Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions

Alternatives to ceremony musicians?

I'm planning a ceremony that is very short, simple, non-religious, and relatively small (~50 guests, no wedding party) and really don't see the point in hiring ($$$) ceremony musicians for what will end up just being about 10 minutes of play time. I do not have musical friends who could fill in. However, I'd like something that will make the event cohesive and signal the important transitions. Does anyone have any ideas?

Re: Alternatives to ceremony musicians?

  • Hire a DJ?

    Set up an iPod docking station and time your songs accordingly?

    Also remember that you will need music playing longer then 10 minutes.  You want some nice background music as guests arrive and wait for the ceremony to begin, so you are looking at about 30+ minutes of music.

  • My pianist was only $100 for the one hour and lots of people commented on how nice the live musician was. If not, someone will have to man the ipod and I've seen that get really awkward fast with timing.
  • Hire a DJ. 
    Use an iPod. 
  • The DJ does not help much with my budget-cutting strategy. And yes, I agree that an ipod will be awkward. I'm thinking more like ringing a bell or a gong or something to that effect... Has anyone done something like this and had it work?
  • I think there will be very obvious transitions. When the officiant walks in, you're about to start. When people start walking in, the bride will be last. Etc. I don't think a bell or gong will do much. You don't have to have music.
  • A gong would be...awkward.

    But also fascinating!

    (I would secretly love this. But might start giggling uncontrollably. )

    Maggie0829
  • jenijoyk said:
    A gong would be...awkward.

    But also fascinating!

    (I would secretly love this. But might start giggling uncontrollably. )

    I'm giggling uncontrollably just thinking about it. 
    Anniversary

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    Maggie0829
  • Thanks guys. Now I'm also giggling uncontrollably. The gong idea really didn't seem that ridiculous when I first suggested it...

    Anyway, I appreciate all your responses, but I'm still in the same place. Grrr... I so wanted one less thing to pay for and worry about, lest I turn into a bridezilla! Maybe I'll have to suck it up and hire someone.
    jenijoyk
  • Silence is pretty awkward. To save money, check the bulletin board at any local college music departments. And your music should start about half an hour before the ceremony because guests will begin arriving early.
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    Maggie0829jenijoykmisshart00
  • Ceremony musicians typically play more than 10 minutes because your guests loiter around your ceremony space much longer than 10 minutes. I've played in a lot of a weddings; even for very short ceremonies, we were there for at least an hour, not including set-up time. 

    Ditto artbyallie's suggestion - call around high school and college music departments and see if they have a decent soloist. They shouldn't be unused to these requests.  
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  • A pianist with a keyboard playing for about 45 minutes would be perfect if you can find one in your budget.
  • I think it's nice to hire a pianist to play while guests are seating and then for the ceremony.  I've seen it done for a 10 minute ceremony.  Call local music schools to hire a high school student or even a teacher- they often have some teacher who primarily makes a living teaching and will do a quick ceremony for cheap.  
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited November 2014
    How much money are you talking about?  It isn't just ten minutes of playing.  There is the prelude, which can last half an hour, and the postlude, which can last ten minutes.  Try and find a doctor or a lawyer that will work for $300 an hour.  Most musicians trained far longer than they did!
    Suggestions - solo acoustic guitar, flute, violin, string quartet.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'll try some music schools to see if I can find a soloist in my budget.

    And by the way CMGragain - I'm a doctor and I make ~$15/hour last time I calculated, trained for 14 years after graduating from college, and carry several hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt (hence the budget constraints). But don't worry, I won't take your comment personally, and I DO agree that we should appreciate musicians and compensate them well for their efforts.
    [Deleted User]
  • penguin44 said:
    jenijoyk said:
    A gong would be...awkward.

    But also fascinating!

    (I would secretly love this. But might start giggling uncontrollably. )

    I'm giggling uncontrollably just thinking about it. 
    I feel like if someone banged on a gong, I would start cracking up and totally miss the processional because my eyes would be clouded with crying tears.

    Seriously, see if you can rent a sound system from an equipment rental company and plug in an iPod. We looked into renting speakers for a party and I think it was about $40 or something close to that.
    *********************************************************************************

    image
  • CMGragain said:
    How much money are you talking about?  It isn't just ten minutes of playing.  There is the prelude, which can last half an hour, and the postlude, which can last ten minutes.  Try and find a doctor or a lawyer that will work for $300 an hour.  Most musicians trained far longer than they did!
    Suggestions - solo acoustic guitar, flute, violin, string quartet.
    I trained as a musician for 16 years before I started a real career making money.  I know professors at the top music schools in the world who don't play for $300 per hour.  Now doing other musical ventures... music can pay a ton if you do the right things. 
    CMGragain
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    edited November 2014
    I trained for 19+ years, plus many, many hours of seminars, workshops, and guild programs.  I have often been asked to parties where it is assumed that I would be the entertainment (free).  I have been asked to play at events "because we thought you would enjoy it."  Right.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • CMGragain said:
    I trained for 19+ years, plus many, many hours of seminars, workshops, and guild programs.  I have often been asked to parties where it is assumed that I would be the entertainment (free).  I have been asked to play at events "because we thought you would enjoy it."  Right.
    UGH I hate that.
  • edited November 2014
    We hired a solo violinist through a University's music department for $100 per hour. That could be an option…

    You could also consider posting an ad on Kijiji/Craiglist/whatever online classifieds are popular in your area. Specify in your ad that you will only look at ads with videos to weed out what's not suitable, then meet with others.

    Edited to add: I also went to a wedding where the couple used an iPod and it wasn't awkward at all. They only required someone to turn it on before the processional because they had rearranged the song so that it would end at a particular time. Music wasn't played at any other time during the ceremony (but someone probably could have easily turned it back on to a playlist).
  • I just want to know where on earth one would find a gong for rent.

    We just did an iPod. Not awkward. We had guitar instrumentals of love songs play for the prelude and processional.

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