Throughout the wedding planning process, you will be signing dozens of contracts. No matter what product or service they are providing, all of your vendors should provide a contract to outline expectations and responsibilities for both parties.
For wedding musicians, you want to be sure that they will arrive when you expect them to and perform the way you have envisioned. Your musicians need to know the details and logistics of your ceremony venue.
There are some items that should be in your contract with all of your wedding vendors, but there are some that are specific to musicians, and you should make sure that you are comfortable with the contract and read it thoroughly before you sign.
As a professional harpist, I have had the pleasure of providing the music for over 400 weddings, and would love to work with you, too! Please contact me for a price quote or for more information on enhancing your wedding with live music.
Wedding Music Contracts
1. The date, time, and location of your wedding. This should be obvious, but if you contract your musicians, and then change the time or location, be sure to notify them! Ceremony musicians often play for more than one wedding per day, so they may not be able to accommodate a time or venue change. Be sure to check with them before you make any adjustments.
2. Deposit amount and terms. Be sure that your deposit is applicable to your total fee. Most deposits will be non-refundable, since your musicians are turning down other weddings, counting on your business. Often, there will be a due date for your deposit, and if it not received by that date, you will lose your spot on the musician’s calendar. Be sure to send your contract and deposit back on time!
3. Final payment amount and terms. Depending upon the total fee, you may also choose to make intermediate payments. Check for any late fees that will be added for payments not received in time. Write due dates on your calendar a week in advance so you send your payments in before they are due.
4. Overtime. Know what overtime charges will be, and if you musicians are even available to stay for overtime. If your wedding is running late, they might not be able to remain if they have another even booked after yours. Be prepared to pay for any overtime needed on the day of your wedding with cash (most musicians can’t take credit cards on site).
5. Weather provisions. If you are having an outdoor wedding, this is crucial! Know what conditions are acceptable for the musicians and their instruments, and what will require a move to your back-up location. Most musicians need a flat and level surface that is dry and out of direct sunlight. As acoustic instruments are made of wood, any rain will damage them, so make sure that you have adequate shelter for your musicians, or plan on moving inside.
6. Cancellation. If you need to cancel, what do the musicians require? Usually, all cancellations need to be in writing from the person who signed the contract. Depending upon how close you are to the date, you may still be liable for the full balance due. If your musicians have to cancel (this should be only in the case of a true emergency!), what will they do for you? At the very least, they should give you a full refund and assist you in locating another comparable performer.
7. Music selections. Check for a deadline when your music selections must be turned in. If you are requesting pieces outside of the published repertoire list of your musician, give them as much time as possible to prepare. You will usually not have to make music selections at the time of contracting, especially if you are booking several months in advance.
8. Extra fees. Will there be extra charges for early set-up or arrival? Parking? Meals? Mileage? Sheet music they need to purchase? Assistants? Accompanying a singer? Be sure that everything that may attract a charge is covered in your contract.
9. Who will be my musician? For large groups and booking agents, make sure you know exactly who will be playing for your wedding – and have his or her name listed on the contract. This isn’t a problem when you are dealing with individual musicians!
10. Attire. If you have specific requests for your musicians, note them on the contract. You don’t want Hawaiian shirts at a black tie reception! Most musicians will dress appropriately for the occasion (check pictures of past events), but add this in if it will make you more comfortable.
11. Contact information. Make sure that your contact information as printed on the contract is correct, and that you also have that of the musician. If there is a change in your phone number, address, or email during your engagement, be sure to notify all of your vendors.