Phoenix Wedding and Event Music, wedding music

Phoenix Wedding Ceremony Music – Most Popular Songs

With all the decisions brides have to make when planning their wedding ceremonies, selecting the songs for their ceremony can be one of the most difficult but also the most fun. Couples get to decide:

  • Live ensemble or recorded music
  • What style of music
  • What exact songswedding ceremony music Phoenix

Once a couple selects who will play the music and what style, they get to decide on music for the wedding party, the bride’s processional and the recessional.

Below are some of the most common songs for each of these portions of the wedding, both classical style and contemporary.

TOP 10 PROCESSIONAL SONGS

A Thousand Years, Christina Perri

Autumn, Vivaldi

Ave Maria, Schubert

Bitter Sweet Symphony, The Verve

Canon in D, Pachelbel

Clair de Lune, Debussy

I’ll Be There, Jackson 5

Make You Feel My Love, Adele

Marry Me, Train

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Of these songs, we have had requests for A Thousand Years, Canon in D and Somewhere Over the rainbow. While this music is often used for the wedding party, they are also great choices for other parts of the ceremony.

The music for the bride’s entrance is perhaps the most important choice. This is the moment that everyone is waiting for, so it must be the most memorable! Below are the top choices of brides around the country.

 

TOP 10 BRIDE ENTRANCE SONGS

And I Love Her, The Beatles

Can You Feel the Love Tonight?, Elton John

Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop, Landon Pigg

Glasgow Love Theme, from Love Actually

Hoppipola, Sigur Ros

The Luckiest, Ben Folds

Landslide, Fleetwood Mac

Water Suite, No. 2 in D Major, Handel

Wedding March, Mendelssohn

What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong

Of these songs, our brides have selected What a Wonderful World and the Wedding March. We also have had requests for A Thousand Years, Canon in D, Bridal Chorus (“Here Comes the Bride”) and Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran.

Recessional music is generally lively music with a celebratory message. Below are some top choices.

 

TOP 10 RECESSIONAL SONGS

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, Marvin Gaye

All You Need is Love, The Beatles

Home, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Hymne, Vangelis

Love on Top, Beyonce

Lucky, Jason Mraz & Colbie Callait

Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Stevie Wonder

Spring, Vivaldi

You Are the Best Thing, Ray LaMontagne

You Make My Dreams Come True, Hall & Oates

While these may be popular songs in some areas of the nation, here in Phoenix, we’ve never gotten a request for any of these songs for recessional music. The most popular recessional songs we have are  You’ve Got a Friend in Me from Toy StoryRondeau, Jean-Joseph Mouret (this is by far the most frequent request we’ve gotten from couples), and the Wedding March by Mendelssohn.

While there is a reason these songs are so popular, and it’s because they are such classics, we also encourage our couples to choose songs that are most meaningful to them. For a complete list of our wedding music repertoire, click here. We have had some unusual requests but are always happy to make arrangements for flute and guitar so couples will have just what they want to hear on their wedding day.

wedding music

Wedding Music at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix

We recently played for a beautiful wedding ceremony and cocktail hour at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix that was such a lovely, memorable event.

The couple were living out of town, so many of the arrangements were made by the bride’s mother and father. We made most general arrangements about the music through them, but before the final decisions were made, the couple themselves decided on the music for the processional, bride’s entrance and recessional – as well as a list of 98 songs they wanted played at the cocktail hour! The processional of bridesmaids was to Edelweiss from Sound of Music, the bride entered to What a Wonderful world and the recessional was to You’ve Got a Friend in Me, from Toy Story.

The wedding itself took place in the ceremony area of the Desert Botanical Garden behind the Ullman Terrace. It was a pretty area with plenty of seating and a gorgeous view of the mountain and desert landscape behind. As the ceremony musicians, we sat behind the guests in an unpaved area. The ceremony took place on a large raised stage with the guests a few seats lower. There was enough seating for more than 100 guests.

It was a busy preparation before guests arrived.  Since there were military personnel participating, they held several run-throughs of their sword arch ceremony that would be performed later in the evening as the bride and groom were presented before dinner. It seemed like it would be a very impressive ceremony, at least as we saw it rehearsed.

As we were setting up for prelude music, there was also a DJ setting up to play for the dinner. We played prelude music as guests arrived and sipped on cool drinks. It was a beautiful day albeit a bit windy and warm.  For the prelude music, we played some of our favorite classical romantic music.

The processionals went without a hitch, followed by a pretty extensive ceremony. There was a large wedding party, many of whom participated in the ceremony by doing one of the six readings. They had a microphone set up for the readers, so it was easy for guests to hear. The readings ranged from scripture to a Dr. Suess poem. 

Following the announcement and recessional of the new couple, we packed up our sound system and quickly relocated to the cocktail hour location nearby on the Ullman Terrace. We set up in a corner close to the building in the shade that was also out of the way of guests. We were close to they bar, so there was lots of activity nearby.

For the cocktail hour, we played a large selection as chosen specifically by the couple. It included a variety of music including standard love songs, Broadway favorites, movie music, jazz tunes and contemporary songs. It was a lively celebration, but before we knew it, the wedding planners were moving guests back to the ceremony area which had been transformed into an outdoor dining room.

We had a wonderful time playing in this gorgeous setting. Yes, it was a bit of a walk to bring all of our equipment out to the wedding venue, but it was definitely worth it! Such an appreciative family and a beautiful day. We were honored to be a part of their wedding!

Phoenix Wedding and Event Music

Romantic Winery Wedding in Arizona With Live Music

We recently had the pleasure of playing our first wedding at the Windmill Winery in Florence, Arizona. It’s a small little town, but what a special wedding venue! Before the ceremony, we got to ride in a horse-drawn buggy where the driver took us around to tour the property. We saw the lake house and various animals including donkeys. Along the way, we discovered it’s got several different venues on the property for celebrations, but the wedding we played for was outdoors on the grass and the reception was in a large red barn.

The wedding ceremony took place in a large field with lush grass. There were about 100 guests. We sat in the front with our sound system next to another sound system set up by the DJ for the friend of the bride who sang a special song during the ceremony.

Our music began with the lighting of memory candles where we played “How Great Thou Art”. For the ceremony, Bride’s entrance was to Cannon in D by Pachelbel. (There was no wedding party, so we didn’t need music for that.) During the ceremony, the bride’s friend sang “When You Say Nothing at All to a recorded track played bythe DJ. And then after the couple was announced, we played Mouret’s Rondeau, a popular stately tune to welcome the new bride and groom.

After the ceremony, we moved our Bose sound equipment to the cocktail hour area across the lawn and beside the barn. We set up our chairs and equipment and began playing a mix of contemporary love songs chosen by the couple. We set up in a corner near a power outlet, a must when we use amplification. Guests were greeted by a resident turkey, much to their surprise and delight. The new couple posed for pictures while the guests enjoyed cocktails and barbecue appetizers.

The romantic contemporary songs we played for the cocktail hour included:

  • Happy Together
  • Til There Was You
  • Moon River
  • Unforgettable
  • The Nearness of You

Unlike many weddings we play where the couple is so busy with guests, the wedding was special for us because the couple took the time come stop by and say hello during the cocktail hour. After spending so much time communicating with them before their wedding to help them choose just the right music for their special day, it was such a treat to be able to meet them and chat with them a little. They were so appreciative of our music which was so rewarding for us.bride groom phoenix wedding muisc flute guitar SoSco

The cocktail hour was lively and before we knew it, it was time to pack up as the guests moved to the barn for the sit-down dinner.

We so enjoyed working with this couple and the other vendors there that day. We hope to work with them again and see some of the pictures from the photographer!

Phoenix Wedding and Event Music, wedding music

Songs for the Unity Sand Ceremony at Your Wedding

Unity sand ceremonies for weddings have become a popular alternative to the more traditional unity candle ceremonies. But, with all the details that go with planning weddings, music for the sand ceremony is often not considered until the musicians ask.

The sand ceremony is a perfect opportunity for music though! Depending upon what you arrange with your officiant, the sand ceremony could be very short to several minutes long. The sand ceremony takes place after the vows. For outdoor ceremonies, the sand ceremony is popular because wind is always a risk for unity candle ceremonies but is not an issue for sand ceremonies.Classical Music Sand Ceremony Phoenix

Pouring two different colors of sands together is used to symbolize the joining of the bride and groom or the joining of their families. For the ceremony, three small vases are set up –  one for the bride and groom to pour the sand into as well as one for the bride and one for the groom to pour the sand from. The bride’s and groom’s vases are each filled with a different color of sand which symbolizes the separate lives of the bride and groom and their families. After the ceremony, the two empty vases can be used to display fresh flowers at the wedding reception. The vase containing the combined sand can be put on display at the ceremony and in the new couple’s home as a constant reminder of their wedding day.Wedding Sand Ceremony Songs Phoenix

There are three ways the sand ceremony is generally conducted:

  1. The officiant makes a few remarks about the significance of the sand ceremony then the couple pours the sand into the vase. The musicians play after the officiant is finished speaking. Because the sand pouring doesn’t take much time, the music generally ends a while after the couple finishes pouring.
  2. The officiant speaks while the couple pours the sand. This plan doesn’t work so well if you want music during the sand ceremony because it can often be too loud for the officiant to be heard. If this is the plan, it’s just important to make sure the music is soft enough or starts after the officiant finishes speaking.
  3. The officiant says a few words, the family comes forward to pour some sand and then the couple pours the sand. This works well musically because it takes more time, so more music can be played.

Music can certainly make the sand ceremony more meaningful, but the music must be played sensitively, since if it is too loud, it can overpower the words. We generally play a short selection of sentimental music softly in the background. Couples often choose a center vessel with a narrow opening that slows down the rate of sand flow so the couple can spend this time thoughtfully listening to the music. Alternatively, couples just enjoy the music and the moment until the song ends after they finish pouring. The two elements don’t have to be completed at exactly the same time.

A couple’s choice of music for their wedding’s sand ceremony is completely personal, so there is no right or wrong choice, but we can recommend some of our favorites that we would suggest for couples who are looking for ideas.

 

Classical Music for Sand Ceremonies
Air on the G String, J. S. Bach
Ave Maria, Franz Schubert
Greensleeves, Traditional
Gymnopedie I, Eric Satie
Meditation from Thais, Jules Massenet
Spanish Romance, Anon.
Vieni, vieni, Antonio Vivaldi

Contemporary Music for Sand Ceremonies
All I Ask of You – Phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber
Can’t Help Falling in Love, G. Weiss, H. Peretti & L. Creatore
One Hand, One Heart – West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein
Somewhere, Over the Rainbow, Harold Arlen
Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran
Unforgettable, Irving Gordon
What a Wonderful World, Bob Thiele

event music, Phoenix Wedding and Event Music

FAQs about hiring live musicians for a Phoenix event or wedding, part 2

Unless you host a lot of parties and special events, you may have a lot of questions about hiring musicians for your anniversary party, fund raising event, holiday party, life celebration or other special event. Below we answer some of the most common questions we get from clients looking to book us for a special event they’re hosting.live music for Phoenix events and holiday parties

  1. How do I reserve my event date with you? In order for us to reserve your event date, we will need to collect your deposit and get a signed booking agreement from you. For the booking agreement, we generally need the following, although some may be left blank if they haven’t been confirmed yet; client’s name, address, email address, phone, date of event or wedding, beginning and ending time of the event, address and location of the event (such as garden, ceremony room, lounge, banquet hall, etc.), type of music (classical, Celtic, world, Spanish, Disney, Broadway songs, movie music, traditional wedding music, jazz, folk, standard songs, a variety, etc.) and any special musical requests (say, a song to walk down the aisle to for your wedding ceremony, or special featured song to be played at a certain time during the event.)
  2. Do I need to sign a contract? Yes. As described above, we will provide you with a booking agreement that you will need to sign in order to reserve your event or wedding date. The contract outlines what music we will provide, when we will play, where we will play, what will happen if you need to cancel or change the date of your event, what kind of sound equipment (PA system) we will provide, the weather provisions, if your event is planned for outdoors, etc.
  3. When is the payment for my music due? A deposit is due in order to for us to reserve your event or wedding date for you. Your balance will be due one to two weeks before your event. We will send you invoices for your payments due and receipts when your payments have been made.
  4. How can we pay? Most of our clients pay by personal check, but arrangements can be made for you to pay by credit card or to make a series of payments, if that’s easier for you.
  5. How far in advance should we book you for our music? For best availability, we suggest you contact us at least 6 months in advance. For holiday or Christmas music, we suggest you book starting at least in June. We may have some availability later in the year for holiday parties, but dates and times will be limited. During the holidays and busier seasons, we may double book dates for weddings and events on the same days if there is ample time for travel between them.
  6. Can we use your amplification system for announcements? Yes. Depending upon the set-up of your event, you may be able to use our amplification system to speak to your guests or for officiants and couples to be heard during a wedding ceremony. You may also request to rent a separate wireless microphone from us for such purposes. We’ve been to enough weddings where the guests can’t hear the officiant or vows, so we’d be happy to discuss your options.

We hope this list of FAQs helps to answer your questions, but please do contact us by phone, text or email with your additional questions on your wedding, special event or holiday music.

Phoenix Wedding and Event Music, wedding music

5 mistakes to avoid when choosing wedding music

As most people know, the music you choose for you wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and reception is one of the main ways you can set the mood for your special day. But, unfortunately, many couples with good intentions make bad decisions because they just don’t know enough about selecting music, selecting a band or ensemble , or selecting a DJ. To help make sure you make good decisions when it comes to choosing music for your wedding, we offer the following to help you avoid the most common mistakes.mistakes to avoid when choosing Phoenix wedding music

Common wedding music mistakes:

  1. Ruling out live music or a DJ before you actually research the options in your city. Most people assume that hiring live musicians will be more costly than hiring a DJ. Some others may assume that having a DJ will automatically come across as tacky. Neither is totally true, of course. If you plan ahead, and shop wisely, you can find small ensembles that can bring an intimate, romantic mood to your wedding and won’t break the bank. Alternately, skilled DJ’s can bring energy to a crowd and lead the evening through a lively celebration. We recommend that you contact a variety of live musicians and DJ’s and really spend the time to consider your options before making a decision on which to book. Also, you can get the best of both worlds by booking live musicians for the wedding ceremony and cocktail hour and a DJ for the rest of the celebration.
  2. Not consulting your wedding venue regarding music suggestions and restrictions. Some venues have restrictions regarding music – such as not allowing live musicians to be amplified, so it’s always best to consult with your venue to find out if there are any such rules. Additionally, you should ask if they have any suggestions regarding the appropriate ensemble size (solo, duo, trio or quartet) for your wedding ceremony venue, cocktail hour venue, dinner and reception venue. If you’re hiring live musicians, you can also speak with them, as they may have experience  and advice about playing in your venue.
  3. Having no music as guests arrive at your ceremony. Whether you choose to have live musicians or a DJ playing recordings, be sure to have some music playing as guests arrive for your ceremony. This music, referred to as “prelude music” is often more on the romantic side, either contemporary love songs or more traditional classical wedding music. When you hire live musicians, you can work with them to select just the style of music you’d like to set the mood for your wedding.
  4. Not mentioning your favorite songs. Whether you choose a live ensemble or a DJ, don’t be shy about requesting your favorite music or songs. Professional ensembles should have a large repertoire and should be able to play the standard wedding music and popular weddings songs, so don’t be shy about asking. If they don’t have your favorite song in their repertoire, they can often make arrangements especially for you for a nominal fee. When using a DJ, they should have access to most every popular recording, so be sure to give them your “must play” list as well as your “do not play” list.
  5. Allowing the music to overshadow the conversation. Whether it’s during the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner or reception, it’s important that the music volume balances well with the other activity. Never should the volume be so loud that it makes it difficult to hear the officiant, the couple or your guests’ conversations. For the ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner, the volume should be fairly low, but once the reception starts, the volume can be kicked up to drive the party atmosphere.

There are so many considerations when choosing music for your wedding, so be sure to take the time to talk to experienced, professional musicians and DJ’s who can help make the music and integral part of your wedding day.

Phoenix Wedding and Event Music

4 Main Considerations for Choosing the Music for Your Cocktail Hour

While we get a lot of requests to play music for couples’ cocktail hours, many are unsure of what type of music they’d like to have. If you choose carefully, you can ensure that the music will be welcoming for your guests and set the right tone for your celebration.

SoSco performs flute & guitar music at Phoenix Bridal Show
SoSco performs flute & guitar music at Phoenix Bridal Show

When choosing your cocktail hour music, we suggest that you begin by considering the following:

  1. Mood you are trying to create. If you are having a modern wedding, then perhaps some jazz, modern ballads with classic nostalgic instrumentation like guitars, flutes, percussion, bass or keyboards could work very well. If you’re having a formal, traditional cocktail hour, songs made famous by Frank Sinatra and classic love songs played on guitars, flutes, saxophones or strings would set an elegant mood. For a more fun, casual mood, a steel drum band may be the right fit. Just be sure that you request that the volume is kept at a level where guests can still comfortably mix and converse.
  2. Your venue. Where you’re holding your cocktail hour may also play into your decision about what type of music to have. If your cocktail hour is held outdoors, consider the availability of power for instruments that may require amplification (guitars, strings). The larger the venue and guest list, the larger the ensemble you can use. For a smaller venue, you can use a more intimate ensemble like a solo, duo or trio.
  3. Whether you are using live or recorded music. If you’re going for a more upscale wedding, having live musicians will be appropriate and expected. Also, if you’re having a smaller affair but want to give it a more classy feel, hiring live musicians can make all the difference. You can always have your DJ play recorded music for your happy hour, but it will end up coming across as less personalized and less memorable.
  4. Your theme. If you and your wedding planner have come up with a theme for your wedding, be it beach, vintage, rustic, beach, country, garden, nautical or any other, having the right music at your cocktail hour help reinforce this theme. While you may have ideas of what music you might like, take the time to speak with your potential musicians to see what ideas they may have for playing music to help support your theme; they may have some ideas and specialties that you had never considered!

No matter what the mood, your venue, live or recorded or the theme you’re trying to create, we believe the key to creating the perfect soundtrack for cocktail hour is choosing uplifting songs with a relaxed vibe. The cocktail hours should be a time to play the songs that you love but are not suited for dancing.

4 Main Considerations for Choosing Cocktail Hour Music by SoSco Flute & Guitar Duo of Phoenix
4 Main Considerations for Choosing Cocktail Hour Music

We recommend the beautiful music from legendary crooners like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. Classics like “The Way You Look Tonight”, “Unforgettable” and “Can’t Stop Falling in Love with You” never go out of style. You can also add some love song favorites from the ’50s and ’60s that are timeless and romantic.

Whatever you have in mind, we suggest you work with your live musicians to select the perfect set list as the background to make your cocktail hour memorable and special.

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Phoenix Wedding and Event Music, wedding music

Live music at your Phoenix wedding cocktail hour? 7 questions to help you decide

Among the many decisions couples have to make when planning their weddings is

whether or not to have live music at

Live musicians at wedding at WigWam Resort, Litchfield Park, AZ
Live musicians at wedding at WigWam Resort, Litchfield Park, AZ

their cocktail hour. Here are seven questions for you to answer to help you decide if you should hire living musicians for your cocktail hour or not.

  1. Do you want to set a special ambiance for your cocktail hour (celebratory, intimate, romantic, elegant, fun, etc.)? If you’re looking to have a more high-end feel to your wedding, live music is one of those touches that can’t replicated with a DJ just playing recordings. Live musicians will bring a more personalized, intimate feel to the cocktail hour by playing soft background music that sets the mood for the hour.
  2. Do your guests all pretty much know each other? If you have guests at the cocktail hour who don’t know each other, it can sometimes feel like a long time between the ceremony and dinner for guests who don’t know others there. Having live musicians creates a relaxing, pleasant focal point for guests to enjoy while waiting for you to return from taking pictures.
  3. Do your guests get to hear live musicians often? Many people rarely get the opportunity to watch and listen to live, professional musicians in anything other than a large concert setting. They may hear hobbiests perform in the local coffee shop, but this is a very different experience from hearing professional musicians, so consider if you would like to treat your guests to the special, memorable experience of professional live music when they attend your wedding.

    live music or just a DJ at your wedding
    How to decide if you should have live music or just a DJ at your wedding
  4. How will you keep your guests entertained for all of the wedding festivities? Between the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and reception, the whole event can be a long day for your guests. For this reason, it’s important to plan a variety of ways to entertain them. While your ceremony may be with traditional wedding music, your cocktail hour could reflect this style or have more lively, jazzy music. Then the evening can get more energetic until it progresses to dancing to a DJ’s tunes.
  5. Is your cocktail hour in the same location as your dinner and reception? If your cocktail hour is not in the same location as your dinner and reception, it may be difficult for your DJ to set up in multiple locations and it may cause a delay. If you have live musicians play for your cocktail hour, they can quickly move from the ceremony location to the cocktail hour location. This allows your DJ to set up and do sound checks in one location without having to set up twice.
  6. Can you budget for live music for my cocktail hour? You may be surprised to learn that if you are already hiring musicians for your wedding ceremony, it is often quite reasonable in price to keep them on for the cocktail hour as well. Many musicians have a higher fee for the first hour and then reduced fees for subsequent hours. You can save money by asking about pricing for one ensemble for several hours rather than hiring different ensembles for each part of your wedding.
  7. What are your priorities? The decision to have live music or not really boils down to what your priorities are. If you are on a tight budget and would rather spend your money on more booze, hiring live musicians for your cocktail hour doesn’t make sense. But, if music is important to you and you believe it will help create the romantic, elegant ambiance you’re looking for at your wedding, then there is no substitute for booking live musicians.
event music, styles, wedding music

Celtic Music: Beautiful Melodies For Weddings and Special Events in Phoenix

Celtic music is one of our most popular styles of music to perform for weddings,

Celtic music performed in Peoria, AZ for St. Patrick's Day
“Patrick” the leprechaun prepares to read his limerick as SoSco performs Celtic music
Celtic music performed in Peoria, AZ
SoSco poses with “Patrick” the leprechaun before they play Celtic music for St. Patrick’s Day
Celtic music in Phoenix
Guests of a senior community in Peoria, AZ enjoy SoSco’s Celtic music for their St. Patrick’s Day party

private parties, cocktail hours, corporate events and, of course, St. Patrick’s Day parties.

“Celtic” music has many definitions including:

  • Irish and Scottish folk melodies
  • Traditional fiddle tunes
  • Irish jigs, hornpipes and reels
  • Highland bagpipes
  • The more commercial genre with New Age influences featuring flutes, harps, and high voices

SoSco Duo plays a variety of Celtic music, but the majority is arrangements of Irish, Scottish and Isle of Man (now a British crown dependency) tunes from the 18th and 19th centuries. These include airs, jigs and slip jigs, carols, songs, marches arranged for flute and guitar, many with variations composed by the arrangers.

Some of the more popular Celtic pieces we perform include:

  • Eleanor Plunkett by Turlough O’Carolan, a composer from the 17th century who, although blind, was a harpist, composer and singer who became famous for his keen ability to write beautiful melodies
  • Down in Yon Banke from The Skene Manuscript of Scottish tunes from 1610 – 1620
  • MacPherson’s Lament by James MacPherson who played it just before his execution at Banff, Aberdeenshire (Scotland) in 1700
  • Blackbird Will You Go, a song about a young man who asks the blackbird to go to his true love
  • Down by the Salley Gardens, a lovely tune by Hubert Hughes who set the music to Butler Yeats’ poem
  • The Parting Glass, a Scottish tune to be played when it’s time to go

In addition to this type of Celtic music, we can play more traditional-sounding Celtic tunes including Annie Laurie, Molly Malone, The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling, Star of the County Down (My Love Nell) and Danny Boy.

Many of these melodies can be made to sound more or less “Celtic” by the way the flute ornaments the melody and the guitar voices the chordal accompaniments, so we play this music how it’s best suited for the situation. We play more traditionally for weddings and parties with Celtic themes and play less traditionally, emphasizing melody line, for events that just require beautiful music of no specific style.

We invite you to listen to some of our Celtic demos to get an idea of our sound. We believe you’ll find that the flute and guitar pair together beautifully in this style.

Phoenix Wedding and Event Music

Checklist for Hiring Musicians in Phoenix (part 2)

Once you’ve considered the ensemble type and size as well as researched the

live musicians for Phoenix and Scottsdale events
SoSco performs wedding music at the First Christian Church in Scottsdale, AZ

musicians, it’s time to take the next steps in hiring musicians. Next, you should consider the following:

WHEN contacting musicians (Contact your favorite musicians as soon as possible, as they often book up to a year in advance.)

□ Discuss style for each section of music requests (for a wedding, consider the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, etc.)

  • Describe the musical style that you feel complements you and your style.
  • If you’re not sure, consult the musicians. Describe your vision for your event and ask what music they would suggest including what specific songs and music they have in their repertoire. You can often make special request for specific songs or music you’d like to hear, although there may be an additional a fee to arrange special requests.

□ Describe location. Musicians will need to know where you are having your event including:

  • indoor or outdoor
  • size of space
  • climate controlled or not
  • bright or dark lighting
  • hard or soft surfaces
  • sound system and power availability
  • number of guests

Find out where the musicians are based and if they have played at your venue before.

□ Cost. Just like you’re probably not buying the cheapest dress on the market and not ordering fast food for your guests, you will probably not end up pleased if you hire the musicians based on price alone. When you hire the least expensive musicians, you are risking getting

  • poor preparation
  • lack of communication
  • limited skill
  • questionable reliability

As with anything else, you will likely get what you pay for when hiring live musicians. When you receive quotes for musicians, you will either be quoted a flat fee or an hourly rate. The fee may also include costs for travel, set up, overtime, etc.

□  Contract: Once you’ve selected your musicians, we suggest your contract include

  • Contact information for the musicians and/or manager. Include the names of all musicians and which instruments they will be playing. If you are hiring through an agency, this will help ensure that you get the musicians you request, not a sub with less experience.
  • The exact time and location including the time you expect the musicians to arrive.
  • A list of the equipment that you will supply and that the musicians will supply.
  • Dress requirements.
  • Performance details including the length of the performance, the number and length of breaks, and what will occur during the breaks (recorded music? no music?)
  • A play list and perhaps a do-not-play list. Include any details about special songs that you want played as well as the fees associated.
  • Fees and payment procedures including: the total cost, accounting of additional costs, due dates for deposit and balance, and refund and cancellation policies.

It might take a little more planning, but working with live musicians for your special event allows you to personalize the occasion far more than just having a DJ or CD play the same songs you can hear on the radio. We hope this checklist helps you find the perfect musicians to create an unforgettable soundtrack for your special event or wedding.