16 June 2006

Some Wedding Don'ts

As a musician who has sung and played harp at many weddings, and as a young person whose friends are marrying off at a rather alarming rate, I have had several opportunities in the past five or six years to observe some things about weddings that work beautifully, and some that are just not good ideas. Here, for your enjoyment or your advice, are three wedding don'ts:

Don't schedule your wedding in the afternoon in the middle of summer. You may think the airconditioning in your church is adequate, but I can almost guarantee that it is not (like the wedding today, at which the ringbearer passed out).

Don't wait until the last minute to choose your music or communicate with your musicians. Things should be organized at least a month before the wedding. The closer to the wedding date you get without having all the music and musicians planned for, the closer you are to having some major hitches (like the wedding today, at which the ordinaries were not sung because the bride still hadn't picked out any music the afternoon before the wedding).

Don't ignore the parish organist, if there is one. Risk the ire of the union if you do. The American Guild of Organists has a code of ethics, and Rule 4 states: "Before accepting an engagement for a wedding, funeral, or other service, members shall obtain the approval of the incumbent musician. In cases where this engagement has been requested by a third party, it is appropriate for the third party to offer the incumbent his/her customary fee. It is the responsibility of members to inform the third party of this rule." This means that you must at least offer the job to the parish organist, even if you plan to also have other musicians at the event. (I would not have sung at today's wedding if I'd known before I agreed that the parish organist had not been offered the gig.)

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