What kinds of music do they offer? This might be different for the
ceremony and cocktail hour, or for a reception. Classical music?
Upbeat ragtime and jazz standards?
What kind of experience have they had? There are students out there as well as musicians who are new to performing for weddings and events. Be sure to hire a professional musician who has experience with your type of event.
Do the members of their group perform together regularly? Sadly, there are such groups in the music world called “pick-up groups.” These are musicians who may have never even met each other before, and they show up to your event and sight-read music.
Do they have a demo CD or video? A musical group that is serious about their craft will have a recording that demonstrates their abilities. If they do not have a demo CD, ask if they will be performing publicly so you can go hear them.
Do they have a contract for you? It is very important that you
have a contract from the musicians you hire for your special
event. This contract should state when they will be arriving and
performing, where, and how much their fee is. Without a contract,
the musicians you hire may not provide the services you ask for
(e.g. Show up for the cocktail hour but not the ceremony you need
them for!) or, even worse, not show up at all.
Do they have a contingency plan? If they cannot play, what will they do to help you get musicians for your event? A reputable group will, at the least, give you the contact information for other musicians who may be available.
Will they meet with you to go over musical selections for a wedding ceremony? The wedding ceremony is very individual. A reputable musician will meet with you in person, or over the phone, to help you select the music for your event and iron out when each piece is to be performed.
When asking about fees, see if they can offer any flexibility in
pricing (for example, if they perform as a quartet, their fee will
be less than if they perform as a duo)
Can they provide references? If they have performed for many events, they should be able to provide you with a list of references.
What do they usually wear for events? Most classical musicians traditionally wear all black. If you would like them to wear something else, discuss it with them – usually they will accommodate your desires.