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Ceremony Music, Your Questions Answered

When planning a wedding, much of the focus is spent on the reception. After all, it is where the major bulk of the money goes, it is the longest part of the day, and it is the biggest party of your life. When it comes to ceremony planning, couples often put the planning off or assume the-the officiant will take care of most of the details. In fact, there is plenty on the "to-do" list for the ceremony. Aside from writing your vows, choosing the music is one of the toughest for couples to nail down.

The Savvy Bride, enlisted the help of local wedding musician, Gigi Darr to help us address some frequent questions we hear from couples concerning wedding music. Gigi is a stylish, gifted, versatile and experienced solo pianist that is available for private parties, dinners, weddings, memorials and corporate events. Her sound is elegant and her repertoire is extensive...playing pop, easy listening, jazz standards and classical music.

1. What is the benefit of live music over pre-recorded? Wedding ceremonies are very visual events; the dress, the flowers, the programs, everything is made to b visually stunning. Having live musicians performing adds to the sensory experience. Even more important, live musicians can adapt to situations that recorded music can not. I reluctant flower girl or an overzealous ring bearer can change the timing of the procession. Live musicians can adjust the music to work accordingly.

2. I know I want live music at my wedding, but I have no idea where to start, how do I know what to look for? First, it is important to know what sound is pleasing to you. Do you imagine walking down the aisle to the classic music you heard as a child, or would you like a more modern spin, with music that represents you as a couple? Next, think about the feel of the ceremony. Do you want something formal, with a quartet, of something more simple with just a piano or guitarist? Additionally, think about if you would like a vocalist to sing during the ceremony, or if the choir at you church has offered to sing. These factors will help you to decide on the type of musician you need.

3. If I have an outdoor wedding, do I need more musicians to make sure they are heard? Not necessarily. A single musician with a sound system can be heard just as well as an ensemble. Keep in mind that if you have an outdoor wedding, you will need to provide a rain cover for your musician as they will not expose their very valuable instruments to damaging conditions.

4. Does having a live musician limit the type of music I can have at my ceremony? What if I want to walk down the aisle to a song you don’t know? Live musicians can play just about any piece of music written as long as you give them enough time to learn it. When working with musicians, be aware of the deadlines int he contracts. But in general, most musicians love learning new music!

5. Do you help me choose music? The musician you choose will be very knowledgeable about music, so they will more than likely be able to assist you with putting together your ceremony music.

6. Isn’t having live musicians at a ceremony expensive? Live music can vary in price, depending on the number or musicians you have playing and the length of time you want them to play. However, in many cases, if you wanted recorded music you would still have to rent a sound system. The cost is more than simply plugging in your iPod, but in comparison to other wedding costs, the price is not absurd.

7. How far in advance should I book ceremony musicians? If you have a group in mind who you would like, book at least six months in advance. With that said, it can be possible to find a quality musician in a pinch, but like anything in wedding planning, the more time, the better.

8. I have a friend who plays (enter instrument here) can’t I just have them play? If you love how he/she performs, they are responsible, and they are used to playing for large crowds, they may work perfectly.

9. Won’t it be distracting to have a bunch of musicians at the alter? Typically the musicians are not standing at the alter. Most musicians are comfortable and able to move anywhere in the venue to accommodate the ceremony layout.

10. What is one thing you wish every couple knew before hiring musicians? Make sure you hire a musician who is experienced playing weddings. A wedding is not like a concert or a gig at a bar. The timing of a wedding is extremely important and in many cases, the musician has a major part in cueing the procession. Additionally, a wedding musician understands the role of music in a ceremony and will know how loud is too loud and how to transition pieces seamlessly.


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