Why Not Just an iPod? - Why You Should Book a Professional Musician to Play Your Wedding Live
Updated: Nov 20
There’s one thing that everyone knows to be true about planning a wedding - it’s expensive! With so many elements to be organised and brought together on one special day, the costs can add up quick, and it can be difficult to decide what to cut and what to keep. Sometimes one of the first on the chopping block is live music - “We can just have an iPod, right?”
And a few years ago, even as a professional musician, I would have agreed with you - that was until I became a wedding singer.
That Special Something - The Personal Touch
The most obvious reason to choose live music over a playlist is it’s amazing ability to “set the mood”. Live music can be the perfect backdrop to your event, simply providing the right atmosphere as guests mingle and chat, or it can take centre stage to allow your guests to stop for a moment and enjoy (especially handy during long transition periods when, say, the kitchen is running a bit late and guests are getting a bit restless).
Either way, there is just something special about having real people playing real instruments and singing in real life. It adds a personal touch, that certain something, that simply can’t be replicated by a machine playing a digital track.
But it is the less obvious reason, that I never would’ve anticipated, that convinced me that live music is worth the extra cost.
When Things Go Wrong - How Flexibility and Experience of a Live Wedding Musician Can Save the Day
I can no longer count the number of times we were able to “save the day” for a bride and groom (often times without them even knowing) by preventing or covering up a would-be problem.
Live professionals, can be flexible and offer experience where an mp3 playlist cannot.
Like the time that a guest’s cell-phone usage interfered with the celebrant’s bluetooth microphone channel (loudly!) right as the bride reached the altar, and we were able to fade in some acoustic background music while they fixed the issue to make it seem like more of a brief musical interlude than a ceremony fiasco. For this one the groom actually made eye contact with us and mouthed the words “Thank you!”.
Or like the many, many times that the bridesmaids (walking very slowly out of nervousness) or bride (whose shoe buckle just broke!) or meandering flowergirls (who were only toddlers and got a bit lost along the way) for whatever reason took so long making their way down the aisle that an mp3 would’ve been well finished before they reached the altar.
During these times it is wonderful to have a live musician who can think on their feet and simply add in a verse here, a chorus there, so that the music only finishes when it is supposed to finish. (Seriously, I’ve seen aisle walks last for over 9 minutes before!)
Or like almost every other wedding when the MC takes way too long introducing each couple for the bridal party entrance that when it comes time for the bride and groom the song they chose for their entrance is already finishing. But thankfully, since we’ve seen this happen 1,000 times now (seriously!) we quickly fade out while he’s still talking, restart the song, and fade up at the perfect time for the big entrance and no one is any the wiser.
Wedding Photographer Tom Hall has shot over 400 weddings and wanted to weigh in on the topic:
”Being an all-day photographer I very often stay with couples until the end of the reception. At weddings where couples have chosen a DJ or live musicians, there’s usually a party vibe all the way up until the very last minute of the wedding. However, when couples choose to use a playlist it’s not uncommon for me to notice that the floor is empty very soon after the first dance and then by the time it’s the end of the night many of the guests have already left. I would always recommend to couples who wish to ensure all guests have a great time all night and are still there for their departure, that they don’t opt for preselected iTunes/Spotify playlists, and instead book a DJ or Musicians.”
This is the final, and, in my opinion, more important reason why I strongly recommend live music over an iPod for such an important day full of important moments: when you hire a musician you are not just hiring their music you are hiring their experience, their high-end gear, their expertise, and their flexibility. And since music is a thing that if done properly you will hardly even think about on the day (except hopefully to enjoy), but if done improperly can truly ruin a special moment - these are essentials.
- Chelsea Famularo