How To Find The Best Wedding Musician

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about finding the best wedding musician for your big day.

So what makes a good wedding musician? How do you know whether the musician you’re considering for your special day is actually any good? Is it safe to go by the audio tracks on their website or do you need more proof of their ability before you book them? Like any service provider or consumer goods, the standard and ability of each wedding musician is very different so it’s worth doing your homework before you book the first one you find.

How To Find The Best Wedding Guitarist

I’m going to look at a few key aspects which I think make a good wedding musician.  The first section of this guide deals only with the quality of the wedding musician. I’ll cover things such as style, repertoire and the types of service they offer later on so keep reading.

What Makes A Good Wedding Musician?

So what should you look for?  Here are 4 key aspects which will help you to secure the services of a great wedding musician.

QUALIFICATIONS/TRAINING

Musicians who have studied music at university or conservatoire level are going to be of excellent quality and technically very proficient. Why? Because they undertook a degree course which required them to spend 3-4 years toiling away in a practice room for 6-8 hours a day. Whilst it is possible to attain the same level of musical proficiency without taking a formal course, a formally trained musician is always going to be a safe bet.  This isn’t to say that musicians who haven’t trained at conservatoire level are bad. It’s just that every musician who comes out of a formal course at that level will be very good.  Booking a trained musician just gives you that peace of mind.

VIDEOS/LIVE

You’ve listened to the demo tracks on their website or CD, but have you actually seen them play? The beauty of simple recording techniques means that it’s possible to cut and paste together several mediocre performances to make one very good sounding recording. By selecting the best parts from each performance, sound engineers can create a ‘perfect’ sounding recording very easily. It’s not just the reserve of top industry leading engineers. This technique is very simple to do with commercial software and minimal experience. How do you ensure that the wedding musician you’re considering for your big day can perform without making hundreds of mistakes? Either watch them play live or check out their videos (if they have any). If you can watch the wedding musician play live you’ll be able to judge how good they are first hand. This way they can’t hide behind a tampered recording. Videos are the next best thing. If a wedding musician has videos on their website be sure to watch them from start to finish. It’s a lot more difficult to cut and paste a video without it being obvious so this is another good way to see a full-length performance before you book.

CURRENT/ACTIVE

Is the musician you’re considering for your wedding active and currently performing at weddings? If they are then they are likely to be ‘in form’ for your big day. In other words they’ll be playing wedding repertoire frequently and be fresh on the typical wedding format. If they’ve just taken 6 months off to tour with their rock band or focus on other projects then they might not be quite as hot for your wedding. Admittedly this is a minor point but again it’s just good peace of mind if you know they’re currently performing on the wedding circuit.

EXPERIENCE

Is the wedding musician experienced? How many weddings have they played at? How many years have they been performing at weddings? Experienced wedding musicians will know the format of a wedding inside out. They’ll also know all about PAT testing, public liability insurance and how to deal with any unexpected issues on the day because they will have faced them before. The more experience your wedding musician has, the more likely it is that the music for your special day will go off without a hitch. Simple things that inexperienced wedding musician might not account for include: playing outside with no access to power, playing in windy/sunny/cold conditions, what to do if/when the bride is late, broken strings, multiple relocations etc. It’s amazing how much you learn over the years!

So the above points cover the musician’s technical credentials and wedding experience, but are they the right fit for YOUR wedding?  The next section deals with answering that very question…

Right GuitaristOk so the first part of this article dealt only with the musician’s technical skill and their ability to deliver a flawless service. Whilst this is a good starting point, these are not the only criteria you should look for in a wedding musician.  After all, it’s no good booking the world’s best wedding musician if they’re not suitable for your special day.

How To Choose The RIGHT Wedding Musician

Use these 5 criteria below to find the right wedding musician for your special day.

STYLE

This is a major point, because wedding musicians come in many different shapes, sizes and styles. They could be singer/guitarists, classical guitarists, jazz guitarists etc. It’s no good just booking the best wedding musician if they’re not the right style for your wedding. If you’re having an elegant wedding then a classical guitarist might be a better fit than a pop singer/guitarist. Likewise if the emphasis is on fun from start to finish then the latter might be a better option. Before you start searching for wedding musicians, think about what kind of style would best suit your big day. Once you’ve decided on style you can begin to sort through the options to find the best musician for your wedding.

PERFORMANCE FORMAT

What is a performance format? This can be split into two main categories; background music and gig/concert music. Think about when you would like your wedding musician to play during the day. Is it during the ceremony, drinks, meal or the evening reception? If you’re looking for a musician to play during the day, you’re probably better off seeking out a background musician. These types of musicians blend into the background and choose pieces of music to compliment the occasion, creating a perfectly tailored atmosphere to enhance your wedding day. They can also perform for the key parts of the ceremony, which makes such a difference compared to playing songs through a CD player or iPod. Concert musicians deliver a show that gets everybody on the dance floor and enjoying themselves. These types of musicians are definitely the right choice for the evening reception when you want to have some fun!

COMMUNICATION

Communication is not to be underrated when it comes to selecting a wedding musician. It makes such a difference knowing that you can relay a message about changes to the timings, song choices etc and have them reply to confirm it in a timely manner. It saves you a lot of worry and hassle if they can respond quickly. Of course it’s impossible to know how good each musician is at communicating with you until you’ve actually contacted them. Try sending out a few emails and see who replies the fastest and with the most useful responses. This will give you an indication of how well they are likely to communicate with you on the run up to your big day.

PRESENTATION

Presentation is important; it’s not all about the music. You’ve planned out every other details of your wedding and painstakingly chosen between whether to have Marsala or Scuba Blue for your bridesmaid’s dresses.  You don’t want your wedding musician to turn up in faded blue jeans and a Megadeth T Shirt. You can get a feel for how each wedding musician will dress by looking at the photos on their website. If you’re nervous about their presentation you can always specify the dress code before you book them.

FEEL

Go with your gut. If you’ve seen a wedding musician on the internet or at a