Why would I want to hire a professional singer for my wedding?
I have already eluded to some reasons above when giving my answer to one of the first questions in this FAQ, “My friend/family member has a beautiful voice, so why would I want to hire a professional singer?" Here are some considerations specifically for weddings.
First of all, keep in mind that your music sets the mood for your ceremony; it is one of the first things your guests will experience, starting with the prelude music before it begins. A professional singer will bring the beauty, warmth and sentiment which will make your wedding a treasured memory of a lifetime for you and for your guests. I get compliments from brides years after they were married, telling me that their guests still talk about the music from their wedding ceremony! (You can read testimonies from brides with whom I have worked on my
profile on The Knot.)
Second of all, a professional singer can greatly aid in the musical timing for your wedding. It is difficult to gauge when your different processions will begin (e.g. bridesmaid and bridal processions) or how long they will run, and when your organist or piano player is busy playing their instrument, or situated out of sight from the wedding party and wedding coordinator, they will need a go-between to help them determine when to play each part. A professional wedding singer will work with the wedding coordinator to determine precise cues. (In the absence of a wedding coordinator, the couple can assign a trusted friend to help the wedding party with their procession cues.)
The third reason is....well, unfortunately, hiccups do happen. A reader walks up to read at the wrong time, a priest stops the ceremony for an unplanned announcement when the organist has already started the intro to a song, the bride forgets her veil at home and all the sudden you need extra music to cover….you get the idea. While I sincerely hope that nothing unexpected would ever happen at your ceremony, unfortunately, these are all these things I have seen actually happen, and it is better to be prepared. A professional singer knows how to “roll with the punches” and keep a cool head, making things appear smooth and seamless even when things don’t go as planned.
Want to hear from other couples about their experience working with me? Hop on over to my
profile on The Knot to read some testimonies.
My friend/family member has a beautiful voice, so why would I want to hire a professional singer?
This is a big question, since a ceremony becomes all the more meaningful when your loved ones are involved. The same should hold true with regard to your music...right? Here are some important things to consider.
Ceremony music involves layers that go well beyond one’s ability to sing. A vocalist must have a cool head for all the ceremony cues pertaining to when to start (and stop) singing a piece of music. They must quickly establish repoire with their accompanist, since there is usually little rehearsal time together before a ceremony. A vocalist must also be comfortable with the venue and how to use their voice in the given acoustic to make the best sound. If your loved one is not confident in any of these aspects, their nerves may show up in their singing, making an uncomfortable experience for the rest of your guests.
In the end, the saying "You get what you pay for" holds especially true with regard to your ceremony music. You may consider involving your loved one for just one song during your ceremony, and hiring a professional to do the rest. This will also ease your loved one's nerves, and free them up to better enjoy the rest of your ceremony.
I stand behind delivering an exceptional experience every single time, regardless of the size and occasion of the ceremony. Not only do I come well prepared and sing all my music beautifully, but I have the experience and resources from over two decades of church music work at my fingertips, and partner with the finest musicians in the Saint Louis area.
To read about my clients’ experiences,
What parts of my Catholic wedding will benefit from professionally-performed music?
Seating of your parents, and grandparents
Your wedding party procession
Marian Tribute, should you choose to have one
If the wedding is a part of a full Catholic Mass, a Gloria is included, as is music at the Offertory and at Communion, and more.
What are some classic music selections for a wedding in the sacred setting?
What follows is only a small selection of pieces suitable to such occasions in the sacred setting.
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring - J.S. Bach
Bist du bei mir - J.S. Bach
Gift of Love - Hal Hopson
Canon of Praise - Pachelbel/Hopson
The Call - Ralph Vaughan-Williams
For Solo at a Catholic ceremony
Ave Verum - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ave Maria - Schubert, Bach-Gounod, and others (click here to hear examples)
Panis Angelicus - Cesar Franck (click here to hear)
Hymns (can be sung with the congregation or as solo works)
When Love is Found - O Waly Waly
Love Divine, All Loves Excelling - Hyfrydol
Christians, Let Us Love One Another - Picardy
Where Charity and Love Prevail
God Is Love - Abbot’s Leigh
The Servant Song - Richard Gillard
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee - Ode to Joy
In addition, there are many selections set for organ or instruments only. These are typically chosen as preludes, and for the wedding processions and recessional.
What other musicians would you recommend for a ceremony in the sacred setting?
Great question! In addition to your soloist, I recommend hiring an organist, since the organ best fills the space with beautiful sound and provides solid support for singing. If your church doesn’t have an organ, a piano is perfect.
You may choose to employ other instruments, e.g. a flute, a violin, or a quartet of strings. Brass can stunningly announce your bridal procession and exit. A violin or string quartet will add a special touch of warmth and romance. Additional vocalists will also add beauty and depth to your ceremony, whether in celebration or in memoriam. I can perform duets with my husband, Michael Rocchio, Bass-Baritone, and can even provide a vocal quartet. Let's talk!
You may wish to hire St. Louis’ professional Early Music ensemble, Pro-Arte Saint Louis, to provide utterly amazing choral music.
For information, to hear recordings, and for booking information, visit www.proartestl.org.
To determine your ideal ensemble, many factors must be taken into consideration, including your venue, the mood that you want, your musical selections, and of course your budget. I would be happy to assist you personally to sort this out.
To get started, you may visit the tab
Your Event to see my most popular ensemble packages.
What is your professional fee?
My fee is tailored to your unique event, so I'll need to know some details first. Factors which determine my fee include the amount of music needed, the number of solos desired, how much rehearsal time is expected with other musicians, how long your ceremony will be, whether it will be held in the Saint Louis Metropolitan area, and any music planning and coordination time.
If you don't know the answers to all these questions, don't panic! Given just a few details I can still give you a pretty close estimate.
To view my starting rates, you may visit my
Event Packages page. To receive your own customized quote, go ahead and visit my
Contact Page to get a conversation started.
I have questions that weren’t covered in this FAQ. How can I reach you?
I LOVE questions! As much as I hope my musings here have been helpful, I am much happier when someone wants to reach out with a question directly. Visit my Contact page, fill out the form, and I will get back to you quickly. I’m happy to answer questions via email, by text, or if you prefer, we can speak by phone. I look forward to hearing from you.
How far in advance should I book you?
For a wedding or special occasion, it is advisable to book 6-9 months in advance, especially for Friday evening or Saturday afternoon and evening events. That being said, if your event is only a month or two away, there’s always a chance I’ll be available or that I’ll have had a cancellation for the date, so I’d love to hear from you.
For a funeral, I appreciate that notice is typically short, and I do my best to keep a flexible schedule during the week for needs of this kind. Just contact me as soon as you have determined the date, time and location of your service. In especially time sensitive situations, you may prefer to send me a text via phone for the fastest reply.
Visit my Contact and Booking page with date and time specifics, and I will get back to you quickly. I look forward to chatting with you.
Where are you based and what areas do you cover?
I am based in Saint Louis, Missouri, and I sing and coordinate music for sacred ceremonies throughout the Saint Louis region and beyond. I have sung for ceremonies in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, California, and elsewhere. For events outside of the Saint Louis Metropolitan area, an additional time & travel fee will apply. For an estimate, send me a message.
Why would I want to hire a professional church singer (cantor) for my loved one’s funeral?
I have already eluded to some reasons above when giving my answer to one of the first questions in this FAQ, “My friend/family member has a beautiful voice, so why would I want to hire a professional singer?" However, there are particular reasons for hiring a professional church singer for a funeral or memorial service which are important to expand on.
Tastefully performed music at a funeral provides closure and a cathartic release. Often, it isn’t until the singing begins that everyone can let go and truly grieve. Singing at a funeral or memorial service requires the ability to be empathetic and at the same time composed and professional. In this situation, is best to hire a singer who did not know the deceased well, since grief can overcome even the most professional family singer at unexpected times.
A funeral singer also must fulfill an array of technical requirements. Not only must she must prepare and be confident in leading all the music that has been planned, but she must be familiar with a multitude of liturgical cues and nuances, and coordinate with the accompanist throughout the ceremony.
What parts of a Catholic funeral or memorial service would benefit from professionally-performed music?
- Entrance Procession
- Responsorial Psalm
- Preparation of the Altar and Gifts
- Various Mass parts: Holy, Holy, Holy, Memorial Acclamation, Great Amen, and Lamb of God
- Song of Farewell
What are a few examples of music suitable to a funeral or memorial service?
What follows is only a small selection of songs suitable to such occasions in the sacred setting.
Hymns (can be sung with the congregation or planned as solo pieces)
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say - Kingsfold
The King of Love My Shepherd Is – St. Columba
Be Not Afraid – Dufford
On Eagle’s Wings – Joncas
Shepherd Me, O God – Haugen
O Loving God – O Danny Boy tune
In Paradisum – Chant
Sing With All the Saints in Glory – Ode to Joy
Pie Jesu - Gabriel Fauré
I Know That My Redeemer Liveth - Georg Friedrich Handel
Psalm 23 - Bach/Plume
The Lord’s Prayer - Malotte
For Solo at a Catholic ceremony
Ave Maria - Schubert, Bach-Gounod, and others (
click here to hear examples)
Panis Angelicus - Cesar Franck (
click here to hear)
Ave Verum Corpus - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
In addition, there are many selections set for organ or instruments only. These are typically chosen as preludes or moments of meditation during the ceremony, and help to set a reflective and peaceful mood for your guests.
How does the wedding music planning process work?
It actually begins with our very first conversation, before you even sign your contract. As I get to know you as a couple, what kind of venue you have chosen, the kinds of instruments you would like to incorporate, and what budget you are working with, the creative sparks are already beginning to fly!
Once you sign your contract, we will start talking more specifics. Do you have any cultural influences you would like to incorporate? Do you have a musical vision for your ceremony? Are there any special pieces which are important to you? (And for the record, it’s also totally okay if you don’t have answers to any of these questions! I and my colleagues have plenty of suggestions to offer for all aspects of your ceremony, and are happy to work with you.)
Not less than two months from your ceremony date, we will have a conversation about your music and craft your personal playlist from start to finish. You are free to make changes up to a couple weeks before your ceremony. In the meantime, I will communicate with your venue and any other musicians to make sure we have any special needs covered. I am also happy to proofread your wedding program if you have one - just ask!
The bottom line is, I will walk you through every aspect of your music planning from start to finish in a fashion that best works for you, so that you will not have to worry about a thing.
What more specifically do your services entail?
As a professional singer and music coordinator, I specialize in ceremonial music for weddings, funerals, and other special events. This frequently occurs through “day of” services (preparing music from a pre-planned list that has been given to me, and showing up on the day of the ceremony to sing).
Quality music never happens in a vacuum, however. You will also find me on this side of the fence, digging into my twenty years of experience in the field, talking to venues, officiants, wedding coordinators, and researching musical selections. I love getting to know my clients and learning how best to meet their needs, and I strongly believe in delivering a stress-free, enjoyable planning experience with a personal touch.
The bottom line is, I can see to all the details so that you don't have to worry about a thing with your ceremony music.
For a complete list of services with starting rates,
send me a message.
What are the qualifications of the musicians with whom you partner?
My colleagues oversee church music programs themselves, hold advanced degrees in music, and have performed in prestigious venues in the Saint Louis area and beyond. All of them have extensive experience in planning and performing ceremonial music. Quite simply, they are among the best in their field.
What does your booking process look like?
For a funeral, since notice is typically short and the music often already planned between you and the church, a quick text or email confirming the date, time, location, and fee is sufficient. This is often accomplished between me and the church directly.
For all other ceremonies, your signed contract and deposit will secure your ceremony’s date and time on my calendar.
What parts of my wedding would benefit from professionally-performed music?
While different weddings may vary in their ceremonial elements, these moments are pretty standard.
These are pieces that are played and sung as your guests enter and take their seats before the ceremony begins, and they help to set the mood for your guests.
Wedding Party Procession
Some ceremonies use music to transition from different portions of the proceedings.
Once the couple is married, a celebratory piece is usually played as they exit the ceremony, following by their wedding party.
This instrumental music is played as guests are leaving the ceremony.
If you are having a Catholic wedding, be sure to read the next question for additional musical elements to your ceremony.
We are pretty untraditional; can you help us with planning our wedding music?
I love a challenge, and the weddings which have been a bit off-the-beaten-path have been among my favorite to plan and sing for. The possibilities for wedding music within the sacred setting are huge, and even if a particular prayer or text is required as a part of your ceremony, chances are there are a few different musical settings to choose from. For instance, many couples like to incorporate an “Ave Maria” at their wedding, and I have an entire book dedicated just to this text.
The trick to remember is that we will have to follow any church guidelines from your venue and/or officiant when it comes to planning your music. Also, you may want to keep in mind that your guests will likely be expecting some traditional musical elements. Many successful wedding music plans have been a combination of a few more traditional selections along with some pieces that are rarely done. The couple enjoyed it, and the guests enjoyed it - a win-win!
My team and I have a lot of ideas to offer, and we would love to work with you to craft the music lineup that best fits your personality and vision! For more examples of ways I’ve helped couples in your shoes,
shoot me a message!
We don’t know what kind of music we want for our wedding - can you help us get started?
Of course I can! In this situation I definitely encourage you to take advantage of one of the playlist plans that includes a face-to-face music consultation. I have plenty of possibilities just waiting for you to hear, and I know we can come up with a plan that you will absolutely love.
You may visit my
profile on The Knot to hear what other couples have to say about working with me.
We have a special song that means a lot to us. Can you learn it for our ceremony?
Generally speaking, provided the piece follows the guidelines of your venue and/or officiant, the answer is YES! When a couple has a musical request, I am all ears. I love learning new music, and in fact, I have added many pieces to my established repertoire specifically because of client requests.
One note: many churches and church officiants have specific guidelines for what kind of music is and is not allowed within the wedding ceremony. When you are having a wedding in a sacred setting, you are making a vow in front of God. For this reason, the music chosen for the ceremony is expected to have a sacred character. To find out whether your song may be included as a part of your ceremony, I recommend talking to your officiant first.
Our wedding will be outdoors. Will you do music for us?
Absolutely! I work with a number of fine musicians who have lots of experience with performing outdoors, and we can make all the accomodations needed. I’d love to hear more about your venue and what kind of music you are looking for.
Send me a message and let’s get a conversation started!
How can we incorporate some cultural influences into our wedding ceremony music?
Weddings are family celebrations, so it is a splendid idea to incorporate some of your family background on this big day.
The most obvious way is to choose some traditional ethnic music for your ceremony. A number of liturgical songs in English have also been translated into other languages; you may choose a song mostly in English, with a simple refrain in another language. For instance, if you are Hispanic, there are many liturgical music resources available with songs which can be sung both in English and Spanish.
Another idea is to craft a program with music composers from your ethnicity. For instance, if you are German, you may decide on “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by J.S. Bach for your wedding party procession and “Bist du bei mir” by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel for your bridal procession.
Incorporating an instrument from your cultural heritage will add yet another dimension - for instance if you are Irish, you may wish to hire a bagpiper to play at your recessional.
For more specific ideas regarding your ceremony,
let’s talk music!
Our music planning is already done, but can you sing at our wedding?
I would love to sing at your wedding! The process is pretty simple; I have a contract and a deposit which you will need to return to reserve your ceremony’s spot on my calendar. After that, either you or your music coordinator will get in touch with me to communicate your music selections, and I’ll start preparing your music! On the day of your ceremony I will arrive at least half an hour early so that I can warm up and go over any final details with your other musicians.
With your chant background, what is the best way to incorporate chant into my ceremony?
There are many ways to incorporate this beautiful style of music into your ceremony. To start, singing a simple Latin chant antiphon with verses at the beginning of communion can provide an extremely tasteful, reflective moment during your ceremony. Also, you may choose to have some, or even all of your Mass parts sung in English or Latin chant. If your ceremony is a funeral, the Song of Farewell “In Paradisum” is a beautiful parting gesture to your loved one.
As you can probably imagine, having taught the fundamentals of Gregorian chant to hundreds of amateur and professional musicians, I have many different chant resources which I work with, and can help you to tailor a music plan that incorporates some chant, or even plan an entirely chanted liturgy.
While chant is beautiful when sung by a soloist, you may wish to employ my help in hiring a skilled “schola” which specializes in singing from the traditional chant notation, and can also render additional beauty to your ceremony with other choral classics sung in harmony.
Let’s talk about a music plan that’s right for you!
Can I go somewhere to hear you live?
Absolutely! My schedule changes from week to week, so the best thing would be to contact me directly for the most up-to-date information. I'd love to meet you!
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
That's a tough question. As much as I enjoy making beautiful music with other amazing professionals, I would have to say that knowing how I have impacted someone else's life for the better is just as satisfying. I love the knowing look that comes over a couple's faces when we have discovered the piece of music that is just right for them. I love hearing back from a client after the funeral of a loved one, when they tell me that the music helped them to focus and to stay present during the ceremony when they were clouded with grief. I love the grateful message I get from a church music director who needed a last-minute substitute for a cantor who lost their voice, or a skilled soprano to finish out the vocal quartet they are putting together for a very special occasion. I have crossed paths with some of the neatest people through my work, and many of them I am happy to say I now consider to be my friends. These are the kinds of things that let me go to bed at night with a smile on my face, knowing I've done something good with my life.
What are some non-religious songs that you can sing for weddings?
“Annie’s Song” by John Denver
“At Last” by Etta James
“Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” by Elvis
“Hallelujah” by Cohen
“Higher Love” by James Vincent McMorrow
“The Rose” by Amanda McBroom ~
made popular by Bette Midler
“Time After TIme” by Cyndi Lauper
"What a Wonderful World" by Theil/Weiss ~
made popular by Louis Armstrong
"When You Wish Upon a Star” from Pinocchio
“A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri
"From This Moment" by Shania Twain
“Hanging by a Moment” by Lifehouse
“I Knew I Loved You” by Savage Garden
“My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic
“Orrinoco Flow” by Enya
"Photograph" by Ed Sheeran
“The Prayer” by Sager/Foster ~
made popular by Celine Dion
‘When You Say Nothing at All” by Alison Kraus and Union Station
“You Raise Me Up” by Graham ~
made popular by Josh Groban
“Because” by d’Hardelot and Teschemacher ~
made popular by Andrea Bocelli
“Bist du bei mir” by Bach
“O mio caro babbino” by Puccini
“Song to the Moon” by Dvorak
“The Call” by Vaughan Williams
Can you tell me more about your wedding music services?
Keep scrolling down, as I have quite a number of questions in this FAQ that are devoted specifically to my wedding work.