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You’re Not Planning to Wear “Just Any Old Gown,” so Don’t Play Down the Ceremony Music!

Music gets you in and out with an air of elegance and dignity. Even though it may seem fleeting and ephemeral, music is as concrete a presence at your ceremony as the candles and boutonnieres. When you play back your video for years to come, guess what’s in the background? A soundtrack! Make it as much a priority as planning the other details.

“But I don’t know anything about music!”

So what do you do when you don’t know Mozart from Beethoven, and find it easier to buy matching gloves for the bridesmaids than select your wedding march? This is where a knowledgeable wedding coordinator and/or a music planner will be of great assistance. As you shop around, beware of sites or vendors who only focus on reception music. There’s more to a wedding than the party afterwards! I know of one statewide association whose music page mentions nothing about the ceremony–only celebrating when it’s over. In a similar vein, don’t let a DJ talk you into doing your ceremony. Playing a CD in place of live music is like wearing blue jeans down the aisle.

“What can I expect from a musician?”

Some musicians place restrictions on what is considered proper for ceremonies. This is an injustice to the client. That’s why it’s so important to communicate with musicians before hiring. Find out if he’ll play “Evergreen” during the prelude. Ask if she can play the Widor “Toccata” for the postlude. View their websites. Contact their references. After you pick someone, you and your fiancee should have your musician audition pieces from their repertoire, or may listen to recordings and inform them of your choices by phone or email. Couples frequently elect to have me choose their music, but I feel it’s important for the music to have personal meaning. You can greatly assist the process prior to the consultation by listening to and identifying the style of music which most appeals to your tastes. Specific composers (like “Schubert”) and periods (like “Romantic”) and names of works (such as “Ave Maria”) will greatly aid the organist and make the consultation session more productive. Many wedding music sites list suggested pieces with sound samples, so a bride doesn’t have to take an Intro to Music course to make educated choices. In fact, you don’t have to know anything about what you’re listening to at all. The main criterion is that you like it! After all, it’s a matter of taste, and it’s your day. Visit websites like Amazon.com that sell CDs where you can search for wedding music and hear 30 second clips. I also encourage couples to bring sheet music of favorite songs, tapes, or programs from other weddings when we meet for a consultation.

“Can I have him play country?”

If you are having your ceremony in a church, use discretion when requesting love songs and other secular music, keeping in mind the sacred nature of the event and place. Your minister or wedding coordinator might offer guidance on this subject as well. Rules defining restrictions vary from church to church, so ultimately these decisions should be made in conjunction with the officiating minister. If your ceremony is at a mansion, country club, garden, or is simply less religious in tone, find musicians who are open to non-traditional styles of music. Plan ahead. There has to be time for your musicians to obtain sheet music for specially requested songs, to work out arrangements, and to practice

Communicate!

Stay in touch with your organist or music planner. If you have a wedding coordinator, make sure she keeps in contact with your musicians. One last word of advice: Take your rehearsal seriously. The walk-through of the bridesmaids’ processional, bridal march, and recessional should be done in real time to give the organist or other performers a sense of exactly how much is required to get people from point A to point B. It also alerts the bridal party to their cues so everything runs smoothly.

DIY Music Marketing Tools – The Must-Haves

When it comes to DIY Music Marketing, the name of the game is hustle. What you don’t have in dollars, you will have to make up in effort. Leave no stone unturned in your quest to let the world know about your new CD. But, before you leave home, make sure that you have the following tools for any opportunities that come your way:

Business card

Business cards are inexpensive, and can even be printed at home. If the information on your card has changed, for goodness sake, replace them. Nothing spells amateur like handwritten cards! When you receive cards from other people, make notes of what the person talked about, and follow up on your conversation at a later date.

Music Flyer

As soon as you book your next show, make a batch of flyers and give them to everyone that you encounter before the show. Make the flyer colorful and interesting, and include a description of your music. Make larger versions of your flyer to serve as posters and hang them everywhere that is appropriate and legal.

CDs/Demo/MixTape

As soon as you are ready, create a recording. With so many home studio producers available, this does not have to be expensive. It just has to be something you’re proud to share with others. Have at least two CDs with you at all times. You never know who you’ll meet. But don’t force it on anyone who’s iffy on receiving it – it’ll end up being wasted money.

Web Site

Having a web site makes it easier on a global level for people to find you and listen to your music. If you do leave home empty handed, you can direct people to your site. Make it easy on yourself and pay for your domain name. Free web sites are nice, but the addresses can be long and hard to remember.

Email list: You’ll need a place to store the email addresses of people that you meet at shows and in your travels. Create a system to capture email addresses when you meet people offline. Put a “fan collector” widget on your site that gives new fans a free MP3 in exchange for their email address.

Electronic Promo Kit (EPK): If you somehow don’t have your own website yet, set up a free EPK where people can see your photos and videos, and hear your music. Okay, this item is optional to carry around 24/7, but you do have one, right? It should have your photo, bio, CD/tape, and press clippings.