Craig Smith Music

Craig Smith Music: Frequently Asked Questions

Booking your wedding music, you're bound to have hundreds of questions flying through your minds. Most of the answers should be on the other wedding pages of this site, but here are the most frequently asked questions and answers. Think of it as a mini online wedding consultation!

Have you played at my venue before?

Probably! Craig plays multiple weddings most weeks, all over the North West and beyond. There are very few North West wedding venues he hasn’t played, and some, such as West Tower, Eaves Hall, Bartle Hall and Sparth House, he plays at very regularly. See the menu above for regularly visited venues by county.

My venue has no piano. Is that a problem?

Not at all! Craig has a number of top quality electrical instruments, including portable baby grand pianos in gloss black and white at his disposal (see the Piano Hire page). By providing two pianos, Craig can play in different rooms without gaps for moving equipment. If you'd rather an acoustic instrument like a grand piano, we can advise on the best places to hire them, or for an additional fee of £50, we can liaise with the hire company to make all of the arrangements on your behalf.

Can you perform outside?

As long as the weather is dry and not too windy, and there's an electrical power supply safely available. Please get in touch with your ideas, and we'll do our best to facilitate an outdoor performance. It's rare that we can't make it happen.

Can you perform abroad?

Absolutely! For more information on destination weddings, see the Destination Weddings page.

How much does it cost?

Within an ninety minutes' drive, prices range from from £500 including requests, travel, insurance and portable baby grand piano. Prices are dependent on time on site rather than parts of the day because different venues vary a lot on how long they assign to drinks receptions and wedding breakfasts and an early ceremony time can also affect these. For most venues, music during four parts of the day would max at £900.

When should I book?

As early as possible! On average couples book betweein 14-19 months in advance, with Summer and December dates usually booking up particularly early. We've even had couples book Craig before they knew which venue they were using!! Craig does have other pianists that work for him who will take on dates if Craig is already booked; Craig passed on almost as many weddings as he played last year, so booking early is definitely advisable to avoid disappointment.

There's a song I really want - can I hear it before I book?

Of course! Get in touch; Craig will record (free-of-charge) a short demo of the song for you, or possibly a few snippets of it played in different ways for you to choose between.

What styles do you play?

Craig plays all styles of music. He specialises in modern music, both popular and classical, in styles that will allow your guests to enjoy the music without being forced to listen. His most popular sets include pop, rock, indie, soul and RnB, both classic and ultra modern, and that's what he specialises in, as do most of the other pianists that work through the business.

Do you have a playlist we can choose music from?

See the Demos and Setlists page. It's impossible to list everything Craig plays, but there's a sample of over 130 songs by style, and there's also a list of 250 artists by whom Craig plays (often many diffferent) songs. Ultimately, though, Craig will much prefer you to come up with your own ideas so that your wedding music is unique to you!

Where can we hear you play?

See the Demos and Setlists page.

Craig is now hosting a regular Facebook Live event where customers (existing or prospective) can ask questions and make requests. Follow Craig's Facebook Page to keep an eye out for the next one. Some really busy months have to be skipped but it won't be long until the next one.

Craig plays open days at a number of the venues that recommend his services throughout the year; keep an eye on his social media for these. You'll also find videos of his playing posted there regularly too.

Do you play requests?

All ceremony songs will be entirely your choice - you have to have you own choices for your ceremony!

For other parts of the day, requests in advance are no problem, nor are requests on the day from guests. Craig’s repertoire is over 24 hours of music. It's better to give Craig a more general idea as to the style(s) of music you'd like, rather than a long list of exact songs to play. The more flexible you can be, the more you'll allow him to read your guests and change the set as he plays; Craig's experience means you can trust him to know what will work well. This also means that there's a better synergy between your music, your guests and the venue.

How much notice do you need of our song choices?

We ask for 12 weeks notice on ceremony choices, which is usually what registrars ask for anyway if they are going to ask to check the music choices.

Songs and styles for wedding breakfasts, wedding cocktail music etc can be provided up to two weeks before the day, but again, the more notice you give the better it allows Craig to prepare your specific requests.

Do you need sheet music?

The simple answer is no. As a professional session musician, Craig is experienced in quickly transcribing (working out) and learning material by ear. No truly skilled musician should need to take so long to transcribe or learn music in most styles that there should be the need to charge for the time to do so; such a charge is usually a sign of inflexibility or inexperience.

Classical music is better played using sheet music. There's usually a lot more detail to work to, and often it takes longer source sheet music or transcribe, and then learn, so it is always worth having a chat prior to booking if you know you'd like lots of classical music, especially if it is anything obscure.

Are you insured?

Yes. Craig is insured with both employer's idemnity and public liability insurance covering him up to to £10million, during time spent at the venue, and loading in and out. Most venues ask for musicians to be insured with PLI these days, and may refuse to allow one to perform without it. All documents will be forwarded to your venue around two weeks before your wedding (many venues have Craig's documents on file at all times anyway), and other musicians working for Craig's company are also covered by these policies.

Craig's equipment is also PAT tested for electrical safety at regular intervals. These certificates can also be provided.

What will you wear?

Whatever you like (within reason)! Craig will usually perform in a suit, or a waistcoat in hotter weather. He can also play in a dinner suit and bow tie if you'd prefer, or if you're going more modern, he'll dress more smart-casual - just let us know. If you've a different theme that might suit different clothing, get in touch.

Do you require a meal / dressing room?

A dressing room is not usually required unless Craig is also playing in the evening with a band (or in very rarely circumstances where the venue requires an extremly strenuous load-in). Food is only requested for bookings for two or more parts of the day that see Craig on site during the wedding breakfast.