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CostHelper > Weddings  > Live Ceremony Music

Live Ceremony Music Cost


How Much Does Live Ceremony Music Cost?

 
low costLow: $100-$425average costMedium: $300-$770high costHigh: $800-$1,250+
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Of all the elements involved in a wedding, music can have the biggest impact in setting the overall mood and emotion of the day. Live music is particularly compelling since it can be custom-tailored to the couple's desires. However, because it is typically more expensive than recorded music (or DJ services), many couples opt to hire musicians only for the wedding ceremony and cocktails preceding the reception. Most have a repertoire of classical (ceremony and cocktails), jazz or world music.

Typical costs:

  • The cost of hiring a live musician will depend on the type of instrument, number of musicians and length of performance. Soloists naturally charge less than duos, trios or quartets. Many musicians who routinely perform at weddings will charge a higher fee for the first hour of performance, often considered a "ceremony" charge.
  • Costs for a solo guitarist range from $100 - $425 for a 2-hour performance, covering the ceremony and cocktails. Solo pianists charge roughly $300 - $400 while violinists cost between $300 - $770.
  • Duos, whether two guitars, pianos, violins or harps, range from $800 - $1,250.
  • Trios and quartets (strings are most popular for weddings), average around $1,000.
Related articles: Wedding Music Band, Wedding DJ, Wedding Chapel or Site

What should be included:
  • Price quotes from wedding musicians should include the length of the actual performance, including their own set up and break down time, as well as all necessary equipment (such as sheet music, music stands, etc.). Most live performers require a 5 to 15 minute break between sets, roughly once per hour.
Additional costs:
  • Depending on the location of the wedding ceremony and reception, a travel fee or second-location fee may be added. Travel fees typically range from $50 - $100, or $0.50 per mile. Musicians from out of the area may also require one night's lodging.
  • Some musicians also require meals, particularly for longer performances.
  • A per-hour cost is usually added for wedding rehearsals or planning/consultation sessions.
Discounts:
  • Many musicians offer discounted prices for performances on days other than Saturday, which is the busiest day of the week.
Shopping for live ceremony music:
  • GigMasters[1] offers a searchable database of musicians who offer wedding services. The site allows users to contact a number of musicians with just a few clicks of the mouse. Musicians will then e-mail bids. Each musician pays a 5% fee to GigMasters for each performed booked through the website.
  • The American Federation of Musicians[2] offers an online database of its professional musicians unions. Each chapter's website provides a "hire musicians" feature, which allows you to search for a soloist, group or ensemble in your area.
  • WeddingMusicUSA.com[3] provides state-by-state lists of professional musicians who specialize in wedding music.
  • Check local music schools for talented students whose rates will be cheaper than a professional. Many schools have bulletin boards where students post information about their services and skills.
  • Always try to audition a musician or group in person if possible. Recordings may be enhanced and may not give you the true sound of a live performance.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
Harpist
Amount: $750.00 total
Posted by: Leigh in san francisco, CA.Posted: July 27th, 2012 02:07PM
Number of Hours: 2Type: ceremony and reception
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Teenage musicians
Amount: $150.00 total
Posted by: Jordin in austin, TX.Posted: January 24th, 2011 08:01PM
Number of Hours: 2Type: guitar/piano
I am a teenage wedding singer and have never had an issue when performing and keeping it professional. I have been performing since the young age of 14 and know the etiquette and I keep it strictly professional so please don't let one persons experience dissuade you from hiring a teenager to perform at your wedding. I have always received rave reviews for all of my performances, and no, I do not take any of my family with me!
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Teenage musicians no bargain
Amount: $200.00 total
Posted by: a user in Seattle, WA.Posted: June 14th, 2010 01:06PM
Number of Hours: 1Type: 2 violinist
As for student musicians, please do not hire teenagers (under 18 or 19 in some states. Wedding musicians have to go with the flow and be able to adaptable under stressful situations. Would you hire a teenage caterer or officiant? You will have to deal with their parents and it can be a huge headache as well as legally since they are not old enough to sign a contract by themselves. If their entire family shows up (it could be as large as family of 10) you may have to feed these people as well for the reception. Young children cannot understand that it is not their food to eat and you will be assess additional charges per plate. Hire a professional and you will not have to serve a meal and not deal with extra people.
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Wedding Ceremony Musicians
Amount: $0.00 total
Posted by: Bride/Wedding Musician in Birmingham, AL.Posted: June 12th, 2010 03:06PM
Number of Hours: 1Type: Ceremony
As a wedding musician and a bride, I find the advice to be very accurate. I recommend to all brides to have their venue, time settled upon before they call their ceremony musicians. We wedding musicians also take calls from grooms, parents of either bride or groom or a certified wedding planner. Brides should not have maids of honor/bridesmaids call us as we wedding musicians will not give them rates. Hiring wedding musicians is unlike buying a wii system and doing comparison shopping at walmart or costco. There are a lot of factors that determine pricing, such as the number of musicians, how much advance notice, which weekends (many musicians play in symphonies and perform for corporate events and are booked a year ahead). My business charges by the event and is limited to two weddings (one afternoon 12-2) or from 4-6 in the evening. Sometimes we can only accept one wedding if it out-of-town. I wish all brides the best of luck
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Ceremony & Cocktail Hour Musicians
Amount: $350.00 total
Posted by: a user in Tampa, FL.Posted: December 14th, 2009 11:12AM
Number of Hours: 2Type: 2- Violinists
Found 2 college students on Craigslist referred by a friend. Great experience.
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Wedding Ceremony Musicians
Amount: $900.00 total
Posted by: Natalie Di Marco in Miami, FL.Posted: January 9th, 2009 10:01AM
Number of Hours: 2Type: Flute, Violin, & Cello Trio
I had a great experience with Celebration Musicians. They created the perfect atmosphere for my arrival. Many of my friends and family complimented the live music and were thankful that we treated them to a great prelude. I wanted everyone to remember my ceremony and entrance. They will!
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External Resources:
  1.  weddings.gigmasters.com
  2.  www.afm.org/locals/index/
  3.  www.weddingmusicusa.com/classical_ensembles.asp
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