10 Things To Consider When Booking and Planning your Wedding Ceremony Music.
Here are some brief pointers to help you.
1. THE RIGHT FIT
So let’s say you’ve found a singer, musician, group that you think will suit your wedding ceremony perfectly. Ask them for a list of songs they have performed to date. This will give you an idea whether or not that particular act is for you or not. You may have a particular vibe or feel in mind and finding the right singer/musician to fit that image you have in your head is key. For example you might want a female classical type voice with string accompaniment or you might prefer a male singer (singer-songwriter type vibe) who will perform your favourite songs in a stripped back, chilled out style (that last one is me by the way). So research the person/group a little before getting in touch, read their biography on their site or profile and this might save you some valuable wedding planning time.
2. THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Ok so the song list looks good. Now, can you hear them perform live? Do they have videos on social media that you can scroll through? Or can you go to hear them perform live at a wedding showcase or residency gig they might have? You may even be able to visit the local church if they are singing or performing at a wedding nearby.
3. SECURE THE DATE
That’s it, you’ve found the perfect singer/musician for your wedding ceremony music. Now, how do you go about booking the act once you’ve decided? Do they take a deposit to secure the date? Will they provide a contract or proof of payment if you want this?
4. SONG CHOICES
Are they happy to learn new material that they may not already be familiar with? A professional outfit will say yes to this majority of the time unless it’s totally outside of their capability. Personally speaking, I ask for all final song choices to be sent to me at least 4 weeks prior to the wedding date so I can prepare everything well in advance. If there is something I feel is beyond my capability as a musician or singer I will be up front and say it – the reason for this is I would not like to take on with something that will not work out well on your special day. Sometimes last minute changes to song choices won’t be included, especially during peak wedding season (that’s early spring to late autumn for me).
5. MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK?
What is included in the price?
Ask about travel costs. The quote you get should include all costs.
Note: If the singer or musician is travelling a great distance that day and is perhaps performing for the ceremony and drinks reception they may ask for food to be included for them in the venue. A simple main course meal in the bar/lounge area of any hotel/venue will suffice. Or if you prefer to work from the wedding menu – that is most acceptable. (just don’t put us sitting at the kids table)
Are they insured? They should be in my opinion! PLI Cover is what is needed and some wedding venues are starting to ask that all wedding suppliers (singer, bands, sweet cart providers etc) that will be on site on the day of your wedding are to be insured. This is common sense really!
Do they bring their own sound equipment? Again, in my opinion I think every professional musician or singer should arrive prepared for any situation and not asking for a microphone and a music stand from the Church sacristan or Wedding Co-Ordinator. (you’d be surprised the stories I’ve heard). Have a great performer but not being able to hear them is a waste of money. Professional sound equipment should be included in the price quoted so don’t be afraid to ask.
6. ARRIVAL TIME
How long before the ceremony will your musicians arrive? I like to be at a Church or venue at least an hour before the starting time. I will need to find out where is best to set up (although I will have that discussed with the couple in advance), find a power source, do vocal warm ups, speak with priest or celebrant about the order of service. And then I am ready to perform some light background music as the guests arrive.
7. THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Will your wedding singer/musician perform outdoors if the weather is good?? I love nothing more than to arrive at a hotel to play at a Ceremony or Drinks Reception and to be told it will be happening outside. If your venue has a beautiful outdoor patio or garden space and the weather is good – then why not!
8. SONG CHOICES
Everything is falling into place so far. This is the exciting part. Now you need to sort out the song choices.
Civil / Spiritual / Humanist Ceremonies
For a Civil, Spiritual or Humanist wedding ceremony this is pretty straight forward. Each celebrant will guide you as to what is needed. But for the most part you will need music for:
- Entrance Song
- Signing of The Register
- Final Song / Leaving as a Married Couple
Some celebrants may suggest music for:
- Lighting of Candles
- Lighting of a memorial candle (to remember those no longer with us)
- A Song between two readings/poems
Each ceremony I’ve performed at has been different so consult with your celebrant for ideas of how you can make your Wedding Ceremony unique to you both.
When it comes to Church Ceremonies – everything is set in place and your singer/musician will know when and where the music should be played. Ask them to provide you with a layout of the church ceremony so you have an idea of what is needed while you are picking your favourite hymns and songs. A certain amount of hymns should be included throughout the main part of the mass. That’s just the way it is really! But there are some beautiful hymns that can be included. Some more contemporary than others. The more secular music can be included for the Entrance, Signing of The Register and the Final song. Having said all that, these are rough guidelines.
9. A FAMILY AFFAIR
Some people like to involve family members, who can sing or play an instrument, in the music during the ceremony. The more the merrier I say. It’s something to keep in mind. If you have a singer or musician in the family but you didn’t want them to feel under pressure by doing the entire wedding music it might be nice to include them for a song or an instrumental piece at some point in the ceremony.
10. LET’S GET THE PARTY STARTED
Some wedding singers will offer a package deal to include a performance at your drinks reception, champagne reception, call it what you will, in your evening venue. This will provide you and your guests with live music from the minute they start arriving for tea and coffee, (sorry I mean beer and bubbly) right up until the dinner bell is sounded. Some light background music at this point of the day is a really good call if you ask me. It keeps people entertained while waiting for dinner and it means that the party atmosphere has already started.