Word-of-mouth recommendations from people you know and trust can provide you with great leads. Get recommendations from local music stores. Do an internet search for the type of musician you are looking for. The place where you are having your ceremony or reception may provide you with names of musicians that they recommend. Check with other facilities that hire musicians for their recommendations. Select a number of musicians to contact. Hear them perform live. Read reviews online of people that have hired the musicians you have selected.
Ask the musicians for sample demo recordings. Ask them for references. Talk to references who can vouch that the musicians do a great job and are prompt and responsible. Do they provide a free consultation to help you plan your music? Are they willing to learn other songs? Do they play the style of music you are looking for? Are they willing to accompany vocalists or other instrumentalists if necessary? Will they attend your wedding rehearsal? What backup plans can they offer if they are not able to perform for your ceremony? Do they charge by the hour, by the job? Do they 'listen' to you? Do they make you and your event seem important to them? Do you like their personality and they way they respond to you?
Find out the total cost to you including their performance, mileage, set up fees, rehearsal, practicing with other musicians, learning new music, etc. Once you find the musicians that best represent your wishes, you will probably be asked to provide a deposit in order to secure the date for your wedding.
Finding music for your ceremony
Once you have selected your musicians, you will want to meet to plan your ceremony music. Your musicians should be able to offer advice and provide you with a variety of music to choose from. Be sure and tell your musicians any special song requests that you have. It can sometimes take 4-8 weeks to special order music, so it’s important to do this well in advance of your wedding. The musicians will appreciate time to learn the music.