Why Live Musicians?

Sure, your nephew with the iPod can start the processional on cue. But few things will enhance your ceremony like live musicians. The investment pays off in many ways.

Last weekend’s wedding was a case in point. Even with careful planning and rehearsal, the timing of the processional is hard to capture. The trumpeter (both a professional musician and a relative) seamlessly added a repeat so the tune climaxed just after the bride’s escort wished her well and handed her off to the groom. The timing was perfect—as if the score were written to sync up with the action.

But there was more to it: shimmering overtones rippled over the guests with a presence that no PA system could match. It was live music, thrilling and organic and of the moment.

(Full disclosure: I’m biased. I fell in love with weddings in my 20s, when I worked as a guitarist and music teacher. I found myself weeping at the weddings of total strangers who were paying me to be there.)

To my mind—having seen quite a few ceremonies over the years—nothing can do more to create moments of magic than live music. (Okay, you need a first-rate officiant, but you knew that, right?) Whether it’s a classical guitarist, singer, pianist, string ensemble or piper, consider how music can enhance the ceremony at any point: as guests and then the mothers are seated; processional and recessional, or perhaps a song or meditation moment during the service.

If you need to economize, think of tweaking food or décor choices at the reception. You’ll still have quite a party, and your guests will talk about the impact your ceremony made on them. Save the DJ with your playlist of favorites for the reception.

Just as with your photographer, planner and officiant, you want someone with the expertise to pull it off well. Now isn’t the time to have your young cousin try out her recital piece and suffer performance anxiety. Look for a pro who can help you choose music to fit the occasion and work seamlessly with all the moving parts that a typical wedding entails.

Of course, if you have a friend or relative with the chops do it right (like Uncle Charlie, who also played standards on piano for the cocktail hour), that’s an added bonus. The point is to use the power of music to underscore the little piece of theater that your ceremony can be.

Photo: Theresa Story Photographer