Home     Content     Articles      La Scena Musicale     Search   

La Scena Musicale - Vol. 11, No. 5

Choosing the right music for your wedding

by Kimberly Krautle / February 21, 2006

Version française...

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 classical repertoire.

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

Kimberly Krautle

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 business.

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. (www.lastresortmusic.com)

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 the wedding.

Payment: Your rates and payment terms should be stated clearly in your contract.

Remember: The key to success is organization and punctuality.

Version française...

(c) La Scena Musicale