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Tips For Selecting Music For Your Wedding Ceremony

Choosing Ceremony Music: Are Their Any Venue restrictions?

Before deciding on who will provide your music and selecting pieces, be sure to check with your venue about any music restrictions they might have. Even if the venue seems like they wouldn't have many restrictions, you can't really assume anything. Here are some restrictions I've run across:

Churches that don't allow recorded music.

Churches that only allow religious music.

Church organ may only be used by the church organist. Could be a problem if the organist is out of town over your wedding date. Do they have an approved list of substitutes?

Venues that have an "approved vendor list" that includes musicians or groups they work with exclusively.

Venues that have a piano, but charge a tuning/rental fee for it's use.

Venues that have a sound system, but will only allow you use it if you book their sound man.

Where do I start, when I have no idea what I want?

What sort of atmosphere are you trying to create? What's the vision of your day? Here are some examples:
Ceremony: formal, church, traditional, elegant, casual, semi-formal outdoor
Cocktail hour: elegant, casual, sophisticated, relaxed
Reception: large party, dancing or not?, meal with background music

The size of the space and number of guests should give you an idea of how much volume you'll need. This helps you select the right size group, type of instrument, and whether or not you'll need amplification.
For example, a cathedral that seats 800 would be fine for an organ or string quartet, but a solo violin would be lost in that much space.

For your ceremony, what are your favorite types of instruments? Listen to sound samples linked in the

Selecting an Instrument/Group table below if you want some help with this.

What genre of music (classic, contemporary, jazz, pop), would you like to hear? Or do you want a mix?

Do You Need Ceremony Sound Reinforcement?

If your DJ is also doing your cocktail hour/reception and the ceremony is at the same venue, he will probably charge you the rate for an extra hour or two. Charges vary for different DJ's/areas.

If the ceremony venue (in another location) has their own sound system and no additional equipment is needed, many DJ's can bring the music, coordinate the music, and even act as wedding director. Charges vary for different DJ's/areas, but I would guess that they would tack on the amount for an additional hour or two.

If you are having different ceremony and reception venues, the rate is higher. A second set of equipment is needed, and possibly even a second DJ if the ceremony venue requires that the sound equipment be removed immediately after the ceremony (meaning he wouldn't get to the reception venue right away). Because of more difficult logistics, this could be anywhere from multiple-hour charge to the full base rate because of the additional setup.

Questions to ask when booking “live” ceremony music

Are they available for your date & time?
If not, ask for referrals to other musicians.

What are their rates?
Be sure to provide #2 - 7 at left before asking.

For Catholic mass - Do they charge extra for a mass (because these are much longer)?

If your venue is over 30 minutes away, do they charge a travel fee to that location?

For outdoor ceremonies:

Do they play outdoors? If yes, do they need amplification?

If yes, do they provide their own amplification or do you need to provide it.

Do You Need Ceremony Sound?

If your DJ is also doing your cocktail hour/reception and the ceremony is at the same venue, he will probably charge you the rate for an extra hour or two. Charges vary for different DJ's/areas.

If the ceremony venue (in another location) has their own sound system and no additional equipment is needed, many DJ's can bring the music, coordinate the music, and even act as wedding director. Charges vary for different DJ's/areas, but I would guess that they would tack on the amount for an additional hour or two.

If you are having different ceremony and reception venues, the rate is higher. A second set of equipment is needed, and possibly even a second DJ if the ceremony venue requires that the sound equipment be removed immediately after the ceremony (meaning he wouldn't get to the reception venue right away).

Because of more difficult logistics, this could be anywhere from multiple-hour charge to the full base rate because of the additional setup.

Questions to ask when booking “live” ceremony music

1. Are they available for your date & time?
If not, ask for referrals to other musicians.
2. What are their rates?
Be sure to provide #2 - 7 at left before asking.
3. For Catholic mass - Do they charge extra for a mass (because these are much longer)?
4. If your venue is over 30 minutes away, do they charge a travel fee to that location?
5. For outdoor ceremonies:

Do they play outdoors?
If yes, do they need amplification?
If yes, do they provide their own amplification or do you need to provide it?

6. For groups - how long have they been playing together?
7. Roughly how many weddings have they played for?
If it's less than 20, talk to a group that has more wedding experience before making a final decision.
8. Do they attend wedding rehearsals or charge a fee to attend the rehearsal?
Many do not attend rehearsals, but if they have a lot of wedding experience, it's probably not necessary.
9. What do they require to reserve your date (i.e. contract and/or deposit)?
10. What is their cancellation policy?

Sound Sensations Entertainment offers highly personalized wedding DJ Entertainment for Wisconsin. They also offer Photo booth Rentals, Slide Show creation + projection, venue uplighting, and ceremony sound reinforcement serving all areas of Wisconsin including Green Bay, Appleton, Wausau, Madison, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Dells, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Fond Du Lac, Ripon, and all other Wisconsin areas.

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