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Planning your Wedding Ceremony Music is easy and enjoyable when you hire Pianist for Parties, Sharon Planer, in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis, St. Paul and central Minnesota.

Wedding Music Planning Help

by Wedding Event Pianist

Sharon Planer, Pianist for Parties

Whether you have a traditional or non-traditional ceremony, you will want the music to reflect your style of wedding.
Piano music for a wedding at the historic Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel. Photo credit: http://www.delightphotography.com/

Piano music for a wedding at the historic Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel.

Photo credit: http://www.delightphotography.com/

Here are some suggestions to help you find your music, musician and preparations for planning your wedding music.

Congratulations on your engagement! Your wedding is your special day. Your musician will be eager to listen to your ideas and give you suggestions to help make your ceremony and reception the unique and wonderful event that you envision it to be.

If planning the music for your wedding seems overwhelming, a professional musician will be able to guide you through the process and can take care of all the details for you.

A joyous wedding at the Semple Mansion. Photo credit http://www.brioart.com/

A joyous wedding at the Semple Mansion. Photo credit http://www.brioart.com/

How to find good wedding musicians.

Word-of-mouth recommendations 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. Ask your venue to provide you with ceremony and reception 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. Ask for sample demo recordings. Ask them for client references. Talk to references who can vouch that the musician has good musical skills and is reliable and responsible. Does the musician provide a free consultation to help you plan your music? Do they have a strict repertoire or are they willing to learn new 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? Ask for a sample contract. Compare prices. Do they charge by the hour, by the job? Find out the total cost to you including mileage, set up fees, rehearsal, practicing with other musicians, learning new music, etc. Once you find the musician that best represents your wishes, you will probably be asked to provide a deposit and sign a contract.

Song Resources.

Once you have selected your musician, you will want to meet to plan your wedding music. Your musician should be able to offer advice and provide you with a variety of music to choose from. Be sure and tell your musician any special song requests that you have. It can sometimes take 4-8 weeks to special order music, so it is important to do this well in advance of your wedding. Your musician will appreciate some time to learn the music as well. Here are some free music resources. Your local or central library will likely have wedding music resources including sheet music and sound recordings. Do an internet search for online music samples. Many wedding web sites have lists of ceremony and reception music. You can listen to samples at the major bookstores online as well as purchase resources. Local bookstores will have text, sheet music and recordings. Local music stores have a wealth of sheet music and recordings and can offer wonderful advice. Discount chain stores sell wedding sampler recordings as do card shops and wedding shops.

Sharon Planer performing wedding ceremony and cocktail piano music in downtown Minneapolis at the Atlas Grill.  Photo credit:  Dan's Photography

Sharon Planer performing wedding ceremony and cocktail piano music in downtown Minneapolis at the Atlas Grill.  Photo credit:  Dan's Photography

If you are having a traditional wedding ceremony, you will want to confer with your musician regarding the following items.

Prelude Music. Your musician provides music to set the mood while the guests are being seated and waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Parents and Grandparents Song. Sometimes couples want a special song played when the parents and grandparents are seated.

Wedding Party Processional. This song is played when the bridal party enters.

Processional. This song is played when the bride, groom or couple walks down the aisle. It can be a continuation of the wedding party processional or it can be a totally different piece of music. This music is usually grand and festive. For same sex weddings, the brides or grooms sometimes enter together or one after the other.

If you are having Unity Candle and/or Rose Presentation, music is often performed. 
Signing of the Wedding License. If this is part of the ceremony, music provides a nice background.

If you are having Communion or Mass, music is often played or sung. 
Recessional. This music is played at the conclusion of the ceremony when the couple makes their exit. This music is usually bright and lively.

Postlude Music. Your musician provides music for your guests to enjoy while the guests are being ushered out.

If you are having a non-traditional ceremony, you will want to meet with your musician early in your planning stages, so that you and your musician will have time to locate and select the music that will reflect your style of wedding.

Following a vineyard wedding ceremony, Sharon Planer performed wedding reception music under the tent at Vino in the Valley.

Following a vineyard wedding ceremony, Sharon Planer performed wedding reception music under the tent at Vino in the Valley.

If you prefer using recorded music for your ceremony rather than hiring a musician, check that your wedding facility has adequate sound equipment available. Ask if a sound technician is available.

Planning Your Wedding Cocktail, Dinner and Reception Music.

What type of atmosphere do you wish to create with the music?  Do you want the music to represent a particular theme?  Cocktail music is often upbeat and celebratory.  Dinner music can be quiet and romantic.  After Dinner do you want your musicians to get your guests out on the dance floor?  Communicating you ideas with your musicians will allow you and your musicians to work together to create a repertoire that will reflect the style of music you want.  Your musician's personality matters!  You want to feel comfortable with them and know that they understand you.  Once you find musicians that you 'click' with, the music planning will be fun!

 

Live piano music for wedding cocktails at the crown room.  Photo credit: Lucas Botz Photography. 

Live piano music for wedding cocktails at the crown room.  Photo credit: Lucas Botz Photography. 

You're almost done! There are just a few more details to cover.

1. Does your musician need to provide his/her own instrument or is the instrument available at the ceremony location? For example, if you hire a pianist, find out if there is a piano available and how much it costs to reserve. What is the sound quality of the instrument? How often is it tuned? Your musician should be taking care of all these details, but you'll want to make sure that is the case. If a piano is not available, you may wish to rent one from a local music store or find out if your pianist will provide a portable piano.

2. Do you have vocalists that will need accompaniment? Let your ceremony musician know.

3. Some clergy and churches are selective as to the type of music they allow, be sure and check this out with the person officiating at your wedding.

4. Some facilities and churches have sound technicians, and some even require that you hire one for your event. You would want to hire a sound technician as soon as possible to insure his/her availability for your event.

Congratulations!  Once you have chosen your musicians, finalized your music selections and covered the details, you can relax knowing that your musicians will create the perfect setting for your wonderful wedding!

This article was written and copyrighted by Sharon Planer, August 2013.

Sharon's 'Wedding Ceremony Song List' may be a helpful resource to you.