Wedding Music: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Wedding Music Frequently Asked Questions

MUSIC Q & A

Can we meet with you and have you play for us?

Absolutely, yes! I would love to meet you! Whether you would like to hear me play before hiring me, or you’ve already hired me and would like to decide on some songs, yes please do make an appointment to stop by for coffee (or wine!) and a performance at my grand piano.

Can we really choose any music we want for our ceremony and first dance songs?

Yes! Please feel free to choose music that means something to you or is special to you in some way. And special can just mean that you really like that song. The song can be old, new, or any music genre. If you love it, I would love to perform it for you!

What if you don’t know the songs we want?

I am happy to learn them! If I’ve never heard a song before, it’s not a problem to learn it. I read music and play by ear. So I’ll either find the sheet music for it or look it up on YouTube and learn it by ear.

Is there a limit to how many new songs you will learn?

Not really, at least not for the “really important” songs. Learning 5-7 hours (50+ songs) of all new material to cover a full day of wedding music for prelude, ceremony, cocktails, dinner, and first dances would be a little crazy, but I’m happy to learn as many new songs as you’d like for your ceremony and first dances.

How can we get you to play a certain version of a song that we like?

YouTube is our friend! If you’ve found a cool cover version of a song and would like me to play it in the same style, just send me a YouTube link or an mp3 of the song itself.

Can my friend or relative sing a song or play your piano?

Yes to all of the above. Absolutely! Having loved ones join in makes everything that much more special. So yes please, if you have people in your family who would like to contribute some music, they are most welcome to. I am also happy to accompany them if they’d like.

Do you play classical music?

Yes! I haven’t included much classical music in my song lists on my website because 1) most of my couples request modern contemporary music, and 2) there is so much classical material I know, it’s too much to list it all. But yes, I am a classically trained pianist, and am very comfortable in the classical style.

Do you ever perform with other musicians?

Yes, I have performed with other talented musicians such as a singer-guitarist, violinist, and cellist. If you are looking for a particular instrumentation, please let me know and I would be happy to put it together for you.

Can we mix music styles?

Yes! You can have Pachelbel’s Canon for your Processional, and a country song for your Signing, it’s all good, you’re not breaking any rules.

Do you sing in French?

Yes, I do! I don’t have enough material to cover hours of French music, but I can certainly sing a few special request songs in French. Here is my cover of “L’amour existe encore” by Céline Dion:

CeremonyCEREMONY Q & A

How many songs should we have for our ceremony?

You’re welcome to have as much music as you’d like in whatever order you’d like. There are no limits, and there is no right or wrong with wedding music. The typical scenario is as follows (but feel free to do what you’d like):

  • Prelude – 30 minutes of music leading up to the ceremony (5-7 songs)
  • Processional: Bridal Party & Bride (can be same song or different songs)
  • Signing of Registry
  • Recessional

Can we have more than one song for our Processional?

Yes! You can have different songs or the same song for your bridal party and bridal procession. Either is perfectly acceptable.

Should we worry about the timing of our processional song for the walk down the aisle?

No, in fact, please do not worry about this. I will time things perfectly to fit what is happening in real time. I have lots of practice at doing this, it has become one of my superpowers.

Do you come to our wedding rehearsal?

I can, but it’s not necessary. Your rehearsal is for you to run through what to do and where to stand, and you don’t need the music for that. That said, I have had a few couples request that I attend their rehearsals, and that’s certainly fine, I’m happy to oblige. I do need to reserve that time and charge for it like any other event. So if you would like me to attend your rehearsal, please let me know in advance to reserve your date.

Have you done wedding music for Catholic Masses before?

Yes, many. Most Catholic churches actually do not permit recorded music and only allow live musicians during the sacred liturgy. The order for the music is generally: Prelude, Processional, Responsorial Psalm (after the 1st reading), Gospel Acclamation (“alleluia” after the 2nd reading), Offertory, Communion, Signing, Recessional. Some churches also do a song for the “Lighting of the Unity Candle” and some may omit one or more of the songs I mentioned. I let the priest do the cantor parts such as “holy holy”, “lamb of god” as these can vary greatly depending on the church, so it’s better for the priest to say or sing those the way they are accustomed to. Everything is a little bit different from church to church, so check with your own church as to what music they allow and want included.

EQUIPMENT / LOGISTICS / TECHNICAL Q & A

We do not have a piano at our venue, do you bring your own?

Yes, I travel with everything I require. I have 2 digital pianos, 3 sound systems, microphones, stands and cables.

What if our wedding takes place in 2 or 3 different rooms, can you move your equipment?

It is very common for weddings to take place in up to 3 different spaces in a venue, 1) for the ceremony, 2) for the cocktails, and 3) for the dinner. I have 2 digital pianos and 3 sound systems and all my equipment is portable. For events where I need to move quickly from room to room and transition from ceremony to cocktails to dinner, I will set up all 3 spaces in advance. I set up one piano at the ceremony and the other piano either at cocktails or dinner and move one of the pianos to the other spot. There is often a natural break right after the ceremony where everyone goes for a group photo, and that’s a good opportunity for me to move. Some weddings it’s better for me to move my piano between cocktails and dinner, it all depends on the wedding and the venue. But yes, I can manage being in 3 places without any issues.

What if our wedding takes place in 2 different locations (church and reception venue)? Can we still include your music for both locations?

Yes! There is usually enough time between the ceremony and reception for your guests to be able to make that same move, which gives me enough time to transition between the two venues. In the rare case where the transition time is not long enough, I would set up a second piano and sound system at the 2nd location in advance of going to the 1st location.

Do you need to do a site visit of our venue beforehand?

No. If I’m going to a venue I’ve never been to before, I will arrive extra early day-of to ensure that I have more than enough time to navigate and set up. I always travel with everything I need, even when I’m told there is a piano and/or sound available to me at a venue. I will still have my own equipment with me, just in case, as a backup.

Do you have an extra microphone for our ceremony & speeches?

Yes, I do. Just let me know and I’d be happy to run an extra mic for you for your ceremony and/or speeches. I use microphones with cords (not cordless) because they are more reliable. Cordless mics can be fussy and the batteries always seem to die at the worst times. I can provide a microphone on a stand or without (handheld). When considering a mic for your ceremony, consider that it will show in your photos, especially if it’s on a stand.

Where should we place you in the room?

I can really be placed anywhere and make it work. So if you’re working with a tight space and need to put me somewhere not “ideal”, that’s okay. A good view is helpful (especially for the ceremony), but I have played many ceremonies without being able to see what’s going on. In fact, I’ve done a few ceremonies where I was inside and the wedding was outside…weather, lol, see next question. If I have to, I’ll get someone to cue me and it always works out just fine.

Can you play outdoors?

Yes I can play outside in good conditions. My electronic equipment obviously requires safe weather conditions. If there is a chance of rain, or extreme heat, cold or wind on your event day, I may need to setup indoors and run a speaker to the proceedings. In such cases, I can still provide music, but I may no longer be visible to your guests. If it starts pouring I would have to remove the speaker. All that said, usually when the weather is looking awful, most couples will opt to use their indoor backup plan instead.

Can you perform acoustically without power?

Yes. If it is not possible to connect to electrical power for my digital piano, I can still sing, and I also play the flute. Solo flute is quite lovely and can be performed anywhere.

Flute Cover of “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri

 

What is your cancellation policy?

An initial 50% deposit is a non-refundable retainer. Once you have secured your date with your deposit, I have turned all others away for that date and have missed those opportunities, therefore I’m not able to refund that portion. The remaining 50% due 2 weeks before your event date is refundable if you need to cancel before that time. If you need to change your date, I am happy to do so, provided I have availability for the new date. In the highly unlikely event that I am required to cancel (please see next question), any and all payments you’ve made will be 100% refunded.

Do you have a backup in case something happens to you on our wedding day?

I actually get this question a fair bit, so I thought I should address it. Just like there are no real guarantees that you will make it to your wedding, there are no guarantees for me either. That said, in the 500+ events and 10 years I’ve been performing, I have never once cancelled, been late, or not shown up for an event. I would have to be in a very dire circumstance for that to happen, which as you can imagine, would be outside of my control. Rest assured, I would never cancel simply because I was feeling “under the weather”. Something extremely serious would have to happen, and unfortunately there is no planning for something like that.

How many breaks do you take?

To be honest, not many. I definitely won’t take a break during your ceremony, and I will usually continue playing through cocktails without a break. My first break would typically be into dinner. And when I do take breaks during dinner, I try to break during your speeches. Basically I do my best to break when it makes the most sense to do so.

Can you put background music on for your breaks?

Yes! I can “self-DJ”. I have background music to put on through my sound system for any short breaks I take, so everything is seamless and there’s never any silence.

Do we need to provide you with a meal if you will be playing over dinner?

A meal is always appreciated, but not mandatory.

If we do provide you with a meal, do you have any dietary restrictions, and should we seat you at a regular table with our guests?

I don’t have any dietary restrictions. You can seat me at a table with your guests, but it’s also fine if I just find a quick place to have a few bites so that I can hurry back to performing. So either way is fine.

Do you ever travel outside of Ottawa for wedding music?

Yes, I frequently perform in Toronto, Montreal and the surrounding areas and I’m happy to travel wherever you need me.

We’d love to hire you! How do we reserve our date?

If you’re ready to proceed, I will send along a contract for you to look over and request a 50% deposit to secure your date, which can be paid by:

  • e-transfer | kim@kimberleydunn.com (note the extra “e” in “Kimberley”)
  • cheque | mail to: 2390 Marchurst Rd., Kanata, ON, K2W 0G9
  • cash | in person (by appointment): 2390 Marchurst Rd., Kanata, ON, K2W 0G9

You may also be interested in “Wedding Music: A Step By Step Guide” which walks you through my entire process from the initial booking to your wedding day.


Do you have a question you didn’t see answered here? Please ask me and I’ll add it to the list. 🙂

Photo credit: Amy Zambonin