Updated: Feb 16, 2020
After reading this blog, I hope to make the process of finding your wedding music slightly easier for you. With so many decisions to make when getting married abroad, finding the perfect music for your dream wedding in Spain can seem quite difficult.
For some couples, music is one of the most important parts of their wedding day and they like to be able to choose entertainment that's unique and just as they'd imagined. Sometimes you might not want to book the DJ, Band or acoustic musician offered within your wedding package. Many couples who enquire with us say they are struggling to find wedding bands and ask for our recommendations. Certain areas of Spain might have lots of choice, but I know there are couples looking around their wedding venue area, and they're not having much luck finding what they'd like.
I personally know lots of incredible international musicians who will perform in Spain (these are mainly friends and contacts from my days at Music College and in the music industry) and I also know of wedding entertainers based in Costa Blanca, for example in popular locations such as Denia, Javea, Moraira, Calpe, Alicante, Valencia and Murcia.
Along with my personal recommendations, which I can give you on request (just drop me a message), these tips below should help you to find the perfect music for your day!
Where to find musicians for your Spanish destination wedding?
If you haven't already, one of the best places to search for musicians is on Social Media. Pretty much everyone has an Instagram account now and musicians actively use this platform to promote themselves.
Using hashtag searches on Instagram is a great place to start, for example #weddingsinspain will bring up 22.5k posts, and amongst the vast amount of photography and wedding venue posts, if you keep looking you will also find violinists, saxophonists and DJ's.
If you search the hashtags and geo tags for your venue, then you will see all the entertainers that have previously posted from that venue. You can also search for all the other nearby wedding venues to look for musicians. Most musicians will travel a few hours, so you can really extend this search to wedding venues within a big area.
Instagram is great, because once you've found a musicians profile, you can easily scroll through all their videos and photos. If you can find someone who has a good selection of live videos, and a nice selection of videos at different venues, that is a really good indicator that they are an active professional musician and you can probably trust them to perform at your wedding.
Usually you can contact people via DM on Instagram, however sometimes email is faster to get a response - it really depends on the person and how actively they use Instagram.
Searching for musicians on Facebook is a bit of a different approach to Instagram, but one way to find out about specific musicians is to join facebook groups for the area in which your wedding venue is in, and then ask on the groups if people have recommendations. I know in the Costa Blanca and Costa Calida areas of Spain, people use Facebook groups actively to promote themselves, so you can also just join Facebook groups and search away...just use the search toolbar at the top with your keywords, eg ' DJ & Sax for wedding'. There are also groups for weddings in Spain like this one.
Youtube is also a great place to search for musicians. You might find that people don't have as many recent videos on YouTube, but then again, you might find things on YouTube that musicians haven't posted on their Instagram.
Google, or whatever search engine you use, will usually bring up popular musicians if you type in keywords. Google not only shows you websites, but if you look at the options along the top, you will also see images and videos. Video results will be displayed from YouTube for the words you searched for.
If you have done all of this and you've still not found your perfect wedding entertainment, you could go down the route of booking through an agency. If you live in the UK, you could either ask agencies in the UK which of their artists perform internationally, or you could contact an agency specialising in international entertainment, that have a catalogue of performers that perform in Spain. Both would probably give you some more options.
And of course, you can always contact me to ask for my recommendations.
Let me give you an example. If you are looking for music during your wedding ceremony, and you would like a top class musician who plays exquisitely and beautifully, setting the tone perfectly as you walk down the isle - then I could reccomened my good friend and professional violinist, Jessica Diamond. Jessica plays regularly at weddings in the UK but she also travels internationally. Not only has she performed at hundreds of weddings and events globally in her career, for some very impressive clients, she also plays in several styles such as classical, pop and bollywood, which makes her very diverse.
Your wedding planner might also help with your search ( outside of their regular musicians ) if you ask them to. If you haven't already chosen your wedding planner, I can recommend a few great wedding planners in the Costa Blanca area - people I know that would go the extra mile to try and help with your search for your dream musicians.
If you book musicians from outside of Spain, then as well as paying someones music performance fee, you are also paying for their flights, accommodation, and their general expenses whilst being away for the best part of 2 days. You might not get a breakdown for this, but it's always factored in to the full amount. For couples with a larger budget for wedding music alone it's no problem to hire international musicians, but that's not a luxury all couples have.
So for those with a somewhat more limited music budget, how can you get the best value for money whilst having amazing entertainment - that is the golden question surely!
Let me start by giving you an example of how we offer good value for money with our DJ & Sax wedding bookings. Firstly, we are based in Spain, so for Spanish weddings we don't normally have to charge for expenses like accommodation or flights (I say normally as Spain is pretty vast). So that's more of your money invested in the quality of the music, not our general expenses. If couples book us for 'DJ&Sax' for the evening party (for our standard 2 hour set max length set) we can sometimes offer general wedding DJ-ing (no sax) for afterwards. We are already set up and at the venue, so these extra hours of general wedding DJ-ing are brilliant value for money, and virtually always cheaper than you hiring a separate / additional wedding DJ for those additional hours.
Sometimes musicians have got offers on as well, so it's always worth checking out the musicians' websites, as well as their social media, just incase you get lucky with timing and they're hosting an offer. Recently we did a '2020 Wedding offer' - which meant any couples that booked us before Nov 1st 2019 received free DJ-ing when they booked us for the 2 hour evening party set. We limited this to a 100km radius from where we are based.
Another tip is considering the time scale that you are booking musicians for. This one really depends on how the musicians quote for their services and what's possible at your venue - it might not apply to everyone.
What I mean by this is, if you can minimise the hours significantly that the musician(s) needs to be at the venue, then you will probably get a cheaper quote. Not only that, it could be the difference between whether or not the musician(s) can take your booking.
Say, for example, in your enquiry you request a musician to be sound-checked early by 2pm, but you don't want them to play until 9pm - that is 7 hours of time extra on top of the setting up and performing itself. If the musician(s) isn't local, they won't be able to go home and they will have to wait at the venue for 7 hours. If you can think of a creative way around this, for example, at 8pm the whole wedding party could go to another area of the venue for post dinner drinks with a Photo Booth for inside or Sparklers for outside. Then the musicians can set up and soundcheck 8-9pm, directly before performing at 9pm. This could add an extra element to your party and be potentially a cheaper option than paying someone to wait for 7 hours!
This tip is not just for couples trying to save money, but it really can be the difference of whether or not the musician can perform for your wedding. Sometimes if there is a late gig the night before, thats miles away, it can be impossible to be at the venue for an early soundcheck. Recently we had an enquiry for an early soundcheck, but it wasn't possible as the night before, we would be playing a very late wedding until 4am and not home until after 6am. The location of the enquiry for the following day was far away and would have required us to leave at 8am.
In summary, if you're asking musicians for an early soundcheck, also ask for a quote for a later soundcheck too (if you think you could make it work).
Practicality / venue policy / noise restrictions / legalities
If your venue has strict noise restrictions, usually because of the venues location, and you are having your drinks reception outside you should really consider acoustic style entertainment, such as a Spanish guitarist or a pianist with a portable electric piano. For louder style entertainment at a restricted venue, such as a band or DJ with live sax, this would be more suitable for an inside room, where the sound can't travel as much.
If you are booking the entertainment yourself and you don't consider these things, your entertainers might be too loud on the day. The venue managers will not be happy, and the entertainers will be asked to play more quietly. This can result in loss of enjoyment for you as the audience, and it can also be difficult for certain types of musicians to play at the lower level of volume.
With a little know how and planning, you can have a variety of musical entertainment at your wedding for all the different parts of the day - the ceremony, drinks reception and the evening party - and all of the entertainment will be perfectly suited to the areas in which they are playing. Everything will run to plan and you will have the best performances from the people that you have booked.
If you make sure your wedding planner or venue know about all the performers you are having, and they have okayed it, and your performers know of the venues noise policy, then it should all be smooth sailing on the day ;)
No matter where you are planning to get married, please always make sure that before you pay a deposit to your wedding planner or venue, that you can book the exact entertainment that you would like. In nearly all cases, venues and wedding planners, put the desires of the couple first and will allow any professional legal musicians to perform.
We have performed at may venues in Costa Blanca, and met a few wedding planners and venue management along the way, and for the most part they have been great and very accommodating. (If you would like our recommendations please just ask).
However, you might come across a venue that will restrict your music choices, for example insisting you use their own 'in-house' DJ. We have had 2 couples recently, that have met resistance with this, and despite providing our legal documentation for music in Spain, they have been told it would be preferred not to use us for DJ & Sax. There is no legitimate reason why we should not play there, so my advice is, to always make sure your desires are being met from the beginning, and if there is a restriction that you don't like, then you know right from the start. It can be really disappointing for couples to be told further down the line about these things after they've parted with their non-refundable deposit!
On a positive note, there are so many venues, venue co-ordinators and wedding planners in Spain that allow you to book your own complete choice of entertainment. So then all you would need to do is find out your venues noise restriction policy, and make sure the entertainment know about this before you book, and if the musician(s) are from Spain, ask them to pass on their autonomo / legal paperwork, along with their public liability insurance to you, so that you don't hit any stumbling blocks down the line.
Most venues will ask for these, and it's really important that you book ONLY legal musicians. (If you book musicians from outside of Spain, they won't have / need to provide autonomo paperwork as that only applies to residents of Spain).
Hope you've enjoyed my first wedding blog! If you would like any help at all with finding you dream wedding entertainment, or would like some general wedding recommendations, please drop me a message here https://www.jenjamminsax.com/contact and I'll help you as best as I can!
To keep up to date with our DJ & Sax performances, videos, and announcements, follow us here on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jenjamminsax/ - thanks in advance for your support!!