Music can play such a huge part in setting the atmosphere and ambience at a wedding, and there is perhaps no more romantic music than that performed in a classical style.
First things first, when we refer to the term 'classical' we don't just mean the likes of Mozart & Tchaikovsky - a brief glimse in the classical music section of your local record store will immediately tell you that there is much more to the genre than that. Sure, the likes of Puccini and Beethoven are the names that immediately spring to mind, but movie scores and modern artists such as Vanessa Mae and Bond are equally as prevalent, and the genre even covers artists who perform modern pieces in a classical style (think 'Il Divo' if you're in any doubt). In short, it's more about the style of music than the music itself.
So, from Pacabel's Canon and John Williams' Chariots of Fire, to Myleene Klass' Toccata And Fugue and G4's Bohemian Rhapsody, classical music has something for everyone. Let's now take a look at the various options you have should you choose to incorporate classic music into your day.
Perhaps the most popular of all the classical options, a string quartet typically comprises a viola, 2 violins and a cello. That said, you aren't limited to the 4 piece make-up - string quintet's or groups who comprise even more musicians can create an even greater impact, and for enhanced volume, groups that incorporate brass or woodwind elements can even be hired should you so desire. That said, the most popular option is still the string quartet.
Able to play a whole host of music from classical to modern, a string quartet provides a sophisticated ambience for a romantic wedding. Typically reserved for the day reception, a string quartet could also work well on the evening, providing a stylish accompaniment to the first dance, or a perfect ensemble for a more formal evening affair.
With a repetoire as far as the eye can see, you'll find many of your guests will love the music that will be performed and will find them an ideal accompaniement to the wedding breakfast. Ideally situated in the corner of a room or in an area where'd you expect your guests to congregate, string quartets are the perfect choice if you're looking for a romantic musical backdrop.
A harp is an angelic instrument, providing a soothing and dulcet tone, and a truly heavenly sound.
Ideal for the more stereotypical classical piece of music, the harp also lends itself perfectly to certain modern classics and even contemporary ballads.
Typically more at home during a civil ceremony where it can provide a romantic accompaniment to the procession, register signing and recession, it can also work wonders during smaller wedding breakfasts. If you are planning to engage the services of a harpist to play during a reception with a great number of guests, make sure you check whether the musician or venue can provide some form of speaker system or amp to help carry the sound. Also, be sure to know in advance where the harpist will be situated, that there is sufficient room for them to perform, and that the doorways are large enough to fit the ginormous harp through!
With many of the most popular pieces of classical music having been composed for the piano, some would argue that a pianist is the perfect choice for a couple looking to integrate classical music into their big day.
Whether it's slow and romantic pieces of music such as Brahms' Lullaby, or more lively and vibrant tunes such as Handel's Hornpipe that you're after, the piano has the versatility to perform them all. Often, pianists will also be able to offer modern music as part of their repetoire, sometimes even performing vocally alongside them (check out our article entitled 'Mood Music' for more on this). However, you will find that a great deal of them will remain true to the music they grew up being educated with, and the likes of Beethoven and Chopinwill feature prominently on many a playlist.
As we mentioned earlier in the article when discussing the harp, if you're engaging the services of a pianist, make sure that you know exactly where they'll be located during the day. Perhaps even more importantly, double check that they can actually fit their piano through the doors!
If you're after something a little different, then why not consider engaging the services of a classical vocalist?
Typically a little more 'in your face' than the other types of classical musician covered earlier in the article, classical vocalists tend to be as much of an entertainment as they are a musical accompaniment - some will even mingle anonymously among your guests before springing into life for even more of an impact!. From soloists to duets, trios and more, the classical vocalist will offer a varied repetoire often including favourites such as Ave Maria and Nessum Dorma in their song sheets.
So if you love classical music but are after something a little different, then the classical vocalist could well be the one for you.
Whatever classical musicians you decide to engage the services of, you will probably find that all of them will charge a set fee, plus an additional hourly rate. With this in mind, you may well find that it becomes more cost effective to get them to play at both the Service and Reception, or Reception and 'Evening Do' rather than just at one element of the day. Don't forget that you can also use in-house sound systems to play classical music to fill in the gaps when the musicians take a break - this way the romantic ambience will remain!
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