You are planning your wedding ceremony, and would like to find a budget-friendly musician to play the big event. One option is to go with an event agency with a network of musicians you can hire. This will cost you hundreds of dollars for a 20-minute ceremony. You may prefer to locate a fantastic musician for under $100. How do you go about this?

1. Select your preferred instrument. Classical guitar and cello are both beautiful options for a wedding ceremony, or you may prefer a harp, bagpipe, or piano. You can go with an ensemble, but keep in mind that each additional musician will increase the total price. For the most budget-conscious, I recommend a solo guitar or cello. 

2. Place an ad on the gigs section of your local university music department or music school. For example, the Berklee College of Music in Boston has a great jobs board online that anyone can post to. State the date and approximate time of your ceremony, how long you expect the gig to take (30 minutes for the ceremony, plus 30 minutes as guests arrive should be plenty), and what instrument(s) you are looking for. Also, state the price you are willing to pay, and perhaps give a hint of the compositions you would like to hear during your ceremony.

3. Wait for responses to trickle in. The musicians with wedding ceremony experience will include a link to their myspace or other webpage, where you can listen to their recordings. They should also list parts of their wedding ceremony repertoire. If you are looking to hear a special piece of music as you walk down the aisle, don't worry. Often the musician will be willing to score or locate any additional music they don't already play. Just ask!

4. Select your favorite musician from the bunch! At this point you can plan the details of your ceremony music, and give your musician written instructions on what to play when. Enjoy your beautiful day!

One final warning: be careful about hiring friends and family. If you approach a close family friend or family member to play your ceremony, you take several risks. They may have never played a wedding, so may need supervision and detailed instructions about exactly when to do what. This can add stress to your day. In addition, if they turn out not to sound too fantastic, it may be very awkward to tell them you are going with someone else.