The ceremony: musicians or MP3s?

Truth be told, Stallion and I haven’t given a ton of thought to the ceremony yet. All we know is that it will be a civil ceremony officiated by my second cousin, it will (fingers crossed!) be held outside on a deck overlooking the gorgeous Cape May beaches, and it will be short.

Now that we’re five months away, we have started to consider some details surrounding the ceremony – namely, music. Basically, you’ve got two options here:

Live musician(s)

  • Pros: Live music sets a really lovely mood for the ceremony. Many musicians provide their own amplification systems, so your officiant may be able to take advantage of that. Musicians are also able to adjust the music to fit exactly what’s going on and cover for any unplanned timing snafus, such as your sprinting down the aisle because you’re so excited to get to your groom.
  • Cons: It’s definitely an added expense, although depending on your venue – especially if your venue is a church – you may be obligated to use/pay for a live musician. Your song choice may be limited. And musicians are only human, so there’s always the slight possibility that you’ll hear a bum note or squeaky instrument during your walk down the aisle.


  • Pros: This is definitely the budget-friendly choice. Plus, you’re not restrained by what someone is able to play, so the sky is the limit as far as song choice goes!
  • Cons: Depending on your ceremony setting, the logistics of hooking up to a speaker system can be difficult (or you’ll have to provide your own amplification, which can get expensive). You’ll need to take the time to ensure that the timing of each song is right, like Mr. Blue Whale did – for example, if you know it will take you one minute to walk down the aisle, you should edit your processional song to a one minute-ish clip. And if the timing is off, you’ll either be stuck with dead air or waiting for a song to finish. Last but not least, you’ll want to have someone trustworthy to man the iPod in case something goes awry.

Our original choice was to have a member of our reception band play the ceremony, but when we actually consulted with the band on it, they weren’t wild about the idea – during our ceremony, they’d be setting up in the ballroom for the reception, and it would be too much to have two separate setups going on at the same time. Understandable! So it was back to the drawing board for Stallion and I.

At that point, we’d gotten pretty attached to the idea of live ceremony music, so we threw the figurative iPod out the window. Neither of us have really discerning tastes in music – he’s trapped in the 80s and I have yet to get over my boy band phase – so we weren’t attached to any particular instruments. We did know that we weren’t looking to drop a ton of money on this, so we were primarily looking for one musician, as opposed to a duo/trio/quartet/symphony orchestra.

Those “recommended vendor” listings that venues provide? GOLD, I TELL YOU. (You can go rogue from the list, obviously, but they’re a great starting point.) Even better? Having someone whose opinion you trust implicitly. Enter the brilliant Katlyn, the wedding coordinator at our venue. Given the logistical difficulties of planning a wedding from 400 miles away, this woman has been an absolute lifesaver. I am at the point right now where if Katlyn suggested we give our guests bags of flaming dog poop as a favor, I’d do it without hesitation, because that’s how much I value her judgment. She’s that good, Bees. Anyway, when Stallion and I asked her who she recommended, she very enthusiastically recommended a local violinist, Catherine Boyd, who we contacted immediately.

How do you know you’ve hit the jackpot with a musician? Perhaps it is when she tells you that she will play literally any song that you request, and to prove her point, she shares an anecdote about recently playing a Metallica-themed wedding. I don’t even like Metallica, but that’s pretty badass, no? I’m sure she can handle anything I throw at her.

Anyway, included in her fee is a 45 minute prelude before the ceremony, as well as the ceremony itself and amplification. She’s even providing a microphone for our officiant! (Although he, like most of our family, is pretty loud on his own, it never hurts to give him a mic anyway.) She’s absolutely wonderful, and I really look forward to working with her in the coming months. Next step? Figuring out what music we would like her to play!

Well, Bees – what did you end up doing for ceremony music? How did it work for you?


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