Every time I turn on the radio (I don't watch TV -really, I don't!) I hear about our economic crisis. And, no doubt, it has to be impacting those who are in the midsts of wedding planning. So how can you save money and still include live music, either during the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and/or reception?
Well, the most obvious answer is to hire fewer musicians. Instead of a string quartet, choose a string trio. In the last few years, our string trio bookings have far outnumbered our string quartet bookings. If that is still too expensive, hire a duo or an organist/pianist and a soloist (instrumental or vocal). Even less expensive, most often, is a solo musician. Personally, I feel couples should spend their music money, first and foremost, on live musicians for their ceremony.
Book an ensemble that is flexible for your cocktail hour. If you hire a pianist and vocalist for the ceremony, have the pianist stay to play the cocktail hour. Musicians most often will offer a discount if you book them for consecutive events or hours.
That brings me to dinner. Most guests are busy chatting and chewing, so many couples opt for recorded music, or no music at all. What's a live music option? Hire a strolling violinist or guitarist/singer to visit each table! He, or she, can take requests and make it more personal and memorable for your guests. I once played a very extravagant wedding where a dozen violinists were strolling the floor during dinner!
Post-dinner . . . Most people hire a DJ. I see the appeal - the ability to play a wide variety of styles to get people out on the dance floor. Hiring a ten piece band may cost more than the honeymoon! Just don't forget the musicians you hired for the ceremony or cocktail hour. Often times, adding just a few to the original group can change the mood from jazzy to jamming! Just ask the musicians to highlight the ensembles and discounts they can offer you!