Wedding Music

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Click on any of the questions below to show the answer. If you have a question that is not listed here, do please get in touch and we will be happy to answer it.

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How far in advance should I enquire about booking musicians?
We always recommend making an enquiry as soon as possible, even as much as a year in advance, especially if your wedding is on a Saturday or Sunday. Musicians get booked up far in advance so it's best to get in touch sooner rather than later.
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Can the musicians play outside?
Yes - weather permitting!

The four main issues regarding playing outside are rain, wind, sun and cold. It is worth saying, of course that if the weather is inclement, it is unlikely that you or your guests will want to venture outside, let alone the musicians. It is something that can cause problems though, so advanced discussion and planning is always the best policy.

Rain: Most instruments (and indeed musicians!) don’t like the rain and can be severely damaged if they get even a little wet.
Wind: The main problem with windy conditions is that the music gets blown about. Most musicians will have supplies of the trusty clothes peg, but more than a light breeze can start to cause problems.
Sun: Strong sunlight can also be very detrimental to instruments, especially string instruments: the varnish, especially on older instruments, can suffer very quickly and also, as string instruments are stuck together with animal glue, they can actually start to come apart in the heat!
Cold: Musicians (like most of us!) don’t work very well in the cold. Dexterity of fingers tends to reduce with the temperature, and that doesn’t result in a good quality musical performance. As a guideline, temperatures below 16°C can cause problems, although discretion is always given to the musicians on the day.

So, playing outside is possible, provided adequate shelter is provided from rain, wind, direct sunlight and that it's not too cold.
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Will the musicians take breaks and for how long?
Performing music is physically and mentally challenging and, unsurprisingly, the musicians need to have breaks. The number and length will be discussed at the consultation stage to ensure that these breaks can be taken at a convenient time during the day so as not to interfere with the wedding itself.
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Do I need to provide food or drinks for the musicians?
As a minimum, the musicians must be provided with water or soft drinks. We do also often negotiate with you with regard to providing food for the musicians. Often they will have travelled far and, depending on the venue, there may be few options available to get food. Most venues are able to supply a simple snack, sandwiches or indeed a main course at little extra cost. This can therefore be a sensible option for all concerned. This would, of course, be negotiated in advance and be noted in the contract.
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Will the musicians need a storage area for cases?
It is useful if a space can be provided for the musicians to unpack their instruments, change and leave their instrument cases and so on. It is ideal if this space can be lockable. Most venues are able to make such a space available.
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How much space will the musicians need to perform?
The amount of space needed for the musicians naturally varies according to the ensemble, but often more space is required than you may think. Ideally a string quartet would have 8-10 m2 in which to play. Also bear in mind that placing the musicians near a thoroughfare, or next to a door can cause problems – your guests will not appreciate being poked with a cellist’s bow!
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Can I specify what the musicians will wear?
Sometimes there is a choice of dress for the musicians – often they will play in all black or in Dinner Jackets/colourful dresses. Or you may decide that you would like them themed with the wedding. Whatever your requirements, this should be discussed at the consultation stage.
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Will the musicians play an active part in the wedding service?
As the musicians are not guests, they would not normally consider themselves to be part of the service itself, so would tend not to stand and sit with the congregation/guests and so on. If you'd rather they were more involved, just tell us during the consultation.
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When will the musicians arrive on the day?
In the contract there will be an arrival time stated, along with playing times and break times. For most groups the arrival time will be half an hour before they are required to play, but this will be agreed on an individual basis.
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How will the musicians be paid?
This will be fully detailed in the contract and there are various options. Normally SONORIST creates a contract between the client and the musicians. A deposit, typically 20%, is taken by us at the time of booking, with the due date for payment of the balance and the method of payment agreed. Often the balance is paid in cash or cheque on the day, but some clients choose to pay in advance to avoid having to deal with money matters on the day. Payments after the event or credit terms are not normally offered when organising music for weddings.
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What happens if I have to cancel?
If you change your mind, or have to cancel after signing a contract, unless in extreme circumstances, you may be liable to pay part or all of the balance of the fee, depending on when you cancel, and as detailed in the contract. If there is a specific reason that you need more flexibility with your booking, we would be happy to discuss this with you as different terms can be negotiated.
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I don’t see the musicians I require on your site …
We are constantly adding new ensembles/musicians so it may be that we already have what you require. In any case, we can invariably supply you with whatever it is that you require, so do get in touch and we will do our very best.
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What will the musicians bring with them/not bring with them?

The musicians will bring pretty much everything they need with them. For each musician/ensemble we hold details of their requirements and will be able to discuss this with you and, if you or the venue will need to supply anything, this will be discussed in advance of signing a contract.
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With whom will the musicians liaise?
We ask for a point of contact for the musicians on the day, and this is detailed in the contract. This would typically be your wedding planner (if you have one), an individual at the venue or the best man.
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I want to include the musical performance in my wedding video - is this OK?
If you intend to record part or all of your wedding, as many clients do, the inclusion of the music will need to be discussed in advance as there are several issues involved. Normally we can amend the standard contract (which states that audio and/or video recording of the musicians is not permitted) to grant permission, subject to some conditions (generally that any recording remains private and is not sold or distributed in any commercial way). Unfortunately in this YouTube generation, such considerations are necessary!
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Can I speak directly with the musicians?
The musicians SONORIST represents are on our books because they want us to take care of negotiations and arrangements on their behalf, leaving them to concentrate on what they do best, performing music. Sometimes it does make sense for all concerned for the musician and client to talk directly, in which case we will make an introduction.
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Can I hear the musicians in advance?
For a number of our artists we have audio recordings available on the SONORIST website. Sometimes we can advise clients of when an artist will be performing publicly so you can experience a live performance. Even if this is not possible you should be reassured that all artists have been very carefully selected and achieve and maintain the very highest professional standards both in terms of music making and of reliability.
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The church where we are getting married is providing an organist, but I want some more musicians - can they all work together?
Many churches will provide some musicians for the wedding service. An organist and/or a choir are sometimes available. You can add to these forces as required and we are happy to liaise with the church musicians to ensure your musical requirements are met.
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What about the timing of the music?
All SONORIST artists that perform at weddings appreciate the importance of the music happening at the right time; especially important of course with the processional music. The music stopping before the bride has reached the altar is not what is required!

The issue of timing is discussed at the consultation stage and the musicians are experienced in liasing with the other professionals on the day to ensure the music starts and stops at the right times.
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How much will the musicians cost?
Naturally prices vary according to the musician(s) you choose and how many of them there are: a twenty-piece orchestra will of course cost more than a string quartet for example. We realise that you have a budget to work within and that forms a key point of discussion at the consultation stage: in fact it is often one of the first questions we will ask.

It is important to strike a good balance between providing good value for money for you, the client, while also ensuring the musicians are appropriately remunerated. Whilst we all like a bargain, a few pounds saved will be insignificant if things were to go wrong on the day.
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