Important things to consider when booking your Wedding Music





So, you’ve chosen the date, you’ve chosen the photographer and you’ve chosen the church and reception location. One element you’ll now need to carefully consider is the music. There are two musical elements to the day – the ceremony and the reception – both of which I’ll cover here:


Whether you choose a large Church gathering or a smaller civil service, music will play a very important part in your ceremony. The music you choose will set the tone of the ceremony.

So what do you need to consider when choosing the music for you ceremony? Below I list the main items of consideration

Location size:

While this may seem very obvious, some couples do tend to overlook the size of the location and the acoustics when choosing a wedding musician or wedding singer. You need to be sure that the singer / musicians you choose have the equipment to ensure a sound that will fill say a large church, or, on the other hand, if the venue is small, that the music does not overpower the ceremony! Make sure you discuss the size of the ceremony venue and ensure that you’re happy that the musician or singer can meet your requirements before booking!

Theme of the wedding and time of year:

If the wedding is a black tie event you may consider having a string quartet for the ceremony element of the day or a two to three piece classical vocalists. Alternatively, if you’re having a more relaxed day, think about the mood you’re trying to create, a Gospel Choir may be the perfect start to building a happy, upbeat mood or a vocalist with a more contemporary feel to his or her voice. Additionally the time of year will be important in your choice of music and songs, if you’re getting married at say Christmas time for example you may wish to include Christmas themed songs into the ceremony.

Type of singer / musician:

If you’re more of a classical type bride and groom a soprano style vocalist may be your preference. A lot of brides and grooms like a more contemporary feel to their service and as such book a more contemporary singer / musician. When choosing your singer or musician get recommendations, ensure you listen to their samples, and try to see them at work if at all possible!

Additionally, an experienced singer/ musician will be happy to help with the various aspects of the ceremony and advise you accordingly regarding the music for each section

Celebrants requirements:

When choosing your music you need to do so in conjunction with your singer / musician AND the priest or celebrant of the ceremony. Priests have been known to request last minute changes to the music of the ceremony as they had not been consulted prior to the day and the music chosen did not fit in with the requirements of the church – so the golden rule is: INCLUDE the priest or celebrant at all times!!



Again you need to consider a number of things when choosing your reception music. Some of the questions you will need to ask yourself:

Do you wish to have music at the drinks reception?

Again, depending on the mood you wish to create you could choose from a jazz ensemble (to create a laid back and relaxed atmosphere), a string quartet (for a more formal approach to the arrival of your guests – very suited to black tie occasion) , a piano and singer,  a guitarist and singer or simply just a pianist. Having music at the drinks reception will also be dependent on the time of year. I’ve seen summer weddings where the guests congregate outdoors while the musician is playing to an empty room – so it’s worthwhile considering that you may not always need reception music!


What type of Band or DJ to choose: things you’ll need to carefully consider will be the following:


Size of room and number of guests:

While you’d probably LOVE a 10 piece band it may not necessarily suit the size of the room or the number of guests (never mind your budget!). Sometimes a smaller, not fully live band or just a DJ can be as effective in creating and setting that perfect atmosphere! Ultimately size of band should be balanced with size of function room and number of guests

Band set up time and does the room provide for band set up before guests finish dinner.

This all needs to be considered – the band will generally have a set up time in their contracts however the start of the set-up time only begins once the band are given access to the room. As such, any delays in the finishing of the dinner will ultimately impact on the start time of the band – unless the room that you’ve booked is set up to allow band set up prior to dinner finish – in which case you can agree with the band that they start at whatever time suits YOU! Otherwise, if the band have an hour and a half set up time, that’s an hour and a half in which your guests will need to be kept entertained!

Guest age and preferences:

As much as you may both love Coldplay for example, a band who covers that type of music specifically would not cater for guests who are more traditional in their music tastes! While it is absolutely important to cater for your guests with the chosen music it’s also important to remember that it’s also YOUR night and it’s important to infuse the night with both your personalities! Again, you need to ensure that you get a balance here, the objective is to give yourselves and your guests a good night and if keeping them on the dancefloor is what you want to do you’ll need to consider the general musical tastes.


The Set Lists of your preferred bands:

When you have considered the musical tastes of your guests and know what you want you’ll need to look at the set lists of your preferred bands (you’ll probably have an idea of what they do anyway) to ensure it covers all of your requirements. BUT, check out their samples online and, where possible, try  to see them in action before booking them. Most bands organize showcase gigs in hotels and pubs for wedding couples to come along to. And remember, if you have any special requests regarding music, ensure you mail or speak to the relevant person in ADVANCE of booking to ensure that they can fulfill all of your requirements!!


Remember that there are a lot of one stop solutions – some bands provide music for the church or civil service, for the pre-dinner entertainment and for the post-dinner entertainment. A lot of them do the full package at a very reasonable price but ensure that you get a sample of quotes and ensure you’re happy with the final price!

Article copyright, Antoinette Dunleavy 2011, all rights reserved.


Antoinette Dunleavy has fifteen years experience in the Irish wedding music industry.

Please contact Antoinette through for booking enquiries for both Church and wedding reception music and she will be happy to assist you with your queries.