In our modern age of electronics, immediate delivery, and thirst for wide varieties of entertainment, it is important to step back on special occasions to evaluate exactly what you or your client is trying to achieve at their wedding. Obviously- there will be music. I have yet to see a wedding or special event that was completely silent, but I guess it could happen. But it's the type of music, how it is delivered, that will make a huge impact both to the wedding party and the guests on the special day.
It's not just live music, it's an Experience!
Think of movies- a grand celebration scene with awards, or recognition, or happy events- there is typically a live band there, not some ipod set to shuffle. You can conjure up images of Harry Potter during the Tri-Wizard cup, or Hans Solo and Chewy walking at the Royal Award Ceremony. Live musicians add to the elegance, the greatness, the magic of the moment that no speaker system can.
Live music brings a sense of personality to weddings as well. Each piece is going to be played a little bit differently, each musician will respond in their own way to how the composer wrote the piece, and the musicians can mirror the guests with their enthusiasm and interest in the event. Selfishly, as well- how cool is it to take wedding pictures where you've hired a group of musicians- it makes you look elegant and classy!
Winds, vs String Quartet vs Acoustic Guitar for Weddings
Once you've come to the obvious conclusion that hiring live musicians is the key to making your celebration even better, the hard part is finding a group that can give you what you want. There are numerous different options and group sizes, so I've provided a fairly comprehensive list of typical wedding ceremony music:
-The solo wedding guitarist: Excellent choice for couples on a budget. The guitar is a multi-stringed instrument that can provide it's own harmonics and even a little percussion. There is almost no limit to the songs the guitar can play, so really it's up to the skill of the guitarist as to what can be performed. Whether you are looking for traditional wedding hymns, pop covers, or solo Spanish guitar, an acoustic guitar player for weddings can be a great choice!
-The harpist: Probably more expensive than the solo guitar, and less options as to what music can be performed as the instrument is limited. Then again, it is really classy, I mean, it's a freakin' harp! At your wedding! Only angels normally get that kind of treatment.
-The pianist: Also more expensive that the guitar, as it isn't easy to lug around a classical piano most of the time :). The piano has a wide range of possibilities for music, from classical to jazz and traditional wedding tunes.
-The string duo/trio/quartet: A step up from the solo musician, the string ensemble brings warmth and conformity to weddings. Most people who hire event musicians go with the string ensemble, probably because they are widely available and referenced often in tv and movies as the typical wedding ensemble. Strings can play a wide variety of music inside and outside of the classical realm, and have a huge library of arrangements from a wide variety of composers available to them.
-The brass ensemble: For a sense of royalty, there is no better feeling than being embraced by the warm sounds of a full brass ensemble. Trumpet Voluntary, a classic for weddings, was written for- you guessed it- a trumpet, so who better to play it? You should expect to pay more for an ensemble of this size, brass ensembles typically come in quartets or quintets, so you're paying for more than a solo musician.
-The wind quintet or ensemble: Obviously, our favorite as this is what we are! A wind quintet is also probably going to be on the higher side of the price spectrum as you're getting five musicians, but the range of possibilities and sounds produced is well worth it. Wind quintets are fairly new to the wedding ceremony music scene, not many quintets out there actually perform the service, although we at the Left Coast Quintet really enjoy it. Winds can play all of the traditional wedding string melodies, then transition to movie themes, jazz standards, or any custom arrangement of pop music to make the event really stand out. The intricate balance of sounds between the upper winds (flute, clarinet, and oboe), the bass line provided by bassoon, and the rich melodies of the French horn make for wonderful sounds that guests will love.
Whichever direction you or your client ends up going when it comes to music, we hope we've convinced you that live music is the way to go, we really appreciate you hiring professional musicians. San Diego is a close knit community of music makers, we all perform together on various stages when not working at private events, and genuinely enjoy the products and services that individual groups offer. We all tend to support each other, and recommend one another if we are unavailable for a gig or event.
What do you look for in terms of live musicians, and how can we make the decision to hire professional musicians easier for you or your client?
Dan is the bassoonist & one of the founders of the LCQ.