Behind the Keys: A Day in the Life of a UK Wedding Pianist

A typical day for a UK wedding pianist kicks off with early preparations. In fact, preparations will have started weeks before with learning new songs and putting together set lists. Throughout the day, the pianist navigates various tasks, including traveling to the venue, setting up the equipment, and collaborating with other wedding vendors. This glimpse into a day in the life of a UK wedding pianist offers a practical perspective on the behind-the-scenes efforts that go into bringing beautiful music to couples on their special day.

early preparation is key for a wedding pianist

As a UK wedding pianist, I can travel anywhere from a few miles down the road to a local venue, to crossing the border from England into Wales. When the journey will take several hours, I often need to leave the house before 7am, so checking my equipment and loading the car usually happens the evening before. I always like to test the digital piano to make sure it’s all in working order, and then I load it into the car along with the amp and the grand piano shell if needed. Back when I first started playing at weddings the digital piano I used was ridiculously heavy and I’d need to rely on someone helping me lug it into the car, but pianos have now become much lighter which makes my job a lot easier! The Grand Piano is much heavier so my husband is always on hand to help me, and despite having a narrow hallway to squeeze through we have now mastered the art of maneuvering it out of the house and into the car!

All my music is stored in my iPad, so I always make sure this is left charging overnight, along with the bluetooth pedal which I use to turn the pages. I also always have a battery pack to hand in case the iPad battery is running low. This only happens if I’m playing for a full wedding day, but even then I try and charge it between sets so it’s always topped up. I also bring an extension lead as the power supply is not always in the same place as the piano!

The other important thing I make sure to pack is food! If I’m leaving early, I take breakfast to have on the road (Leigh Delamere is my service station of choice for a breakfast break when on the M4!), and I also take lunch and snacks to keep me going. Occasionally food is provided for me, but more often than not I will eat my own lunch between sets as I tend to be playing whilst food is being served to the guests.

arriving at a uk wedding venue

I always aim to arrive at least an hour and a half before the ceremony, sometimes more depending on whether the grand piano is being used, as this takes longer to set up. On arrival at the venue I check in with the venue or wedding coordinator who will tell me where to set up and show me the different locations if I’m playing for more than one part of the day. Leaving plenty of time means I’m not in a rush to set up, so I can take my time and make sure the piano looks its best. This includes taping leads out of sight as much as possible and doing a soundcheck to adjust volume levels to suit the room/outdoor space. I’ll often have a chat with the registrar or celebrant who will confirm my cues so that I know exactly when to start playing, and I always enjoy meeting the wedding party before they begin to greet arriving guests.

Hannah playing live piano music on the grand piano in the Folly at Coed-y-Mwstwr Hotel, a wedding venue in South Wales

Photography by Keri Lovell Photography

As the ceremony unfolds, I adapt the music in real time to suit the timings of the ceremony entrance and signing of the register. At the end of the ceremony, once I’ve played the couple and the guests out of the ceremony space, I usually need to relocate and set up the piano in a different area for the drinks reception. Often the staff at the venue, or groomsmen, will help with this so that I can make the transition as quickly as possible. If the new location is a bigger space, or I’ve moved outdoors, I will usually change the amp set up to increase the volume without it being too overpowering whilst guests are chatting and enjoying their drinks.

If I am then playing for the wedding breakfast, I will move the piano to the breakfast location about half an hour before guests are due to be seated. This allows time for me to make sure the piano is set up correctly and doesn’t have any leads trailing where they shouldn’t be. It also gives me time to have something to eat and stretch my legs. During the breakfast I will play for two hour long sets. Once the dessert is being cleared away and the champagne poured ready for speeches, I pack up the piano and load my equipment into the car, so that I am out of the room by the time the speeches are due to start.

the end of the day

The day concludes with a potentially lengthy drive home, occasionally punctuated by a brief power nap at a service station. Unloading the equipment marks the final act, ensuring everything is safely stored, ready to repeat the musical magic for the next celebration. In the life of a UK wedding pianist, each wedding is a unique event, bringing together dedication, skill, and a passion for creating unforgettable musical moments for couples. 

how to hire a uk wedding pianist

If you would like to find out how I, or one of my team, can provide beautiful piano music for your wedding day, simply get in touch here. I’d love to hear from you!