Hi everyone! These are some questions that I've been asked often over the past 9 years of performing at weddings full-time, so I thought I'd create a dedicated FAQ section. Since every wedding is unique & beautiful in of itself, there will likely be a question you have that isn't addressed here, but many of the essentials are still covered :). My main hope is that this is a helpful resource for you as you plan your big day. Of course, you can ask me anything, anytime throughout our correspondence and I'd be thrilled to answer!
Q: How many songs should I choose for my Ceremony?
Seating of Mothers/Grandmothers (if applicable): *1 song
Wedding Party: *1 song
*Please note: There can be exceptions to the above. If the Seating of Mothers/Grandmothers is very short, then it can work much better to have 1 song total for that + the Wedding Party. On that same point, if it’s a very long wedding party with a long entrance ramp/path, then having more than one song can make sense. In this case, I’d seamlessly transition between the two songs so that there’s not a long pause/gap in the music. The quantity of people in the Seating of Mothers/Grandmothers + the Wedding Party, along with the length of the walk from to the ceremony site can affect the timing. These are the types of musical details that we work out in our correspondence while planning the music. I guarantee that it will be worked out in a way that will flow beautifully :)
Main Bride or Groom Entrance: 1 song. This is the one magical piece of music for the bride-to-be or groom-to-be to enter to. I always encourage this to be the song you are the most passionate about. Whether it’s contemporary, traditional, special request – definitely don’t “settle” on this song! Of course, I’m here any time you’d like my input or would like a demo of a special request :)
Unity Ceremony (Sand, Wine, Candle, Box, Tree, etc. If applicable): 1 song.
This is a very visual part of the wedding that is “colored” beautifully with music.
Recessional: 1 song, though I do recommend picking 2 songs. Pick 1 song picked for the initial exit, then a backup song (a “Post-Recessional” song) picked for when/if guests are still leaving the ceremony & making their way to the cocktail hour.
Q: How many songs should I choose for the Prelude (Pre-Ceremony)?
Around 10 songs is a good way to go. A standard Prelude is 30 minutes of music before the Ceremony begins, so if you average it to be around 3 minutes per song, 10 songs is a good sweet spot. It’s also a good idea to choose a couple extra “backup songs”, just in case the Ceremony starts a few minutes late.
Q: How many songs should I choose for the Cocktail Hour?
For the Cocktail Hour, I recommend picking 20 songs. It’s a similar idea to the Prelude, averaging around 3 minutes per song.
Q: How “hands-on” should I be with the wedding music?
This is entirely up to you! I always stress that, for the Ceremony itself, wedding couples should be really hands-on and I will be happy to offer feedback & guidance (if needed). The music will be most featured during the Ceremony, so it makes sense to be very hands on.
For the Prelude & Cocktail Hour (and Dinner Hour, at times), it can play out a few different ways:
- You can hand-pick every single song and I’ll happily play them all!
- You can hand-pick a few songs, then leave it to me to perform more songs that will match & complement the atmosphere of the songs you picked. This is, in a sense, a “meeting halfway” type of approach.
- You can let me know the general atmosphere/vibe you’re looking for and leave it to me to pick all songs accordingly. With this option, as well as option 2, you can count on my experience and ability to “read the room” to fulfill your musical vision beautifully.
Q: If we choose a 4-minute song for the Bridal Entrance/Final Processional, do you keep playing the song after I reach the altar until the song is finished?
This is a great question! No, I will not play for an additional lengthy amount of time after the final person has reached the altar. It makes for an awkward and downright uncomfortable extended period of time where the Officiant (and everyone else) is waiting to begin the ceremony. Also, if music keeps playing, it’s sending a message that the Processional isn’t over, which just creates confusion.
Instead, I’ll organically wrap the song up as the final person reaches the altar. This is a skill I’ve cultivated over the 9+ years I’ve been performing at weddings full-time. So, while the song will usually not last for it’s entire normal length, it absolutely will not “stop on a dime” either.
Q: What time do you arrive on the day of the wedding? I typically arrive between 45-60 minutes prior to the Prelude, so about 75-90 minutes prior to the Ceremony. This gives me ample time to set up, adjust to any necessary changes due to inclement weather, etc.
Q: Do you provide your own amplification? Yes, I use Bose PA Systems that sound fantastic and take up little space. If it’s outdoors without access to power, I use a Roland Cub Street EX battery powered speaker that works beautifully.
Q: Do you provide a microphone for our Officiant? I am happy to offer this as an option, if needed. It’s important to note that I do not use wireless equipment, due to reliability issues (i.e. wireless signal cutting out during a crucial part of the Ceremony). So, I have a microphone, mic stand, and mic cable that would be plugged into a speaker. It works very well, but it’s worth considering whether or not you’d want that in photos, given the mic stand & mic cord. This option would be of no extra cost.
Q: Do you take song requests? I do! I can accommodate up to 3 special requests per wedding. I already have a vast repertoire list spanning numerous genres & eras, but am quite happy to learn songs special to your wedding.
Q: For special song requests, can we hear how it sounds with the fingerstyle guitar format prior to confirming the song?
Of course! I offer a free demo of ANY song you'd be considering for your wedding. This way, you can hear how it sounds in the solo guitar style before deciding. This is one of my most popular features amongst clients & is included in my quote.
Q: Can we see you perform live prior to our wedding?
Yes, absolutely! I have a monthly rotation of restaurant performance in the west suburbs of Chicago, so if you & your fiancé ever want to come out for a date night & “preview the musician”, so to speak, I happily invite you to do so! I have an email that I send a 2-3 times a month letting everyone know where I’ll be performing. Come on out, say hello, and request a few songs – I’d love to perform them for you!
Q: How long have you been performing at weddings? As of summer 2019, I have performing at weddings full-time for 9 years. My first wedding performance was summer of 2010.
Q: Are you comfortable performing outdoor weddings? Yes, although I do have an item in my contract stating that I need to be sheltered in case of inclement weather.
Q: If an outdoor ceremony needs to suddenly move indoors due to rain, are you able to quickly accommodate that? Absolutely! My equipment can be transported quickly & with ease.