Tips for Hiring Ceremony Musicians
Consider the theme or style of your wedding
This will help you determine the type of musician or musicians you'd like to have play at your ceremony. It will also help narrow down your choices as you find musicians who are comfortable with your chosen theme or style. Think of the feelings you want the instruments to create with their sound. Romantic settings include harps, flutes, and acoustic guitars. String quartets give a more classic feel. Organists and keyboardists can provide a traditional mood. Or depending you want a more tropical or cultural atmosphere with some light congas playing in the background.
Consider the size of your guest list and venue, and any venue rules
The size of the space and the number of guests will determine whether or not the event requires a more intimate setting with fewer musicians. Also, be sure to have your list of selected songs approved if you are having your ceremony in a place of worship. Many events have rules about the type of music that's allowed. Some venues may also have a specific list of ceremony musicians to choose from.
Include your partner in the selection process
Your life partner may have some very specific ideas about what kind of music should be played. Be certain to include each other in the musical decision-making. The music should represent both of you, after all, and make both of you happy. You can laugh about your individual tastes in music during the process – that's what makes it more memorable!
Get more "bang for your buck"
You've already thought about the kind of music you want. Now you're searching for musicians who can provide you with such service. Hire musicians who can multi task if you're on a limited budget. Select an instrumentalist who can play more than one instrument or can play all parts of the ceremony, as well as accompaniment the vocalist. You might even decide to hire a pianist or guitar player who also sings, and kill two birds with one stone. Just make sure in the process that you hire musicians who are comfortable with your chosen style and are able to play your musical selections. Not all musicians are the same – some are more talented or experienced than others. Would it really be worth it to opt for the lower-priced musician if you would not be pleased with a less-than-perfect performance? A word of advice: It is critical to hire people with the right talent and experience for your event. It would be in your best interests to hire the best musicians that you can afford.
Start with those who come highly recommended
Word of mouth is the best place to begin when searching for possible musicians. Just "any musician" will not do – the most impressive candidates come well-recommended. Ask friends or family members if they know of any great musicians they can recommend, or check with the contact person at your venue. They may have a list of musicians from previous events that they can provide to you. The internet would be your next best place to look. To narrow your focus, try searching for musicians within a 20-mile radius of your home or venue, and build from there.
Do your homework
Congratulations, you've narrowed down your choices! Now what? Once you have a solid list of possible musicians, it's time for you to contact them (phone contact is best, next to face-to-face meetings). Ask each candidate for a demo CD, videotape, or DVD from a previous performance in order to help you make your decision. Some candidates may already have audio or video clips available on their websites, which makes it easier to get a feel for their style. You may also wish to preview their performance at one of their upcoming events – ask the candidates if this may be a possibility. It is also important to ask each potential candidate for references, happy customers who can vouch for their talent, experience, and professionalism. There should absolutely be a good chemistry between you and your candidate. Trust your gut. If something does not seem quite right about this person, or your personalities or styles clash, move on to your next choice.
Get a contract
Once you've selected your professional musicians, be sure they provide you with a written contract for their services. Make sure to read any fine print and be clear on all the details before you sign anything. Be prepared to put down a deposit for their services. Make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to future meetings to touch base, rehearsals, and adaptations of musical selections if necessary. You should include your contact person for your event for this part to include dates / times for any rehearsals.
Keep your budget in mind
Entertainment expenses for your wedding can go up pretty fast if you're not careful. Music-related expenses can include: ceremonial instruments, ceremony vocalists, sheet music for your song selections (if the musicians do not already have it), live musicians or DJ s for your dinner reception / dinner and / or wedding dance, and any Other features you may wish to include. Be mindful of your budget so your expenses do not get out of hand.