Live Wedding Music

Posted: June 21, 2013 in Storytime
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I started playing guitar in grad school, around the age of 22. I didn’t know a single thing about music before then (e.g. I learned the definition of “chord” my senior year of college). Suffice it to say that I was a novice in the mid 90s. That didn’t stop my friends from asking me to play guitar at weddings. I guess I could have said no, but I wanted very much for people to hear me play, so hell, why not? It’s just someone’s most special day ever … let’s throw caution to the wind and play for them.

Inevitably, I was asked to play The Wedding Song. Now, that is not a particularly difficult song to play on guitar, but I’m speaking in 2013 – the guy playing guitar in 1995 should have known better. If you’ve ever seen/heard a guitarist play at a wedding, he was probably very polished and played competently. I was neither. Sadly, both times I played The Wedding Song, it was video-taped (sigh). The first time, in 1995, I chose to have the chord charts written out at my feet so that I could find my place if I messed up. Didn’t help. And since it was on film, you can see clearly the spot where I made the mistake. I grimaced like I had just stepped in a cow pie while wearing Ferragamos. You see, chord charts are a blessing and a curse. Great to help you find your place, but not if you spend so much time looking for your place that you can’t play the next chord and just wing it.

Lesson learned – fly without a chord chart.

Fast forward to 2000. Again, I was asked to play The Wedding Song, but this time I was asked to finger pick it instead of strum chords. OK, a little more preparation required this time. I opted *not* to put chord charts at my feet because of the blunder of ’95, plus I had five more years of experience to keep me from screwing up. Even more critical – I was playing during the bride and groom’s first dance. What could be easier?

Things were fine for a verse or two, but then my pessimism got the better of me, and I lost my place. With no notes to reference, I did what any rational guitarist would do … I stopped playing. Have you ever been dancing to a song, only to have the song stop? It’s a wee bit jarring at best. I certainly heard about it from the bride afterward.

Lesson learned – don’t play guitar at weddings, dummy.

I have more stories of times I’ve played guitar at weddings, but I’ll save them for another post.


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