First thing you need to do is to decide when you want music to be played. We (and most groups) do per hour bookings. The first hour consists of 15 minutes before you are scheduled to walk down the aisle, while your bridal party and you enter, and then we you walk back down the aisle as Mr and Mrs! Sometimes we play during the ceremony if there is candle lighting ceremony or wine blending ceremony. If you are having a cocktail hour post ceremony you may decide on having the ensemble play during that too. We are often told that guests enjoy the continuity of having the same style of elegant music during this time before you get the party started and the reception! Or If you would prefer a more subtle entertainment we can play during the reception too!
When you are choosing the music for the ceremony there is a few things to keep in mind. The length of the piece of music of music you are looking for. For the processional this means figuring out how many people you have walking down the aisle and the length of the aisle. Some people choose to have a different song for the entry of the Bride. This is a lovely option as it adds a little more drama and anticipation. Just be aware if you choose to do this, the musicians need to know when they need to stop one song and start the next. We need to find out how many people are walking down the aisle so that we know when to transition between one song and the next. Also if you choose to have more than one song, just remember that you will only be hearing a short amount of that song. This is especially important when considering a more popular recent song because they often have an intro and you might miss the familiar part of the song. Of course if you discuss this with the group first then there are usually ways to get you what you want. It is all just being aware of what you want exactly.
If you are planning to use a more popular recent song in your wedding, it is a good idea to make sure you hear it done by a string quartet first. Sometimes it just doesn’t translate well and doesn’t end up sounding much like the song you wanted. At Eliana Strings we want to make sure you are happy with the music you choose and do offer a service of arranging pieces for the quartet or trio for $50. Some songs we have done in the past include Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Signed Sealed Delivered and Hey There Delilah.
If you have a wedding coordinator, make sure they are in contact with the ensemble. Everything will run much more smoothly if they have communicated and have decided on a way to signal that the bride has arrived and is ready to enter and are both on the same page if there are several songs for the processional etc.
If you are planning to be a few minutes late, let the group know before hand.
Make sure you have told the wedding planner and venue that they will need to have the chairs and shade (if necessary) set up for the group before they arrive. Sometimes we have to wait around while the staff scramble to get the stuff together and then end up having to start a few minutes late. Nobody wants that!
While not contractually obliged, it is very much appreciated that if playing during the cocktail hour or reception that the musicians are provided water. Especially on those hot summers days!
Letting the musicians know or order of service will help everything to run smoothly.
I hope that this helps you make your decision!