Having musicians perform live at your wedding ceremony or reception can create a truly magical atmosphere that’s rarely found elsewhere. But with it, live music can bring a whole host of problems you might have not thought about before.
Here are some things to keep in mind from the weather and mics, to the all-important acoustics.
Venues will probably have dealt with similar details about the kind of music/band you'd like at your big day and often offer some sound advice for what works. Also make sure to ask about the rules your venue have in place about sound levels and when the musicians are allowed to start setting up/sound checking.
Outside venues are trickier because of electricity, sound and weather issues. Remember that sound gets lost in the outdoors, especially if the wind picks up. If you already have a back-up plan for if it rains, discuss it with your musicians and make sure they are happy for their instruments to be where you want them to be.
On a stage? In a corner of the room? Whether you position your musician in a room or outside space has a huge impact on the quality of sound they’ll produce.
If you have 200 guests mingling and chatting and a few musicians sitting down, playing non-mic’d instruments- the sound could get lost and people at the back of the room could be left unable to hear anything.
Also be sure to take note of where the speakers are placed. You don’t want to blow out granny’s hearing aid or make anyone uncomfortable with the sound levels.
This is especially important for outside venues and important to think about if the weather turns bad. Loose, exposed cables can be a nightmare as a tripping hazard! Don't say we didn't warn you.
If you have a few specific songs you’d like played during cocktail hour or when the dancing starts, talk to your musicians early enough in advance, in case the songs you want aren’t in their repertoire. The worst thing would be to leave it last minute and ask your musicians to perform music they don’t know or haven’t had time to rehearse. Cue that scene of 'The Wedding Singer' - we all know the one.
Live music can be an expensive add-on but take into account that these people also need to make a living and when you consider the number of people you are hiring, practice time, set-up and instruments – it’s not unreasonable for them to be want to be compensated fairly.
Don’t forget that your performers also need to be fed and watered throughout the evening and there will need to be time set aside for them to take breaks. Plan to have a playlist for these interludes so that you aren’t left in silence- nothing kills an atmosphere faster.
“Of all the choices you make for your wedding, the only thing that’s more important than the band is the person you’re going to marry!” (Robyn Smith)
Jana van der Walt is an accomplished musician and harpist performing in and around Cape Town
Top quality entertainment for weddings, functions, events since 1999! Hire the best DJ, one man band, duo, trio or band for your function! Cape Town based singer, performer, a...