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#2111316 - 07/02/13 01:47 AM Wedding Fee?
alle breve Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/10
Posts: 31
Loc: Michigan, US
Hi all,

I've been contacted to play for a wedding. The bride will have me play several pieces that I'll have to learn (not difficult, but it'll still take some practicing to do it right,) as well as one that she saw me play on a recital. (Schumann-Liszt's Widmung) I'm an incoming college freshman. I don't believe I'll be playing organ.

I'm meeting with her soon and I want to give her a fair price, but I don't have any benchmark to judge pricing against. I was thinking I'd charge $100. Does this seem about right? Too high/low?

A confirmation on the ballpark fees charged by pianists performing for weddings would be great. Thanks!
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#2111512 - 07/02/13 11:15 AM Re: Wedding Fee? [Re: alle breve]
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 564
$100 is very very low, especially if you're learning new pieces.

From the American Guild of Organist Website...


*Service fees are $100-$350 (service only)
*Wedding rehearsal with bridal party is $50-$100/hour.
*Additional rehearsals are $30-$50/hour.
*The current, federally approved business standard mileage rate for reimbursement of business travel is charged if visits to church for practice, rehearsal, and service exceed 20 miles per round trip.
*The charge for contracting singers/instrumentalists is $15-$35/person hired.



Even though you won't be playing organ, these fees would still be in the ballpark. Charging $100 only for all your time is very low, and is unfair to you. It's also unfair to the people who do this sort of thing for a living.
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"Most pianists are poor musicians, they dissect music into bits-and-pieces, like a roast chicken" -Debussy

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#2111529 - 07/02/13 11:48 AM Re: Wedding Fee? [Re: alle breve]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19575
Loc: New York City
There is the factor of the OP's age and experience although that certainly doesn't mean his skill level is not high. How this should be figured in, if at all, may be a consideration.

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#2112015 - 07/03/13 06:25 AM Re: Wedding Fee? [Re: alle breve]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5281
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Charge what you think is fair, period.
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#2112187 - 07/03/13 12:41 PM Re: Wedding Fee? [Re: alle breve]
Steve Chandler Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2777
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
I was going to respond as Dan and then thought if alle breve is only playing 3 pieces then $100 might be about right for someone about 18 years old. However, if you're playing for the service (lots of prelude material, playing during the service and a postlude) then $100 is far too low (see DanS's response above). You'll also want a contract specifying what your responsibilities are when and how you'll be paid (in advance) and anything else that otherwise might come back to bite you.

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#2112232 - 07/03/13 02:26 PM Re: Wedding Fee? [Re: alle breve]
Tararex Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/27/11
Posts: 425
Loc: Middle Georgia, USA
My daughter recently had two musician friends (city symphony) gift 1 hour of prelude music for her wedding. Pieces were musician selected from existing repertoire.

After, I provided a $100 tip for both and as appreciation for their time/travel/dress. The musician's rate payment would have been considerably more.
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#2113291 - 07/05/13 02:49 PM Re: Wedding Fee? [Re: alle breve]
ventil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/11
Posts: 149
Loc: TX
DanS and Steve Chandler are about right, assuming you are playing the entire wedding, and not just 3 pieces for prenuptial music. Remember that, assuming you are playing the wedding ceremony itself, you will be responsible for the timing of the processional and recessional. That requires some skill - watching the proceedings, editing the music and taking cuts on the fly, etc.

Most organists I know, including myself, charge $150 to $250. That includes 10-20 minutes of prenup music, the processional, as required, the recessional, and anything in between. In a liturgical church that can include hymns, communion music, and maybe incidental "walking" music.

Do they want you to play at the wedding rehearsal? That costs extra - it takes more of your time. Accompany a soloist? That's extra, too. Again more of your time - to rehearse with the soloist.

IMO, age and experience really have nothing to do with it, Unless you're very famous. Then you can charge more. However, if you are good enough to be asked, you are good enough to be paid for the service. Of course, if the bride is a personal friend, then you can always donate your services. I've done that before.

One more thing. Get paid in advance. I'm not saying the responsible party will try to stiff you. In fact most don't have that intention. It's just that after a wedding, nobody is thinking about or even remembers that you have not been paid. And crashing the reception to ask for payment is bad form. smile
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#2113340 - 07/05/13 05:03 PM Re: Wedding Fee? [Re: ventil]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Everything David Boothe said!

Some people may hesitate to pay you the whole fee up front. However, you can get anybody to pay you a 50% deposit up front, and the rest due at the piano before you start on the day of the wedding. Tell them a check for the balance must be waiting for you on the music desk, or handed to you as you walk in.

Even if you know these people well, send the bride (or whoever is engaging you) a formal letter of agreement/confirmation outlining the terms of the gig. Make sure you spell out in the letter all the details including the program, location(s), start time, specified "costume" you must wear, as well the precise terms of payment. You and your client might think you understand and agree about everything, but the moment the clients reads it on paper, there will be some things to discuss further. Sending a confirmation letter not only clarifies everything, it protects you.



Edited by laguna_greg (07/05/13 05:05 PM)
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#2113451 - 07/05/13 09:45 PM Re: Wedding Fee? [Re: ventil]
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 564
Originally Posted By: ventil

Get paid in advance. I'm not saying the responsible party will try to stiff you. In fact most don't have that intention. It's just that after a wedding, nobody is thinking about or even remembers that you have not been paid. And crashing the reception to ask for payment is bad form. smile


Definitely get paid in full before hand! I've had to go into numerous reception lines asking to get paid. While it's a bit on the tacky side, it's way tackier of them not to have paid up. Do you think the DJ and the florist have been paid in full? Damn straight they have. Why should we get less respect than a guy who presses play on a CD player?
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"Most pianists are poor musicians, they dissect music into bits-and-pieces, like a roast chicken" -Debussy

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#2113527 - 07/06/13 01:49 AM Re: Wedding Fee? [Re: alle breve]
alle breve Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/10
Posts: 31
Loc: Michigan, US
Thanks for all of your thoughts, everyone. You're pointing out some things that I might not have considered. I feel like I have a clue now! smile
_________________________
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime isn't enough for music."
-Sergei Rachmaninoff

Yamaha CLP-330, Yamaha C7 Conservatory serial D3460954

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