Wedding Advice for Non-Musicians

I’m playing organ for a wedding this week and it made me remember the tiny details that often go overlooked by non-musicians. To help out my fellow wedding musicians and non-musician brides and grooms, here are a few tips:

1. If you are getting married in a church, ask when the piano was last tuned. If it has been a while, offer to schedule a tuning. The church will likely appreciate this and you’ll be spared clunky keys in your wedding music.

2. If you are planning to include the pipe organ, fantastic! Plan to chat with the resident organist ahead of time to make sure that your music choices will actually suit the instrument. The organ I’m playing this weekend has two “speeds”: all in and raspy whimper. This is making my soothing prelude music rather tricky.

3. If you are going to use canned music, PLEASE have a musician pick it out with you. I’ve been to too many (and by too many I mean one) weddings where the poor bride processed to a recording of Canon in D that seemed purposely terrible…like fifth grade orchestra terrible. Please let a professional help you find a good recording.

4. If you still are determined to use canned music after the previous horror story, then plan to have it edited. It’s super awkward to reach the altar and still have an entire chorus or to cut off the music without any real sense of ending. Trimming your chosen songs to the appropriate length is quick work for any musician with basic tech skills. Please please please plan for this.

5. A pre-rehearsal rehearsal is helpful for everyone. I had my organist, pianist, and vocalist arrive 45 minutes before the formal rehearsal so that we could sort out tempos, timing, and dynamics without holding up the entire bridal party. This made the actual rehearsal much smoother and, on the wedding day, the musicians knew exactly what to do, which saves stress for everyone.

6. Don’t plan to perform at your own wedding unless you’re positive you can pull it off. Just trust me on this one. The bride might have a lovely voice, but trying to make your musical debut on the biggest (and maybe most stressful) day of your life? Probably not the best idea.

7. You don’t have to let your friends perform. It’s your wedding and you have no obligation to let your friends perform, especially if you’re not confident in their ability to do it well. I hope my besties let me play for their big day, but if an organ march isn’t their style, I completely understand!

That’s all for now! I hope this is helpful to someone out there.

-sincerely, the organist

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