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  1. #1
    Forum Contributor 2009 saxguy007's Avatar
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    Default When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    Hello all-

    I get the occasional wedding ceremony gig, sometimes alone with backing tracks for budget weddings, or more commonly with my pianist.

    Lately, I've had to gently fend off a couple bride requests that I come down to the timbuktu wedding venue the friday before or whatever to play down the processional, etc.

    Now, I can understand how they want everything perfect, but when I gave them my quote for doing the performance, I never budgeted time and expense to drive down and do a separate run-thru. On Fridays, I would have to arrange and pay for child care to boot.

    What is the "industry standard" for wedding musicians? Do wedding musicians typically do the rehearsal too and budget/quote a higher price accordingly? Maybe I should track down a couple string players I know and ask them.

    Just thought I'd ask here what the general understanding is about covering the rehearsal ceremony for live wedding instrumentalist performers.

    Jim
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  2. #2
    Distinguished SOTW Member Dr G's Avatar
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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    Call your local wedding planner(s) - see the Yellow Pages.

    I recall paying for rehearsal music for my wedding. I would suggest that you budget it in and describe the services you include in your contract. If they balk at the charge for a rehearsal and don't require your presence, have an alternate contract in your brief case reflecting the costs for wedding day performance only.

    Or just tell them there's no option.
    Go for The Tone,

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    No, I've never played a wedding where the band had to be there for the rehearsal. I guess we'd do it if we got paid, but it would come close to doubling the price for the band. But then we don't do many weddings, since we aren't a traditional 'wedding band.' We've done weddings for people who have heard us, knew exactly what we sound like and want the type of music we play. That means no (or at most one or two) special tunes beyond our usual fare.

    You really have to set the guidelines and be up front about what you will or will not be able to do.

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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    I am not a wedding pro, but my sax quartet has played for 3 wedding ceremonies to-date. If you are part of the ceremony (prelude, wedding march, playing during ceremony, recessional), as opposed to just playing the reception), I think it only makes sense to be represented (not play) at the rehearsal so that you know how things are to flow and when you are to play, especially in the event something does not go as expected. Spoiling someone's incredibly special day is not a good idea for repeat business.
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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    Quote Originally Posted by awholley View Post
    ...my sax quartet has played for 3 wedding ceremonies to-date. If you are part of the ceremony (prelude, wedding march, playing during ceremony, recessional), as opposed to just playing the reception), I think it only makes sense to be represented.
    Good point, and that makes total sense. Like I said we have always played the reception, the party, nothing to do with the actual ceremony. However, on one occasion, they asked me to play "Here Comes the Bride" solo on the sax (not the whole band) at a wedding where the ceremony was held right in the same room as the party (great idea, imo--it was a 'secular' wedding). No rehearsal needed; I just played the melody as the bride walked in and they were very happy with it. Then we went on to playing our usual party fare--jump blues & funk, etc.

  6. #6
    Distinguished SOTW Member Carl H.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    I've done MANY weddings, and I can't recall ever having the entire group there for a rehearsal. The bride and whomever she brought along have come to quartet rehearsals to choose music, but it is not the norm to have the full group at the wedding rehearsal. Of course with money, anything is possible.
    So far, this is the oldest I've been.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    This is one of those situations that the term "bridezilla" was invented for (IMO). Band at the rehearsal? That's completely bonkers. But (equally obviously) the paying customer is always right.
    "The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions."

  8. #8
    Forum Contributor 2014 Smokey613's Avatar
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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    This is interesting. I was playing last Saturday for a casual get together on an outside side deck at a local Inn. During warmup and sound testing I was running through Unchained Melody as I had heard it playing on the back deck where a wedding was to take place. It seems I was to start my venue after the wedding but they were running late. As I was going through it the second time the preacher ran around to where I was, came up to me and ask me to keep playing. Unknown to me they were about to start the wedding finally and someone decided I sounded better than their recording. So I continued until finished and then just hung out until the wedding was over. About 30 minutes later I started my scheduled gig. I am scheduled to play at the same location this Saturday for another after wedding reception before starting my regular venue. It seems the parents of the upcoming bride were on the deck listening to me and decided to ask the owner of the Inn if she could get me for this coming weekend. They do a lot of weddings at this place. Maybe I have found a new side job.....
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  9. #9

    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    I've played close to a bazillion weddings and never once was asked to play for the rehearsal. And yeah, I've played at the ceremony many times as well, and I don't recall having to be there because of that, either. But, with the level of ridiculous expectations nowadays that probably means we'll all have to start throwing that in for free. Glad I don't make a living doing the wedding circuits anymore.
    How hard can it be? You only play one note at a time.

  10. #10
    Forum Contributor 2009 saxguy007's Avatar
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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    I guess my more focused question is: "Is it the COMMON understanding in the live music biz that in the absence of specific language, a quote/bid for a ceremony performance includes the same performer coming out on a separate date to attend or play for a rehearsal?"

    The answer from here on SOTW and from a couple other queries I made seems to be a clear NO, but that I could conceivably drive out to do a ceremony rehearsal for an additional charge, framed either as a discrete modular "add-on" or built into a larger initial bid as the "default" procedure, where the bride can opt out to save costs.

    I live in a huge sprawling metro area with the nation's second-worst rated traffic. Road-tripping for a rehearsal, especially early on a Friday evening, is NOT trivial.

    At the very least, henceforth, I will be VERY CLEAR in my quote/bid to a prospective wedding couple what my fee will and will not cover!
    Covering the bari part- because no-one else owns one...
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  11. #11
    Distinguished SOTW Member LateNiteSax's Avatar
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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    No she's not right, and its insensitive, narcissistic an insulting all in one, but typical of the disrespect shown to (professional) musicians in our society. Try to be polite, and explain your contract is to do the WEDDING, on a certain day at a certain time for a certain price, and maybe explain that you are a pro and you will do a very fine job. Don't even offer the service of doing the rehearsal, it should be beneath you unless they are willing to throw real $$$$ to make it really worth your while.

    Quote Originally Posted by RootyTootoot View Post
    This is one of those situations that the term "bridezilla" was invented for (IMO). Band at the rehearsal? That's completely bonkers. But (equally obviously) the paying customer is always right.
    "We sax players need to stick together and save the world." Sonny Rollins, 1993 after a show.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    Just tell her how much it will cost for you to do the rehearsal............it should be about double the price of the wedding because it is double the travel and time. at that point she will probably say "Oh, OK, I don't think we will need you for the rehearsal........"

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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    Quote Originally Posted by LateNiteSax View Post
    No she's not right,
    I'm saying she's right (but bonkers) if she pays for the rehearsal (which would possibly more than double the price depending on the time involved). I don't see what the problem would be there. People can waste their money if they like.
    "The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions."

  14. #14
    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    I don't think the photographer would expect to be at the rehearsal either

    I think you should the same for the rehearsal as you would for the wedding.

  15. #15
    Forum Contributor 2014 patmiller's Avatar
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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    Crikey, and I thought being asked to set up three hours early was an imposition. Luckily rehearsals are not a common occurence in my neck of the woods.
    Pleasing everyone is impossible; pissing everyone off is a piece of cake.

  16. #16
    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    Quote Originally Posted by patmiller View Post
    Crikey, and I thought being asked to set up three hours early was an imposition. Luckily rehearsals are not a common occurence in my neck of the woods.
    It makes sense, if you think about it a lot of people didn't used to rehearse the honeymoon either, I believe it's very common these days. Luckily they don't usually employ a band for that either.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    In the future, quote extra for a rehearsal DINNER. This should be in your contract.

    I photographed a lot of weddings, and the most stressful of the lot involved control-freak wedding directresses. Sometimes they're inexperienced,and they think that you are too, so they believe that everyone needs to be present. Explain that you are the entertainment and are not part of the wedding party. You've done hundreds of weddings, so you know the drill. The B&G (one assumes) have never made that traipse down the aisle toward wedded bliss before, so THEY need to rehearse, not you.

    The guys who need a run-through more than anyone are the florists. They're never present at rehearsals; the cake maker is never there, and Uncle Johnny the Drunk never shows up either (unless there's a rehearsal dinner).
    The absolute real reason I continue is the free shrimp at the cocktail hour. It's the little things.--- Rich Maraday

  18. #18
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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    Quote Originally Posted by saxguy007 View Post
    I guess my more focused question is: "Is it the COMMON understanding in the live music biz that in the absence of specific language, a quote/bid for a ceremony performance includes the same performer coming out on a separate date to attend or play for a rehearsal?"
    Not to beat a dead horse, but the answer to your specific question here is NO. It's not common. I'd go so far as to say there is never such an 'understanding.'

  19. #19
    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    Quote Originally Posted by JL View Post
    Not to beat a dead horse, but the answer to your specific question here is NO. It's not common. I'd go so far as to say there is never such an 'understanding.'
    Nor is there such an understanding for any performance or recording. Rehearsals are extra.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: When performing a wedding ceremony gig, do you play at the rehearsal too?

    If they want to rehearse the ceremony with the music, you could offer to provide them a recording of the music you will play (doesn't have to be you playing, you could give them versions of others' performance of the required music). Of course, this would be for an additional fee.
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