wedding musicians

Wedding Musicians:  How to Find Musicians and How to Pick Music

Now that you have figured out what type of music group that you would like to perform, you can start looking for musicians and can figure out what you would like for them to play.


How to Find the Right Wedding Musicians

Finding the right musicians to play at your wedding is important, because no one wants to have subpar music during their event. It is easy to find someone that says that they can play an instrument, but it is not as easy to find someone that can play well.


Here are some resources that you can use to find quality wedding musicians:

  1. Other weddings – Whenever you go to a wedding for family or friends, pay attention to the music. If you like what you hear, approach the musicians at the end, and see if you can get their info.
  2. Church Organists – Every church organist keeps a list of people that they recommend for weddings, and these lists have a lot of credibility. The musicians that an organist will refer to you are usually people with whom they have already performed.
  3. Wedding Coordinators – Wedding coordinators typically keep a vendor list with musician’s contact info. Unfortunately, these lists do not contain the best resources, because they usually contain friends of the wedding coordinator. However, it is a good place to start.
  4. Google Search – You can definitely find musicians on Google, but beware….anyone can be found on Google, and there is no filter for quality. If you find a musician’s website, make sure that they have recordings or samples.
  5. Local Universities – The schools of music at local universities can give you information of top faculty or alumni, and these musicians are usually very good.
  6. Private lesson staff for local band or orchestra programs – For the most part, this resource works well. However, realize that some music teachers do not play as much as they should and may by “out of shape” as a performer.


Appropriate Times for Classical Music

Selecting the appropriate times for Classical music in your wedding is very important. It can be an odd addition at some points, or it can be a classy touch. It just depends…


Here are the most common times to use Classical music:

  1. Preservice Music – Typically, people will have Classical musicians provide about thirty minutes of music before the ceremony. Providing this music is a very classy touch while your guests are being seated.
  2. Processional – The processional is the part of the service where the family members, bridesmaids, and the bride enter. People typically select a different piece for each part of the procession. It is best to ask the advice of your musicians to figure out what will work best here.
  3. Service Music – The most common part of the service to have music would during the lighting of the unity candle (if you include this portion). Most of the time, there is no music during the ceremony unless it is a special request.
  4. Recessional – The recessional occurs at the end of the wedding when the bride, groom, and the rest of the wedding party exit. It is very common to have a piece of music played when you leave, and usually, there is a second piece played while the guests leave.
  5. “Dinner music” for the reception – If there is a part of your reception where people are eating or mingling, it could be nice to have a string quartet play. Once the “party” side of the reception starts, you should end the Classical music and begin playing dance-type music.


How do you decide what pieces should be played?

For most weddings, there are the standard pieces that most wedding musicians know well. To find out what these pieces are, you can do a Google search on the topic and get a list. Outside of the standards, you can make special requests, but realize that some of the more creative requests may not be possible.


The best way that I have seen to communicate to your musicians which pieces you would like is by sending YouTube videos. That way, you can hear the music, and the musicians can instantly understand your requests. Whenever you are putting together a playlist, make sure you ask the advice of your musicians. They have done all of this before and know what works and what does not.


For the preservice music, you can make some special requests, but generally, people leave it up to the musicians to fill in the time with music. Give them an idea of what style of music, and they should be able to provide the rest.


Photo by Used under Creative Commons License.


  • madscout12

    For my wedding, I emailed Western Michigan University (our wedding was in St. Joe), and asked what they had as far as musicians for a wedding, About 4 jazz pianists got back to me. I looked them up on youtube, picked one that I liked, and negotiated. From there, I asked if he could get a trio together. I told them “here’s what I want for the processional and recessional, the rest of the ceremony and cocktail hour are yours. keep it mello.” They were awesome, and the guests loved it.

    The price? $600 for 3 ceremony and cocktail hour (and it could have been less if I just went with piano, but as a musician, I wanted to pay musicians at my wedding).

    Go live. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, and your guests will love it. Jazz guys are great…they love to play and if you get good ones (upper level undergraduates and grad students) you can just tell them a few songs you want to hear, and they’ll do the rest.

    • Michael Attaway

      Thanks for the comments, and I’m glad that you had a great experience at your wedding!

    • Andy

      Lol, a perspective from a musician. We’re not biased. 😉 Yes, I love DCI as well.

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