Regardless of the style you have selected for your wedding, music will play an important part in all aspects of the event. Music will entertain your guests before the wedding ceremony begins. Music will accompany you down the aisle and when you leave the ceremony as husband and wife. Music will entertain your guests while they wait for you to be photographed before joining them for the reception. Your reception musicians may also provide Master of Ceremony service as well as dinner and dance music.
Selecting ceremony and reception musicians should be high priority for you after you have reserved your ceremony and reception sites. Be sure to check on reception site rules and restrictions for music before reserving your site. One couple whose wedding I attended was forced to end the dancing at their reception early because the hotel enforced a “quiet” rule after 9pm. Unfortunately the couple was not aware of that restriction when they booked the musicians for the evening.
If your wedding is a destination wedding, you may find that you need music in places for your ceremony that you haven’t thought about. For example, when I got married in Barbados, I learned I needed a song for the “document signing” of the marriage license. In that country, that is a required part of the actual ceremony and you want music for that 3-5 minute portion of the ceremony.
Many couples use the same musicians for both their ceremony and their reception but that is certainly not necessary. For your ceremony you might like to have a singer, a string quartet, a harp, an organ, a flute or even a bagpipe. Then for your reception you might choose a DJ or a dance band. You could even have one set of musicians for the ceremony, one for before and during dinner and a third for dancing after dinner. Your imagination and you budget are the only limits to what you can do.
Once again you have some homework to do before interviewing musicians. Take a little time to select at least some of the music you want played before interviewing musicians. That will give the musicians a better idea of the kind of music you like and will tell them if they have a suitable repertoire.
Before making your final decision, be sure you hear the musicians play and ask for references. If possible, hear them play live. If that isn’t possible, keep in mind that a recording can be enhanced so they may not sound the same live as recorded. You are always better off using someone who comes highly recommended for the type of music you want by someone you know and trust.