It’s not your responsibility to consider all of the needs of your musicians. THEY are the professionals and should be able to advocate for their needs. That said, these are crucial items that can lead to disaster if not addressed. I make it a habit to talk about these with my clients. However, if you’d like to be pro-active, here’s a list of the top 5 things you’ll want to discuss with your ceremony musician to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
#1. Access to electricity
More than likely, your musician is going to need some sort of amplification. Once you have an idea of where you want your musician to go, you’ll want to have the following discussion with the venue. Feel free to copy & paste the following into an email and see if the musician has anything to add before sending it out to your vendor/planner:
- How far are the nearest outlets to where my musician will be?
- If extension cables are needed to get power to my musician, are there any safety considerations that might get in the way?
- Are the outlets 3-pronged or 2-pronged?
- Are the restrictions on how much power can be drawn?
- Is there a way to position cables and amplifiers to make sure that they don’t show-up in pictures?
#2. Food & water
Be clear to the musician whether or not you’ll be feeding them. The last thing you want is your musician treating him/herself to your expensive buffet or asking the venue staff about where they can get food (believe me, I’ve seen it happen). However, this will allow him/her to plan ahead of time. If you are going to provide food, ask them when the best time would be to eat based on your schedule of events. At the very least, it’s advisable to provide them with a bottle of water, especially for the hot, summer weddings.
#3. Suitable playing conditions & load-in
Musicians usually have expensive equipment to carry, so make sure that they can setup at a flat, clean, stable surface. Heat and water are the enemy of instruments like guitars, violins, cellos, and electrical equipment and can cause them to go out of tune, malfunction, or even break. Try to avoid having your musician positioned in direct sunlight or anywhere rain, running water (fountains, waterfalls, rivers, etc), or spilling (bar, refreshments, etc) could ruin their gear.
Also ask the venue for the best path for them to take: sometime venues are particular about where vendor foot traffic is allowed. If the musician has to traverse a grassy field or across gravel or up several flights of stairs, their gear on wheels won’t do them any good and could lead to a delayed performance. On that note, try to find out how early the musician can arrive to setup. Ask the musician how long they generally need for setup to make sure that their load-in doesn’t interfere with your or your venue’s plans.
If you’re doing a city wedding or at a location where parking is either scarce or metered, you’ll need to decide whether or not the musician will have an assigned spot or will need to find parking on their own. Be clear if they should bring quarters, expect street parking, need to run outside to pay a meter every hour, go to a parking garage, get valeted, etc. Also consider when they’ll be arriving and leaving and make sure they’re parking in a location where they won’t block or be blocked by other vendors.
#5. Schedule of events
This seems like an obvious one, but it’s so easy to overlook! How will your musician know when to begin the ceremony music? Will someone cue them? Will there be a clear sign? A lot of musicians will be reading off of sheet music, closing their eyes, or be looking anywhere but where they need to. So make sure they know what to look for. If you have parts of your ceremony that need music, make sure they know exactly when to expect it. Lastly, be sure they know exactly when to start playing the recessional music!
Was this useful? Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments section and happy planning!