Booking a live musician to play background music at your wedding is a great idea but it is worth keeping a few points in mind as you browse websites and consider different options.
To begin with, how much space do you have at your venue? If this is limited then a guitarist is a very good option as we occupy minimal floor space and we can project our sound well with the use of small to moderate sized pa.
My smallest amp is anAER compact mobile which fits under the average sized chair and yet is still top quality in terms of tone and clarity. It can also be used as part of my larger Peavey pa system.
A professional musician should have their equipment PAT tested every year and be covered by Public Liability Insurance in case of accidents. You should not have to lose sleep over these matters and a simple check with the performer at the outset will put your mind at rest. Wedding venues can demand certificates proving the above are in date, so don't hesitate ask for copies well before the day if you have any concerns. This is normal practice.
Naturally, I am happy to supply verification of PAT testing and PLI on request.
It's also very important to decide if you need a player only for your ceremony, or to cover other aspects of your wedding day.
My own feeling is that playing for a couples wedding ceremony is a very different task to providing background music at their reception or meal.
For the ceremony, you might require gentle, welcoming music as the guests arrive but perhaps a specific tune is needed for your 'walk down the aisle' (Processional) . Then, some pleasant pieces during the signing of the register and, usually, some cheerful music as the newlyweds retrace their steps back up the aisle and the guests chat, congratulate and depart at the end (Recessional).
Therefore, your guitarist needs to be sympathetic to these needs and agreeable to specific requests you might have, as well as adaptable if things change!
They might also need the skills to arrange a favorite song that you have always imagined walking down the aisle to. Many musicians prefer to focus on their playing skills rather than spend time arranging music, so it helps to be aware that not everyone will want to accommodate you in this respect.
A clear agreement at the outset is the key and if a prospective player sounds daunted it might be because they focus more on other aspects of wedding day music making..
Playing for a wedding ceremony is a big responsibility and should be taken seriously by a performer who is confident they can easily meet the above demands. There are some excellent players available who love playing at weddings so you really do not have to settle for anything less, whatever the instrument.
I have many years experience of playing, arranging and composing all types of music so am pleased to offer a service where I will play any piece already in my repertoire as a processional but can arrange a favorite song on request. My current repertoire is longer than I can list and constantly growing, so it's best to give me a call and check these details, or enjoy listening to some examples on my MUSICpage.
RECEPTIONS AND MEALS
Finally, if you do need the guitarist to perform background music for your reception or a wedding meal (breakfast or supper) it might be worth checking that they can provide more upbeat music in a style that you enjoy. These aspects of wedding days are more lengthy so a limited range of pieces and styles can become repetitive. In my experience, a good and varied repertoire is vital, especially for a 2 hour wedding supper!
It's well worth considering additional players to broaden the musical scope, so ask your musician if they have colleagues they work with regularly and consider whether a duo or trio option might be worth investing in.
I'm happy to provide several alternatives for drinks receptions and wedding meals. One example is my duo work with Wayne Matthews, an acoustic bassist of great talent and experience. The extra breadth of sound in our acoustic bass guitar/guitar duo is very different to my solo sound and I highly recommend it to anybody who would like a sophisticated but lively and enjoyable set. Wayne and I are something of a rarity too, so why not surprise your guests! Check out our SOMETHING DIFFERENT page as well as blogs about my other musical projects.
I also regularly combine well with hand percussionists of all styles (but not drum kit) for drinks receptions - which enhances and adds an extra rhythmic drive to my set.
Style of music is also an essential decision and, if you especially like a particular musical genre and want this played at your wedding than do make that clear. Anybody performing regularly for weddings and functions will know that they can't just play classical music or country rock all the time. It's all about pleasing our customers and if we don't play their kind of music we should be responsible and pass the booking onto a player who does.
I do have a very varied repertoire and cover most styles from classical, through pop and onto Latin and world music. However, I am more than happy to recommend trusted wedding-musician colleagues in situations where their repertoire might work especially well for you.
Happy wedding planning and feel free to call me on 07825 169339 about any of the above!