You’re playing at a wedding – you’ve learned the wedding music, and now you’re thinking about what you need to bring.
That’s a good plan, since you certainly don’t want to show up and realize you overlooked an important item. Or two. Or three.
Here are a few things that have become my regular “wedding bring-alongs” over the years. You will be able to expand the list with more items specific to your needs, but these basics will help get your list started.
It wouldn’t do well to show up with your violin only to realize that you left your shoulder rest and rosin at home. Make sure you have all the accessories your instrument needs safely packed the night before so you don’t forget any items in the last-minute rush out the door.
Note to String Players: Always remember to pack at least one extra set of strings!
Make copies of all of the pieces you will need for the wedding and insert them into a 3-ring binder in the order you will play them. Wedding ceremonies are fast-paced, and you don’t want to lose time shuffling around for the right book for the next song.
Even if the location says they have plenty of stands, bring one anyway. Theirs might end up being squeaky, rusty, unadjustable, or… lost. Always take extra precautions when you can so you’ll be prepared if others make mistakes.
PRINTED ORDER OF CEREMONY
Ask the wedding coordinator for the order of ceremony ahead of time so you can know the exact order of events before you show up. Print it out and put it in the binder with your wedding music so it will be easy to find once you get there.
If you’re playing an instrument that requires regular tuning (violin, cello, flute, trumpet) and won’t be playing with piano accompaniment, bring a tuner. It’s best not to rely on their piano being in tune, ’cause you never know…
Lots and lots of pencils. With erasers. If the wedding coordinator gives you any last-minute instructions or schedule changes, you’ll want something more reliable than your memory to count on. Grab your pencil and write it down in that faithful 3-ring binder!
PAPER CLIPS OR TAPE
This one’s actually really important. Why? Because I once watched a poor pianist at an outdoor wedding try desperately to bumble her way through Canon in D while her sheet music twirled all over the lawn with someone chasing after it like a maniac. So. Bring something you can use to fasten your music to your stand, even if it’s an indoor wedding – AC drafts play tricks sometimes, too!
Moist hands, spills, cleaning your instrument, etc… There are a number of reasons this might come in handy.
WEDDING COORDINATOR’S PHONE NUMBER
Keep her number at all times in case of last-minute questions or emergencies.
PRINTED ADDRESS & DIRECTIONS
Yes, printed. It’s great to have it on your phone (isn’t GPS handy?!), but phones are electronic. Things happen to them. They die, crash, and go berserk. ALWAYS have a back-up copy of the address and directions on paper. Cause guess what? If your phone dies and the directions, address, AND the wedding coordinator’s number are all inside… Well, yeah. Not good.
All that being said… make sure you have your phone! The wedding coordinator needs access to you at all times on the wedding day should anything come up.
COMFORTABLE CLOTHES & SHOES
Take a little walk around the house. Move your arms around like you’re playing your instrument. Make sure your shoes are comfortable and that your clothes allow your arms and body the full range of motion you will need.
If you get thirsty during the ceremony, it’s a plum bad idea to go hunting for a drink of water. Pack a bottle or two of water, just in case. (A contained snack – like a granola bar – wouldn’t be a bad idea either, depending on the time of day.)
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Aaaand of course you’ll probably want to bring your instrument. If this one isn’t obvious, you might want to reconsider be playing for that wedding…
…take the time to make your own list and to pack everything well ahead of time so nothing is forgotten.
Have fun at the wedding! I hope it goes well.
Can you think of any other items to add? Add your ideas to the list in the comments below!