because they had exams to study for. Another time I heard of a student performer who was unfamiliar with the sequence of events in a wedding and didn't start playing ''The Wedding March'' (otherwise known as ''Here Comes the bride") on cue. Just because someone is a student at the New England Conservatory in Boston or at Juilliard in New York City doesn't mean he or she will be great for your wedding-unless, of course, the musician comes highly recommended from friends who used him or her at their wedding. As with any other professional you'll hire for your wedding, having a glowing, firsthand recommendation is always a good sign.



lf you do decide to use your local symphony as a resource for
wedding musicians, keep in mind that December is the busiest season because of holiday concerts. Therefore, if your wedding is planned for that month, call at least six months in advance.

When you're thinking about a group to play at your ceremony, try not to become wedded to the idea of specific instruments that you want. Unless you're a professional, you really can't make a good decision about what instruments sound best with each other. I had a bride once insist on having a violin, flute, and trumpet. To her it sounded like a nice combination, but there were too many highsounding instruments. You don't want all instruments in the same register, and you should listen to your musician if he or she makes a suggestion, like adding a cello to the group.

Again, listen to the suggestions the musicians make. They're wedding professionals, and they know what they're talking about. Once you decide on a group to play at your ceremony, you should talk about specific tunes you want played at certain times during the ceremony. This is another area where the musician can make some valid suggestions on music. For example, we recently did a wedding where the couple wasn't interested in having all classical music during the ceremony. So I suggested we add some more contemporary tunes, like music from Phantom of the Opera. They agreed, and it sounded wonderful. I send all my clients a list of possible ceremony selections to help them choose what they want to have played. One thing that brides and grooms often do that drives musicians crazy is specifying each and every tune we are to play before the ceremony begins. Maybe they want to print all the musical selections in the program or they're simply control freaks. Instead it's better to give the musicians an idea of the kinds of music you'd like them to play before the bridal party arrives, and then leave the selections up to them. If you tell me I can play a specific list of tunes only and the bridal party ends up arriving late, then there will be dead space with no music. Likewise, if the ceremony gets started early, we may have to abruptly stop a tune in the middle of playing, which will sound awkward. Instead, give the musicians the freedom to bring a variety of appropriate music to play before the bridal party arrives. Of course, you should feel free to suggest some specific songs, but try to avoid dictating every single preprocessional music selection.

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