When hiring musicians for your ceremony or reception, be sure to begin your search as soon as possible. Professional musicians, orchestras, bands and soloists may be booked a year in advance. Here are some guidelines to use when making a decision about the type of music you want and whom to hire:
• The music should compliment your special event, and not be too overpowering. Take into consideration the size of the venue and the acoustics.
• Don’t be afraid to ask for and check references of the performer you are considering. Chances are, if other people have been pleased with the musician, you will be, too.
• Take the time to audition musicians. This will give you an overall feel for their style of music and on-stage presence. Auditions can be in person, over the phone, by cassette tape or video. Audiotapes let you sample the style and expertise of the musician. Video additionally allows you to see the appearance of the performer. Make sure you like the quality of the music and that it is appropriate for your event.
• If you have particular selections you want included, be sure to discuss this in advance with the musicians. Make sure they can honor your requests and will have enough time to get the music and rehearse.
• For wedding ceremonies, always check with your Officiant before making selections. Some faiths or houses of worship do not allow secular (non-religious) music or particular selections. Knowing this in advance of hiring a ceremony musician will help you determine who to hire. Also, if you are getting married in a church, check with your Officiant to make certain hiring a ceremony musician outside the congregation is permissible.
• Discuss your expectations with the musicians. Musicians should dress and present themselves according to the theme of your event. Be very clear on what duties you expect of the musician, such as introducing special dance songs or when to play a certain selection. Be as detailed as possible, and get everything in writing. Don’t leave anything to chance.
• Amplification is important for any sizable event. Ask if the musicians are providing their own sound system and be sure it is electrically compatible with the venue or is battery operated.
• Most importantly, look for a harmonious working relationship. If the musician is not responsive to your needs during consultation, keep looking.