By Gloria Sklerov & Barbara Rothstein, Co-authors of “How To Set Your Wedding To Music”, The Complete Wedding Music Guide & Planner
The 3 Biggest Wedding Music Mistakes To Avoid Now!
If you’re like most couples, you probably already know what you like (or dislike) when it comes to music. Still, when it comes to wedding music, you might not realize that your choice of music is only one of the important elements of a great wedding music plan. And if you’ve never planned a wedding before, how would you know all the things there are to know?
Read on to discover professional secrets and how to avoid the crucial mistakes most couples make…secrets you’ll be thankful you discovered before your wedding!
Mistake # 1
Taking Your Location For Granted!
The old saying, ‘location, location, location’ applies to weddings as much as to real estate! Every location has its advantages and disadvantages. The key is to be aware of them so you can spot and overcome all the ‘pitfalls’. We’ll help you make sure you use your location to its best advantage by pointing out many simple practical things too often overlooked. These can turn out to be critical factors in making sure your wedding music program goes well.
Here’s a great word to guide you: When you think of location, think of the word “A-R-E-A”.
A – ACOUSTICS
R – RULES & REGULATIONS
E – ELECTRICITY & EQUIPMENT
A – ACCESS
There’s nothing worse than planning a perfectly beautiful wedding program only to have it fall flat because no one can hear the music. Or blasting everyone in a small room with the horns of a 7 piece band all night!
Acoustics are different for outdoor gardens, the beach, large churches, hotel ballrooms, etc. A live guitar or harp is fine if you’re ceremony is in a small outdoor garden or indoor setting but it could get lost at the beach, or in a large cathedral type church.
Pachel Bel’s “Canon In D”(I) with a guitar and string arrangement can easily be heard outdoors using a simple CD boom box in a garden setting or in a smaller church with professional speakers. This arrangement is full enough to be heard but the guitar gives it a softer, intimate feel.
If your processional is in an even larger area like a ballroom or large church, an even fuller orchestration of Pachel Bel’s “Canon In D”(II) played on larger speakers may have more ‘presence’.
To avoid acoustical problems, test your music out by actually playing different Selections at your location, or make sure your professional DJ or Bandleader does this.
RULES and REGULATIONS
Many churches and synagogues have strict rules about the type of music and/or instruments that they allow. Some houses of worship insist on using their musicians, or won’t let you use CD players, etc. Most churches do allow “Ave Maria” or “Jesus” to be played if a CD player is provided.
For locations outdoors in public areas (the beach, parks, etc.) and even private homes, you also have to watch out for city restrictions and zoning laws. In some places you might have to stop the music after 10 p.m or so.
To avoid these problems, check early on with your contact at your church, synagogue, or other location to see what’s allowed and not allowed. If your wedding is in a private home or public area, check local regulations.
EQUIPMENT and ELECTRICITY
There was one wedding at an elegant old hotel where the DJ plugged in his amp, and blew out the lights and all the power in the kitchen. This unfortunate couple could have made sure that their DJ visited the location. If he had, he would have found out about the electrical problems in time to adjust his equipment.
Make sure your Band/DJ knows all about your location. If they haven’t played there, have them agree to visit the location to scope it out at least a couple of weeks before the wedding. They should also work together with the coordinator at your location so that any problems that could possibly arise are handled way before the wedding. Write these agreements into your contract before you sign or make any deposits.
Stairs are expensive! Musicians charge big fees for having to cart their equipment up flights of stairs or to remote, hard-to-get-to areas. If your location is tucked away, like the rock formations in Sedona, Arizona, or in a secluded quiet spot in the mountains or the wilderness, be prepared to keep it simple. Getting equipment and electricity to these areas might be too costly, or even impossible.
This is an issue that simply calls for your awareness. As long as you realize what’s involved in the location you pick out, and how the music and other equipment will be supplied, that’s half the battle. But we do suggest finding out the cost of getting the equipment you’ll need before you sign on the dotted line for the location. If you’ve already signed up for a more remote location, remember, there’s always a way. CDs players and speakers today are small but powerful, and they can go almost anywhere, and that goes for batteries too. This full orchestration of “Con Te Partiro” sounded wonderful played outdoors on a portable CD player at an outdoor wedding in Sedona. Acoustical instruments played by live musicians would be another good choice.
Mistake # 2
Not Writing Out (& Coordinating) A “Script” Or Plan
Whether you’re having a band, DJ, or a friend help you with your music, the most important ‘must have’ for your wedding is a written script for your final program. It’s your strongest guarantee for the wedding to go just as you’ve planned it. The extra 30 minutes or so that it takes to write out your entire program will be the 30 most important minutes of your planning. These minutes will guarantee that you’ll have the wedding just as you planned it. You really can’t count on anyone remembering verbal instructions at the wedding – there’ll be too much going on. One of the biggest mistakes most couples make is to assume that their DJ or band will coordinate everything. Don’t assume…. put it in writing! You want to be certain that not only does your bandleader/DJ have copies of your script, but that your photographer, videographer, caterer, head waiter, and any other coordinators also have copies. Everyone should be aware of what’s going on at all times. During your very first dance, you don’t want the waiters to be serving the main course and having your guests miss this highlight by being distracted with less important details.
For step-by-step guidance in writing out your script, you can refer to “3 Steps To Your Dream Soundtrack”, part of our collection of Expert Planning Articles.
With a well-coordinated script, there’s still plenty of room for pleasant surprises, but having your program written out will add to your peace of mind. It will guarantee you the wedding of your dreams.
Mistake # 3
Thinking You Can Do It All Yourself
No matter how small or large your wedding’s going to be – 30 people or 300 – whatever you do, DON’T do the music yourselves on your wedding day.
Ask a close friend or relative to be your ‘day-of-the-wedding’ music coordinator.
For larger, more elaborate weddings, some couples hire a ‘day-of’ coordinator to make sure that everything goes according to plan on the day of the wedding even though they have a band or DJ.
If you do have your own ‘day-of’ coordinator, or a DJ, even with a small wedding, it still pays to have a friend the DJ or coordinator can turn to…instead of you…when questions come up or unexpected on-the-spot decisions have to be made. Even professional coordinators can sometimes get so swamped with catering and other logistical details that the Band/DJ is often left on their own. It’s better if you can delegate someone who’s reliability and judgment you can trust to be your ‘day-of’ music coordinator. They can be a great help in making your day as relaxed as possible.
If You DO Have a DJ or Band…
Your ‘day-of’ music coordinator can be there to…
• Check with the Band/DJ to make sure everyone has copies of your script
• Act as your representative…the ‘go-between’…if you’re Band /DJ or other professionals have questions or if a problem arisesâ€¦so you can have a free mind
If You DON’T Have a DJ or Band…
Your ‘day-of’ music coordinator will actually be the one who…
• Rehearses with you and gets to know your script and your location a week or two before the wedding
• Turns on the equipment and checks the sound, wires, speakers, etc.
• Keeps track of every CD and selection to be played
• Makes sure that everyone helping at the wedding has copies of the script, and that it’s followed faithfully…the right music at the right time, etc.
• Contacts those who are to perform or make announcements and gets them ready well in time
You can also delegate one person just for playing the CDs, and another one for coordinating people who are involved, such as singers, soloists, even the caterer and photographer, etc. Just make sure that each person you delegate is clear about his or her particular responsibilities. Spell it out in writing when you print out your script.
Delegate carefully and then, at the wedding, just let the details go. This is your day for pure excitement and joy. The purpose of our Expert Planning Articles is for you to have confidence and trust in your planning so that on your wedding day, you’ll know that your wedding, and the music, will be wonderfulâ€¦just the way you’ve always dreamed it would be.
Wishing you the wedding…and soundtrack…of your dreams.
Gloria & Barbara