HELPFUL TIPS FOR HIRING LIVE MUSIC FOR YOUR WEDDING AND RECEPTION

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

Music is an intregral part of your ceremony and reception and we would love to help you find the perfect musicians for your special day. Please take a look at what we offer and check out our website for our performance act listings.

We hope you had a chance to stop by our booth at the Seattle Wedding Show to hear some of our wonderful musicians last January. We'll be showcasing again in January of 2015 and our representatives will be happy to help you with any advice you may need for hiring musicians.

Fill out a quick and easy referral form to hire a musician, ensemble or band here

Why Hire Union Musicians?

Members use industry standard AFM approved contracts to clearly define the terms of the engagement. An AFM contract is your guarantee that you will get the music you want at the price, date and time you want it. Once signed, the AFM musician is obligated to honor the contract and so is the purchaser.

It's truly a "win win" situation for everyone!

ABOUT OUR WEDDING MUSICIANS

We represent over 500 professional freelance musicians in Western Washington covering Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Everett, Lynnwood, King, Pierce, Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, San Juan, Island, Kitsap, Thurston, Mason, Gray's Harbor, Jefferson, Clallam, Kittitas and Pacific Counties.  

With a membership this large we can provide a multitude of choices for styles, size of ensembles and instrument combinations.  

TIPS ON CHOOSING LIVE WEDDING MUSIC AND HIRING MUSICIANS

by The Musicians' Association of Seattle

WHERE WILL YOUR WEDDING BE HELD?

INDOOR WEDDINGS

Churches/Temples

  • These venues are almost always equipped with an organ and or a piano.
  • Many churches have their own organists available for hire and some actually require that you use their organist. Make sure to check on this first.
  • Most musicians will need chairs without arms and good lighting. 
  • Make sure your ceremony musicians are seated where they can see either the wedding planner or the wedding party lining up for their entrance.

Halls/Restaurants/Banquet Rooms/Hotels/Private Clubs/Atriums

  • Most locations like these are easily set up for live music but you will need to double check for piano, chair, outlet and lighting availability.

OUTDOOR WEDDINGS

Gardens, patios, parks, beaches

  • If you want an organist or piano player it's quite possible they will need to use an electronic keyboard instead of the real thing depending upon your venue.
  • Make sure you know what is available at your venue before you start hiring your musicians.
  • Musicians that play outdoors will require a tent or sun/rain/wind proof covering for the location that they will be performing in. Many venues have these tents ready to assemble but make sure that you check before hiring the musicians.

WHAT PARTS OF MY CEREMONY NEED MUSIC?

Prelude Music -

This is where you provide music for your guests as they are being seated and typically begins 30 minutes before the start of the wedding. This is a great time to have special pieces and favorite composers played for your guests and family.

Mothers/Grandmothers Seating Music -

This is the signal that the ceremony is about to begin and is generally a more stately piece of music. The groom, groomsmen and officiant will often move into place with this music. (processional music immediately follows)

Processional Music -

Once the mothers are seated, the Bridesmaids, ring bearers and flower girls will process to this piece. (Brides Entrance music immediately follows)

Brides Entrance Music -

This is the most important piece of music in your ceremony and will signal your guests to rise. It is important to note that this part of the ceremony can go by very quickly depending upon the distance the bride needs to process in your location. Choose your piece carefully with this in mind.

Interlude/Candle lighting/Meditation/Flower presentation Music -

Used during the ceremony when no one is speaking and a little soft reflective music is often needed. Often this is the time for a family member or friend to sing a special song. Your musicians can play, sit this one out or accompany your soloist. Please note: special arrangements that are not easily available will probably cost a little more.

Recessional Music -

The most joyous and festive piece of music in your ceremony. It should be a faster tempo than the processional. All members of the wedding party will recess down the aisle to the reception line area. (Postlude music immediately follows)

Postlude Music -

This is similar to the prelude music but more festive in style. If the musicians are continuing on to play the reception they will often play one more piece and then take a break to change locations. If they are not playing the reception they will usually play one or two more pieces until the guests have left the main wedding location.

Reception Music -

You have several choices here:

  • Use your wedding musicians for the entire reception.
  • Keep your wedding musicians for the first part of your reception and use another band for the second part when dance music is desired
  • Switch to a live band, jazz combo, pianist etc.

For a Non-Traditional Wedding -

There are no rules but your guests will most likely be expecting a grand entrance of some sort by the wedding couple, bride or groom to signal the start of the ceremony. The right piece of music will get your guests to their feet at the start of the ceremony and to applaud at the end of the ceremony.

WHAT MUSIC WAS PERFORMED FOR THE ROYAL WEDDING OF PRINCE WILLIAM & CATHERINE MIDDLETON?

A listing can be found at Westminster Abbey website here

WHAT KIND OF CEREMONY MUSICIANS SHOULD I USE?

Consider your venue.  Is it a huge cathedral, Japanese gardens or a restaurant banquet room?  Not every kind of ensemble works as well for every location.

What about the style of music?  You probably have an idea of what you want but might not know if bagpipes can really play that Katy Perry song or if a string quartet can play jazz standards.

The staff at the Musicians' Association of Seattle can help you with these decisions and offer a variety of suggestions.  We are all professional musicians and have played for hundreds of weddings ourselves.  Just give us a call at 206-441-7600.  Our advice is given at no charge along with our referral service that reaches over 500 local musicians.

HOW DO I PAY MY WEDDING MUSICIANS?

  • All professional ensembles, bands or soloists should issue you a contract outlining the terms of payment.  
  • A contract with the American Federation of Musicians is the most secure form of contract you can sign.
  • Some musicians will ask for a partial or full deposit ahead of time others will ask for payment when they arrive or after their last piece.  
  • If not paying in full beforehand make sure you designate a member of the wedding party or relative to see that the final payment is delivered to the musicians according to the contract terms.