The basic rules and guidelines for choosing wedding ceremony musicians is very similar to choosing your reception band or DJ. Begin by deciding what sort of music you’d like played at your ceremony and check on your venue’s guidelines. Some churches have rules about what music they allow within their walls and even secular venues can have sound restrictions. Once you’ve spoken with your venue, decide on your songs and the style of instrumentation you’d like.
When making this latter decision, consider your venue. Harps can be beautiful, but if your venue is outdoors, the sound is going to evaporate upwards. Similarly, a small chapel may not be the place for a six piece brass band (your guests’ ears won’t thank you!). Consider as well what instruments your ceremony venue already has available. Using the piano that’s already present will cut down on cost for the musicians.
Once you find a musician or musicians that play the instruments and style you’d like at your ceremony, contact them to set up a time to hear them play. Hesitancy on this front will be a red flag in your elimination process. At the very least, ask for a recording of their music as a sort of audition. Professional wedding ceremony musicians shouldn’t have a problem with either of these options.
Because they will be playing far less and for a shorter time, wedding ceremony musicians typically are less expensive than reception bands. Average cost will run around $200 to $500 per musician. Keep in mind that if your preferred set list for the ceremony isn’t in their repertoire, there could be added fees for learning the new music.
When creating the contract, be sure to specify attire, arrival and departure times, set up, break times, food and drink for the musician(s), transportation, liability insurance coverage, and any unforeseeable costs like overtime.
Questions to ask your wedding ceremony musician: Do you have experience playing at weddings specifically? Do you charge an additional fee for songs that are not in your repertoire? How much setup time will you need? What will the musician(s) wear?