How much you will spend on your ceremony musician will often be determined by who you hire, as everyone will have different rates. Student performers will charge less than professionals; but don’t let the price the performer charges sway you in your decision making. I always tell my brides: you get what you pay for when it comes to hiring wedding vendors.
Before you begin interviewing ceremony musicians, find out if your venue has any restrictions on outside musicians. Some venues have house musicians they would rather you use for your wedding.
As with any other professional you’ll hire for your wedding, having a glowing recommendation is always a good sign! A great way to look for professional musicians is to check out the local symphony in your surrounding areas or make a post on Facebook to get recommendations from others who have experience with a ceremony musician. Recommendations or not, make sure to ask the musician if they can send you a sample of their work, so you can get a good sense of how they play.
Once you get an idea on who will be your musician, talk with them about specific tunes you want played and at what times you want them played at. This is an area the musician should be able to make some valid suggestions on music. Make sure to give the musicians the freedom to bring a variety of appropriate music to play for the wedding ceremony. It would not be good if things were running late and the musician runs out of music!
As soon as you find your musician, put down a deposit and get a written contract. Make sure there is certain information in the contract to protect you, such as what kind of attire the musicians should wear and what happens if the group has to cancel. Have the musician come with you to the ceremony site as well, so that way they can scout a location for them for your wedding. Make sure they will be able to see who is coming down the aisle (maybe in front of the ceremony site or off to the side) as these visual clues help the musician know what to play. A wedding coordinator can also come in handy, as they can give signals to the musicians wherever they are located.