Q. How much time do I need to book?

A. That will depend on which parts of your wedding day you’d like to have live music for.
Generally, the following parts each take about an hour:

  1. Prelude + Ceremony
  2. Cocktail/Social Hour
  3. Dinner
  4. Dancing (this will probably be more like 2 hours, maybe 3)

Click the “On The Day” tab in the above menu for more details.

Q. When do you need to know my song choices?

Generally, about a month before the wedding date.  While it’s certainly fine to plan more in advance than that, we’ve found that it’s actually easier to wait until after you’ve met with your officiant and planned out the order of the ceremony.  Once you know who is walking in and in what order, and whether you’ll need music during the ceremony, then we can construct the music program around that.

Q. What do all these words mean: prelude, processional, recessional, postlude etc?

Prelude Think of it as “welcoming music.”  By no means bland, this is harmonious music with a calm, often pastoral air to it, designed to set a tone of relaxed composure, alleviate the stresses of traveling, and – added bonus! – it lets the guests know by ear where the ceremony will be located.  We usually start 15 to 30 minutes before the ceremony begins.

Processional refers to the formal entrances of family and bridal party (and groomal party?).  The word also is used to refer to the pieces of music we’ll play during these entrances.  These special entrances include:

  1. Family: Parents, grandparents, and any other family or honored guests
  2. Attendants: Bridesmaids and groomsmen and any flower girls and/or ring bearers
  3. The Bride

We often play a piece for family, then change the music and play another piece for attendants, then a third for the bride’s entrance.  Many couples opt for a single piece for family and attendants, if the processional distance is short and/or there are fewer than three or four people in each group.

Recessional refers to the formal exit of the bridal party including bride and groom and the bridesmaids and groomsmen; it also refers to the piece of music we play for this exit.

Postlude is the music we play after the recessional, as the guests exit the ceremony area.

Q. How to I figure out the timing of the songs?  Is the song I choose long enough or short enough for the processional?

This is the brilliant thing about experienced live musicians!  In over 10 years and hundreds of weddings, we have learned how to make any song sound like it was supposed to end *right there* – just as the bride arrives, for example.  We won’t leave you standing there waiting for the song to end.

We will, of course, ask you for a detailed outline of how many people are walking down the aisle to each piece of music and where they’ll be starting from, and we also benefit from a cue to begin the first processional.

Q. Do you attend my wedding rehearsal?

No. Because we rely on visual cues, watching while we’re playing,  it won’t make any difference to us whether we’re there at the rehearsal or not.  Because of inevitable scheduling challenges on Thursday and Friday evenings, we are not able to offer rehearsal attendance as a matter of course.

We are more than happy to discuss further over the phone and/or email, and in some rare cases where it’s absolutely critical, we may make an exception, for a fee.

Q. What will the musicians wear to my wedding?

Our customary attire is formal black for women and dark suits with ties for men.

If you’d like us to match, we can all dress in orchestra black (this means black slacks and black button up shirts and women in formal black).  Men can also wear tuxedos, given advance notice.

Q.  Will you play outdoors?

Absolutely!  As long as our instruments are out of the elements.
Rule of thumb is you gotta treat ’em like they’re made of sugar.  No rain, no direct sun.

The client bears responsibility for providing adequate shelter from rain and sun.  This is extremely important and must be addressed in advance.  Our instruments are our livelihood, and they stay in their cases unless adequate shelter is provided for them.

Q. Do you charge for set up time?

Generally, no.  We charge from when we start playing to when we stop playing.  In very rare cases, we may be required to arrive and set up more than one hour from when we are to start playing, and in this situation we will have to assess an additional fee for set up.

Q. When will the musicians arrive on the day of the wedding/event?

We always arrive 30 minutes before we are contracted to start.  This allows us time to find your coordinator if you have one, and talk through the ceremony with your officiant.  We do not charge for this time.

If we are accompanying a singer of your choosing, we arrive 30 minutes before we are scheduled to start rehearsing with your singer.


Q. Will you move after the ceremony to a new location for cocktail hour (or reception)?

Of course!  There is no extra fee for this; we’re accustomed to relocating ourselves.  Please understand that the more equipment we have, the longer it will take us to move, so to maximize playing time and minimize equipment hauling time, it’s best to keep it to only one reset.

If we do need to move, you can help us expedite the process immensely by having chairs set up for us already in the new location.

Q. What about breaks?

Typically, we require one 10-minute break after each hour of playing.

  • If we are playing for ceremony only, we require no break.
  • If we are playing for ceremony and cocktail hour, we require no break.
  • If we are playing live music for your reception, we can coordinate breaks to coincide with toasts and/or other events to achieve a smooth flow of events; this may mean we play a longer or shorter set.

We are flexible about breaks but we also want to ensure that we are able to perform at our best at all times, and in order to do so, we do need to rest our ears, fingers, and minds.  Music performance is athletically and mentally demanding, and we need to be in top shape to give you our best show!


Q. Will you play recorded music or iPod on your breaks?

Yes, of course, if your selected group is using an amplifier or PA, we can plug in your music player or ours.  Please let us know ahead of time if you’d like us to do this so we make sure we have an appropriate playlist that fits your style.

Q.  Can you play ____________ (insert any song name here)?  Does it cost extra?

Yes, we can almost always accommodate any request.  For special requests for groups with a guitar as one of the instruments, the cost is $50.  For groups with no guitar, any special request is $100 per song.

Q. Will you accompany our singer on a special song?

Of course.  You will need to send us sheet music, an audio file or link, and have your singer contact us to discuss key and song format.  We treat accompaniment of a singer as a “special request” (see above) and we will assess a fee for arranging/charting the song depending on the type of ensemble you have (again, same as above; $50 if guitar is among the instruments, $100 if no guitar).

Also, you must book your ensemble for an extra 30 minutes to allow time to rehearse with your singer.

Q.  Can you bring a mic for our officiant?

We have a regular wired mic and mic stand, so if that’s all you need, great!  Contact us to discuss.

Q.  Can we use your mic at the reception?

Totally!  We are happy to make announcements for you as well; a script or general idea and timeline can be helpful.

Q.  Have you played at ___________ (insert venue here)?

Here is a list of venues where we have played in the last 8 years or so.

Q. Where can we see you play live?

As Collage Music, we really only play live for private events; the exception being our holiday music performances.  We’re sure you can understand that while we’d love to invite you to crash our upcoming private events, our clients might feel otherwise.

See our individual bios for other bands we play in that do regular public performances.  Come see us and say hello!

Q. What if a contracted musician is ill or otherwise can’t perform?

Our core group has been playing together for over 10 years, and along the way we’ve developed awesome musical relationships with a solid roster of colleagues who can fill in for us.  We’ve only had to call on our sub players at the last minute about four times in the last 10 years, so this is a rare occurrence.

Also, know that if a musician in your selected group is someone who plays multiple instruments or sings and plays, and we must replace her or him with two musicians (a singer and and instrumentalist, for example, or a flutist and a saxophonist), we will absorb the cost of hiring two musicians to replace one, rather than passing that cost on to you.