Planning For the Perfect Wedding Song: Everything You Need To Know

Introduction

The music can be a very important part of your wedding because tying the knot is one of the most life changing events you’ll ever have in your life. You want everything to be perfect for the ceremony. The music can make or break your wedding.Express the love that you feel for your wedded spouse through the lyrics of the songs you choose. You want songs that are heartfelt and appropriate for your ceremony. With all the great songs out there, it can be difficult to make the right choice when it comes to your wedding ceremony. Of course I have my own favorite wedding song.

WHAT TONE YOU WANT THE MUSIC TO CONVEY

Some examples:

– traditional
– contemporary
– eclectic
– irreverent
– somber
– light-hearted
– reflective of your culture and faith

Setting the overall tone sets a framework from which to the consider specific musicians and instruments to create the feel you want. Of course, don’t be afraid to mix and match tones.

For example, often couples will choose more reverent, softer music for before the wedding, and then switch to something a bit sassier (e.g. “Jai Mike” with” (if u say I do)” as the recessional.

CHOOSE MUSIC THAT REFLECTS YOUR PERSONALITY & IS MEANINGFUL TO YOU:

It is YOUR day and YOUR wedding song. Don’t try to please Aunt Mary by playing a 12 minute tribute to solid gold hits of the 1950s. Think about specific songs that convey what your loved one and you mean to each other, and consider styles and instrumentation of music that support the feel you want to create:

For example, R&B, Classical string quartet, solo new age piano, bluegrass or swing band, jazz ensemble, yodelers!!

CHOOSE INSTRUMENTS THAT FIT THE MOOD YOU WANT TO CONVEY:

– organ.
– piano
– saxophone/ piano
– string quartet
– bluegrass/ folk group
– solo vocalist
– choir
– sing a long song leader

HOW DOES ONE FIND A MUSICIAN?

1. Ask your local music stores, associations, record stores, and venues that feature bands and performers.

2. Ask friends who have been married who they used.

3. Check online where you will find info on musicians and bands. Also, check myspace.com and do Google searches for musicians (e.g. piano players/ name of your town/ style of music). Many cities have online bulletin boards listing performers, venues & events. Do a search for “musicians/ name of your town”.

4. Check with your local newspaper; many have an entertainer section that lists local performers.

5. Listen to radio stations (internet or broadcast that feature local musicians)

6. Some TV stations such as Oregon Public Broadcasting or NPR feature musicians and send you daily or weekly samples of local musicians.

INTERVIEW MUSICIANS

explain the style and feel of music you are looking for.

Then ask these questions:

1) How long have you been performing?
2) What styles of music/ instruments do you play?
3) Do you sight-read or play by ear (or both?)
4) Do you have other instrumentalists with whom you perform?
5) How many weddings have you performed at? Can you give me some names and phone numbers of some of your previous clients?
6) How much do you charge? Do you have a minimum “package” fee, or an hourly rate? Do your rates include rehearsal night, purchase of music, or other preparation or rehearsals?

HAVE A CONSULTATION WITH A PROSPECTIVE MUSICIAN

1.Listen to them play song samples

2.Look at lists they have of songs they can do (if they are experienced, they will have these arranged by category and style)

3. Write down songs you like that they do.

4.Even more important, tell them what songs you definitely DO NOT WANT! Many people say “anything is fine” when choosing songs, then begin to realize there are songs they definitely do NOT want. Narrowing your list down first by eliminating songs you don’t want is a must.

5. Choose these essential songs:

– Bridal party music
– Bride’s processional
– Special music during service (whether by the musician or by a singer / soloist whom the musician will accompany)
– Recession

6. In addition, you will need to decide on about 12-15 songs for prelude music, and another 3 to 5 postlude songs. If you trust the musician and feel they have the gist of what you like, you can leave it to them to choose the specific tunes. Others prefer to choose every song. Do what you feel most comfortable with.

* Note: Most musicians do not charge for the consultation.

IF HIRING THE MUSICIAN:

Have a clear agreement in writing (if a pro, they should have one handy – or at the very least, a gig info form) stating:

1. the time, date and location of the wedding & the wedding rehearsal.

2. What specific duties the musician will provide (e.g. play solo instrument, accompany singers, coordinate sound/ technical needs, act as liaison with planner, etc.)

3. What the total fee will be.

4. What equipment the musician will provide; what you or the venue will provide.

5. When payment will be made (it is recommended you do so at the rehearsal or ahead of time).

6. What the crucial music cues and songs are.

7. Who will be the person to cue the musician about when the wedding begins?

8. What color themes/ styles the wedding will use

9. Any special music needs (e.g. will the musician play at the reception in addition to the wedding, or have special songs for children during the service, first dances, etc.)

TRUSTING THE MUSICIAN:

A good musician will want you to have the best musical experience possible, even if that means referring you to other musicians who might better suit your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals if the musician(s) you interviewed just isn’t quite the right fit.

MONEY MATTERS

Musicians fees vary widely, depending on how many instruments/ performers are in a band, whether a soloist is also going to arrange music in keys for singers and rehearse with them, and whether travel is involved. Most musicians (soloists or small ensembles) charge a flat fee for weddings (anywhere from $300 to $800) on the average; some will charge an hourly fee of $100 (keep in time spent traveling, packing equipment, etc.), with a smaller hourly fee for rehearsals. A simple wedding involves an average of 10 hours of work on the part of a musician (including the mind this includes actual ceremony, the rehearsal, arranging music and set lists, rehearsing with singers, consultations with the betrothed, etc.). A complicated wedding can involve as much as 20 hours of behind the scenes work. Having a clear sense of your wedding’s structure and specific musical aspects will enable your potential musician to give you the most accurate price quote.