"Sound Advice" for Outdoor Weddings
by Barbara Hedlund
published May 9, 1997 in the former Octopus Newspaper
It's finally the day, your special day, your wedding day. How often have you imagined yourself walking down the aisle to the strains of elegant, regal music? Throughout history, important events have been celebrated with music. A wedding is a solemn event. It demands great music to enhance the importance of the occasion and create the perfect atmosphere. Wedding music is the least expensive item on your shopping list, but can end up being one of the most memorable and meaningful highlights of the entire day. The bridal couple's fantasy of an outdoor wedding, communing with nature, replete with natural acoustic sounds of instruments resounding across the horizon is appealing and conjures up a myriad of images.
Yet, how does one survive when the weather is not picture perfect or you experience any of the following: car horns blowing, car radios blaring, woodpeckers deciding to communicate during your vows, the sun so intense that guests begin to pass out, the flower girl dumps her flowers and runs off crying, during the singing of the "Lord's Prayer", children in the pews begin to fight, the waterfall nearby is so loud one cannot hear the pews begin to fight, the waterfall nearby is so loud one cannot hear the vows, the football "touchdown" cannon goes off during your vows, it begins to rain, or the limousine company goes to the wrong address and the bride shows up ninety minutes late. The answer is a sense of humor tolerance, and a backup plan.
When selecting music & finding musicians, how does one find qualified musicians or decide which group to hire? How do you know what music to choose? Good consumer shopping is vital. Listen to any artists before engaging them. Ask for a demo tape, CD, video, etc. Get referrals from previous clients plus their phone numbers and e-mail addresses. What are their credentials? Who makes up their performing staff? Will they sign a contract with you and provide a guarantee that they'll show up? Do they have policies spelled out so no misunderstandings arise and you aren't left with questions? What type of music do they play? Are they flexible? Will they try to find and play the music you and your guests want to hear? What is their payment policy? How do they present themselves on your special day?
Do you feel this group cares about you & your needs, or is it just a gig to them? Will they explain exactly how the order of the ceremony and the placement of music flows at the wedding? Are they patient and understanding when you call or write for the umpteenth time to ask another question because you're not sure and need reassurance? Are they thorough in the preparation of all your requirements? Do they respond quickly when you need an answer? Do they know the limitations of your wedding site? If you feel uncertain about any of these questions, keep searching. Your wedding is too important to have it in the hands of the wrong persons!
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