Updated: Mar 15
After playing for over 400 weddings, I've learned what it takes to give your wedding music a lasting impression that leaves your guests raving afterward.
Without further ado, here are 3 Wedding Music Mistakes to Avoid.
1. Don't try to pack too much music into your ceremony.
The key here is to keep tabs on the overall flow of the ceremony. How many different pieces should be played during the wedding's Processional? Many times, couples will request one song for each processional (one for the grandparents, another for the parents, another for the wedding party, another for the ring bearer.... you get the picture.) Unfortunately, by the time the Bride walks down the aisle, the guests have heard 15-second snippets of 5 different songs and it sounds like you're skipping songs on Spotify. The frequent starting and stopping really disrupts the flow.
Sometimes, couples want a different song played during their vows, readings (or between readings), and during special moments like the unity candle or a memorial. This can all be planned and timed beautifully, but doing it all at once ends up back-firing.
To help with this, I always work closely with my couples to go over the numbers and timing. That way, all chosen music is intentional and flows beautifully.
2. Don't forget about Prelude/Postlude music.
Having live music while the couple walks down (and back up) the aisle is definitely a highlight of the big celebration, but don't forget about your guests. Your guests will arrive early and, after the ceremony ends, file out slowly. They're usually so happy to catch up with friends that they often hang around the ceremony site even after you've left. Having live musicians playing in the background before the ceremony begins and after it ends is a touch that your guests won't forget.
Prelude and Postlude are the perfect time to include songs that otherwise would not be performed during the wedding ceremony itself. These may include selections you like but didn't have time to fit in, or movements from major works that sit well as background music but may not fit during an actual ceremony. For my own wedding Prelude, I rick-rolled my husband The fun part about instrumental music is that everyone expects it to be serious, so when you get to the chorus of "Never Gonna Give You Up", everyone is charmed and gets a good chuckle out of it. I've had couples include music from movies and rock favorites who really enjoyed thinking outside of the box.
3. Don't hire the discount/student ensemble.
Your guests may not realize if you DIY some of your decorations or have a talented friend do your calligraphy, however, it will be very apparent if you hire the cheapest ensemble, based simply on their price.
Guests and newlyweds always remember half-rate musicians for all the wrong reasons. The key here is to find professional musicians who perform year-round in professional symphonies, chamber orchestras, and ballets who also perform for weddings together. Everything from playing together and in tune to having the ability to go with the flow (like when the flower girls gets stage fright and runs back up the aisle), you will be thankful when you hire musicians based on experience. Remember, the musicians you hire will be creating tangible memories for generations to come.
If you keep it simple and work closely with your musicians, have some great background music before and after the ceremony, and hire the players who know their stuff inside and out.
Happy wedding planning!
Ariana Strings LLC
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Photographer: Melanie Ruth Photography
Venue: The Wadsworth Mansion
Performers: Ariana Strings LLC