FAQs and expert advice about music (ceremony)

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your West Midlands Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@yourwestmidlands.wedding

 

Music to my ears

Music to my ears

Q. We're thinking of booking a harpist for our big day. What should we expect and be aware of before booking?

A. Helen Barley says: Consider what type of harp you'd like at your wedding as there are many different styles and sizes available. For example, a grand, golden antique option may be used in a large church or stately home, whereas a smaller, more modern version may suit a contemporary setting.

Ask your harpist for a consultation either in person or online, so you can discuss their available options. I also advise you hear them perform live before booking.

See if they're flexible with timings. Weddings are notoriously difficult to keep to a strict timetable, so if a harpist is booked for two hours, it could be disruptive if they pack up halfway through the dessert. It's best to book by event rather than hourly, so ask for quotes and shop around.

Check whether the harpist has amplification available for larger numbers. All harps can be fitted with electric pick-ups with wireless transmission, so no trailing wires are necessary.

Does your prospective supplier offer any extra services like singing or entertaining children with small harps?

Helen Barley, Helen Barley Harpist
www.helenbarley.co.uk

 

Music to my ears

Music to my ears

Q. What song choices would you suggest for a woodland wedding?

A. Helen Barley says: What could be more enchanting than the sound of a harp in a leafy woodland glade? Gently wafting melodies will enhance the sights and sounds of nature and create the perfect atmosphere for your wedding. Many upbeat popular songs can easily be adapted on the harp to create a more relaxing sound. Here are some song ideas:

- Take inspiration from songs used in movies such as A Million Dreams, A Thousand Years, Beauty and the Beast and Can You Feel The Love Tonight.

- Classical tunes like Canon by Pachelbel and Four Seasons by Vivaldi would sound beautiful.

- Wind Beneath My Wings, Can't Help Falling in Love and From This Moment On are wonderful love songs. Similar options can be played on the harp to reflect your style and make the ceremony bespoke to you.

Helen Barley, Helen Barley Harpist
www.helenbarley.co.uk

 

Music to my ears

Music to my ears

Q. What should we consider before booking a string quartet?

A. Lynette Webster says: When does the quartet play? We find it works well playing as the guests arrive and when the bride walks down the aisle and walks out. We can then continue into the drinks reception and break out into our very contemporary repertoire. People are often surprised at how many different genres a string quartet can cover, from classical to things like Guns N' Roses.

Think about how you see the string quartet being a part of your day and get in touch with them to discuss your requirements.

Lynette Webster, Capriccio Quartet
www.capriccioquartet.co.uk

 

Music to my ears

Music to my ears

Q. We'd love some live music at our drinks reception, but don't want anything too intrusive as guests will want to chat and catch up. What would you suggest?

A. Helen Barley says: There's nothing more romantic for a drinks reception than live harp music. It has an elegant visual impact and a beautiful, relaxing sound which will create the perfect atmosphere. The harp is inherently gentle and can provide the correct level of background music to enable guests to enjoy listening but still be able to chat comfortably.

There are harps for every situation. You could arrange to see and hear them to help you choose which one suits you best. For an outdoor drinks reception, I have a carbon fibre harp which creates a bright sound that carries well in a garden setting and is light enough to easily pick up and quickly move. Alternatively, for indoor settings, there are a range of harps from small Celtic ones to large concert harps to choose from. The choice of sound and colour is yours. All my harps have electric pickups for amplification, but this is rarely needed unless you have a large number of guests.

The music for your drinks reception needs to be carefully chosen and should be smooth and gently flowing to create a soft ambience. I've found that people appreciate tunes that they recognise so whether you prefer classical or popular, it's a good idea to include some well-known songs in different genres to appeal to everyone's tastes.

Helen Barley, Helen Barley Harpist
www.helenbarleyharpist.co.uk

 

Music of my heart

Music of my heart

Q. We want a harpist to play some festive songs at our wedding. Do you have any suggestions that won't sound tacky or over the top?

A. Helen Barley says: Whether you want a striking festive song for the entrance of the bride or something more romantic and subtle for the signing of the register and drinks reception, there are so many lovely seasonal options to choose from. Christmas songs often talk of love and are perfect for weddings, evoking a feeling of comfort and wellbeing. Here are some of my suggestions:

- Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

- Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire.

- When You Wish Upon a Star.

- I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas.

- Children's Christmas films often take us into a fantasy world, and there are some great options full of love and hope, such as As Long As There's Christmas from Beauty and the Beast and Let It Go from Frozen.

- There are lots of traditional songs focusing on the meaning of Christmas that are relaxing and slow, like Away in a manger.

- However big or small your wedding, you can be assured that harp music will add to the romantic and intimate atmosphere to make your day extra special.

Helen Barley, Helen Barley Harpist
www.helenbarley.co.uk