I love performing music for weddings - each one is unique and we always feel really excited to be able to contribute to a couple’s big day. Through my work as a freelance musician over the years I’ve organised and performed in hundreds of weddings. Music is an extremely important part of any wedding and can really contribute to creating that special mood and atmosphere on the day. The right selection of music can really add greatly to your day and is worth spending some time carefully considering and researching some couples choose music that is of special significance to them, others like to stick to well tried favourites whilst some select music that ties in with their wedding theme. There are lots of websites dedicated to wedding music as well as loads of CDs; I would recommend You Tube as your best friend at the beginning of your search as there is an astonishing range of music samples available to listen to by practically every type of music group imaginable.
The main parts of the day you may like to consider live music for are:
Whilst guests assemble before the ceremony itself, brides entrance, signing of the registers and the exit of the bridal
The key thing to remember about arranging music for you ceremony is that in civil ceremonies music with religious significance is not allowed. In some religious ceremonies secular music isn't allowed. Your musical group and registrar/minister will be able to advise you in appropriate musical choices.
2. Drinks reception in-between the ceremony and wedding breakfast
3. Line-up and wedding breakfast
4. The evening party - first dance!
The string quartet I run most often performs for wedding ceremonies the following drinks and the wedding breakfasts. Generally couples opt for a live band or a disco for the evening part of the day, which works really well.
7 tips to help arrange your wedding music
1. Book Early
The musical ensemble I run (Akina Strings) is taking bookings for 2014 now. Popular dates tend to go quickly particularly those over the summer, so once you have decided on the type of music group you would like contact some groups and book as soon as possible. Each group will have different ways of running so please check before you commit to booking the group what their payment and cancellation policies are. Also, ask to see a copy of their terms and conditions. Any professionally run group should be able to access and provide you with a copy of these.
2. Do your research
If you are paying money for a musical group to perform at your wedding please make sure you hear them play beforehand. Most groups have either mp3 demo tracks on their website, publicity videos or will be appearing at wedding fayres (most professional groups should offer a combination of the three). At Akina Strings we have professionally recorded sound samples on our website, so you can listen to these. We also occasionally appear at wedding showcases, which we publicise via our Facebook page and have recently filmed a series of video for You Tube.
Again do your research as a general rule of thumb you get what you pay for. Although you do occasionally encounter an exception to the rule. Ask several groups for quotes to get a feel for what the average amount is. If a group is well established and has performed with well known ‘names’ you should expect to pay a bit more, equally student and amateur groups that provide music ‘on the side’ will generally be a bit cheaper. Again it’s very important to listen to any sound samples you can so you can make an informed decision.
4. Appropriate music
Think carefully about the type of music you would like to hear at your event – groups should be more than happy to advise on this! At Akina Strings we love to hear about any specific requests. Most groups will often also offer an
arrangement service for a special piece of music for a small fee.
5. Create an ambience
When selecting music, think carefully about the type of mood you would like to create - upbeat and lively? Calming? Stately?! It’s up to you.
6. Registrar or minister approval
When you have selected the music for your wedding, please remember to get your music approved by the registrar or minister, and remember no religious music is allowed in civil marriage ceremonies.
7. On the day itself:
Position of the group
Will your guests be able to see and hear your group? There’s nothing worse than setting up only to find that the guests are scheduled to have photos so the group then has to shift all of their gear
Often instrumental groups will have a clause in their contracts and terms and conditions about performing outside. Please check carefully and if you are anticipating that you will want live music outdoors on your big day then always
state this in your enquiry.
Again, check with your group(s) to see what their policy on breaks is. For every hour of playing we require a 10-minute break. If we are provided with a schedule then we try wherever possible, to take these breaks at a convenient time so that the mood and flow of the event isn't disrupted.
Don’t forget to check how and when your need to pay your musicians.
Rebekah has been performing music at weddings and other events for over fifteen years she lived and worked in Cardiff for several years first as a student at the Royal Welsh College of Drama then as a freelance musician performing with many ensembles and quartets in addition to working as violist for the Mavron Quartet.
Now living in Berkshire Rebekah manages Akina Strings one of the leading providers of string music for weddings and events in the southeast. Further information about the group can be found at www.akinastrings.com.
Weddings for you by Marie blog
Marie owner of Weddings for you by Marie. Based in Suffolk covering Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Norfolk. She has worked within the wedding, hotel and events industry for over 20 years.