It isn't difficult to automatically expect to be paying large sums of money for a classy wedding. From event management and venues, to catering, clothing, florals, the prices keep adding up. By the time you come around to planning on music, you could be tempted to find the first, least expensive option that comes your way.
It is hard for us to convince you otherwise- we get it, live musicians come at a price. There are 3 or 5 of us depending on the event, we have to account for upkeep of instruments, buying new music, insurance, travel fees...it adds up. Here is where some advanced planning and budgeting comes in well, and can allow you to afford the best live music in San Diego for your wedding or event.
Typically, our group has a two hour minimum for these events. That is just enough time for us to play while guests are seated, perform the wedding processional and recessional, and move over to play for a cocktail hour or so. Two hours will run between $600-$1000 for local events, and upfront all at once that cost can break a bank. Instead, consider doing the following:
San Diego is known as one of the largest wedding destinations in the world. For us, that is no surprise, it's why we live here- almost perfect weather year round, amazing views of the ocean, quick access to the mountains, a healthy lifestyle, vibrant downtown, and numerous recreation opportunities. Have we convinced you to move here yet? If not- no worries, you can still get married here, and we are happy to provide some of the most professional live music services in the area for your wedding ceremony and reception.
That all being said, there is certainly a difference between planning a local San Diego wedding or making it a destination. Our local clients have the opportunity to meet with us in person, check out some shows or performances, get recommendations from friends who have utilized the Left Coast quintet for other functions and weddings. If you're a guest of our city, chances are you won't have those opportunities, so we've provided a brief account of what you can do to make sure that all of your vendors are up to the same standard that we hold ourselves to.
#1-trust your friends. The best way of getting information about a vendor is word of mouth from people who have used them before. Good or bad, reviews from people you trust are the best indicator of a professionals attention to detail, how much stress they will cause, if their billing was correct, how they treated your guests, etc. Yes there are many review sites, the LCQ is featured on quite a few, and those can be a backup- but nothing beats word of mouth recommendations.
#2-trust your other vendors. Once you've found an amazing consultant, planner, or venue coordinator, use them and their local expertise to guide you towards vendors they have worked with before. The San Diego market is filled with a huge amount of businesses all offering the same products, no one will know them better and how they work behind the scenes than a trusted coordinator. The Left Coast Quintet is far from a wedding coordinator or planner, we just provide a small but valuable service and humbly request your patronage- but we've also been around for a long time and have worked in the professional music business in San Diego for years: we know the area, we know the venues, and we know many other vendors. Please don't hesitate to ask for advice if you're making San Diego or Southern California a destination location!
#3-scour your vendors websites, make sure their information is real and accurate. For music clients, we recommend listening to our samples and checking out pictures from past events. It is obviously pretty hard to taste a cake from a computer screen, but if you'd like, we will be happy to go taste some cakes for you and give a review (yum!). Kidding aside, most services have websites displaying their best work, and while it might be a biased source of information, it should give you a hint as to how the vendor and staff see themselves, how proud they are of their business and clients, and what services they will offer.
#4-keep in contact! Either video chat, call on the phone, or keep up regular email communication with your vendors. You want to be in the forefront of their minds, and we don't mind going over details with you. Make sure as the date gets closer, you refine information and nit-pick the details, we want to make sure everything is the way you want it, just as much as you want it to be perfect yourself.
Ultimately, San Diego is a great destination location, and we really look forward to working with you. If there is anything you need, from hotel and venue recommendations to which beach is best, let us know.
When planning a corporate event large or small, one of most overlooked items is booking entertainment. You've already set up your conference space, reserved a hotel if you're doing a destination event, planned for food, name tags, speakers. But what about entertaining your employees and guests when they aren't in meetings? You've probably planned a few happy hours, a meet & greet, maybe some other night time entertainment, now is the time to figure out what other elements are needed for your event.
First and foremost, you need to determine what kind of entertainment you wish to provide. Live music is a great choice, but even then there are many options! For instance, do you want to provide your guests with a live concert, showcasing new music and old favorites? Or, do you want background music while people meet and talk? Maybe you want a combination of the two, where the musicians become part of the audience and interact with guests and employees.
For us at the Left Coast Quintet, and this really applies with any live music that you hire, advanced planning is key. We have a large library of music available to fit any space and for any occasion, but we need time to work out details with you about location, equipment, set lists, special requests, and we need time to compose new music if necessary. We also need to know if we should bring on other musicians, such as more brass players, percussionists, a pianist, or strings.
Ultimately, the most important decision is who you end up hiring, because the atmosphere and enjoyment of your guests can be swayed, both positively or negatively, by the entertainers you choose to provide. Go with a group that you trust, that has positive reviews, and has experience in a wide range of events and situations. As an example, the Left Coast Quintet has played both indoors for large fundraisers and non-profit events, as well as outside for street fairs, weddings, and happy-hours. We know we can adapt to any situation, which is vital in a fast paced entertainment environment.
Please let us know if we can help you with any event planning or music needs!
Dan is the bassoonist & one of the founders of the LCQ.