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Behind the Melody: Preparing for Wedding Music

Updated: Mar 18

What does a wedding musician do?


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I consider myself lucky to be able to provide my clients with something that very few people can - A unique atmosphere tailored to their wedding day.

Re-arranging any song to fit a wedding isn't part of every musician's wheel house, it takes a lot of work and preparation to provide such a service. In this article, I'm going to explain how much work goes into preparing for wedding music.


The Initial Wedding Consultation

After the initial booking is confirmed, I find a meeting with the couple gives me a good idea of their personalities, musical preferences and vision for their wedding.

Understanding a little about my client's history will influence my song suggestions (if they need any). 90's trance, gaming themed, metal heads. There's so many options that people think are off the table because the message or texture of the song isn't a good fit. The idea of the consultation is to open people up to all the options and shortlist some song ideas.


Song Selection and Customisation

After shortlisting some song ideas, my clients will then receive various samples to choose from.

Without boring you with musician stuff, my process of re-arranging music goes like this-


  1. Listen to the song

  2. Break it down into it's basic parts

  3. Identify any main identifying themes

  4. Rebuild the song including main themes


If the end result is in fitting with the theme of the wedding and is instantly recognisable by the couple, the it's added to the final song list. Sometimes it may need to be sped up, slowed down or played in a slightly different style.


This process is repeated for multiple songs.


Venue Visit and Technical Setup


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As a solo musician, I don't need a great deal of space and all I need is access to a power socket and I'm good to go. I don't necessarily need a visit to the venue beforehand but it is always good to know the venue wedding coordinator.

If there's significant travelling involved, I will reach out to introduce myself and confirm my arrival time for the day and believe me when I say some venues are easier to deal with than others!


Rehearsal, Practice and Preparing for Wedding Music

For a normal public gig, it gets to a point where you longer have to rehearse. The gigs are always the same, same songs, same timing so the gig it's self is a rehearsal. For weddings, so much of what I do I will only do once. Which means that rehearsal time is very important.

Typically, I spend 2-4 weeks before the wedding rehearsing songs to the point where I am confident performing the songs perfectly on the first take.


There is no 'take 2' as you walk down the aisle or first dance.


 

On the day


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Whether I'm travelling and staying in a hotel or travelling from home, I always consult my route planner to get an idea of travel time needed. I plan to arrive around 2 hours before I'm due to play. This gives me an hour to set up and give my guitar time to settle in, and an hour for a final practice. Depending on how far I'm travelling, I'll arrive stupidly early to account for traffic and other possible road based issues.


Performance and Audience Interaction

For a ceremony, there is some collaboration involved. I will speak to the coordinator and registrar to make sure everyone is aware of what we're all doing and I get my cues for when I should be playing. Quite often, my clients make the most of my Daytime Entertainment package which means after the ceremony, it's off to the drinks reception to entertain the guests during drinks and canapés. I always make sure that I'm set up in both areas beforehand and make sure the transition from wedding ceremony to drinks reception is as smooth as possible.


Post-Performance Reflections

After the performance, I usually say my goodbyes, pack up and make the drive home. Sometimes, rather than interrupt speeches or get in the way, I'll disappear quietly like a sneaky toad in the night while being thankful that I've been able to contribute so much to someone's wedding day.


Conclusion

In conclusion, preparing for a wedding performance as a musician involves much more than just showing up and playing songs. It's about understanding the couple's unique story, meticulously selecting and customizing songs, and ensuring the music perfectly complements the atmosphere of their special day. From the initial consultation to the final note played, every step is taken with care and precision to create unforgettable moments. This dedication to personalization and detail not only enhances the wedding experience but also turns it into a cherished memory for everyone involved.


 


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Considering the unique touch live music can add to your special day, I invite you to explore the possibilities that a personalized musical experience can offer. Whether you have specific songs in mind or need guidance in choosing the perfect soundtrack for your wedding, I'm here to help. Reach out for a consultation, and let's discuss how we can make your wedding music truly memorable.




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