by Trent Reschny
1. The booking should start before the ceremony does
Starting the music 15-30 min before the ceremony starts will let your guests know that things are starting soon and naturally bring everyone into the area you want them. It’s also more elegant than ringing a bell or yelling 🙂 This is especially useful for outdoor ceremonies where guests can spread out over a wider area. It ensures that the musicians are used to their environment and sounding their best for your walk down the aisle. We always show up 30 minutes before this to set up and speak with the officiant (unbilled time). Your booking starts when the music starts and is not for our set-up. Having that 15-30 minutes of music before the ceremony starts will keep your guests entertained, calm, and in a great mood.
2. Wait for it…
Many of today’s brides want their very own song to walk down the aisle to. This is understandable as it’s a big moment in their lives – one that many have been dreaming about since childhood. For maximum effect, you’ll want to wait for the exact right moment. Wait for the bridal party to safely land at the front and settle for a second. This will allow the musicians to create a custom cadence (ending) – like a neat and tidy bow on a nicely wrapped present. There will be a couple seconds pause before starting the next piece. When your music starts, take a moment to breathe, then walk – it’s your big moment.
3. Book for long enough:
An hour is usually just enough to have a 15 minute prelude, a short civil ceremony, and a few minutes of music for guests to walk out / linger by. But what happens if the limo is late, your Aunt forgets the flowers, or guests are still arriving at the time you are supposed to be walking down the aisle? These things happen in real life – especially guests coming late – we see it all the time. If this sounds likely at your wedding, consider booking 1.5 hours (necessary for Catholic weddings with mass) or longer. Even with a late start the musicians are committed to you for that time. If you are done early we’ll still play to the end and, yes, we can move locations. You’ll also notice that subsequent hours after the first are discounted – it’s cheaper to keep us :). We love to play and once we are there we really enjoy continuing into our stylistically diverse repertoire. Which leads to…
4. Keep the flow going:
For the ceremonies that lead directly into cocktails and/or a meal, it’s great to keep your musicians playing. Stopping the music equals stopping the party, and this is where things are just starting to get social for everyone. The last thing you want is for the walk back down the aisle to end and have it followed by complete silence. As a bonus, many musicians (including us) will charge less for the second and subsequent hours.
5. A natural segue:
You can use music as a way to help transition guests from one place to another, or from one activity to another. If you have booked live music during cocktails but not through dinner, the best time for the musicians to finish playing is right before the doors open to the dining area. Keeping the music going will keep people in the cocktail area, but stopping it will help to usher them into the dining area. If you have some speeches on the agenda, let the musicians know the time(s) you are planning to start those. We can work it so we play up to that point and break during the speeches. Even though itineraries don’t often end up being exact, they do help us plan our sets in optimum fashion.