The Wedding Music Contract

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Once you’ve found the perfect wedding musician or DJ, all you have to do is pay the deposit and sign the contract.

This is a very crucial step because the wedding contract officially reserves the musician/DJ for your wedding day and legally obligates them to show up.

Matthew Lister Wedding Guitarist

If you don’t sign a contract, it’s possible the musician/DJ may be a no-show and there will be nothing you can do about it. You don’t want to let an oversight like that ruin your big day.

In addition, even if the musician/DJ does show up, he or she might show up at the wrong time, the wrong place or with the wrong equipment.

Aside from reserving the musician/DJ for your wedding, a wedding contract also spells out all of the details about what is expected of the musician/DJ so there is no confusion and no surprises on your wedding day.

Here is a list of things to include in the wedding music contract:

The Wedding Music ContractDate/Location of Wedding:
Make sure to include the exact date and location of the wedding as well as the musician/DJs expected arrival time. You want to make sure the musician/DJ knows exactly where to be and when. If you would like him or her to show up an hour early to warm up and etc, include that in the contract.

Number of Musicians and Instruments:
For bands, list the number of musicians and/or singers that you have booked and note the instruments they’ll be playing. If you hire a band or specific musicians to play your wedding, you don’t want substitutes showing up without your knowledge or consent. List all of the musicians, performers or DJs on the contract and include what instrument they play so you know that they will be there to do their job.

Contact info:
Make sure that your contact info printed on the contract is correct and up to date. If you get a new phone number, address or email address prior to the wedding, make sure the musician/DJ gets the updated info. Also be sure to get the musician/DJ’s contact info. You’ll need this in case you have to contact him or her for something.

Number of Performance Hours:
List the exact number of hours your musician/DJ will be perform for so there are no surprises. You don’t want them skipping out early and they don’t want to be caught off guard when you suddenly ask them to play the cocktail hour if they were only booked for the ceremony. Also be sure to list all of the musician/DJs requested breaks, when they should occur and how long they are.

Overtime Rates:
Ask your musicians/DJ what their overtime charges are and if they are available to stay late if the wedding runs late. Get these rates in writing so there are no surprises or hidden fees.

Deposit and Balance Due Date:
Usually the deposit is paid at the time of signing the contract and it is almost always non-refundable. If there is a remaining balance at the time the contract is signed, include the amount and set a date for when the remaining balance is due. Also include in the contract what happens if the balance remains unpaid by a specific date. Many times, musicians/DJs will be forced to cancel if the balance isn’t paid by a certain date so they can book another wedding for that day.

Dress Code:
If you have any special request for what you would like the musician/DJ to wear, list it in the contract.

Refund/Cancellation Fee:
If you or the musician/DJ need to cancel, list the requirements to do so. If the musician has to cancel due to an emergency, ask what they will do for you to compensate (such as find you a replacement or substitute.) If you need to cancel, ask what is required from you. Do you still need to pay the balance in full if you cancel within a certain amount of time before the wedding? If so, when?

Weather Provisions:
If you are planning an outdoor wedding, weather provisions are very important. Ask your musician/DJ what weather conditions are acceptable for them and their instruments/equipment and what conditions will require you to move the ceremony to an indoor location. Most acoustic musicians ask to perform in a space that is dry and out of direct sunlight. Since acoustic musicians play instruments made out of wood, they need to stay out of the rain or wet weather. DJs also have sensitive electronic equipment and computers that must also stay out of the rain or wet weather.

Electrical Outlets/Equipment Supplies:
If you hire a DJ, he or she will probably need an electrical outlet to plug all of the equipment in. If there is no nearby electrical outlet, a possible solution is to run a long extension cord to the ceremony or reception site. If that isn’t possible, you should probably hire a musicians instead (if their instrument is loud enough, like a bagpipe or horn or if they have a battery powered amplifier.) At the very least, if you can’t provide an electrical outlet, make sure that who you hire is okay with not having any electricity.

Music Selections:
Include your musical selections for each moment in the ceremony. This includes the processional songs, the recessional songs and any music performed during the ceremony. If the piece is not in the musician’s repertoire, they need to be informed well in advance since they may need to rehearse, find the music, or write an arrangement for their instrument or ensemble. All of these factors take time and can not be thrown together last minute.

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