Valuable Lessons for Wedding Musicians and Brides

Wedding season is winding down. Phew! Today's wedding should go well. The bride and I met months ago and got all the songs selected. I've played at this church before and last night's rehearsal was a snap.

The jury is still out on the one scheduled in two weeks. There are quite a few special requests for this one, which I didn't get until recently. Over the summer, Bride #2 rescheduled our meeting twice. She finally came with her fiance late this week.

At the meeting, she said that she wants five hymns sung. That was three more than what I was told initially. One thing I've learned is that if you want singing at a wedding, bring in singers. Don't expect the congregation to sing with enthusiasm. Most will mumble, if at all.

To make a long story short, she's going beg her friends over the weekend to form a choir and then we'll have to work out some time (when I'm not teaching, at meetings, etc.) to rehearse.

A few lessons here for brides:

  1. If you plan on having numerous special requests, book your musician(s) well in advance. Yours isn't the only gig on the roster. We musicians want to make your day special by playing well. Many musicians have busy music studios. Most musicians/teachers' schedules are extremely tight. The more time you give us, the better.
  2. Factor in rehearsal time and fees if you book more than one musician, such as a pianist and a singer.
  3. Meet with your musician(s) well in advance. If they are not familiar with some of the music you would like played at your ceremony, they need time to prepare it.
  4. If you put off booking a musician to one month or less before your wedding - good luck finding one. If you find someone willing to take you on, most likely, no special requests will be allowed.

And for musicians:

  1. If the client has to reschedule once, fine. If he/she must reschedule twice, unless it was for a dire emergency, drop the client. The money is not worth the hassle.
  2. If you decided to take on a client and are presented with several last minute requests, take control of the situation. Be very firm about what you require, your availability and what you are willing to do.
  3. Do not bend over backwards for problem clients. You should not compromise your other loyal clients (or your sanity) for this. The money is not worth the hassle.
  4. Charge for rehearsals. This is above and beyond the contracted terms.

*** Ironically, as things turned out, I choked on the third line of the Recessional at today's wedding (Jeremiah Clarke's Trumpet Tune). I drilled it a lot at home too. How frustrating. I stumbled my way back to the beginning of the piece as quickly as I could, segued into an improvisation on Canon in D and finally, segued into Houki Boshi, the Japanese pop tune I performed at the APTA Festival.

I guess I'm too used to playing Clarke's Trumpet Voluntary. I really should review the other, less requested recessionals more often, just in case.

*** (Sept. 22/07) Wedding #2 went more smoothly than I thought. To my surprise (and the bride's delight), the wedding guests did sing with enthusiasm and reverence, even on the hymns that were earmarked as just background music.

The only bumps occurred at the start when I thought the groomsmen were ready to enter the Sanctuary. They weren't, so I had to segue from Doxology to an improvisation on Canon in D; which I did so I could keep both eyes on the back door. The first bridesmaid entered too soon, so I had to make up some transitional chords in my left hand as my right quickly flipped to the bridal party's song. Other than that, everything went well.

(c) 2007 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.