In our last blog, we discussed the specific music selections for wedding ceremonies. But even the best ceremony musicians can be at a loss without a good music cue person.

A cue person is an additional person you designate at your wedding – a trusted friend who is not actually in your wedding party but who attends your ceremony rehearsal and therefore has a clear understanding of what’s supposed to happen. On your wedding day, this person will gesture to the musicians when various groups of people in your wedding are ready to come up the aisle. After seeing that cue, the musicians start performing the music that was planned for that particular entrance.

  Consider: musicians don’t typically attend your rehearsal, since they probably have not included the extra time in their quote to you. So, while your ceremony musicians will show up being fully rehearsed on their musical selections, they will benefit from having a cue person. (Your ceremony will greatly benefit, too, from not having any miscues, mistakes, or musicians coming in at the wrong time.)

Also consider that the musicians may not know the exact number of your family members who will come down the aisle during the Seating of the Families song. Picture: your ceremony musicians have just performed 20 minutes of lovely prelude music, as your general guests are arriving and taking their seats. Your musicians look toward the back of the audience and they see 12 people lined up. They may think that’s all the family members, and so they start performing the Seating of the Families song. But Aunt Edna just went back to the venue to get her shawl!  A good cue person would just not give the cue for the Seating of the Families song. In that case, your musicians would know to just play another prelude song while everyone waits for Aunt Edna. One of the nice things about music is that it provide good “filler.” As long as your guests have a really nice piece of music to listen to, they’ll think everything is unfolding exactly correctly.

Also, sometimes late-arriving regular guests can be confused with family members, if the musicians haven’t met everyone in the couple’s families. The smart call is to make simple arrangements with one of your guests to serve as cue person. Even if you have a wedding coordinator, sometimes coordinators have their hands full on wedding day, so it’s good to confirm with them that they’ll for certain be available to do cues. If your coordinator is simply the planner at your venue, they may not be familiar enough to be the music cue person, if they didn’t attend the rehearsal dinner.

Last, performing music is a very focused activity. Your ceremony musicians, out of necessity, have to focus on their instruments and reading the notes on their sheet music. One’s peripheral vision can only take in so much surrounding information, while executing a high-focus activity like performing music.  So enlisting the help of a cue person – who doesn’t have to physically play the music – can ensure a perfect, seamless ceremony.

A final point on the subject of rehearsals: it’s a great idea to do a “dry run” of your entire ceremony. Practice it! As silly as it may feel, have your family members practice walking up a “fake” aisle. Have your bridesmaids practice the art of not immediately following the family members, but instead, waiting until the music changes, and then, on the cue person’s sign, walking up the aisle. Practice makes perfect! At Raising Cain, we want your ceremony to be just that – as perfect, and beautiful, and seamless as possible!