Musicians playing outside

Now is the time we are busy organising our summer weddings, we therefore throught the following advice from Susan Heaton Wright from Viva Live Music might be helpful to you.

Many venues have gardens and terraces where guests can mingle after a wedding ceremony. This is a lovely way: weather permitting, that guests can enjoy the venue; there is more space for guests to mingle and it ‘keeps them occupied’ whilst the wedding photographs are being taken.

For this part of the wedding day, it is particularly lovely to have live musicians performing background music. Not only does this create a wonderful atmosphere, it will entertain guests. However, there are a few considerations and planning points that should be taken into account, to ensure everything goes to plan. Unfortunately, through the grapevine, we have heard stories of musicians refusing to play at particular locations or in certain weather. I know why, and I will share my experience with you.

  • Many musical instruments are very valuable. Sunlight and wet weather damages musicians’ instruments and understandably they wish to avoid this. I would advise:
    • The musicians are located in a shady place to avoid sunlight damage.
    • That the location has some sort of roof or cover in case there is rain.
    • If it gets too wet, be prepared for the musicians to ask to move inside and have a spot chosen so they can move quickly and cause the least possible disruption.
  • For acoustic type instruments: eg string quartets, harps, guitars, their sound does not carry outside unless you locate them next to a wall where the sound will ‘bounce’ and then project. I have heard of string quartets being asked to play in the middle of a field or garden. They played beautifully but guests were not able to hear them.
  • If musicians that use electrical equipment are being used: such as a pianist with a keyboard; electric guitarist; singer with microphone; they will need access to power. I would advise liaising with the venue before the day. They will be able to suggest solutions for this. They might already have a power socket outside available for this.
  • Musicians using electrical equipment also don’t like playing outside in the rain for obvious reasons! I would suggest having a cover for them and the option of them moving inside if it does get wet.
  • Windy locations play havoc on music. Although many musicians come prepared with clips for their music, a very windy day is virtually impossible to keep music straight! Be considerate; perhaps a more sheltered spot could be used and I am sure the musicians would be happy to move there!
  • It is difficult performing in the cold: particularly for instrumentalists who need to keep their fingers warm. If it is cold, it is likely guests won’t go outside either, but be considerate! This also applies to locations inside a venue; musicians have been placed by drafty doors and windows and sitting there for three hours is a challenge!
  • I do advise you to tell the musicians they will be playing outside before you book them. Mention that you have a shady, sheltered area for them to play; if they refuse to play outside – don’t book them.
  • Do share all of your plans, and as much information as you can about the venue; most musicians will be delighted you are planning ahead, but having a conversation with them might result in them coming up with some great ideas too. There’s nothing like sharing information and experience to ensure a wedding is a great success.







1 Comment

  1. Maria Kirk on 21st April 2011 at 9:11 am

    This is fantastic advice! You should look after your suppliers as much as you look after your bride and groom. I will certainly be following these rules in the future as some of the things mentioned ‘Sunlight and wet weather damages musicians’ instruments’ I had never actually thought about before!

    Thanks for the advice

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