How does a wedding musician prepare for a wedding?
With yet another wedding coming up this weekend, I'd like to share my process on how I prepare for such an event. There is a lot more to consider when playing a wedding as opposed to the average gig. Below is a list of things that I like to have in order before the big day.
Contract - It is standard to sign a contract for wedding performances. This makes sure that the details are all set in stone (playing time, location, payment information, etc.).
Location/travel time - Weddings can often be further away than the average show. It is important to me to arrive with ample time to set up, soundcheck, change into wedding attire, etc.
Multiple setups - Often times a ceremony and reception will be in different locations. Multiple speaker setups are often necessary, knowing the locations of each segment of the wedding are essential.
Song Requests - It is not uncommon to have to learn requests for someone's big day. I make it a point to learn special requests about a week before the wedding. If I happen to need more time, then I will practice the songs each day until I have them down.
Wedding timeline - Knowing the timeline helps a ton. This tells me what time I need to soundcheck, when to play the dance songs, dinner time, set times, etc.
Announcements, Introductions - As the MC, singers will often need to make announcements and introduce the wedding party as they enter the reception. Printing out all of this information will ensure that things run as smoothly as possible.
Setlists - As with any gig, I believe setlists are necessary. Some wedding clients will select specific songs from a list that they want. Alternatively, they may create a "do not play" list. In any case, it is a good idea to have the setlist in order. The setlist can also include the first dance songs, cake cutting song, processional, etc.
Attire - Wedding bands will mostly wear suits, or at least shirt, tie and dress pants. In some cases however, weddings are more casual. I generally like to find out the "dress code" before arriving, to make sure I am not overdressed.
Wedding Coordinator Info - The wedding coordinator is the contact that the band/musician works with on the big day. Any kind of planning/coordination throughout the event with the coordinator is always beneficial.
Printed Document Checklist
Specialty Songs List
As you can see, there are a lot of factors involved in performing for a wedding. Preparation is key, and will ensure a smooth timeline and an enjoyable experience for all guests. Check out my Booking page for more information on weddings and private events.
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