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Ceremony Music Do’s and Don’t’s


Music is such an important part of a ceremony, it makes sense to spend as much time and energy as it takes to get it just right. Before you walk down the aisle, keep in mind these eight dos and don’ts designed to make the music at your wedding really hum.

DO celebrate your culture

Consider including music or instruments that salute your individual heritages. Don’t feel like a piano or violin are your only options. If it’s important to you to have a 10-person gospel choir or an instrument that’s unique to your culture as part of the ceremony, go for it.

DON’T hesitate to bend a friend’s ear

Talk to a friend who’s recently gotten married about their experiences. Ask for helpful tips about what they did that they liked or what they would’ve done differently. They may even be able to refer to you musicians.

DO hire the best musicians you can afford

It’s critical to hire somebody with the right talent and experience – and who’s going to be a good fit with your style and preferences. Your wedding isn’t the time to let your nephew with a few months of violin lessons under his belt make his public debut.

DON’T call just anyone

The best place to start is with referrals. Ask friends or family members if they can recommend impressive candidates that they’ve hired or heard before. You might also want to check with the contact person at your church or ceremony venue. They’ll be a great resource, and will likely be able to recommend musicians who have experience performing in your venue. The Web is also great place to look to find listings of all the professionals in your area. Check out MyWeddingMusic.com’s musician finder.

DO your homework

Once you’ve narrowed your list of possible musicians, ask for a demo CD or a videotape from a previous performance from each candidate to help make your decision. A lot of musicians are putting audio or video clips on their Web sites, which really makes it easy for a couple to get a feel for their style. If someone doesn’t have a recording available, perhaps there’s a way that you can discreetly attend an upcoming ceremony at which they’re performing (only if they have permission, of course).

DON’T include more than two vocal solos during the ceremony

Solos are beautiful additions to a ceremony, but too many can start to wear thin. The vocalist can participate in other ways, such as leading congregational hymns or responses, or singing before or after the ceremony.

DO consider space limitations

If you’d like to have a string quartet perform, make sure there’s room to put them in your venue. Check out the venue ahead of time to make sure everything – and everybody – fits.

DON’T take your eye off the budget

Music-related expenses for your wedding can include: ceremony instrumentalists, ceremony vocalists, sheet music for the songs you’ve chosen (if the musicians don’t already have it), live musicians for your dinner/reception, live musicians for your wedding dance or a DJ for both your dinner/reception and dance. It all adds up, and if you’re not careful, you can easily bust the budget.