Long ago, I decided to take seriously a friend’s advice: always allow enough time to change a flat tire and still get to the church on time for the wedding.
Here’s how I plan my time: The bride walks down the aisle at,say, 4 p.m., so I need to be ready to start playing for the first guest(s) at 3.30, so I need to get there by 3.00, and I need to assume there’s a traffic jam on the Gardiner Expressway, so I need to leave by 2.00, so I need to be in the shower by 1.30, and I want to have all my gear and music and contract by the door before I get in the shower. When booking, I carefully run a similar calculation before I commit to a second or third job on the same day.
That half-hour between the time you show up and the time you start playing? That can disappear in a flash if you have to: a) find someone to tell you where the ceremony is; b) figure out where you’re meant to set up; c) look for an AC outlet in the bushes; d) discover it’s dead; e) find the guy who knows where the circuit breaker is; f) change locations because it turns out you’re on the wrong side… etc., etc.
If you want to be a professional, you need to take the job seriously enough to give each part of it more time than the bare minimum possible, if for no other reason than you want to be completely relaxed once you start playing – and I don’t know about you, but I just can’t play as well when I’m stressed out.
So get me to the church on time!