How to Hire Best Ceremony Musicians in NYC
Wedding Planning Guide
(Practical Tips from Art-Strings - Booking Musicians for Wedding Ceremony, Cocktail Hour & Reception)
"How to book live music band, string quartet or piano ensemble for my wedding"
*Tips & Tricks*
When to book musicians for my wedding ceremony or reception?
Book early – it is a good idea to start your search 9-12 months before the wedding day. Well established professional bands and ensembles usually book up to two years in advance.
How to find a top quality professional ensemble or band for my wedding ceremony or event?
The best place to book musicians these days IS the web. You will find a number of useful resources on the internet – so, do not panic and start your search today. There are many great talent search sites out there – Gigmasters.com, TheKnot.com, WeddingWire.com and GigSalad.com among many others.
These sites offer a wide variety of different bands, ensembles and soloists. Many of them are well established and have an extensive experience in the entertainment business.
Read the bands’ past customer reviews, listen to their music samples and watch their videos online. After you get initial impression and found an entertainer you like - e-mail or call the vendor to make an inquiry about their rates and availability.
Do not hesitate to ask about “fine print” - if there are any booking fees or any other hidden fees included in the contract. Do not forget to ask if there are any special offers or promotions they currently run.
When you are ready to book – ask your vendor to forward you the draft of the contract. Usually, you would be required to pay a deposit – from 25 to 50% of the total fee with the remaining balance due on the day of your event or even two weeks before the day of.
What is a best ensemble option for my event?
One of the most common and practical choices is a String Quartet – two violins, viola and cello. This ensemble option is equally strong in traditional classical and Baroque music and more modern, contemporary music styles.
If your budget is limited, the ensemble can be reduced to a String Trio – two violins and a cello OR violin, viola and a cello. Some of the music selections played by a string trio will sound almost as good as if they were performed by a string quartet, and some may sound poor lacking just one voice! In general, a string trio leans towards more traditional classical style.
Another great choice – a Piano Trio of violin cello & piano (or digital piano) if there is no acoustic piano on-site. This option can easily transform from an elegant and classy ensemble into a lively jazz band. It is equally strong in both traditional classical and modern styles - jazz, rock and pop music. Waltzes, romantic ballades and love songs are the Piano Trio's specialty.
Please always make sure you know what music you would like for your ceremony – Prelude, Bridal Party Processional, The Bride’s Entrance, Unity Candle Lighting music (if any), Recessional and Postlude music. You may want to discuss it with the ensemble or band leader – they do have extensive experience and will be happy to assist you in selecting an appropriate yet unique choice that will suit your very special day.
Happy wedding planning!
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of ensemble would you recommend for my event?
The best and the most appropriate ensemble option depends on several factors – the number of guests attending your event, the size of the room etc. but most of all – it depends on the particular music selections/styles you would like to have for your special day.
Should I select music for the ceremony?
Yes, if you would like to do so. If you feel that you need our advice - we will be happy to assist you and share our musical ideas with you.
Can all the music from your repertoire list be performed by any ensemble?
For the most part. There are some limitations – for example, some music will sound very good performed by a String Quartet and some music – by a Piano Trio. Generally, an ensemble with a piano/digital piano represents more “contemporary” repertoire. Please feel free to contact us to discuss specific music selections you would like to be performed.
Can I request a special song/arrangement which is not part of your repertoire list?
Yes, we will try to accommodate your special requests and will even make our own arrangements (if they are not in our repertoire) free of charge (up to two songs) unless there are copyrights issues/limitations etc.
What time will musicians arrive to the event location?
Musicians will arrive at least 30 minutes before the starting time in the contract.
What is the musicians' dress code?
Formal black unless specified.
Do musicians need any special arrangements to set-up?
Not particularly, except we will need 2-4 armless chairs.
What if it rains and my event is outdoors?
Our instruments are very valuable and therefore shelter from rain or direct sunlight should be provided.
If the actual ceremony starts at 3pm, what duration of the Prelude Music should I request when booking Art-Strings?
Usually, the duration of the Prelude Music is 20-30 minutes long, therefore you should book Art-Strings from 2:30pm.
What if I would like Art-Strings to perform overtime?
We can not always guarantee our availability after the contract time is up, but please feel free to ask the group leader 10-15 minutes before the conclusion of the performance.
What is the due date of the final payment (remaining balance)?
The final payment is due on the day of your event in the form of cash or money order.
Should I provide the final payment before or after the performance?
It is really up to you, but please make sure that you or your assigned person (best man, for example) will take care of the payment no later than by the end of our performance.
Can I pay the remaining balance by credit card or personal check?
Unfortunately, we do not accept credit cards or personal checks on the day of the performance.
How much is the gratuity per musician?
Usually, it is about $25-50 per musician, depending on how long and how difficult the job.