Hiring String Musicians for Your Wedding
Live music at any event adds an elegance that recorded music just cannot compare to. At Arioso Strings, we often hear from our wedding clients’ parents the day after the event— their guests couldn’t get over how classy the live string music was! Sometimes live music is the most memorable part of the event! Nowadays, strings can offer the elegant classical, romantic sounds of Mozart and the fun, modern sounds of today’s most popular artists. String music is a volume and intensity that allows your wedding guests to still mingle and enjoy music simultaneously.
Always look into the credentials of your potential vendors. Musicians with degrees in music who are musicians for a living are your best bet for professional sound and an understanding of what it takes to perfectly time moments of your ceremony to music. Do they have some reviews that vouch for them? Recordings? Live performances to attend? Are they a part of other local performance groups and involved in other music related activities in the community? Are they willing to help with music planning? Do they offer modern day tools such as Spotify to share playlists and streamline music planning?
Notice we didn’t say “Hiring a String Quartet for Your Wedding”! Maybe you know you absolutely LOVE the sound of the violin and a string quartet is the first type of ensemble that you think of when you imagine your wedding. String quartets are fabulous, of course, but you should know about all of your options!
Things to consider: Your budget, venue, guest count, space, music you are interested in and the style or vibe you are going for.
A string quartet may be the most commonly booked wedding ensemble but here are a few more ideas:
Solo Violin is perfect for very small, intimate settings including parks, restaurant, backyard or chapel ceremonies. Solo violin would perform largely traditional, classical music.
Violin & Piano Duos can be utilized in virtually any setting. If no piano is present at your venue, many pianists have a portable keyboard for events. This is a lovely combination with endless music options.
Violin & Organ Duos are possible if your wedding takes place in a church. You can sometimes opt to hire the church organist when you book your ceremony. Add a violinist (or other string instrument) to the mix to add that touch of string elegance. The two can work together to create a special playlist.
Violin & Bass Duos offer the unique ability to play more jazz and pop repertoire with the fun bass lines and low end sound of the double bass. Versatile and fun sound that can also provide Classical music as well.
Violin & Cello Duos are a warm combo that easily goes from Classical to modern styles.
2 Violin Duos have a lighter, very Classical sound. This duo takes the least amount of space at your venue but still offers the lovely harmony that other ensembles do.
Violin & Guitar offers a folk sound that can perform many genres of music. Works well for any space.
String Trios typically consist of 2 violins and cello or violin, viola and cello. This ensemble offers a fuller sound than the duos but doesn’t take up as much space as a quartet at a venue. A more classical sound, but like a quartet, a trio can also offer some of today’s radio favorites!
Quintets add a fifth instrument for an even fuller, richer sound. The most common quintets are string quartet with piano and string quartet with bass. If space and budget allow, this is a grand sound!
Chamber Orchestras are a small orchestra. If your venue and budget have room, this ensemble adds a majestic touch to your wedding. Classical music will work best with this ensemble but current repertoire is possible as well.
Adding Trumpet or Voice to your string ensemble can bring your wedding music to the next level. A trumpet can play a majestic fanfare before you process or recess down the aisle. A vocalist can sing with strings on gorgeous, meaningful songs of any genre. Trumpet works best with string trio or quartet. Voice sounds best with trio, quartet, violin/piano duo, violin/organ duo, violin/guitar duo.
"What part of the big day do my string musicians play for?"
You know you are hiring string musicians but what do you hire them to play for? Ceremonies are the most common part of the event to hire musicians for but hiring strings for other parts of the event can help you have a seamless soundtrack to your wedding day. Hire strings to play the entire event or hire them to perform until a DJ or band take over. Here are our top moments to hire live music for:
Ceremony Music - Musicians play a Prelude as guests arrive, Processional music as the wedding party enters, during the ceremony, Recessional music as the wedding party exits and Postlude music as guests exit.
Cocktail Hour - Music as your guests mingle.
Reception/Dinner - Music as your guests eat. Strings can also provide music for a first dance.
Rehearsal Dinner or Brunch - Live music at any dinner adds class.
Wedding Ceremony Rehearsal - Professional musicians typically do not need to attend the wedding rehearsal but if budget allows, you can have your string musicians play at the rehearsal as well. Another thing to consider is whether your event is indoor or outdoor. Most string musicians will perform outdoors. It is very common for musicians to require some sort of canopy, tent or other covering in case of extreme heat or inclement weather. Be sure to ask what your string musician policies are regarding outdoor weather, temperatures and inclement weather. Having a backup plan is ideal because string instruments are made of wood and extremely valuable and they cannot be outdoors if precipitation is expected or present. Having your musicians perform from a nearby building/shelter is sometimes a backup option.
How to Select Music
Your lead string musician should help you with music planning. They will ask you what kind of music you enjoy listening to, what kind of vibe or atmosphere you are aiming for at your wedding, and if there are songs you already have in mind. Your string musician contact person should either offer a list to select from that they have in their library or offer ideas to help you get thinking about music.
We love to suggest the following to our clients: Sit down with your partner and listen to music. If you do this over dinner, coffee, a glass of wine or dessert, this can be very enjoyable! Make notes on songs you both love and any songs you dislike. Listen to the many wedding music compilations on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify and other wedding resource websites. Use the following search words: Classical, Traditional, Popular, Modern, Folk, Sacred, Religious, Jazz, and Romantic Wedding Music to get you started. The music does not have to include strings for the strings to be able to perform it, so you can get creative! You may not find songs you like right away but you can sift through ideas! Think about any music that is special to you as a couple or any music that is special to your family. Is there a person that you are honoring at your wedding that cannot be present?
Your string musicians can also do the music planning for you if you prefer to be hands off in the music planning! String professionals can create a playlist for you just knowing what moments you want music for.
Try to enjoy the music planning process!
Your wedding music should be fun and straight forward! We suggest having the music playlist set 1 month before your big day so that it is off your to-do list and so that musicians have time to get the music ready to go. You should be able to do your music planning by email, phone or in person— whatever is most convenient for you! Working together with your string musicians, you will have the most beautiful soundtrack on your wedding day!
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