Sometimes couples are unsure of whether or not their ceremony musicians should attend the wedding rehearsal. Or, if they’re told that the musician won’t be at the rehearsal, they get understandably nervous that things won’t go smoothly without them being there.
I thought it would be a good idea to address this, so let me break it down into two parts:
Do Wedding Ceremony Musicians Attend the Wedding Rehearsal?
Or, I should say, “Not Usually.”
Sometimes people are surprised to hear that. Heck, I was surprised to hear that when I was first starting out. When I had played for my friends’ wedding, I had always attended the rehearsals and never questioned it. I just figured everybody who was at the ceremony had to be at the rehearsal as well.
But the rehearsal is really for the wedding party — to know where and when to enter, where to stand, and what happens when.
There is no reason for your musician to be there. Some people think that everybody needs to practice walking to the beat of the music, but the entrance is not a choreographed dance number for a Broadway show. It really doesn’t require that kind of practice.
Okay, but what if you’d really feel more comfortable walking in time to your specific entrance music before the ceremony? That makes total sense — after all, who doesn’t want to be as prepared as possible?
In that case, you have two options:
1) Practice walking at home to a recording of the song; or
2) Pay your musician extra to attend the rehearsal (assuming he or she is available that day.)
I would recommend going with #1. Save yourself some money.
So now that we’ve established that the ceremony musician does not need to attend the rehearsal, that leads us to the second part of the question:
If the Ceremony Musicians Don’t Attend the Rehearsal, How Will They Know What to Do?
Doesn’t the musician need to know what’s going on? How will they know what and when to play if they didn’t attend the rehearsal?
The key to this is simply giving your wedding ceremony musicians the information they need beforehand.
Hopefully by this time you and your wedding musician have already worked out the song choices for the following places during the ceremony:
– Seating of mothers/grandmothers
– Bridal Entrance
– Unity Candle and/or communion, if applicable
Assuming the song choices have already been discussed (and hopefully they were long before the rehearsal), we musicians also need to know who is going to cue us and where that person will be standing. This person is usually the officiant, the wedding planner, or someone at the venue, although sometimes it is a relative.
All you need to do is give your musician that person’s name and contact info, and we’ll get in touch with them and discuss the rest.
Finally, it’s a huge help for your musician to know:
1) How many mothers and grandmothers there are;
2) How many bridesmaids there are;
3) If there is a ring bearer or flower girls, and if so, how many.
Once the musician has all that info, we’re good to go!
So, to recap:
Hi, I’m Jenny! I’m a wedding musician in Atlanta and a professional author. My first book, Confessions of a Wedding Musician Mom is available on kindle and paperback. It’s a humorous story about Heather Hershey, a stay-at-home mom who decides to become a wedding musician and the pandemonium that goes with starting a new business and juggling kids.
It’s totally fiction. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.