Ten Tips ~ Planning Wedding Music

Having played weddings in San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, Palm Springs area and throughout Southern California for 20 years I’ve learned so much. This post is a chance to share some of this info with you!

Here are ten tips to help you plan your wedding music to the fullest. Feel free to share this page with your wedding planners, friends and family.

-These tips are not in any particular order except #10 may be the most important!

-Not all these tips may apply to your specific plans but some of them definitely will.

If you have any questions I would be glad to help!

1) Ceremony Events.

Although all weddings are different most have some semblance of the following events requiring music; pre-music as guests are being seated, seating of parents, bridal party and couples recession. Often music is needed for an interlude; a prayer or sand/candle ceremony, etc.

2) Have a trusted friend or relative be your musical liaison.

This person can keep the musicians informed on a variety of items including time line issues/changes that arise and cue them as ceremony events unfold. Sometimes wedding coordinators will take charge but discuss with them first they are often multi-multi tasking to make your event perfect.

3) Protect your musicians from harsh elements.

Direct sunlight, rain, standing water (wet grass), etc., can effect the sound adversely, be uncomfortable and even dangerous. If you don’t pick your musicians location carefully they might have to move to a less desirable location to avoid problems.

4) Availability of electricity.

Guitarists need amplification. Make sure there is a power source near the location you place the musicians, if there is no power other arrangements can be made. I have battery powered equipment that works great for outdoor events like La Jolla or Del Mar bluff side weddings overlooking the Pacific.

5) Placement

Ideally you want your musicians in an area where they can see the ceremony participants when they are ready to walk or have a person (your music liaison) to cue them who can see. It’s also nice to see the front so they know when you are done walking and end the music accordingly (remember your guest will most likely be standing up at this time.) Place musicians far enough out so they are not in the way of your wedding party. See #3 & #4, as well.

6) Provide ceremony details.

Let your musicians know how many parents are being seated, bridesmaids are walking, who is the last person of each group (i.e., the flower girls will be the last to walk down before the bride.) These are things your music liaison can pass along before the ceremony.

7) Do you have a favorite part of the piece you plan to walk down the aisle?

If you love the fast part of the Pachelbel Canon make sure your musician knows to play that part. The average bridal walk time is less than one minute and it may take the music a few minutes to get to your favorite part. Unless your musician knows to arrange the piece accordingly you may not get your desired musical phrase included.

8) How/where people congregate.

I’ve played so many outdoor weddings. There is a phenomenon I’ve noticed regarding guests taking their seats…’They will wait until the absolute last minute to take their seat!’ Can’t really blame them. It is often sunny and hot so they are going to line up in the shade usually away from the ceremony site. If you have cocktails or refreshments before they will tend to hang out there.

Why is this important regarding the music? Oftentimes I am playing to empty seats and guests can’t hear the music.

Two suggestions; set up any type of ‘hangouts’ near enough to the ceremony site so guests can hear the music and have someone make an announcement for guests to be seated when YOU want so you don’t have to wait for them when you are ready to go!

9) Know what is going on at your location on your big day!

I was to play elegant classical music for a particular outdoor reception. Unfortunately, the venue had a restaurant right next door and had hired a full band to play. There was no way to compete with the volume. I had to move indoors and the guests stayed outside near the bar. So make sure you know what other events might also be held at the same location and that the venue knows your intention. They would not have hired a band if they knew that the wedding had already planned something outside.

9) Communication!!

Ask questions! Talk to your musicians, coordinator and venue staff to make sure everything flows smooth as possible. The more everyone is on the same page the better. I always try to talk with them, as well, to gain insights into the plans.

10) Enjoy!

Take a deep breath and soak everything in for memories that will last forever. I can’t tell you how many times the bride has told me, “Everyone said the music was beautiful, but I didn’t really even hear it!”

Remember you can’t micro manage everything! But knowledge is power and if any of these items personally strike you hopefully this post empowers you to make the best choices for YOUR music.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

To submit an inquiry form click here

Hope these tips are helpful and I hope to play for you soon!

Mike

About mikeslayen

Guitarist/Instructor

2 Responses

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