Friday, June 12, 2009

Here Comes the Bride: Wedding Music Pt. 1

My fiance is a music snob with good reason -- he's a classically trained Spanish guitarist and music teacher! We're fortunate to both have many friends who are classical vocalists/musicians or blues/rock musicians, and so complying with our venue's restriction on amplified music won't be too much of a problem. Besides, we love live music! We realize not everyone is blessed to have such a talented circle of friends and you may find yourself trying to figure out how to select your wedding musicians. Here are some tips:

Selecting your wedding music for both the ceremony and reception may seem low priority, but like the food, it can set the tone and flavor for your special day. Assess your priorities. If you're on a budget, don't expect to have a 4-string quartet, and opt instead for a soloist, like a guitarist, organist, or pianist. Harpists are more expensive than guitarists since there isn't a specialized academic program for them -- they often learn their craft privately -- and their instruments are more expensive to own and transport.

Ask your potential musician what his/her range is, education/background, experience and references. Be sure to ask for samples as well, which may be posted on their website or myspace. Consider how long you want the musician to perform -- you will save money if you need him/her only for the ceremony. Don't be surprised if the price increases by $100+ for the cocktail hour and/or reception.

There are distinct sections of wedding music for the ceremony: the seating music (generally for 30 min), the parent's entrance, the groomsmen/bridal party entrance, the bride/father entrance, and the recessional. Work with your musician to select what pieces of music will complement the length and style of your ceremony best. I've sat in on my fiance's initial client meetings and I've been amused (and secretly pleased) that some brides choose to have him arrange music like the Beatle's All You Need is Love, or more recently a Billy Joel's Just the Way You Are, for classical guitar. Some want a lot of flair opposed to the traditional Hornpipe for the recessional and therefore choose a spirited flamenco piece to exit with. It's interesting that most brides opt for Pachabel Canon for their entrance, and only twice in his life has my fiance ever played Here Comes the Bride.

If you don't have band friends or can't afford $800+ for a DJ, using your iPod for the reception is definitely the way to go if trying to keep on a budget for music. That way, you can choose the music that most resonates with you and husband-to-be and induce your friends and family to get up and boogie. Be sure to assign a groomsmen or other savvy volunteer to man the playlist so that an inappropriate song doesn't squeak by and create an awkward pause.

NPR's All Things Considered recently asked listeners to send in their stories and votes for the least appropriate songs ever. Click here to view the list of stories which includes The Righteous Brothers' You've Lost That Loving Feeling >>

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