How to pick the perfect music for your church wedding
And how much to pay
When it comes to planning a wedding, an often missed opportunity for creating that ‘wow’, beyond the bride herself, is the ceremony music. And if your wedding's in a church, there’s a few things you need to know before you stroll down that aisle.
You can evoke the atmosphere you’re looking for without having to resort to the same old classics simply because it’s a familiar sound and a safe option, even if your wedding is in a church. So here are five tips when choosing the perfect music for your church wedding and how to set a realistic budget.
Tip 1: Live music or recorded?
Okay, so you'd love a live orchestra full of violins and harps to serenade you down the aisle, but the budget just won't stretch that far. Recorded music is a great choice for couples on a tight budget.
Live music on the other hand adds visual appeal and an ambience that you just can't get with a digital recording.
Who enjoys staring at an iPod?
It’s hard to put into words that uplifting, all-consuming feeling you get when you hear a space filled with beautiful music.
Watching musicians can be mesmerising and the song can send shivers up your spine and make you cry.
Ok, I know we’re supposed to be looking at the bride, but a well-chosen piece of music somehow makes things more beautiful and romantic.
Tip 2: It doesn’t have to be a classical ensemble
Just about any music can work at a ceremony, excluding of course, metal, death metal and grunge, although I'm sure there's been plenty of off-beat brides that have walked down the aisle to their favourite Iron Maiden song.
No offence intended. I love Iron Maiden. No, not really.
It's all about reflecting the personalities of the couple and having that fit with the mood they'd like to create for their celebration. Grunge or not.
And it doesn’t have to be a classical ensemble in your church either, if that’s not what you’re looking for.
With permission in place, you can venture out from the predictable. You can have Pachelbel's Canon in D
But why not mix it up?
Imagine it played on steel drums, with a reggae beat! Now that’s something you don’t hear every day.
Or picture an entire ceremony recreated from the movie 'Love Actually', complete with the church organist, singers, string ensemble, wind and brass instruments and electric guitarist. And played in a cathedral filled with amazing acoustics and ambience you’ll never forget.
Whilst your budget may not stretch this far, you get the idea.
Tip 3: Ask permission first
We helped a couple map out this scene for their wedding, drawing on our network of musicians, but one thing got in their way of pulling it off exactly as they’d imagined.
The church said no.
You need to ask permission, or at minimum check with your Priest or Minister about the music you’d like to include in the ceremony. Not all churches allow music (or musicians) beyond the church organist as they believe the ceremony is about the marriage and not the performance.
Tip 4: Knowing what you want & where to find it
Some couples want it to be upbeat and fun and will choose something to suit. (Think "Sweet Pea" by Amos Lee or “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole).
Others choose the ever predictable classical songs like "Bridal Chorus" by Wagner and "Canon in D”.
There's no right or wrong for wedding music
Think about what mood you want and the role that a well-chosen piece of music can play in your ceremony. Musician's love creating special memories for couples. But knowing where to find musicians to perform their chosen songs can be a struggle for many couples. And falling back to the classical favourites is the ‘safe’ option because by sticking with the standard classical ensembles, you’re pretty much almost guaranteed the sound you want.
But there are variations of a classical ensemble
If you’re wanting something unique. Check out our 4 x 6 Duo for a classical take on Hotline Bling’s Drake.
It’s a good idea to select your songs for the key moments before you start asking acts for quotes. Musicians need to know the songs upfront as they may need to learn them if they're not already in their repertoire.
For more ideas, read our popular wedding ceremony music options and musicians.
Be realistic with your budget
There are so many factors that influence price and it can be difficult to know how much is enough.
So how much should you pay for a musician at your wedding?
As a guide, allow at least:
• $450 for a solo
• $300 per player for a duo
• $400 per player for a trio
• $450 per player (at least) for a 4-piece
Speciality or customised acts can also cost more
Other factors that influence pricing are:
• Number of players
• Travel time and parking fees
• Special song requests
• Amount of equipment needed
• Limitations on set-up / pack-down time
• On-site duration
• Requirement to move on to play at the reception
But overall, be realistic
If choosing a non-standard type of act, expect to pay more. Hoping a guitarist to also play piano in the same song, as well as be paid as a solo act, is just not going to happen.
This is your opportunity to have something unique and have your guests talk about it for years to come. After all, this is one of the most important ceremonies of your life.
So why not venture out from the usual and create something unique?
Over to you
What kind of music are you planning to have at your church wedding?
For more information like this, or tips on music for your wedding, we’d be delighted to hear from you.
Article written by Amy Annetts Marketing
In collaboration with Music For My Wedding. (Amy was the brains behind this article!)
If you're a small business or creative looking for a marketing edge, contact Amy to create a vision for your business to grow into.
Are you ready to cross "book a wedding entertainer" off your to-do list?
Back to blog