A lot of couples book music of some form or another for their wedding reception. DJ, disco, live band… But far fewer consider such a band for their ceremony.
The cost of this wedding ceremony music, as with all forms of wedding entertainment, depends on a number of factors. These include the style of music, playing time, location, number of musicians and the time of day.
With such a range of issues having an effect, it is difficult to say with absolute certainty exactly how much you should expect to pay for your wedding ceremony musicians, but there are some guidelines that will help give you an idea.
What kind of musician do you want?
Whilst your reception might feature a rock and pop band, or even a cèilidh, a ceremony is more likely to benefit from softer music. You may wish to plug in a CD, or a phone, but a live musician will bring a lot more atmosphere to the proceedings. Depending on whether you have strings, a piano, or a vocalist, the price will vary wildly.
Before doing anything else, check with your venue. There might be rules about playing music, and there will almost certainly be rules about what music you can and cannot play. For example, be careful of religious songs at a civil wedding ceremony.
Finally, be aware of what songs you want playing, and at what time. Brides and grooms often have music playing before the ceremony and after, as well as while signing the register and, of course, walking down the aisle.
Wedding ceremony musicians are in demand at similar times
You might think that, because most wedding ceremonies occur during the afternoon and tend to be fairly short, the fees that musicians charge should be much lower than for your reception party bands. However, it is worth remembering that almost all wedding ceremonies tend to take place at around the same time of day. And, most occur at weekends during the summer.
This means that specialist wedding ceremony musicians are all in demand at very similar times. Similarly to just about anything, demand controls price. Most similar groups in a specific area will charge comparable prices for a performance. Expect to pay more for a Saturday in July than a Tuesday in February.
Location, size and playing time all affect the price
Some wedding ceremony musicians, including harpists and string quartets, will offer varying numbers of sets and charge differently depending on how many you choose to have. You could hire the band for just one set at your ceremony, or have them perform a second time or at your drinks reception. Having the band play for longer usually ends up being better value overall.
The cost of a band also varies depending on location. In London and the surrounding area, fees tend to be proportionately higher than in other regional cities. Remember also that you are paying for their travel, so finding a band that is close to your venue is going to be more economical than flying one in from the other side of the country.
Of course, the more members of the group, the more it is likely to cost. This goes for their transport and food costs as well as their general rate. Whilst a twenty-piece a cappella choir may sound incredible in principle, you will be paying for every single performer individually. Maybe you should buy their album instead and make use of the venue’s speaker system.
Furthermore, if a band plays a rare musical style – or is located in an area where there is little competition – they will often be more expensive.
Varying costs for different acts
In general you can expect to pay anything between £160 and £350 per musician for a good quality, professional musicians. Harpists can cost up to £350 for an hour performing at your ceremony and a string quartet will cost at least £500 for a similar performance. Other ensembles will vary depending on the factors mentioned above but will be within a similar range.
Find a group
On our directory, we host a bunch of musicians that would be perfect for your wedding ceremony.
Leo’s String Quartet
Based out of Esher in Surrey, this group can perform as a quartet, trio or even a duo. Their experience covers playing for BBC and ITV, and they have a full repertoire for your wedding.
Joanna lives in Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, and is an experienced solo violinist. She can perform at your outdoor ceremony and, although she has a varied repertoire, she is happy to arrange any song for you for an extra fee.
Performing classic jazz, modern favourites and classical songs, Marie-France is a harpist based in Bristol. Her music would be perfect paired with a flute or harmonica, and would add an even more romantic touch to your wedding ceremony.
Unlike other musicians, pianists need an instrument at the venue. It’s not an easy one to chuck in the back of a car! Matthew is based in Bristol and has put together an extensive repertoire from his 25 years in the business. If you want to hear him play before you book, you are likely to find him in the Pump Room at the Roman Baths in the city of Bath.
Looking for a singer for your big day? Joe can travel across the UK from his home in Suffolk, with his voice and his guitar. He can play right through to your evening reception and has packages for every eventuality. Choose from his set list or, included in the price, find four new songs for him to play.
Whether you are looking for a soloist or a big group, strings or piano, we have what you are looking for. What music did you play at your wedding ceremony? Did you hire a group? And what songs did you request they play? Let us know in the comments below!