Vermont Symphony Orchestra

The VSO Blog

How to Choose Ceremony Musicians

Congratulations—now that you’re engaged and planning your perfect Vermont wedding, you now have about a million decisions to make, some of which might fall into areas where you have little to no background. If booking musicians for your dream ceremony feels unfamiliar or daunting, we want to make it easier for you. Here some of our suggestions and general guidelines for commonly asked questions.


Why choose live music?

It might seem convenient to stick with recorded music for your ceremony, but live musicians offer elements that recorded music cannot. From a purely practical standpoint, our musicians are experienced professionals that can adapt to changes, challenges, and unexpected timing as your ceremony unfolds. Plus, our knowledgeable team can help you find the perfect repertoire to fit your vision.


How many musicians should I book?

Consider the size (number of guests) and setting (indoors vs. outdoors) of your ceremony. Soloists are best for very intimate weddings of around 40-50 guests, usually indoors. Duos are a good fit for small outdoor ceremonies and indoor ceremonies of up to 80 guests. Trios are very versatile—they’re best for ceremonies of up to 175 guests, but can work for larger groups and carry well outdoors. Quartets are your best bet for large weddings of 200 guests or more, and also work well in outdoor settings.

When booking a soloist, the music selections are agreed upon with the soloist directly. This limits your options to what is in their personal repertoire. Duos and trios have a much wider selection of repertoire to choose from. You’ll also want to keep your budget in mind when making this decision, as rates vary according to the number of musicians in your ensemble.


Which instruments should I choose?

Once again, you’ll want to keep the size and setting of your ceremony in mind for this one. Some combinations of instruments can overpower small indoor spaces but carry well outdoors. Solo harp or violin are popular choices for intimate weddings. String ensembles and trios of flute, violin, and cello are our most popular, as these groups can adapt nicely to smaller, indoor settings, but also carry well over background noise.

Repertoire is another important consideration when determining instrumentation. Some pieces traditionally performed on one particular instrument translate well to other instruments, and some do not. Consider lyrics as well—if the lyrics are the most meaningful part of your ideal processional song, you may not want to book an ensemble without a vocalist. On the flip side, if you love the melody of a given song but feel that the lyrics would pose a distraction during your ceremony, an instrumental arrangement is the perfect remedy.


How long should I book my ensemble for?

An hour-long booking is standard for a ceremony. Live music also makes a great addition to your cocktail hour, and can entertain guests during a room flip or other post-ceremony transition.  A two-hour booking typically covers situations like these.

We usually begin the scheduled time frame 15 minutes before the ceremony start time (so for a 4pm ceremony, for example, the time frame would be 3:45-4:45pm). Our musicians arrive 30 minutes before the contracted playing time to set up, which is included in the fee—no need to factor travel or set-up into your time frame!


Still have questions? We’re here to help! You can view our booking page here, and use the contact submission form to submit an inquiry to our Ensemble Coordinator.