Choosing the right music for your weddingby Kimberly Krautle
/ February 21, 2006
Weddings often are labours of love. Of course, the
simple route to a well-planned wedding consists of hiring an event coordinator
to take care of all the details, including the music. But before you delegate
this task, ask yourself whether you might not prefer to coordinate the
music to your taste. Your guests will surely find that live classical chamber
music, jazz, or band music gives your wedding that added touch of class. Here
are some suggestions to help you plan.
Type of music: Classical music can often
liven up a cocktail hour while a live band can strike the energized chords
necessary for the reception.
Amount of music: Designing a detailed wedding
program helps give an accurate idea how much music is needed.
Finding ensembles: Try calling universities,
orchestras and music studios. Magazines like La Scena Musicale will have
these arts organizations listed, as well as ads for ensembles that specialize
in wedding music.
Good musicians: Hearing the ensemble perform
is the best way to make a final decision. Many ensembles have demo CDs, or
arrange for an audition.
Music selection: Experienced wedding
musicians can help you select your music. For the ceremony, there is a standard
Hall: If the hall you booked is unionized,
you must hire unionized musicians. The Quebec Musicians' Guild can provide you
with a list of agents representing unionized musicians. (514-842-2866)
Space: Is there sufficient space for the
musicians ? Are there music stands and chairs available ? Where are the
electrical outlets located ?
Instruments: Can you provide your own
portable piano if the hall is not equipped with one ?
Travel time: Know the travel time if your
wedding is changing locations.
Contract: Provide a contract in which cost,
date, transportation, and location are discussed.
Costs: Often, the greater number of
musicians, the higher the cost. Be aware of the time and cost associated with
arranging music you might have selected for the ensemble.
Reception: Often, couples who want a dance
will choose a DJ for the reception. Consider the live experience. A string
quartet will often have in its repertoire music appropriate for ballroom
dancing. A jazz ensemble can provide a lounge-style ambiance for non-dancers.
And if your guests are the kind to get down and boogie, then a live band can
give you a full range of popular hits to suit your style.
Getting started as a wedding musician
Performing at weddings can be an excellent way to earn
extra money. Although summer is traditionally the busy season, some musicians,
in response to the increasing demand, have begun specializing in year-round
wedding entertainment. Launching a wedding ensemble can take time, but taking
the appropriate steps from the outset can ensure the creation of an efficient
Here are some of the factors you need to consider in
order to be successful:
Time: Establish how much time you can
dedicate to weddings. This includes time spent planning with the couple,
business preparation time, and rehearsal time.
Musicians: Beginning as a duet is usually a
safe bet, as you can always add musicians later.
Instruments: Does the hall have a piano or
organ that was recently tuned?
Negotiating: Many couples will request a
harpist without taking into consideration the size of a harp and the
transportation costs it requires. Use your knowledge to suggest clever
substitutions, such as a classical guitarist.
Repertoire: It must be large enough to cover
prelude, processional, meditation, and recessional music. Last Resort Music
Publishing produces affordable collections of standard wedding music.
Advertising: Business cards, demo discs and
advertising in publications are all viable options. Still, word of mouth is
often the most efficient.
Wedding day: Make sure to have a program of
Payment: Your rates and payment terms should
be stated clearly in your contract.
Remember: The key to success is organization