A beautiful wedding ceremony engages both visual and sound elements to be a cherished day to remember. During my 15 years of performing wedding ceremony music in a variety of classical ensembles, we noticed that many brides tend to focus their budget on expensive visuals, like the dress, flowers, and photography. Here’s why trying to cut wedding costs using amateur or student musicians in lieu of professionals for your wedding ceremony is unwise.
Professional Musicians are Low Cost Anyway
In this wedding ceremony music guide from TheKnot.com, a professional wedding musician costs a measly $150 average. That’s in line with my experience, with the exception of a harpist which can run an extra $50 – $150 more. Professional wedding musicians are a bargain when compared with steep prices for a wedding dress, the flowers, and a photographer or videographer. Why risk using amateur or student musicians for such a crucial element to the elegance of your wedding day?
One Wrong Note Can Ruin Your Wedding Day
Booked to perform a 20-minute prelude and two pieces during an hour and a half long, full Catholic wedding ceremony with extras, my ensemble had it easy. The church organist was hired to perform the processional and recessional. This was no cheap wedding ceremony and the poor father of the bride spent a small fortune on everything, including the music.
Unfortunately, the church organist was ill the day of the ceremony. Our harpist, who also plays piano and organ, offered to substitute for a small additional $50 fee, but the parish encouraged using the organist’s substitute, a student. Although the substitute organist did an excellent job with the processional, the recessional was horribly sour.
The first pounding DAH Dah da-da Da da da dah chords of Mendelssohn’s traditional wedding recessional sounded like DWE Dwe de-de De da da dah. All faces cringed and eyebrows furrowed throughout the church. The organist switched to the right note in the chord about the sixth chord into it, but far too late. The bride was in tears and not from happiness.
While we quickly packed up, the many guests stopped by to tell us how much they loved our performance but how upset they were with the organist. Same for the parents when they paid us, with a generous tip! We were told the bridal party’s entrance to the reception was delayed because they couldn’t take the after ceremony photos until the bride calmed down and had a makeup do-over.
Professionals Cover Their Goofs
Everyone makes mistakes, including professional wedding musicians. While professionals make far fewer mistakes than amateurs, what differs is they automatically cover their mistakes such that nobody even hears a mistake. Depending on the instrument, a goofed note is immediately noodled, wobbled, vibratoed, trilled, glissed, or otherwise musically embellished in such a way that it quickly ends on the right note. The audience just hears a stylin’ musical mini-ad-lib and only the musician knows…
When searching musicians to perform for a wedding ceremony, opt for just one professional musician to play piano, organ, or classical guitar instead of using a trio of amateur students. If you need to be frugal, the paltry $150 average professional musician price is a bargain to ensure your wedding ceremony maintains the romantic, elegant ambiance you want on your special day.