Here are a few tidbits of information from our Music Director about how weddings are done at St. Martin of Tours. Hopefully you will find this information useful, but if your questions are not answered after reading this, please call so we can assist you in your plans.
The purpose of the wedding rehearsal is so that the members of the wedding party know when to walk, sit and stand. It is not a music rehearsal, and the musicians typically do not attend them. Having music at the wedding rehearsal makes it more difficult for the wedding party to hear the instructions given by the pastor and wedding coordinator. If a music rehearsal is needed, it takes place at a different time or place.
We have an amazing team of volunteer wedding coordinators at St. Martin of Tours. They unlock the church before the wedding, make sure your programs are being given out, help with the pew bows, flowers and other decorations, let the wedding party know when to process into the church, and take care of many, many details. They are truly wonderful, and I know you will enjoy having their help.
If you are having non-professional musicians at your wedding who require voice lessons or extra rehearsals with me, my fee for that is $50 per hour, with a one hour minimum per rehearsal. I rehearse with all musicians an hour before the wedding with no additional charge, but this short rehearsal is designed to fit their parts and the accompaniment together--not to provide music instruction or to teach your musician his or her part. If you have numerous non-professional musicians helping with your music, you will want to have an extra rehearsal so their efforts can be coordinated--coming right before the wedding will not allow enough time. Professionals can generally do a good job with a minimal of rehearsal.
It is the responsibility of any outside singers or musicians you bring in to provide legal, not photocopied, sheet music for themselves. If you request a piece of music not in the library at St. Martin's, it is the singer's responsibility to provide a copy for the accompanist (that is, he or she will need two copies). This is standard musician etiquette. If you have asked a non-professional singer to sing at your wedding, generally the bride and groom offer to pay for whatever sheet music he or she needs.
I will be glad to work with any musicians you choose to hire for your wedding, but there are several who work at St. Martin's on a regular basis and who I know are excellent. Unless it's someone for whom I can vouch, please be certain that the person you hire is competent. I can tell you horror stories of musicians who have hired themselves out, requested the fee in advance, and then played as if they had not played since high school (and in one case, admitted that he had not) and then left with the cash before the wedding was even over. I encourage you to have any musicians you hire sign a contract to protect your interests. I want the music at your wedding to be stellar.
Photographers and videographers are asked to stay on the north side of the choir loft during weddings so the musicians can maintain concentration and eye contact. They are asked to use the north set of stairs so they are not crossing the loft through the music area while music is being performed. This will be explained to them by the wedding coordinators when they arrive at the church.
Do call if you have any questions. We really want every wedding at St. Martin's to be a beautiful sacrament of the Church, and we strive for excellence.