Should you perform at your wedding?

Happy Saturday everyone!

So I’ve been thinking about the subject of performing at your wedding.  I was having a discussion with a friend of mine very recently. I come from a family of singers and, while I don’t want my wedding to turn into an all-singing-all-dancing free for all, singing is a big part of my identity and my background. I pitched to her the idea of singing to my new husband. She thought it a bit corny and over the top. I thought it was romantic.

Just to be clear, when I say “singing”, I don’t mean this:

Image © PhotoGlow Photography, (@photoglow on Twitter).  

I mean grab that mic at the evening party and croon my little heart out.

But is it too much to perform at your own wedding? Well, obviously I don’t think so. In my opinion the whole wedding is a performance from start to finish. Nothing about a wedding is intuitive or natural, it’s rehearsed and planned immaculately for months, sometimes years. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all – this is an occasion that deserves pomp, ceremony and a little performance.

I think one act by the bride, groom or a close family member is fine, any more than one and you may start to lose sight of the whole occasion. Moreover if you’re like me and you come from a family of performers, you probably want to avoid your wedding turning into a big family cabaret. It might be fun if you’re part of said family, but I’m pretty sure the rest of your guests will, eventually (or quite quickly, in some cases) get bored and want to dance and engage, rather than watch and applaud.

A wedding performance can be something to really shake the evening up – especially if someone has an amazing talent (see how awesome the below pic looks), but it can also cause issues, extra stress and can be a bit much if it’s not pulled off particularly well.

Image © Ian Johnson Photo – Becky Hoh-Hale, founder of the Most Curious Wedding Fair, singing 1940s Andrews Sister’s song ‘Oh Johnny’ to her new husband John on their wedding day, with friends.

So to avoid any pitfalls, I’ve put together one of my infamous little guides. Here’s how you know that performing at your wedding is a bad, bad idea:

Your performance is dangerous and involves fire or knives or something. Nobody wants a wedding to end with a trip to the emergency room – no matter how much you might know what you’re doing.

You’ve been told by everyone, including Simon Cowell, that you’re just terrible at whatever it is you do. Your intentions might be lovely but, unless you’re pretty sure you’re good, best to leave it to the pros.

Your performance is a surprise. Unless you’re the bride or the groom (and you’re surprising each other – and have factored it into the programme) don’t mess with someone else’s wedding schedule. As sweet as they may find it, they may equally be annoyed that you’ve ruined the running order of their evening and stolen their thunder. Weddings are sensitive things and if someone’s paid thousands for a band and a DJ, they won’t thank you for taking precious time away from their sets.

You’re a nervous performer. You don’t want to spend the entire wedding day worrying about one performance in the evening. Unless you’re able to switch off the nerves and get up on stage confidently, I’d say a wedding day is nerve-racking enough without giving yourself something else to worry about.

You’re not that close to the couple. If you’re an old friend they haven’t seen for years, someone’s plus one, a third cousin twice removed, a supplier (unless they’ve booked you to perform) a friend of the couple’s parents, a neighbour, the family GP etc. then you’re probably not the right person to perform. Leave it to very close family members.

You’re performing for the sake of performing. For example, if you’re just performing to entertain people, and not because you mean what you’re doing. A wedding performance should come from the heart, not from the ego.

So, to perform or not to perform? 

I’m not saying you shouldn’t go for it. If it’s appropriate (as outlined above) and you feel confident in doing so, why not take to the stage and add your own personal touch to the evening? Choose an act that means something to the couple (or to both of you, if you’re one half of the couple) perhaps even perform together if that’s part of who you are.

Art is a beautiful expression of love – and, despite being the “performance”, it may actually be the most genuinely touching moment of the day.

How gorgeous does this look? A beautiful bride singing from the heart! Image © York Place Studios

Would you perform at your wedding? Do you agree with the above? Do you think that performing should be left to the band or do you think weddings are a time for family to showcase their talents? What kind of performance should you avoid? I’d love to hear from you!

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