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Wedding tips part 8:

Putting it all together

Once you've decided on musicians and made musical selections, think through their role during your wedding. Remember, it's not a concert, they are there to accent your wedding.

Space considerations
Whether you've planned for an instrumental soloist or a twelve-piece band, be sure to allow appropriate "playing space." Take into consideration the need for any chairs, music stands, microphones etc. For example, a string quartet may need chairs, ample space for music stands and "bow room," whereas a vocal duet may need microphones (don't forget to check for outlets) and possibly piano accompaniment.

Once you've signed a contract, make sure the musicians have all the music ahead of time and you know what their rehearsal schedule is. If you've chosen several songs for the musicians to learn you might consider setting up a time in advance to drop-in and listen to a rehearsal.

To ensure a smooth production, invite the musicians to your rehearsal, (and expect to pay them for their time.) This will allow you the opportunity to observe just how well the music will synchronize with the various sections of your wedding, giving you a chance to discuss when to start, stop, repeat, slow down, or speed up your chosen selections. You'll also want to check the acoustics and volume level. Does the trumpet sound too loud in the hall? Is there an echo? Is the piano being drowned out? Do you need a microphone? Also consider the distance between musicians. If the piano is at the front of the hall and you want your vocalists in the balcony, be sure that they can hear each other and have rehearsed together in those locations.

If you'd like the music to be louder or softer to accent a particular event, for example the candle lighting or the processional, be sure to go over these preferences during rehearsal.

Contingency Plans
"If I'm only halfway down the aisle, repeat the middle section of the song…."

Even though the rehearsal may go smoothly, the actual ceremony may be full of surprises. Give specific guidelines for each section of the ceremony should it go quicker or longer than you expect.

Here are some typical areas where you can expect the timing to vary:

· If your ring bearer or flower girl decides to take their time getting down the aisle, you want to be sure that the music doesn't end too soon!
· An anxious bride may speed down the aisle, or get caught up in camera flashes and take her time.
· If you and/or other family members participate in the unity candle ceremony or interlude, allow for some leeway in the timing.
· Plan on enough music for the Postlude. It may take awhile for all the guests to exit after the ceremony.

Make contingency plans for the Reception as well. Even if the musicians were hired to start at 4:00, guests may arrive early, or more likely, later.

Avoid the Unfortunate Bow Tie!
Make sure you give musicians guidelines for appropriate attire. If you expect them to show up in a tux, you'd better let them know in advance.

1. When to book
2. Setting the mood
3. Setting the stage
4. Hiring musicians
5. How much?
6. Acoustic or amplified?
7. Music selection
8. Putting it all together!

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