You may have noticed a few new pictures up on our website recently. We had an amazing weekend up in Temecula getting to bring beautiful wedding ceremony music to a beautiful couple, Matt & Elizabeth Haupert, and figured we would make some updates to our site with the gorgeous views provided to us.
Temecula is a special place. Located just about an hour north-east of San Diego, in the heart of Southern California wine country, the town is just the perfect get-away from the bustle of Southern California life. Whether coming from LA and the Inland Empire, or driving up from San Diego, the rolling hills, large estates, and numerous wineries will take anyone to a whole new level of relaxation.
For Matt & Elizabeth's special day, we found ourselves at the gorgeous Lake Oak Meadows, part of the Vitagliano Winery. Surrounded by fields of green vineyards, the main focal point is a sprawling lake with numerous perfect spots for wedding ceremonies and special moments. Large shade trees keep the temperatures down, while fountains inside of the lake provide a very calming ambiance. Our quintet set up under an amazing shade canopy, keeping the 91 degree weather at bay. We even enjoyed a nice breeze!
Our couple requested traditional wedding ceremony music, consisting of Pachelbel's Canon in D, Wagner's Wedding Processional, and Mendelssohn's Wedding March for a recessional. But, we like to have some fun, so while guests were seated prior to the ceremony, we were playing recognizable movie tunes, some older jazz pieces, and summertime favorites to get people in the mood for what became a very personal, heartfelt, and loving ceremony.
My wife and I got married in early January of this year, so talking about wedding planning is still pretty fresh on my mind. It is amazing that even three months later, we still have friends tell us how personal, thoughtful, and special our wedding was. I don't think that many people can say that their weddings went off without a hitch, normally there is some domino that doesn't fall down, or a drunk 'uncle' that wants to make an inappropriate speech, but thankfully our weekend was absolutely amazing, went off hassle free, and besides the venue briefly misplacing our cake topper, really was a magical and special event.
Fairy tales, princesses, castles, and beautiful parties are what we all grew up with watching Disney movies. No matter what part of the world the story took place, Disney inspired us to be classy, formal, and beautiful when planning our special ceremonies.
A friend of mine, Tiffany Baldwin of Baldwin Bridal, recently coordinated with a great group of vendors to put out a fantastic "Beauty and the Beast" styled wedding shoot. The set up and details are stunning, and it's no surprise to me or really anyone else that the pictures are gaining international acclaim. I'd bet that most brides want to feel like a princess on their wedding day, and the go-to princesses that we all grew up with are the enchanted Disney characters that have graced movies and TV for the past century.
I love wedding season! In San Diego, that's almost year round, but we certainly do get a bit of a break during the later winter months, when there aren't as many destination weddings or the fine sunny weather we're known for. Every year, though, I have to mentally prepare for all of the fun events the Left Coast Quintet and Trio are going to be hired for.
San Diego Wedding Musician Calendar
So far, we have 6 upcoming weddings, and I'm guessing we'll probably triple that by the end of the summer. We aren't a huge company with multiple weddings each weekend, and we like that. It adds more of a personal touch for the clients we work with, allows us to work on other projects, and be able to be with our families on our time off from the regular weekday jobs most of us have.
Did you know that, as a special request, we can play for your First Dance? Picking a First Dance can be one of the most frustrating and exhausting tasks when it comes to selecting music for your wedding. While some couples have “their song,” as if they were predestined to dance to it, for others, it’s not that easy. So what is it that makes the “perfect” First Dance, and is it even possible to find one? We hope to give insight to some of you lost souls out there:
1. Send A Message- find a song that resonates with you as a couple- will it be about romance… friendship… commitment… or laughter and fun? Express yourself!
2. Don't worry about the lyrics- we are a music group, but we don't sing (well). It'll just be the melody, so imagine no words and just beautiful harmonies.
3. Find A Genre You Both Like- often times a couple has different tastes in music, so be willing to compromise on something you both like, even if it’s not your personal favorite.
4. Practice Before Picking- if you’ve narrowed your choices down to a few songs, practice dancing to them before you decide; this will give you a real feel for what it will be like.
5. Don’t Worry About Length- if a song is too long, or has a long intro you don’t like, no worries- we can customize the length or where we start playing.
6. Be True To Yourselves- though others will be watching & listening to your First Dance, don’t get too caught up in what others think or like- it’s YOUR wedding, after all!
There are no set rules when it comes to your First Dance, so have fun and make it about you & your love! And if all else fails, don’t be afraid to choose a song that is “typical” or “traditional,”- there’s a reason why they’re so popular!
There’s no doubt that live music makes any event better, even when it's background music. Whether it's enhancing the atmosphere at a casual party, elegant reception, or restaurant/bar, there are all sorts of musical styles that we play that will fit in perfectly. From smooth jazz to movie favorites, many of these gigs are straightforward but there are still a few tips to remember when the time comes.
Between the end of wedding season (about October) and the beginning of engagement season (typically February), there can be a slow period for many wedding vendors. While event planners, florists, and decorators take a break, musicians are hard at work playing, or trying to find, good holiday gigs! It is a rough and tumble couple of months, sometimes with calendars looking bleak until five different planners call in the same day, asking for live music at the last minute for a dinner party or presentation.
We don't mind, of course. Providing live music for holiday parties and events not only helps us make a living, it is also lively and fun for us. The mood of these events is typically festive and upbeat, and we end up going home afterwards happy and ready for the next event.
It typically doesn't matter what we end up playing for various holiday parties, whether it's a mix of Christmas music, jazz, some movie favorites, or more religious pieces, people just love having live musicians there. They enjoy our unique take on some of the classics, like turning Oh Tannenbaum into a funky jazz swing piece, or making melodic harmonies out of the 12 Days of Christmas.
Are you planning on hiring some live music for upcoming parties? It's never too late, we can still come play. Keep in mind, along with other gigs we might already be booked for, we also have other seasonal music expectations, like Nutcracker or Messiah performances, church symphony concerts, school presentations, etc.
Have a great holiday season and new year, we hope to bring some classy, fun music to you soon!
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!
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!
Dan is the bassoonist & one of the founders of the LCQ.