Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Music on the Vail Wedding Island

Photos courtesy of  Kristopher Lindsay Photography
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Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

It was the first day of autumn when my guitarist and I headed down to Vail, Colorado to play for a wedding ceremony and cocktail hour. The ceremony was held at the Vail Wedding Island, and the cocktail hour was held on the covered patio of the Vail Golf Clubhouse. Fall decided to come swiftly on its first day with a rainy cold front, and our drive across the mountains was interspersed with heavy rain showers. We hoped that the weather wouldn't stop the couple from having the beautiful wedding of their dreams.

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

When we arrived, the sun peered through the clouds just long enough for me to get several photos of the changing Aspen trees, glowing in their golden glory of peak season. We played prelude music on the wedding island and braved the weather, brightening up the gloomy and rainy day with our cheerful flute and guitar music. It did rain on us, but we each brought instruments that could take a little rain, so we kept playing.

The rain stopped just as the bride was about to walk down the aisle, but the wind gusted so strong that while she was walking, it tore her veil right from her head! She burst into a fit of laughter and it was contagious and soon everyone was laughing. We kept playing the bride's walking song and after about a minute, she completed her walk down the aisle and was happily married. The sun shone brightly through the clouds just as the couple was presented as husband and wife.

After the ceremony, we moved to the covered and heated patio of the clubhouse, and we warmed up as we played upbeat contemporary and jazz tunes while the guests enjoyed hous d'ouvres and cocktails. I brought my top of the line Bose L1 sound system and our sound carried beautifully throughout the space. We even got a special music request and I Googled the sheet music on my cell phone. We played it, but music was very tiny!

Samples from Prelude Music: Here Comes the Sun (Beatles), Can't Help Falling in Love (Elvis), God Gave Me You (Blake Shelton), "Aylesford Gavotte" (Handel), Annie's Song (John Denver), Gavotte from Sonata for flute in C Major (Handel)

Processional Music:
Groom ~ Amazed
Bridesmaids, Groomsmen, Ringbearer, Flower Girl ~ The Swan (Saint-Saens)
Bride ~ To Make You Feel My Love (Adele)
Recessional ~ Hornpipe Finale (Handel)

Samples from Cocktail Hour Music: How High the Moon (Ella Fitzgerald), Unforgettable (Sinatra), You Are the Sunshine of My Life (Stevie Wonder), Satin Doll (Duke Ellington), Cheek to Cheek (Sinatra), Don't Get Around Much Anymore (Duke Ellington)

Wedding Ceremony Vendors:
Venue: Vail Wedding Island and Golf Club
Wedding Planner: Jessica Kate Productions
Photographer: Kristopher Lindsay Photography
Live Ceremony and Cocktail Music: Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens - Flute and Guitar Duo
DJ: DJ Guy
 

 
Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Colorado flute and guitar wedding ceremony music, Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens

Flute Trio Wedding Ceremony Music at Beano's Cabin in Beaver Creek, Colorado

Colorado Wedding Ceremony Music by Christen Stephens,  Photos Courtesy of    Preston Utley Photography

Colorado Wedding Ceremony Music by Christen Stephens, Photos Courtesy of Preston Utley Photography

In early June, our flute trio (flute, viola, cello) played for an elegant wedding ceremony up in Beaver Creek, Colorado. First, we enjoyed Michael Lancaster's skillful bagpipe performance as the guests arrived and then our trio finished playing the prelude music with some elegant classical selections. After the ceremony, we played a number of contemporary and popular songs to entertain the guests during the cocktail hour. We also played "A Sky Full of Stars" by Coldplay. This song is a favorite of the bride's, and I made a special arrangement of the song for our trio to play by her request. The wedding ceremony couldn't have gone more smoothly than under the watchful eye of Meg Stepanek of Gemini Event Planning.

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Sample Prelude Music:
Ode to Joy (Beethoven), Salzburger Menuette (Mozart), Gigue from suite #3 in D Major (Bach)

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Sheep May Safely Graze (Bach) ~ Parents and Grandparents Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (Bach) ~ Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Canon in D (Pachelbel) ~ Bride Handel's Hornpipe Finale ~ Recessional At Last ~ Postlude

Sample Cocktail Hour Music:
Over the Rainbow from the Wizard of Oz, Such Great Heights (Iron and Wine), A Sky Full of Stars (Coldplay), Viva La Vida (Coldplay), Clocks (Coldplay), A Thousand Years (Christina Perri), What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)

Wedding Ceremony Vendors:
Wedding Planner - Meg Stepanek, Gemini Event Planning
Venue - Beano's Cabin
Photographer - Preston Utley
Wedding Ceremony and Cocktail Music - Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens Flute Trio (flute, viola, cello)

Colorado Wedding Ceremony Music by Christen Stephens

Colorado Wedding Ceremony Music by Christen Stephens

Colorado Wedding Ceremony Music by Christen Stephens

Colorado Wedding Ceremony Music by Christen Stephens

Colorado Wedding Ceremony Music by Christen Stephens

Colorado Wedding Ceremony Music by Christen Stephens

Colorado Wedding Ceremony Music by Christen Stephens

Colorado Wedding Ceremony Music by Christen Stephens

Colorado Wedding Ceremony Music by Christen Stephens

Colorado Wedding Ceremony Music by Christen Stephens

Colorado Wedding Ceremony Music by Christen Stephens

Colorado Wedding Ceremony Music by Christen Stephens

Music Ideas for a Small Wedding Ceremony

When planning a small wedding ceremony, it's important that the music you choose will reflect the intimate feel of the gathering of your closest family and friends. A soloist is perfect for a very small wedding ceremony, and a duo or trio works well with a slightly larger ceremony. A general rule of thumb is to hire at least one musician per 50 guests. If you are having a very small wedding ceremony, you may want to hire a soloist. My specialty is the flute, and I often play solo flute for wedding ceremonies and cocktail hours. Solo flute, along with other single-note instruments, sounds great playing classical music but can also play any genre of music as long as the songs have a distinct melody. The sweet and rich sound of solo flute carries well and is easily heard outdoors, but is especially full and resonant in indoor spaces such as inside a church sanctuary. When I play solo flute for wedding ceremonies, I will often play classical music for the ceremony and then transition to more contemporary and jazz selections for the cocktail hour or reception.

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If you are planning to invite more than 50 guests or if the guests will be spread apart over a large area outdoors, I recommend hiring a duo or trio. Both our flute and violin duo and our flute and cello duo give a personal and intimate feel to a small wedding ceremony and have a fuller sound than a soloist. Both of these duos sound wonderful with classical music but many contemporary songs can also be arranged to be performed by these duos.

If you want to hear mostly contemporary music at your wedding, a flute and guitar duo is the perfect choice. This duo retains a feeling of simplicity both visually and tonally, but has the most full sound of the three duos because the guitar can play several notes at once. This duo is very versatile and sounds great playing classical, popular, rock and jazz music. We often amplify this ensemble so that the guitar can be heard well.

A trio is also a great option for a small wedding ceremony. Trios sound much fuller than duos, but still provide an intimate feel. Take a look at the flute trio that we offer.

Whatever music you choose for your small wedding ceremony, the most important thing is to be true to yourself and your vision. If you don't know what ensemble to choose, communicate your thoughts to your local wedding music professional and they will help you choose the perfect ensemble to meet your needs.

Photos Courtesy of Grace Combs Photography

Flute and Cello Duo at Piney River Ranch in Vail, CO

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In August, our flute and cello duo headed up to Piney River Ranch in Vail to play for a wedding ceremony and cocktail hour. After a string of cold and rainy days, the sun finally came out at this incredible mountain location and made for a beautiful wedding day. Once we arrived in Vail, we followed a long set of directions through White River National Forest. The 45 minute drive brought us over very rutted roads and was very challenging in our Prius. Since the going was slow, we embraced the moment and rolled down our windows to enjoy the peaceful quite and the spectacular scenery. We arrived at the lodge in time to enjoy a meal at the Piney restaurant. I ordered their signature pulled pork BBQ, which was exceptional, and having lived in North Carolina for a while, I can be picky about my BBQ! We also had time to take photos of the lake and of the resident moose, Monty Jr.

The bride knew what she wanted for music, and she chose most of the prelude music and all of the ceremony music on her own with the aid of my repertoire list. She requested that we fill out her prelude selections with music from movies with big scenery to compliment the lake and mountain backdrop. I really enjoyed making these music selections and it was wonderful to play them in a location that perfectly complimented them.

One of the best moments of the wedding ceremony was when Monty the moose walked through the water right behind the couple! The pastor had been talking about living in the moment and not letting life slip by us unnoticed. The reactions of the guests was wonderful as the ceremony paused and we all took some time to embrace that wonderful moment.

For the cocktail hour, the bride requested Beatles, Sinatra, and jazz styles. Our flute and cello duo mostly plays classical music, but I was eager for the challenge and after looking through my extensive music library, I found a number of popular and jazz pieces that would work wonderfully with the flute and cello.

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Wedding Ceremony Music:
Mothers, Groom, Pastor, Groomsmen ~ Haunted by the Waters from A River Runs Through It
Bridesmaids ~ All I Ask of You Bride ~ Canon in D (Pachelbel)
Recessional ~ La Rejouissance from Handel's Water Music
Postlude ~ Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (Handel)

Selected Prelude Music:
The Sound of Music, To a Wild Rose (MacDowell), Largo from Winter (Handel), The Wedding and the Ludlows from Legends of the Fall, Clair De Lune (Debussy), Si Bheag, Si Mhor (Irish Traditional), Moon River , from Breakfast at Tiffany's, What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong)

Selected Cocktail Hour Music: 
Imagine (Beatles), When I'm Sixty Four (Beatles), A Whole New World, I Want to Hold Your Hand (Beatles), Can You Feel the Love Tonight?, Blue Spanish Eyes, All of Me, My Funny Valentine, Blackbird (Beatles), Misty

Christen and Heather playing at Piney River Ranch, courtesy of Zach Mahone Photography

Wedding Vendors:
Wedding Venue: Piney River Ranch, Vail
Wedding Coordinator: Meg Stepanek of Gemini Event Planning
Photographer: Zach Mahone Photography
Wedding Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Musicians: Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens - Flute and Cello Duo

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Flute and String Trio - Wedding Ceremony and Cockail Hour Music at Silverthorne Pavillion

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It's always nice to travel from the hot summer weather of Colorado's front range to the mountains, and this time our destination was the town of Silverthorne, where it was a sunny 70 degrees. This wedding was held at the Silverthorne Pavilion which is located by the banks of the Blue River. Our flute, viola, and cello trio played classical prelude music and then traditional wedding processional music that the bride and groom selected together. The wedding ceremony was very sweet and as the couple said the vows they had written for each other, we tried to hold back our tears. Sometimes it doesn't make a difference how many weddings we have played for - each one is beautiful and unique! After the ceremony, we moved to the shaded patio where we played a mix of classical and popular music as the guests enjoyed appetizers and drinks. The bride and groom had several song requests for their cocktail hour music and I put together the remainder of our set list using those songs as my inspiration.

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Wedding Party ~ Canon in D (Pachelbel)
Bride ~ Bridal Chorus (Wagner)
Recessional ~ Wedding March from a Midsummer Night's Dream (Mendelssohn)

Selected Wedding Prelude Music:
Largo from Winter (Vivaldi), Sheep May Safely Graze (Bach), Selections from Handel's Water Music, Allegro from Sonata in F major (Handel)

Selected Cocktail Hour Music:
Italian Song (Tschaikovsky), Ecossaise (Beethoven), What a Wonderful World, Over the Rainbow, All You Need is Love, Romantic Flight from How to Train Your Dragon, Imagine, Anything Goes (Cole Porter)

Wedding Vendors:
Wedding Venue: Silverthorne Pavilion
Wedding Coordinator and Photographer: Laura Pierson at L Elizabeth Events
Wedding Ceremony and Cocktail Music: Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens - Flute Trio (flute, viola, cello)

Flute and String Trio at the Lodge at Cordillera in Edwards, CO

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Recently, we enjoyed spectacular views from the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera in Edwards, Colorado. This very busy bride asked us to select her wedding ceremony music for her, and we took care of everything so she could focus on getting married. With severe thunderstorms the previous day, everything had to be moved indoors, and rain continued to threaten on the wedding day. However, the following afternoon the sun came out and the bride had her beautiful outdoor wedding after all. Our trio serenaded the guests with classical music as they came to their seats and then we played for the ceremony. Afterwards, we moved down to the pool area where we played classical music for the cocktail hour.

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Bridesmaids and Flower Girl ~ Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring Bridal
Processional ~ Sheep May Safely Graze
Recessional ~ La Rejouissance from Handel's Water Music

Selected Prelude and Cocktail Hour Music:
Selections from “Water Music” (Handel), Spring (Vivaldi), Ecossaise (Beethoven), Papageno's Aria from the Magic Flute (Mozart), Salzburger Menuette (Mozart), Gavotte (Gossec), Gigue (J.S. Bach)

Wedding Vendors:
Wedding Venue: The Lodge and Spa at Cordillera
Wedding Coordinator: Valerie Woodbury
Ceremony Musicians: Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens - Flute Trio

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Flute and String Quartet Wedding Music at St. Thomas More Church and Castle Cliff Estates

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This weekend I played flute for a gorgeous Catholic wedding ceremony and reception. Our flute and string quartet played Irish, classical, and sacred music for the prelude to this wedding ceremony, which was held at St. Thomas More church in Centennial. The church was modern, but very elegant with vibrant stained glass windows, and lovely wood and stone work. The ceremony was not a full mass, but there was a short sermon and a number of lovely Biblical readings.

After the ceremony, we drove to Castle Cliff Estates where we played classical and Irish music for the reception. Castle Cliff Estates had an elegant classic feel with large windows overlooking the vibrant gardens and water feature in the back. The bride's choice of flowers and decorations, our musical accompaniment, and a roaring fire in the fireplace perfectly complimented our opulent surroundings and cheered up the cold and rainy day.

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Family Processional ~ Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (J S Bach)
Processional ~ Canon in D (Pachelbel)
Bridal Processional ~ Bridal Chorus (Wagner)
Unity Candle: Winter from the Four Seasons (Vivaldi)
Recessional ~ Wedding March from Midsummer Night's Dream (Mendelssohn)

Selected Reception Music: An Irish Blessing (traditional), Last Rose of Summer (traditional), Psalm 19 (Marcello), selections from Water Music Suite (Handel), Palladio

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Flute and String Quartet Wedding Ceremony Music at Vail Chapel and Sonnenalp Resort

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I just enjoyed a wonderful music-filled weekend highlighted by playing wedding ceremony and cocktail hour music for a wedding in Vail. It was a gorgeous day for a wedding! Our performance began at Vail Interfaith Chapel where our quartet played a half hour as the guests arrived, and then for the wedding ceremony. After that we moved across the street to the elegant Sonnenalp Resort where we played popular and rock music for the cocktail hour. I played this wedding with the Ribbons and Strings Ensemble (notice the ribbons on our instruments!)

Wedding Ceremony Music:

Processional Music ~ Speed of Sound (Coldplay)

Bridal Processional ~ Canon in D (Pachelbel)

During the Ceremony ~ (Everything I do) I Do It For You from Robin Hood

Recessional Music ~ I'm Yours (Mraz)

Selected Cocktail Hour Music ~ Clocks (Coldplay), It's a Wonderful World, Blackbird (Beatles), Tango from Scent of a Woman, All You Need is Love (Beatles)

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How to Find Local Wedding Ceremony and Event Musicians

If you are looking for live wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, or event music along the Colorado Front Range, you've already come to the right place. Congratulations! Visit my wedding ceremony music page or my event music page to learn more about our versatile ensemble selections.

How to Find Local Wedding Ceremony and Event Musicians
How to Find Local Wedding Ceremony and Event Musicians

If you are visiting from a different part of the country or world and are looking for live musicians in your area, I have some tips just for you.

Online Search Engines: When using an online search engine, use terms specific to what you are looking for, such as a particular instrument (flute, cello, piano etc.) or a type of group and/or music genre (jazz combo, classical quartet, bluegrass band etc.). Keep your search flexible because you never know when you may stumble upon a unique and talented group that you love but never thought of before. If you are searching for classical musicians, even if it's not for a wedding, I recommend searching for wedding ceremony musicians, because this is how most classical musicians market their websites.

Most likely, major wedding and event planning websites will appear at the top of your search list. Below those you will hopefully see results for music booking agencies and sites run by individual musicians who play solo or perhaps have formed ensembles with other musicians in the area. If you choose to hire a musician through a major booking agency, you will have many options to chose from and you may be able to get a deal if you want to hire both live musicians and a DJ from the same company. Most booking agencies also provide professional customer service and have lots of resources and equipment. If you hire an individual musician who has formed their own group, you will get personal service directly from the musician you are hiring without having to pay extra for company booking fees. When hiring an individual musician, you will be able choose a particular artist whose work you love and fits what you are looking for.

Wedding and Event Planning Websites: Today's most popular wedding and event planning websites often have a large selection of musicians for hire and are worthy of a separate mention. One of my favorite websites is Thumbtack.com which allows you to submit a request with your event specifics and receive quotes from local professionals within 24 hours. Another good site is Gigmasters.com. Through Gigmasters, you can also get price quotes from local professionals, and book online using their secure payment service and a 100% money back guarantee. Three other well-known sites are the The Knot.com, WeddingWire.com, and GigSalad.com which are like online bridal and event planning magazines.

All of these websites are paid advertising, and the musicians who appear higher in the listings are often those who paid more for that privilege. Because these musicians paid to advertise, you can be assured that most of them are actively playing and seeking bookings.

How to Find Local Wedding Ceremony and Event Musicians
How to Find Local Wedding Ceremony and Event Musicians

Venue Recommendations: Most wedding and event venues have a list of recommended vendors either available online or upon request. Each venue has their own set of criteria for what vendors they recommend. Some venues charge vendors to be added to their list for a yearly fee, some include musicians whom they can personally recommend from experience, and some may have their own list of criteria that their musicians have to meet. It’s important to know what criteria your venue uses for putting together their recommended vendor list and that they can personally vouch for the vendors they recommend. Venues also frequently collect and display brochures and advertising from a variety of musicians for your convenience.

Word of Mouth: If you are booking musicians, you are probably also booking other vendors such as a caterer, photographer, florist and event planner. Often these vendors have seen and heard some of the local musicians and can make recommendations for you. It can also be beneficial to contact local universities or local orchestras. If you go this route, you are more likely to get a better price but less likely to get an established working group, which has potential pitfalls.

Bridal Publications and Shows: Bridal publications and wedding shows deserve a worthy mention. Most of the musicians who can afford to advertise in magazines have a high budget, and the size and quality of their ads generally reflects on the size of the company and/or the amount they charge per event. Wedding showcases are also a good way to hear musicians play live, but most venues can only support one or two groups playing at a time, so your selection is limited.

Ultimately, in our internet society, the easiest way to find local wedding or event musicians is on the internet. However, personal recommendations and word of mouth will always be an important way to find vendors who are excellent in their craft.

Visit my contact page to book your Colorado Front Range wedding ceremony or event music today!

Flute and Guitar Wedding Music at the Denver Hyatt

Flute and Guitar Duo  Wedding Music at the Denver Hyatt
Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at the Denver Hyatt

Recently I had the pleasure of playing the flute for a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony and reception. I loved the music selections which included a combination of classical, traditional Hebrew, Latin, and Spanish songs. The wedding was held in the Pinnacle Club, the top rooms in the Denver Hyatt. Fromthere we had a sweeping view of downtown Denver.

We played prelude music as the guests arrived, and then as each couple walked down the aisle for the processional, everyone clapped for them. The wedding ceremony was more like a celebration and family and friends were encouraged to cheer on and support the bride and groom and affirm the words spoken by the rabbi during the service. The ceremony was complete with blessings and readings in Hebrew, and ended with the traditional smashing of the wine glass as the guests shouted "Mazle Tov!. Everyone sang "Siman Tov" along with our musical accompaniment for the recessional.

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Selected Prelude Music ~ Cinema Paradiso, I Will (Beatles), Meditation from Thais (Massenet), Bittersweet Symphony (the Verve), Brighter than Sunshine (Aqualung) Processional Music ~ Erev Shel Shosanim Bridal Processional ~ Can't Help Falling in Love Recessional - Siman Tov then Mazel Tov

Reception Music included music from Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Vianne Sets Up Shop from Chocolat.

Wedding Vendors:
Venue: The Pinnacle Club at the Grand Hyatt
Denver Photographer: WD Yeager Photography shooting for Broxton Art
Musicians: Flute and Strings by Christen Stephens - Flute and Guitar Duo

Flute and Guitar Duo  Wedding Music at the Denver Hyatt
Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at the Denver Hyatt
Flute and Guitar Duo  Wedding Music at the Denver Hyatt
Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at the Denver Hyatt
Flute and Guitar Duo  Wedding Music at the Denver Hyatt
Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at the Denver Hyatt
Flute and Guitar Duo  Wedding Music at the Denver Hyatt
Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at the Denver Hyatt

Now Offering a String Quartet and a String Trio

string quartet and string trio wedding ceremony music
string quartet and string trio wedding ceremony music

It's time to go traditional, and I am pleased to announce that you can now hire a string quartet or a string trio right here through my website. String music will add a touch of elegance and class to your wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, or your special event. The formal sound and appearance of stringed instruments make them a very popular choice for brides. If you would like to hire a quartet or a trio but want a more unique and varied sound, you can replace the first violin with the flute. The flute has a smooth sound that contrasts beautifully with that of stringed instruments.

Choosing Wedding Musicians

by Mary Giannone, Event Specialist, Philadelphia String QuartetOriginally appearing in the Huffington Post on December 11, 2012

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." -Victor Hugo.

The musicians you and your partner choose for your wedding will provide the soundtrack to your distinctive love story, so it is important to consider all aspects before signing the dotted line.

Value Before you begin your search, take a moment to reflect upon the concept of value. The proper balance of high quality and fair price gives you the most bang for your buck. No matter if your wedding budget is higher or lower than average, it is important to shop for value and not just the price. Spending money on excellent music for your wedding is well worth it, and having professional musicians with experience and passion will create memories for you and your guests for years to come. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. So be sure when choosing your musicians you find the right fit for both your wallet and your style.

Quick tip: if you find a group that you love, but their price range is a little more than you can afford, talk to them about ways to customize their services without having to sacrifice the overall quality and experience -- such as hiring a string trio instead of a quartet, or having a DJ play the first half of the reception before the full band takes over for the dancing.

Professionalism From string quartets to DJs to wedding bands -- finding musicians with professional talent and skill is essential. Good musicians book up more than a year in advance, so start your research early.

First, ask your friends and family for referrals or check well-established wedding websites like Wedding Wire, The Knot, and Martha Stewart Weddings for reviews of musicians in your area. Secondly, check the musician's website. If the audio and video clips are not professionally produced, or if the website seems dated, move on. Thirdly, inquire about a time to hear the musicians play live. If they balk at the idea, this is a red flag. Professional wedding musicians should have regularly scheduled events for prospective clients to attend. Lastly, ask about their flexibility for your particular needs. Good wedding musicians will be gracious and helpful when discussing your ideas, and they will be able to make recommendations.

Quick tip: Make sure the musicians demonstrate a working knowledge of how loud or soft to play depending on the crowd size, the combination of instruments, and the energy of the event. A good sound system is just as important as good instruments and good players.

Rapport Talent and skill are important, of course, but good communication and chemistry make all the difference. Take notice of how quickly your prospective wedding musicians respond to your questions, and how helpful they are. Do they take a genuine interest in your wedding? Do they treat you like you are their most important client? Do they show you how passionate they are about their work? Many musicians will take a few special requests, but the personalization stops there. Tired and unprofessional musicians adopt the attitude that all weddings and events are the same, and they don't take the time to get to know what makes you special. Look for musicians that prove that you matter, and that every wedding is important. These details translate into wonderful memories for you and your guests.

Quick tip: When shopping around, ask potential musicians for example of how they have made events memorable for their previous clients and their guests.

Style The music you choose is a reflection of your personalities as individuals and as a couple. Find versatile musicians who will work with you as guides in selecting the perfect songs to tell your story. Ask yourself what is most important to you during each part of your celebration and then convey these ideas to your musicians. For example, you may want the ceremony to feel romantic, the cocktail hour to feel relaxed, the dinner hour to feel nostalgic, and the dance music to be exciting and trendy! A good group of musicians will let you be involved as little or as much as you like. They will take as many special requests as you want, and if you need some guidance, they can suggest songs that will complement your vision.

As a music coordinator I've seen it all, from a groom who walked down the aisle to strings playing Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird", to a bridal party fashion show backed by Lady Gaga's greatest hits on electric violin, to a rave-like Hindi-pop-music dance party breaking out in the middle of the reception, to playing an old Jewish love song that the couple only knew how to hum but didn't have any sheet music for. Good wedding musicians will adapt and thrive, and help find the music that best suits YOU- all with a smile.

Quick tip: Many brides and grooms ask if it is appropriate to tip their wedding musicians. The answer is yes, and you can designate an appropriate amount (10-15 percent) and whether you wish to tip each individual musician (such as for a string quartet) or just the band leader who will then disburse the tips at his discretion (such as for a 12-piece wedding band).

Music for Your Wedding Vow Renewal Ceremony

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A wedding vow renewal is a special time for a married couple to reaffirm their wedding vows and to celebrate their marriage along with family and friends. A wedding vow renewal, or reaffirmation ceremony, can be held in a church, at someone’s house, or really at any place that is special to you. A reaffirmation ceremony is comprised of an actual ceremony followed by a time of celebration. Just as live music is a key part of a wedding celebration, music can also be the perfect addition to both your wedding vow renewal ceremony and celebration. A reaffirmation ceremony is similar to a wedding ceremony in a lot of ways, but it’s not traditional to have attendants walk down the aisle; however if you like you can still have them to stand up for you. You can walk down the aisle to live music with your spouse or with your children. Since you are already legally married, anyone can officiate the ceremony – a close friend, a relative, or your children. You can say the same vows you said when you first got married, or write new vows. During the ceremony, you can have friends or family do special readings and choose music that is meaningful to you for interludes or during special moments in your ceremony.

Afterwards, you can celebrate in any way you choose, from a casual backyard barbecue to a traditional cocktail hour followed by a wedding style reception. Music suggestions include a cookout accompanied by flute and guitar, a family dinner with solo flute music, a cocktail party with a flute quartet (flute, violin, viola, cello), or a formal dinner accompanied by flute and harp music.

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

On Saturday, I escaped the summer heat of the Front Range and headed for the mountains of Colorado to play for a wedding ceremony and cocktail hour at Mountain Thunder Lodge in Breckenridge. The Lodge is a beautiful venue with a rustic mountain feel on the outside and a relaxed elegance inside.

I played the flute accompanied by guitarist Michael Engberg, and the simple elegance of our flute and guitar duo perfectly complimented the mountain setting. The wedding ceremony was outside on the patio which was decorated with bright local flowers provided by Petal and Bean.

The weather was perfect with sunshine and a cool breeze and to my delight, I didn't meet with a single bug while I played. After the ceremony, we moved inside for the cocktail hour where we entertained guests in the library before dinner.

Wedding Ceremony Music:
Selected Prelude Music ~ Simple Gifts, Be Thou My Vision, March (JS Bach), Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (JS Bach), Meneut (Rameau), Two German Dances (Beethoven) Attendant's Processional ~ Rondeau (Mouret) Bridal Processional ~ Canon in D (Pachelbel) Recessional ~ Trumpet Voluntary in D (Purcell)

Selected Cocktail Hour Music:
Fly Me to the Moon, Georgia on my Mind, Have I Told You Lately (that I love you), It's so Easy, Sunny, Under the Boardwalk, The Way You Look Tonight, A Whiter Shade of Pale

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

Flute and Guitar Duo Wedding Music at Mountain Thunder Lodge

From the Bride:
"Our wedding day was everything we hoped it would be. We chose a destination wedding in Breckenridge, Colorado because we wanted an intimate wedding with our family and closest friends in one of our favorite places. We loved the venue we chose, Mountain Thunder Lodge – it was perfect for our size wedding (45 total). The intimacy of our wedding was further enhanced by instrumental music played during our ceremony and cocktail hour. Overall, we loved every moment of our wedding day!"

Flute Quartet Wedding Music at Black Canyon Inn

This past Monday I had a wonderful time playing the flute for a wedding at the beautiful Black Canyon Inn in Estes Park, Colorado.  The wedding was outdoors under a pavilion with a spectacular mountain view. The hot day cooled down with nearby rain, giving us a pleasant breeze and cooler temperatures. I played with the Ribbons and Strings Ensembles, and because the groom was partial to the sound of the flute, the couple chose to have a quartet with flute, violin, viola, and cello.

 

Wedding Ceremony Music:

Prelude ~ What a Wonderful World  (Armstrong), Arioso  (Bach), Spring (Vivaldi), Rondo (Mozart)

Processional for the Maid of Honor ~ Canon in D (Pachelbel)

Bridal Processional ~ Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (Bach)

Signing the Marriage License ~ "Only Hope" from A Walk to Remember

Recessional ~ Psalm 19 (Marcello), Hornpipe (Handel), Allegro from Spring (Vivaldi), Divertimento in D Major, 1st mvmt. (Mozart), selections from Autumn (Vivaldi)

First Dance ~ "Unchained Melody" from Ghost

 

We played for the cocktail hour at the Twin Owls Steak House. We played a wide selection of classical, jazz, rock, and popular songs. A shortened sample is listed below.

 

Selected Cocktail Hour Music:

All You Need is Love (Beatles), Unforgettable (Nat King Cole), Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton), Blue Moon, Chasing Cars (Snow Patrol), Don't Stop Believing (Journey)