Usually the first phase to planning a wedding is choosing a date and a location/venue. Most brides and grooms desire a Saturday evening. You will find these are the first dates to go. So, if you are planning to book a Saturday it is better to book early.
Once you have the date and a venue, the next item on the agenda should be the entertainment, band, orchestra, DJ, whatever your choice is. Why? Because that is the usual protocol and if you don’t follow suit, as time goes by you will have fewer choices.
Wedding ceremonies: If you are having a church wedding chances are the church has their own ideas about musician choices so, check with the church director. If your ceremony takes place in the same venue as the dinner reception (catering hall, synagogue, country club), then the entertainment company can provide the musicians.
There are usually two directions wedding couples choose:
1) Classical musicians such as string quartets or trios and instruments like a harp, piano, violin, or a flute.
2) Band musicians such as a pianist accompanying a flutist.
When choosing a classical ensemble such as a string quartet consider whether you need a sound system to amplify them. Some of the parameters that you should consider are if your ceremony is outdoors and/or if you are having a large guest list. Ask your event planner or music coordinator if they can provide extra microphones for the officiant as well as for the bride and groom. That way everyone can hear your special vows.
Cocktail Hour: Whomever performs at your ceremony will probably perform at your cocktail hour. In some of the larger venues that have multiple rooms, such as Oheka Castle in Cold Spring Hills, NY, I would recommend having musicians perform in two different areas – maybe a string quartet and a jazz trio. Perhaps the venue has a grand piano that you can take advantage of, such as Carlyle on the Green in Bethpage, NY. The Carltun in East Meadow, Long Island has two pianos. One is in the foyer (guest arrival area) and the other is in the cocktail room. Grand pianos create an elegant ambiance.
Dinner Reception: The two obvious choices for music at the main event are a band or DJ. That is a personal choice. You may not have thought about having both. The band and DJ can alternate sharing the same standard 4-hour time slot. If you are having an after-hours party then, the band can perform for 4 hours followed by an hour or two of the DJ.
If you are working with a professional with many years of experience, you will not be fazed by the process. He or she will be able to give good productive and provocative advice.
By Bill Morgan Messinetti
Bill is a professional musician, has been the bandleader for Central Park Orchestra for over 15 years and is also the president of New York Orchestras Entertainment, Inc.
NOTE: Central Park Orchestra is the same Central Park Band (a.k.a. Central Park Music) wedding band that used to be booked at Steven Scott Orchestras in New York City, Long Island and Philadelphia. Central Park Orchestra is no longer affiliated with Steven Scott Orchestras, Steven Scott Productions, Steven Scott of New Jersey or Steven Scott of Philadelphia. New York Orchestras Entertainment is the exclusive representative for Central Park Orchestra. All inquiries for music for a wedding, bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah, corporate event and fundraiser event should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our New York City event office at 212-380-1721.