As working musicians, we all have a story or two of the worst gigs we have played. From bridezillas to the drunk patrons, I’ve definitely paid my dues. Although my experience has been positive for the most part over the years, being a wedding pianist can indeed be a thankless job sometimes. Here is my worst wedding gig ever.
I show to the wedding venue (a country club) early like I always do, at least one hour before starting prelude music. I set up my digital piano and sound equipment, and everything seems to be according to plan. The couple getting married are friends of my wife. To be honest, none of the horrific details I’m sharing are any of their faults. They were a sweet couple, and it was out of their control. It seems to be the fault of the extended family.
I set up my equipment in this generic banquet room in the country club. There are round tables set up with plastic chairs and a buffet near the dance floor. So far, so good. Nothing out of the ordinary, and it seems like it will be just another typical wedding gig.
After setting up, I gaze around the room and see tables with white table cloth and white plastic chairs. There seems to be plenty of seats for the guests and the wedding party. The front tables have small reserved signs for the family, which is pretty much the norm.
I sit down. My keyboard is an older Yamaha full-size keyboard with unweighted keys. Eventually, I will upgrade to a nicer model after years of playing all kinds of different gigs. But more on that later.
I usually start 30 minutes before the ceremony with prelude music, and I have played everything from classical, jazz, pop to more religious music based on the preference of the wedding party.
25 minutes go by, and I start looking for the family wedding party. The parents walk in and sit with the children. I keep playing and see one set of the grandparents. A few minutes later, I look for the other set of grandparents, but they are nowhere to be found!
About ten minutes go by, and I still don’t see the grandparents. I start to think about some other music I can play for the prelude without recycling songs that I’ve already played. As I keep playing and twenty minutes pass when the ceremony is supposed to start, I finally realize what the holdup is. There is a middle-aged Karen-looking woman and her crew sitting at the bride’s grandparents’ table. What a bitch.
The father of the bride is at the table trying to talk to her and reason with her to move. The whole situation is so awkward. I keep playing, and I don’t understand why this woman is not moving because there are plenty of empty tables in the back. She is not moving, and the grandparents are supposed to be there.
Finally, after about thirty minutes, the lady finally moves, and the grandparents finally are able to sit in the proper seats. The wedding is finally about to go forward! The rest of the wedding ceremony goes pretty well beside the mild inconvenience and my mild annoyance over having to play longer prelude music.
After the ceremony, I wait and have a couple of drinks at the bar. I see the lady at the bar and decide to have a little fun. Where she can hear me, I ask someone who that rude lady was who was at the wrong table that wouldn’t get up for the grandparents to sit down. The person relays to me that it was the aunt of the bride. I reply with this within the earshot of the lady culprit.
“I can’t believe that someone would be so selfish on someone else’s day. I’ve never seen anything like this in any of my wedding gigs.”
I finished my drinks and left. And I knew that no wedding could be that bad in the future. My luck will be turning up.
What’s your worst gig as a musician? Tell your story in the comments below!