Wedding Ceremony Music: Selecting Ceremony Musicians

By Natalie Kriegler, Music Director, The Capriccio Ensemble

On your most special day, your wedding ceremony music, at it’s very best, will enhance your cherished moments and help to create beautiful memories. Your families and wedding guests will compliment you on the music if it was beautifully and exquisitely performed. Memories of your wedding day will be greatly enhanced because of an exceptional quality performance by your solo violinist, string quartet or harpist. If your wedding is being video graphed, your wedding ceremony music needs to be of the highest quality.

Why Should You Hire Professionals for Your Wedding Ceremony Music
Articles in some recent wedding magazines have extolled the virtues of booking student performers for wedding ceremony music as cost-efficient. I would like to caution anyone planning a wedding against heeding this advise, for the following reasons:

  1. Inexperienced students or semi-professional performers generally do not offer a contract for their services.
  2. They are unlikely to have references to verify their reliability or punctuality.
  3. They are not familiar with cues and when to stop playing.
  4. They are not experienced wedding ceremony musicians - your wedding may be a learning ground for them.

What to Ask a Wedding Ceremony Music Professional
For each ensemble you are interviewing, you should ask the following of their music director, music office or representative:

  1. Request a CD or tape of their music.
  2. Ask for printed references from former brides or accredited entertainment industry professional agencies. You may also ask to see programs of or critical reviews from live concerts or a professional resume. These items will help to verify their professionalism and experience at past weddings, events or performances.
  3. Inquire as to whether they may be performing somewhere where you can hear and meet them in person.
  4. If it is a high quality ensemble which has captured your interest and their fee is a bit of a stretch for your budget, ask them of they are offering any current discounts or promotions. If they are not, you may consider reserving 1 or 2 musicians less than you had planned to have originally. If they are experienced and you like their sound this will be well worthwhile!
  5. Try to get a feeling or “vibe” from their representative as to how they will treat you and all of your questions and concerns. Your impression of someone’s willingness to work with you is a very important factor. If you prefer to meet with all of your wedding vendors, be sure to ask if this is possible before the wedding.
  6. Inquire about their policy on contracts, deposits and overtime fees. Find out how “locked-into” their services you will be upon a mutually signed agreement. What happens if a musician has to be replaced at the last minute due to illness? If the ensemble you are interested in hesitates when you inquire about these particular concerns, I advise you to move on. However, if you are obtaining ceremony musicians through a band or a reputable music office, whom you already trust, then knowing exactly who will be performing your wedding ceremony music need not be an issue.

By Natalie Kriegler, Music Director, The Capriccio Ensemble

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