3 Equally Cool Ways to Do Music at Your Same-Sex Wedding

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The strains of a solo violin playing a sweet, yet triumphant processional brings tears to the eyes of even the toughest wedding guest. Whether bagpipes make your hearts swell, or the lyrics of a contemporary tune give you goose bumps, the music you select for your wedding becomes the soundtrack for the first day of your new lives together.

And, while a quick Google search will turn up plenty of Top 10 lists of “gay wedding songs and first dances,” what appears on these lists is really just good, romantic music that plays well for anyone embarking on a loving commitment. Express your creativity by choosing unique performers, instrumentation and music that you, as a couple, love. Anything goes. Secure a full choir to serenade you as you walk down the aisle, a classical guitarist to play ethereal background music during your cocktail hour or hire a drag performer to wow your guests during your reception. The options are almost endless.

1. Live Ceremony Performers

Quality live performers can add class to your wedding, and traditionally have included string ensembles and quartets, harpists, organists, flautists, vocalists and pianists. When choosing a live musician, look for someone who comes highly recommended with verifiable references. If you’re able, audition the musicians live or attend a performance so you can evaluate skill and professionalism. Demo tapes and online music samples are also helpful, but may or may not include the actual musicians who will perform on your wedding day.

Expect a written agreement from any performer you hire, and review carefully for requirements which may include shade during the ceremony, armless chairs, a level loading and playing surface and even a certain temperature range between which their instruments will function properly. When determining how long your contract should last, account for enough time to begin music as your guests arrive, and continue playing until the last guests leave for the reception. Also, if you plan to have your musicians play any music during the ceremony, coordinate the necessary cues with your officiant at or before the rehearsal to ensure smooth transitions.

Additional services you might request from your ceremony performer could include microphones and amplification for your readers and your officiant during the ceremony, and sometimes an extension to play through the cocktail period, if the events are held on the same property. Also, live musicians are often willing to learn custom music to satisfy special requests, but they need time to rehearse, so plan ahead.

2. Reception Entertainment

The most popular options for reception entertainment are professional DJs and live bands. Many DJs are more economical than bands, satisfying the needs of budget-restricted couples. They require less performance space and offer a wider range of music. Choose a DJ who knows the difference between emceeing an event and grandstanding, and who will respect your must-play and don’t-play requests. Some DJs also offer ceremony sound services and limited specialty lighting, so inquire about these services if you are in need of assistance.

Great live bands are huge crowd favorites, and can be particularly enjoyable at same-sex weddings where many of the traditional reception activities, like introductions, caking cutting and the bouquet toss, are excluded. Live bands are usually more expensive than DJs, require more time and space for set up and need shade and protection from the elements. They usually issue extensive riders outlining power and staging needs, and also their meal and beverage requirements. They may be able to learn custom songs on request in advance, but should be considered specialists in the kind of music you heard them play when first you first hired them.

3. iPod Weddings

Highly budget-restricted couples, or those holding extremely intimate events with only a few guests may decide to skip performers altogether and compile their music on an iPod or MP3 player. The technology is available and increasingly easy to use, but you must designate a responsible friend or family member to set up your player and speakers, press “play” as needed, and troubleshoot any issues that might occur with your technology.

The Internet is full of suggestions for traditional as well as contemporary music. Feel free to mix and match the two and focus on featuring the songs that mean the most to you at each of the key moments of your day. Choosing your wedding music and musicians can be fun and even romantic, so relax together and enjoy!