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 wedding venue pages.

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 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 hours drive, prices range from from £240 for short notice performances for single parts of the day, to £530 for four parts of the day including requests, travel, insurance and portable baby grand piano.

When should I book?

As early as possible! Generally, couples book 12-18 months in advance, with Summer and December dates booking up 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.

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 an exact list of 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.

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. That said, classical music is better played using sheet music, as there's usually more detail to work to. Most music is easy to source or transcribe for free, but, if not, there's just a small charge (usually about £3.50) to buy a piece of sheet music.

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.

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.

Although classically trained, Craig does not play classical as often these days (it just doesn't get requested much!), so just allow a couple of weeks more notice if you're choosing classical music; it's usually more detailed and technically demanding, so the time is needed to get it up to his usual high standard.

Do you have a playlist we can choose music from?

See the Demos and Setlists page.

Where can we hear you play?

See the Demos and Setlists page.

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.

Are you insured?

Yes. Craig's public liability insurance covers 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).

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. If you've a different theme that might suit different clothes, just let us know.

Do you require a meal / dressing room?

A dressing room is not required unless Craig is also playing in the evening with a band. Food is only requested for whole day bookings (which include the ceremony, drinks reception, and wedding breakfast). A meal need not be the posh meal your guests will be enjoying. A plate of sandwiches or something similar is more than sufficient.