How Much Does a Wedding Ceremony Musician Cost?

Although wedding DJs and caterers can often cost thousands of dollars, wedding musicians are not as expensive.

The price can vary but typically, the average cost of wedding ceremony musicians is about $250-$500 each per hour.

Matthew Lister Wedding Guitarist

If you ask your musicians to play the cocktail hour too, it’s about $100 extra for each musician per hour.

The overall cost of live wedding music depends on the type of instrument, the number of musicians and the length of the performance.

According to this article on, the price of wedding music varies by region. In cities like Boston and New York, wedding ceremony music will cost you about $500-$700. On the west coast, in cities like Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, your wedding ceremony music will cost you about $600-$1500. These numbers are based on actual wedding music gigs booked through the Gigmaster website.

How much does a wedding musician cost?Many people often ask why wedding musicians costs this much. The answer is that live music isn’t cheap and for good reason. It takes years to master an instrument, it requires lots of practice to perform your carefully selected music flawlessly and on top of all that your musician has to then travel to the wedding location on the big day, set up all of his or her equipment and perform it without a hitch. It’s a lot of work and your musician’s time is valuable so he or she deserves to be compensated for the time and effort.

Although there are ways to save money on wedding music, such as hiring students or friends who play instruments, the important thing to remember is you shouldn’t skimp on wedding ceremony musicians. They are a part of the biggest moment of your wedding day and you don’t want anything to go wrong. Be safe and hire a tried and true professional that you know won’t let you down on your big day.

One way to save a little money on wedding music though is if you hire your musician through an agency that also represents wedding DJs, you can sometimes get a package deal if you hire both the ceremony musician and reception DJ from the same agency.

The Deposit:

Most wedding music contracts require a deposit prior to the wedding. The deposit is usually half of the full amount and is paid up front in order to secure the musician for that date. The deposit should be refundable if something falls through, but you should always double check with your musician.

The rest of the balance is usually due on or before the wedding day. Although you can wait until the day of the wedding to take care of it, for your peace of mind, it’s best to sort it out beforehand. That way, you have one less thing to worry about on your big day.

Additional Costs:

When it comes to tipping the musician, it’s not expected, but it is very much appreciated and strongly recommended if your musician really went out of his or her way to make your wedding music perfect. The amount that you tip doesn’t really matter. Just tip whatever amount you feel comfortable with.

Some musicians charge a travel fee or a second location fee (if they have to travel elsewhere for the cocktail hour.) Typically, this charge is about 50 cents per mile.

Some musicians will also charge extra if you request a specific song that they have to spend a lot of time arranging for their instrument. This charge varies by musician so be sure to ask if you want a special piece of music arranged.

Why Hire a Live Wedding Musician?

Live music is such a wonderful way to celebrate this important event in your life that it’s well worth the money it costs. A few hundred dollars is merely a drop in the bucket compared to the other expenses you’ll be paying for the event so it almost seems silly not to hire a musician for the ceremony. For something that costs so little, you’ll get so much out of it.

Since nothing can compare to having a live musician perform your carefully selected songs during one of the biggest moments in your life and it doesn’t even cost that much to do so, the question you really should be asking is: why not hire a musician for your ceremony?

For more info about hiring wedding musicians, check out our article: Hiring Wedding Musicians: Advice from a Professional Wedding Guitarist.

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