Wedding Etiquette Forum

Asking a friends to sing/perform for ceremony?

How far in advance is it appropriate to ask friends to sing, play the piano,... for the ceremony?

Re: Asking a friends to sing/perform for ceremony?

  • InkdancerInkdancer The Shire member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
    That sort of depends on what you're doing. A very good friend of mine asked several of our mutual friends to be her string quartet for the processional, so she asked them several months in advance so they could all get together and practice.

    Waiting until the week before your wedding, on the other hand, is much too long to wait.

    Please also consider that this puts your friend on the spot. If they are uncomfortable playing or singing in front of everyone, it may be hard for them to decline your request. You might want to approach this very carefully, e.g. "I think it would be cool to have friends play music at my wedding. Would you be interested in something like that?" but do it well in advance and make it clear that you don't expect anything from them.
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    eyeroll
    doeydo
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    I learned through this board that this is a touchy subject.  I play piano as a hobby and was once asked to do so for a wedding ceremony, and was honored. But, my fiance thought asking our professional-musician friend to do so for ours was rude.  It seems to come down to whether or not you're asking professionals to do something for free versus a hobbiest and/or if you're asking them to work during your event rather than be a guest.  I don't know what your circumstances are, but tread carefully on this one. 
    ________________________________


    BostonLilly12
  • doeydodoeydo Southwestern Ontario member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Have they played/performed at events before or do you just know someone that happens to play the piano (or whatever)?  I play the glockenspiel, but not really in front of people.  I would also feel pressured to say yes, even if I didn't want to.  Another thing to think about is the fact that they might miss out on seeing and actually paying attention to things during your wedding.  
    image
  • While I think it's a nice thought and your friends would likely be flattered, I think it might put your friends on the spot. They may feel obligated to say yes even if they don't feel comfortable. Personally, I'm a singer but wouldn't necessarily feel comfortable singing at a friend's wedding (even a really good friend), but if I was asked, I would feel obligated to. 

    Also, the question of how you pay them comes up. Do they do it for free? Do you pay them their normal rate? I think this situation gets a little tricky and it may be best to avoid it. 

    Now, if your friends offer, that's a different story. 

    If you're really set on asking them though, I would honestly try to give them as much notice as possible. I'd say 6 months-1 year if you can but no less than 4 months.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • As "that friend" that gets asked to play at friends' weddings, I just want to echo and confirm what many have said above.

    Yes, I have a degree in music and from a technical perspective the music that we design for your ceremony is not often difficult. (Most often it's already in my library or easy to acquire). However, I am no longer a professional musician (and don't gig for other weddings by choice) and one of those reasons is that I get tremendous performance anxiety for solo performances (which requires medication to control). But I won't admit that to 99.9% of people I know, and even though you tell me "it's OK if you don't want to play", I won't decline your request. I won't accept your money either. But I will spend hours practicing (that I normally wouldn't since I have a very demanding day job) and I will also spend time coordinating with the piano player/accompanist. I won't resent you and at the end am glad to have done something that made you happy and am tremendously flattered that you think enough of my talent to want to include it in a very visible portion of your day. But it's still different than other vendor relationships.

    So all that to say, please have an understanding of what you are asking from someone. Knowing whether or not they gig regularly may give you a clue as to their comfort level in a certain situation.
    itzMS
  • Pretend you're booking a vendor--how far out does it need to be? Budget like you're going to hire a pro. Because if your friend declines, then you either need more friends, or you'll be hiring a vendor. And dont expect free labor.
    I asked a sibling months ago if he would mind doing an instrumental piece. It gives him time to mull it over and get more comfortable with his instrument, and once we get a bit closer to the event date, I will confirm with him before purchasing the music. If he decides he's not up for it, I have a few backups.
  • I used to sing at weddings at my church as a paying gig which i loved.  If a friend asked me to sing for their wedding, i would absolutely do it, free of charge.

     

    however, that being said, obviously i was comfortable with it because i did it as a paying job all the time for strangers.  i would exercise caution if you're asking someone to do something that they don't normally do...they may feel pressured to say yes even if they really don't feel comfortable doing it.

     

    Also note that asking someone to sing/play an instrument in your ceremony isn't generally an imposition, so even if they are a professional, i believe that most people would gladly do that for a friend for free.  but if you're talking about something that would truly take up the entire event (asking a friend to be your photographer or DJ or wedding coordinator for example), i'd reconcider.  You shouldn't ask someone who you would have ordinarily invited to be a guest at your wedding to be a vendor instead.  Working will make it impossible for them to enjoy the day.  And if i were in that position, i would absolutely not do it for free.  Agreeing to sing for free for a 30 minute ceremony and then going to the reception as a guest is fine...agreeing to basically skip all of the fun to work instead requires payment in my opinion.

  • Thanks guys!  I was planning on asking 3 friends.  They all perform as a hobby.  1 plays guitar, and has played in front of people, 1 plays piano and sings and has done so in front of groups, and another sings and has done so in front of groups.  They are all friends and have performed together at church before.
  • At my wedding, two close family friends sang one song during the ceremony and a man from my mom's church played the guitar for the one song plus the Pachabel Canon for when I walked to the altar.  All three people regularly perform at the church.

    My mom arranged it all so I admit I'm guessing on the details, but I think the family friends were unpaid...but were guests at the reception.  Knowing my mom, she probably offered to pay them and they declined.  I'm pretty sure the guitar player was paid something, but he didn't stay for the reception.  In fact, now that I am thinking about it, I didn't even see him to thank him. He must have left right after the ceremony.  Now I feel a little bad! lol.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Unless they play weddings professionally, give them plenty of time to both consider if they want to do it and if so to be able to pick music and practice.. I'd say at least 4 months.  I did this for a friend recently and while I offered and was glad to do this, but I learned a few things that might be of help.  Please ask each privately and be clear that while you want them, that you have back up plans if they can't (i.e. hiring a piano player or using a sound system).  Work with them to select music and be willing to purchase music if needed.  When you set up your ceremony please make sure that at least one of the musicians have clear sight lines of the entire isle or someone who does that can cue them. Plan on a longer rehearsal then normal, as it will likely take a few runs to get the timing a breaks in the music right to make your day as seamless as possible.  Make sure they are also happy with where they have to sit for the ceremony that they aren't playing in and where their SOs are planning on sitting.  Invite them and their SOs to the rehearsal dinner and please give them a thank you gift. 
    ... stepping on my soap box.  I hope this helps
  • Unless they play weddings professionally, give them plenty of time to both consider if they want to do it and if so to be able to pick music and practice.. I'd say at least 4 months.  I did this for a friend recently and while I offered and was glad to do this, but I learned a few things that might be of help.  Please ask each privately and be clear that while you want them, that you have back up plans if they can't (i.e. hiring a piano player or using a sound system).  Work with them to select music and be willing to purchase music if needed.  When you set up your ceremony please make sure that at least one of the musicians have clear sight lines of the entire isle or someone who does that can cue them. Plan on a longer rehearsal then normal, as it will likely take a few runs to get the timing a breaks in the music right to make your day as seamless as possible.  Make sure they are also happy with where they have to sit for the ceremony that they aren't playing in and where their SOs are planning on sitting.  Invite them and their SOs to the rehearsal dinner and please give them a thank you gift. 
    ... stepping on my soap box.  I hope this helps
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards