What are Wedding Ceremony Musicians?
Wedding ceremony musicians specialise in beautiful live music for wedding ceremonies. They are usually very flexible, often performing at both the ceremony and drinks reception. The following are some of the types of wedding musician who can provide the music for your wedding ceremony:
A wedding ceremony musician will play select pieces of live music during the course of your wedding ceremony, at key times such as:
- the prelude (awaiting the arrival of the bride),
- the processional (the bride’s arrival),
- during the ceremony itself,
- during the signing of the register,
- and the recessional (the departure of the bride and groom).
What music will a Wedding Ceremony Musician play?
Whatever their style of wedding music, be it a classical string quartet or a solo singer, ceremony musicians usually have an extensive repertoire. They will work with you to create a personalised selection that is special to you for your big day. You can browse each artist’s repertoire on their profile page.
Once you’ve booked an artist, if you don’t have a strong idea about the sort of music you’d like, you can discuss the vibe you want to create with your musician. They can then recommend some music based on you and your individual requirements.
Your wedding day is all about your style, your tastes and your way of celebrating. Whatever type of musician you choose, it’s very common to get involved in the selection of pieces they play for you so you can personalise the experience for you, your friends and family.
The most popular musical pieces played at wedding ceremonies include:
- Bach – Air on the G String
- Bach – Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring
- Handel – Aria from Xerxes
- Handel – Water Music
- Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- Pachelbel – Canon
- Puccini – Nessun Dorma
- Schubert – Ave Maria
Popular contemporary alternatives to traditional wedding ceremony songs include:
- Bee Gees – How Deep Is Your Love?
- Bruno Mars – Marry You
- Bryan Adams – Everything I Do
- Dean Martin – That’s Amore
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight
- Jack Johnson – Better Together
- Nat King Cole – When I Fall In Love
- Oasis – Wonderwall
- Phantom of the Opera – All I Ask, and Think of Me
- Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
- Take That – Greatest Day
- Van Morrison – Have I Told You Lately That I Love You
Once you’re married, it’s celebration time! The music for the recessional will reflect this, and you can choose something upbeat and cheerful for your walk up the aisle, while your guests applaud the happy couple!
Many of our musicians offer the option to learn a song specially for your big day, if feel they can do it justice and providing they have the time to learn it (we suggest a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice). Some artists will charge a small fee for this.
Popular types of Wedding Ceremony Musicians
1. String Quartets
String music really resonates at a wedding ceremony. Strings can add a sense of occasion and really emphasise the emotion of those big moments. Elegant without being stuffy, most string quartets can perform contemporary songs in a classical style alongside a more conventional repertoire. In fact the most popular sets include both classical and contemporary music, from artists such as Mozart, Vivaldi, Sinatra, Bruno Mars and Adele.
Visit the String Quartets roster
Our harpists play either large 47-string concert pedal harps or smaller Celtic harps. While they vary in musical style, both instruments can be played a range of genres from classical music to film themes, jazz and popular music, offering a romantic and dream-like quality to your ceremony music. Many harpists can also perform alongside other musicians or vocalists, or as part of an ensemble for a fuller sound.
Visit the Harpists roster
Incredibly flexible in terms of a soundtrack to our big day, solo pianists or singer-pianists can create either a relaxed and intimate ambiance or a striking, sophisticated atmosphere. With repertoires that cover a wide range of musical styles and artists, from Chopin to Cole Porter and Elton John to Alicia Keys, they can offer a style and tone that is the perfect fit for your ceremony.
Visit the Pianists roster
4. Classical Guitarists
As with pianists, classical guitarists can perform a range of musical genres, with many offering several styles in one performance. You can opt for arrangements of classical music, covers of popular tunes, intricate and fiery finger-picking Spanish music, or cool and melodic Jazz love songs. Whatever you choose, the warmth of their acoustic sound brings a tender and personal feel to your ceremony.
Visit the Classical Guitarists roster
5. Classical Musicians and Ensembles
A classical musician will play an acoustic orchestral instrument, such as a cello, violin, harp, clarinet, or other solo instruments such as piano, saxophone and classical guitar. Primarily playing classical music, soloists or ensembles can create a refined, elegant ambiance for your wedding. They can also cater for all tastes, changing the tone of your wedding as you wish, with many other styles of musical arrangement – from jazz, folk, pop and rock classics, musicals and easy listening.
Visit the Classical Musicians roster
6. Classical/Opera Singers
With the ability to adapt their voice to any venue, your guests will be amazed by the sound and the sheer emotion that an operatic singer will bring to your wedding – tissues at the ready! Soloists or opera groups can perform a wide variety of music which many of your guests will know, with arias taken from famous operas and classical musicals, as well as popular songs in an operatic style, akin to Il Divo and Forte.
Visit the Classical & Opera Singers roster
7. Gospel Choirs
With deeply spiritual roots, the rich harmonies, vivacious performances and visual impact that gospel choirs offer are impressive and always moving. Their soulful, joyful and romantic performances can either be a capella or with instruments, and their repertoire is wide – from traditional gospel music and hymns, to jazz, blues, soul, classical, rock and contemporary pop. Gospel choirs range from 4 to 16 + members, so you can choose how intimate or powerful you would like your wedding entertainment to be!
Visit the Gospel Choirs roster
8. Solo Singer / Guitarists
There’s nothing quite like a solo singer/guitarist to bring a feeling of intimacy and warmth to your wedding day. The sound is simple and sincere, and so makes an especially moving soundtrack for special ceremony moments like the entrance of the bride, or providing relaxing background music where your guests can hold a conversation. With a wide remit of musical styles, singer/guitarists can play a range of cover songs tailored to your wedding ceremony, from Al Green, and Eric Clapton, to John Legend and Ed Sheeran.
Visit the Wedding Guitarists roster
Where in the UK do Alive Wedding Ceremony Musicians perform?
Top wedding ceremony musicians are always in demand, playing at locations across the UK and internationally. The locations where they most regularly perform in the UK include:
Most popular counties:
Most popular cities:
Is a Wedding Ceremony Musician suitable for my event?
Wedding ceremony musicians will provide the perfect hand-picked music for your wedding day, to generate the ideal mood for your big moments. You may wish to create a calm space to soothe any nerves while groom and guests are waiting for the bride. You may want to make a real feature of music for the bride’s arrival and procession, which could be romantic and emotional or lively and upbeat. Following the ceremony, you could opt to have background music for your drinks reception and wedding breakfast, where you and your guests can enjoy the music while happily holding a conversation…
Whether you choose a string quartet or a gospel choir, any of our artists can create a range of musical atmospheres. They can offer suggestions or a set wedding repertoire, and will also work with you to personalise the music for your wedding. They provide lots of options so that you can underscore your day your way.
Space considerations at your event
The space required will be dependent on the musicians you choose. For example, if space for the wedding ceremony is limited at your venue, you may wish to choose a solo singer/guitarist, who can setup very easily and quickly, often with just an armless chair! Conversely, if your ceremony is in a cathedral, you will need an artist who can really fill the space. The impact of a gospel choir or a classical/opera singer or operatic group would work really well in a large wedding venue.
However, ‘smaller’ artists can still fill your wedding music with the use of a professional PA sound system, often provided by the musician themselves.
For approximate requirements, see ‘How much space will a wedding ceremony musician need?’, below.
Volume considerations - How loud is a wedding ceremony musician?
The volume of your live wedding music will be shaped by the line-up, instruments and your wedding venue’s room acoustics. Whether you choose an acoustic or amplified option will also impact the volume levels. Most artists can perform ambient background music (65 – 85 decibels [dB]) or can fill the room with big, beautiful vibes (up to 100 dB). Our musicians will always try to perform in a tone and volume in accordance with what you need for your wedding ceremony.
How much does a Wedding Ceremony Musician cost?
The cost of wedding ceremony musicians varies depending on the line-up, and the options that each musician, group or ensemble offers.
This table shows the range of fees for different types of wedding ceremony musicians:
|Type of Artist
||£480 - £3,300
||£210 - £720
||£130 - £720
||£145 - £720
|Classical Musicians and Ensembles
||£190 - £6,350
||£190 - £4,740
||£725 - £1,080+
|Solo Singer / Guitarists
||£145 - £600+
Booking an artist who lives close to your wedding venue is one way to reduce entertainment costs, as their travelling time will be comparatively low. The home town of all Alive Network wedding ceremony musicians are included on their profile pages, and your Entertainment Coordinator can recommend a selection of great musicians near your venue.
Who are the top 10 best Wedding Ceremony Musicians in the UK right now?
Our wedding ceremony musicians are always in demand, and these ten represent our stand-out artists. Based on a combination of popularity, innovation and performance quality, they are currently leading the way in UK wedding entertainment:
How long will a Wedding Ceremony Musician play for?
Most wedding ceremony musicians will play for up to two or three hours at a time, and many offer several performance options for you to choose from. You can see the performance options for each musician on their profile page.
You could choose to have your musician play for only the wedding ceremony, or for the ceremony and the drinks reception, or drinks reception and the wedding breakfast, for example. Here’s an outline of the performance durations offered by many wedding ceremony musicians:
||Up to 60 minutes
||Up to 90 minutes
|Drinks reception OR wedding breakfast
|Wedding ceremony AND drinks reception
|Drinks reception AND wedding breakfast
|Wedding ceremony AND wedding breakfast
How much space will a Wedding Ceremony Musician need?
The table below shows approximately how much performance space different types of wedding ceremony musicians require:
|Type of Artist
||Average Performance Space Required
||3 × 2 metres
||2 × 2 metres
||1.4 × 1.5 metres (digital piano)
2 × 5 metres (concert grand piano)
||2 × 2 metres
|Classical Musicians and Ensembles
||2 × 2 metres (soloist)
3 × 2 metres (duos)
3 × 3 metres (trios)
4 × 3 metres (4-piece ensemble)
5 × 3 metres (5- and 6-piece ensemble)
5/6 × 4 metres (7-piece band and bigger)
||1 × 2 metres (more if a PA is required)
||3 × 2 metres (4 members)
3 × 3 metres (8 members)
4 × 3 metres (16 members)
|Solo Singer / Guitarists
||2 × 2 metres
These rough measurements will depend on the type of instruments in your band and the number of members. You can discuss each artists’ space requirements with your Entertainment Coordinator.
How long will it take for a Wedding Ceremony Musician to set up?
Depending how close to the wedding venue’s performance area they can park, and the complexity of the act, most musicians will be unloaded, set-up and sound-checked within 60 – 90 minutes. Many artists will need less time than this, for example a classical guitarist will take around 30 minutes to set-up.
Following their performances, packing away can take anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes.
What equipment will a Wedding Ceremony Musician need?
Most wedding ceremony musicians need:
- parking provision with easy access to the venue
- a secure, lockable changing room
- sturdy, armless chairs for acoustic musicians
- a dedicated, suitably-sized, safe, dry, flat performance area or stage
- if they have agreed to perform outside, your musicians will need shelter from the elements
- good lighting, especially if playing in a marquee, for example
- a minimum of four 13 amp power sockets, depending on the artistic line-up
- refreshments – soft drinks and food, in some instances, depending on how long you’ve booked them for.
Many of Alive Network’s wedding ceremony musicians will provide their own microphones, and amp or PA sound system.
Please consider the size and location of your ceremony as this may impact upon the PA system requirements. If you are planning a large wedding with more than 200 guests, you may need to hire a separate PA system. Your dedicated Entertainment Coordinator can explain the requirements for individual wedding ceremony musicians in relation to your chosen venue.
If you have any other queries, simply visit our FAQ page.
Alternatively, our dedicated expert entertainment coordinators are on-hand to help. Simply call 0845 108 5500 or email email@example.com.