June officially ushers in the summer wedding season. In a perfect world, brides and grooms will have taken the time to find the music for their wedding and obtain all necessary resources for it including print music, instruments, and musicians/vocalists. In the real world, sometimes the all important soundtrack of a wedding is overlooked until the last minute. Between being busy and making multiple decisions, some brides and grooms are at a loss when it comes to selecting music that is appropriate. They often take an “I’ll get to it later” approach, and then run out of time. Here are some basic things to consider when time is short.
Pick the performer then the music
A piece like “You Raise Me up” is a wonderful majestic piece for a wedding, but if your singer has the voice of a country star the music may be difficult for him or her to perform. Similarly, a piano player that plays at an intermediate or easy level may struggle with an advanced version of “Jesu, Joy of Mans Desiring.” Asking the performer for suggestions of pieces they have performed in the past is a great place to start and may eliminate the need for tracking down print music. This also takes stress off of the performer if he or she is being asked at the last minute.
As soon as you know what music you will be using, check with your musician to see if he or she will be finding the music and offer to reimburse them for this purchase. If he or she would prefer you find the music, then contact your music store immediately. Before calling, make sure you have not only the title of the piece, but what instruments it will be performed on. For vocalists it’s best if you can bring them along to see if the music needs to be transposed into his or her range. Allow a minimum of 10 days for most music to be ordered in or check into digital downloads (which can often be transposed if needed). Otherwise, rush shipping may be needed. Please keep in mind that just because you have heard a song on a CD or the radio does not necessarily mean that there is a print copy available for purchase. Having a list of back-ups may be useful.
Check the church/facility policy about music
Some churches have rules as to what type of music can be performed within the church and the ceremony. This is also a great time to ask if the church music director or minister have suggestions as to what music would be appropriate. Check to see if any instruments are allowed or if the instruments must be acoustic. If you plan to use a CD player check to see if they are permitted.
Be sure to question your performers as to what equipment will be needed. If a piano is needed, make sure it’s in tune. If you are in an outdoor setting, check to see if power outlets will be available for musicians with keyboards or amplifiers. Outdoor settings should also have a plan in place should the weather turn bad to protect delicate instruments. If using an organ, ask the organist if they are comfortable playing on the model of organ that is available.