The top 5 things you need to know about a string quartet
(before you book them!)
One of the most uplifting, and yet sometimes subconscious, first impressions a guest has of a wedding ceremony is conveyed via the music they're greeted with. The palpable sense of occasion and celebration that a live string quartet (duo/trio) creates can be both emotional and calming.
Enter Amicus Strings; a professional Adelaide-based string quartet founded in 1996 by Carolyn Lam. I've worked with the girls at several wedding ceremonies over the years and have always admired their professionalism and polished performances.
Carolyn and I sat down for a chat and pulled together the top 5 things you need to know before you book a string quartet for your wedding.
1. Are they available for your wedding date (and time) and do they require a deposit payment? Top wedding suppliers are always booked early and string ensembles are no different. It is best to begin the search for your live music as soon as possible after booking your venue. The Australian wedding industry operates about 12-15 months in advance, with the U.S. more like 6-12 months, and most quartets have a deposit payment policy to secure their services.
2. How many years experience do they have playing weddings? Booking a professional string quartet will make all the difference. This means that they are used to adapting to any situation on the day. There is simply no substitute for experience. A good string quartet will not promise something they can't deliver. Instead, they will diplomatically guide the wedding couple towards a lovely result that is still realistically achievable. And while the reviews and testimonials on a group's website and social media are usually a good indicator of their past performance, be sure to check out when they were given. You need to know how well they are performing and interacting THIS YEAR rather than 5 years ago.
3. Do they have good customer relations? How are they when it comes to communicating with couples? It is a versatile group, do they get back to you promptly, are they polite to deal with, are they willing to work with you to deliver on your expectations?
4. Do they have samples of their music that you can listen to online or a demo CD? Will they adapt to your needs and are they willing to perform modern/popular music as well as classical pieces? Listen to lots music samples to help you make good and appropriate music choices. Think carefully about the style of wedding you are having, and match your music accordingly. If you are having a grand, vintage and classic-styled wed ding in a historic venue, then U2 or Coldplay may not be the best fit. On the other hand, if your wedding is funky, contemporary and loud, then Bach or Mozart wouldn't be your first choice.
5. Wha t are their requirements for an optimal performance? Most string quartets will require a shaded (if outdoors) space approximately 3m x 3m to perform in. They will also need 4 steady chairs with no arms. Finding out what their needs are before you book them will mean that they are better able to deliver an exceptional experience for you on the day.
How did you go about choosing your live music ensemble/band for your wedding? Let us know in the comments.