I remember the first wedding that I sang at…
I wore my favourite navy skirt and a white blouse with my favourite blue jumper. One of the hymns was ‘Bind us together’, and an older girl performed ‘Hear our Prayer/Oh for the wings of a Dove’ at the signing of the register. At the end of the service a little brown envelope was put into my hand and inside was £10 and I thought that I had hit the jackpot! I was about 9 years old and for the next few years any time my singing teacher rang looking for voices for her next wedding I was there!
At the age of 17 I had taken up the gauntlet of being one of the pianists for my local parish church and I was super chuffed when one Sunday after 8:30am mass a couple came up to me to ask whether I would play for their wedding. I had remembered my singing teacher telling me that she charged £50 to play Organ for weddings so that is how much I quoted. The couple jumped on it and I was pretty pleased with myself for securing my first ever wedding as a pianist. That was back in 2003 and I hope that the happy couple are still together.
Fast forward over ten years and it dawns on me why the couple jumped so quickly at my quote for playing. They had bagged themselves an absolute bargain and I had sold myself way too cheaply. In hindsight my teacher most likely did charge that during the 80’s when £50 was far more expensive than it is today.
Ooo a wedding right then my price is…
The costs involved in your special day are regularly thrown under the spotlight and constantly debated. Many believe that suppliers see the word wedding and add interest to their regular fee. Now that may be the case with a few, after all there are always a few bad eggs in the mix, but the vast majority of us charge honestly and fairly and aim to give the best price to reflect the service that we are providing.
When I first started out I was hired by organists to perform so didn’t have as much control over what I earnt. I then performed my first independant wedding and when I gave them my price they turned round to me and told me I wasn’t charging what I was worth and they added to the figure. For the next while I charged that price. When I then started taking the business seriously I did my research and once again discovered that I was still charging less than ‘average’. Why was this the case? Were my competitors fleecing their customers? No. I wasn’t valuing the service that I was giving and I was insulting myself in the process. The journery has been a learning curve in sales and marketing. So the thinking cap went on and I sat and figured out what is it that we are charging for? I see it regularly: ‘we are only needing 3/4 songs and the service will be less than an hour’. Cue error siren.
Your ceremony is one of the most important moments of your life, so how do you want it to be remembered?
Each supplier would argue that their service is the most important part of the day. And I am no different. Collectivley we are all working as part of a team to make sure that you look back with only the fondest of memories.
In relation to music I could harp on about travel costs, time we take setting up, the tax man etc. But that is like listening to a broken record. I am going to use the analogy of the silverscreen. When watching a movie or a tv show what is it that actually creates the tension and emotion in a scene? I dare you to sit down and watch your favourite scene on mute. How do you feel? Does it hit you like when you have the musical score and the sound fx? When music is used correctly it has the power to transform even the mundainest moments – in the car, at the gym, whilst sitting in a waiting room. If music has this power, what will it do to your wedding ceremony?
Ceremony musicians are not just adding entertainment or filling a gap, they are adding the live soundtrack to the most important moment of your life to date. This takes years of training, rehearsal time and consultation with yourselves – afterall you are the directors and stars of the day and so we want to make sure the correct soundtrack is created (Imagine what ‘La La Land‘ would have been like if Justin Hurwitz hadn’t communicated with Damien Chazelle, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling? Oscar winning performances? Unlikely.)
When choosing the musicians for your special day you want to make sure that you are choosing a team that will create an everlasting positive memory for everyone involved. When you find that winning team then the question won’t be ‘how much’? It will be ‘how do I book you‘?