When hiring live music for your wedding ceremony, one needs to think about the type of sound they have in mind.
Some things to consider are: indoor or outdoor ceremony, budget, space available to place musicians and the kind of music they wish to hear.
If your wedding is indoors and the venue will have nice acoustics, you may not need a large ensemble and may get by with just a diet or solo. Outdoor weddings need more musician power to achieve the desired effect and one instrument may not meet your expectations. Therefore, you should think about hiring two or more musicians to provide more sound to fill the space.
Budget is perhaps the biggest dilemma for brides to deal with and it will dictate the size of your music ensemble in a very direct way: go with you can realistically afford. Here is your chance to set your priorities. If you would rather have rare flowers, or more expensive dress, you need to remember that music is also an important component to a memorable wedding day. Music should not be an afterthought. It's the first thing your guests will hear and it will punctuate the emotional highlights of your wedding ceremony. Therefore, it should be built into your wedding budget from the beginning. I've seen brides who could have bought a new car for what they paid for their wedding dress, and because of the choices they've made, they had to deal with a greatly reduced music ceremony budget, hiring one musician instead of four.
My advice is to hire a string quartet if your budget allows it. It's a Lexus of ceremony music compared to one musician, which would compare to a Ford Focus in this context. It is up to you which option will best serve your event. After all, it's going to be in your memories, and only you can put a price tag on that.
How soon do you play ahead for your wedding? As a professional procrastinator, I can't give anyone a good advice, but as I grow older each day I notice that I like to have a certain degree of control over events I'm planning. I got married 9 years ago, and tomorrow is our anniversary. I know what you're thinking, but I did plan ahead and made dinner reservations ahead of time.
I think if I was a single guy and was going to get married sometime in late 2011, I would plan things like invitations and venues, music, flowers, photographers and other important things now. I'm starting to believe that by doing it earlier, I would have less to worry about come wedding day. It's like doing homework ahead of time and then enjoying the rest of the evening with one less thing to stress about.
Today, as a vendor in wedding music business I know how important the timing is. If one waits long enough, one can miss out on getting the best vendors booked for their wedding. Sometimes I get calls to play a wedding next week! Usually, I can't help them because I'm already booked. But sometimes I can't help myself and think: "what where you thinking?"
My advice to all who is reading this: if you can only learn one thing from my message, take this with you: plan ahead and make reservation, so that you're not stressed out the week before the big day.
I am a professional violinist living in the beautiful mountains of Western NC. I teach violin students and play professionally.