This is the fifth question in the Ask the Atlanta Wedding Pianist series.
There are generally two types of song requests:
Specific Songs that the Bride and Groom Request
These are typically special songs that the bride and groom know they want beforehand. For example, Mitchell and Debbie requested Lady Gaga’s Marry the Night for their reception, Jackie wanted Bella’s Lullaby for her cocktail hour, and Gordon and Lindsay requested Riverside Walk as part of the prelude.
Most wedding musicians, including myself, can play pretty much anything, even if it’s not in our usual repertoire, as long as we receive the music in enough lead time (preferably a minimum of two weeks).
Depending on how many new songs I need to learn and how difficult they are, I may charge an extra fee (usually between $50-$75) for learning new music. If there are only one or two requests, I won’t charge extra unless they are very difficult pieces.
The best way to get me the music is to send me a pdf. I have had people snail mail me music, or even order music online and have it directly shipped to me. Those options are fine too. But most people can send a pdf and it’s usually easier for everybody.
Song Requests From Guests
This is the type of request where Uncle Larry walks up to me during the cocktail hour and asks if I can play Hotel California (yes I can).
Or if a group of nine year old girls want to know if I can play What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction (yes, I can do that too).
I’ll be honest: with this kind of request, I’ll do my best, but there are no guarantees. I have a repertoire of over five hundred songs, but I don’t know everything.
What I will try to do, at the very least, is play something similar. So, for example, if you request a Fleetwood Mac song I don’t know, I might play Dreams instead. Or if you ask for a song from Jesus Christ Superstar and I don’t have any with me, I might play something from Phantom of the Opera instead.
If you’re still creating the song list for your upcoming event, don’t forget to check out my free ebook, 5 Ways to Add a Personal Touch to Your Wedding. It will give you some great ideas.