I recently played for a wedding in a lovely church in a beautiful location with perfect weather. What more could a bride ask for? Well, someone to coordinate entrances of moms, maids and bride would have made a big difference.
Everything about this wedding was carefully planned except for who would tell people when to walk down the aisle. It was a last minute decision to ask Uncle Joe, who knew nothing about his “job”, and arrived after we’d started playing. . . too late to talk to me.
I needed Uncle Joe to give me a signal when everyone was lined up and ready to walk. What he did instead was simply send the mothers down the aisle without giving us a heads-up. We were still playing the prelude music when we noticed what was happening, leaving us no choice but to continue playing the piece we were on because it would have sounded odd to switch to the processional we were supposed to play in the middle of their walk. We skipped to the second processional for the bridesmaids and flower girls. When the flower girls were seated we were ready to switch to the bride’s processional but instead of waiting for her music, she had followed the flower girls and was already at the altar. I’m sure she was excited and nervous and wasn’t listening for the special music she had so carefully chosen.
A coordinator would have spoken to me before we started the prelude. We would have worked out the signal. She or he would have known what the processional music was for each group (moms, maids and bride). When the wedding party was assembled, she would have waited for me to finish playing the prelude piece, caught my eye (I look up after every piece to see if people are ready), and given the signal to start the first processional. She would have listened to hear when we stopped playing that particular piece (that would mean the first group was finished walking in). She would have waited for me to start the second processional, sent in the next group, and done the same for the bride.
Brides spend a lot of time and effort listening to and choosing music they like. I always feel bad for them when things don’t go as planned. If a day-of-event planner is not in your budget, you need to find a friend or family member who will take the time to talk to your musicians after the rehearsal and before the prelude begins. I always have a list of who’s entering when and to what song. It’s easy to follow even if you’ve never “coordinated” before.
Good luck with your wedding planning!