5 things that really do make a difference
You just set the date. Now, it's decision time. You are going to choose venues, flowers, food, music, napkins, table linens, seating arrangements, colors, invitations, guest list, attendants, officiant, caterer, photographer, videographer, event planner, not to mention the honeymoon. You could start to feel overwhelmed!
Here are 5 tips from Cloud 9 musicians who have performed over 1000 weddings.
It is our hope that this may calm things down and remove one of the big stressors in your planning portfolio.
Tip #1 - Hire Pros
There is a huge difference in the quality and expertise of professional musicians. Avoid "weekend warriors": amateurs, Uncle Jimmy, or student ensembles. Find musicians by asking event planners, venues and simple online searches. Here are some questions you may want to ask the musicians before hiring.
Have you ever played at this venue? A pro group is familiar with most venues in your area and will know what to expect.
How many weddings have you played? Pro event ensembles usually book between 20-80 weddings each year in addition to corporate events, parties, etc.
Are your musicians members of the American Federation of Musicians, the professional union?
What other musical organizations do the members of the quartet play with? Look for players who play with symphony orchestras, recording artists, Broadway touring shows, etc. Find a quartet whose players are in high demand.
Pros will know what you want and how to get it done.
Tip #2 - Ask the Musicians for Advice
It is perfectly fine if you don't know what you're doing. Most people have never planned an event with live music. The musicians should be a great resource to help you decide what will sound great at your event. We have played weddings where the bride has picked every song and other events where we were asked to pick all of the music. My suggestion is somewhere in-between. Certainly pick the music for the entrance of the bride. If you don't have a dream song for your entrance, you may ask the quartet manager what they think would be good. You may always ask questions. Here are some topics to discuss with your musicians.
Songs that the players know work well
Dress - formal, casual, etc
Wedding Planner or on-site coordinators cuing the musicians
Style of wedding - classical, pop, country, video game music, etc.
Parking at venue - shuttle bus, gondola, etc.
Officiant - recessional cue, cues for special music, unity candle music, etc
Working with singers
Tip #3 - Look For Music You Love
Check the playlists on the group's website. While no group is going to have every song you ever loved, a good group will have a lot of music from classical to modern pop music. We have played weddings were the client wanted only Disney songs, or just music from video games. We have also played Star Wars or Sci-fi-themed weddings. If you have a song that you just have to have but it is not the groups playlist, the musicians should be able to either find and arrangement for string quartet or have it arranged. Expect an extra fee for the music arranger's services.
Tip #4 - Relax
Congratulations, you made it this far. You have hired great live musicians. You have a great play list unique to your dreams. You have conquered one of the planning giants.
Your wedding is going to be AMAZING.
Tip #5 - Enjoy the Moment
This is your day. Set aside all of the anticipation. Set aside all of the conversations. Set aside the instructions and the supervisions.
Slow down, take your time and smile, as this day, this event, this future memory unfolds; the people, the promises, the music, the joy, the surprises, the mistakes and the laughter are all part of this - your wedding day.