How early should we book?
We recommend booking six months in advance. Wedding weekends are a hot commodity! But, we will play for your wedding on short notice if we are available.
Will you help me plan my wedding ceremony music and/or recommend song choices?
Yes, this is part of our service to you. When you book Sweet Harmony for your wedding or special event, we will be happy to listen to your needs and learn about your individual style, and tailor the music to suit your taste and wedding theme. You may find it helpful to choose one of our pre-built Wedding Ceremony Music Programs in various styles.
Should I choose the music for my cocktail hour or dinner?
For these portions of your event, the musicians will choose a great mix of music for you. They will “read the crowd” and play music they do best. You can give us general guidance, such as “play a variety mix of classical music with modern love songs, and include some Elton John.” And we’ll take up to three specific song requests for your cocktail hour or dinner hour.
What instruments should I choose?
What instruments you choose depends on four things…
1) your taste. Do you like the melodic sound of the violin and cello together, or do you prefer the chordal sound of the violin with a guitar or piano? Do a little bit of listening research and see what sounds good to you!
2) your budget. Some instruments carry extra fees due to the work involved in preparing music or setting up.
3) the type of music you would like to hear. The violin and cello together do very well with classical music, although they can include some contemporary songs if you like. The violin and guitar or violin and piano are more versatile. The violin and harp will play mellow, beautiful, flowing music. The violin and piano can sound more upbeat.
4) the weather. Are you having your wedding in mid-March or late October? String instruments — the violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar, and harp — need the temperature to be at least 60 degrees. The cooler air can change the sound of the instrument and even do damage to the wood and strings. If you’ve got your heart set on a string instrument, you may need to move the wedding indoors for the musician’s sake if it’s 55 degrees that day. Or, if your dream is to get married outdoors, you might consider a saxophone or keyboard. Their temperature needs are less restrictive.
What is your repertoire?
It varies by instrument. For soloists and duos (except harp), Sweet Harmony has a repertoire of thousands of classical pieces, love songs, Broadway music, jazz standards, pop and rock from the 1950s through today, and cultural selections such as Irish, Italian, and Jewish. Harpist repertoire is highly individual and every harpist will have his or her specialties, although they all play traditional wedding favorites. And the Sweet Harmony String Trio and Quartet have separate lists. Please visit our “Repertoire” link on the navigation bar to see the lists… and if you have specific requests, please ask!
Is there a cost for learning music that is new to your repertoire?
New repertoire will cost between $10 and $100 per song depending on the complexity of the arrangement.
Will you send me a demo CD or information package?
Sweet Harmony is an online-only company (except, of course, when we come to perform at your event!). All of our music samples, videos, policies, and information is available for you right here on our website.
Will you give me a live sample performance?
It may be possible for a fee, depending on our schedules. You might also be able to catch one of us at a public performance with an orchestra, or at a restaurant.
Can I choose the musicians who will come to play for my event?
The way Sweet Harmony works is that we offer a guarantee of professional sound and service. When you book Sweet Harmony, we will choose the musicians for you depending on who is available in your area, on your date.
Can you tell me about the ukulele as a wedding instrument?
The ukulele is a small guitar-shaped instrument of Hawaiian origin with 4 nylon strings. Almost any song can be performed on a ukulele, although some songs lend themselves better to the uke’s special sound. Check the “Hawaiian Lokelani” Wedding Music Program
for song suggestions! The ukulele will sound beautiful on its own or with a vocalist. For many songs, the ukulele can be paired beautifully with a piano or violin. Whether the ukulele is amplified depends on the situation. In a medium or large venue, the uke will probably be connected to an amp or speaker system. In a more intimate setting, the uke will sound beautiful live and without amplification. If the ukulele player is also singing, the uke will most likely be amplified along with his or her voice. With the popularity of songs performed by artists like Jason Mraz, Eddie Vedder, Train, and Israel Kamakamawiwo’ole, many couples love the natural, gentle sound of the ukulele for their wedding music.
Do you play the piano or an electric keyboard?
If the venue has a piano, we will be happy to use it. Some considerations are the location of the piano (you must ask the venue if the piano is in the room where your event will be held) and the tuning. Most venues keep their pianos regularly tuned, but it is a good idea to double-check. If a piano is not available for your event, we will bring an electric keyboard. There is an extra fee for keyboard cartage.
My wedding will be held outside. How does that work with the keyboard?
It works very well! The keyboard can be set up anywhere. We have a 50-foot extension cord, and if that is not long enough, we can coordinate with the venue to see if they have an additional cord we can use. Most venues have electrical outlets in many places outside. Please view our videos to see the keyboard outside in action.
And how does it work with the violin or viola?
String instruments of course can be played anywhere, but you will need to provide a shaded area for string players. Direct sunlight can affect the sound of the instrument. They also need to be away from any water or ocean mist.
What are the weather considerations for an outdoor wedding?
If it is raining or there is a even a small chance of rain, we cannot set up outside unless you have a tent. Also, string musicians — violin, viola, cello, guitar, harp — need the outdoor temperature to be 60 degrees or higher. This is due to the sensitivity of the wood and strings. If you’ve got your heart set on a string instrument, you may need to move the wedding indoors for the musician’s sake if it’s 55 degrees that day. Or, if your dream is to get married outdoors, you might consider a saxophone, flute, or keyboard. Their temperature needs are less restrictive.
What about a beach wedding?
Beach wedding music is lovely, although there are some precautions to take. First, remember that sound from the wind and waves may sometimes make the music hard to hear, even if it is amplified. Amplification is required, which means there must be electricity available, although some of our musicians own battery-powered amps. (Make sure your officiant is also amplified!) And, string instruments need shelter from direct sunlight, such as an umbrella or gazebo. Excessive wind may make the musicians’ page turns difficult, so you will need to give them a moment between songs to make sure their music is very securely fastened with each page in front of them! Better yet, have them play music they have memorized, so they don’t need to read pages. And finally, harpists need to set up on a flat hard surface (not sand).
How much space do you need?
Here are the approximate space requirements for various ensembles:
Solo string player: three-foot square
Solo keyboardist: three by five
Duo: five-foot square
Trio: six-foot square
Quartet: 12 by four
I would like my favorite song to be played while I walk down the aisle. Can you play that song?
We love to play music that you love, although it is important to consider your instrumentation when choosing music. For example, some modern R&B or rock songs do not translate well to solo violin. We are happy to help you choose songs that will sound great on the instruments you have booked! If you have a special song in mind, please ask before booking, and we can guide you to a good set of instruments for your song.
Will you come to the rehearsal?
If you would like the musicians to attend your rehearsal, please choose this option on the booking form. There will be an additional cost of $150/musician plus possible travel fees. From our perspective, it isn’t necessary for us to come to the rehearsal. We rely on our years of experience playing hundreds of weddings, as well as detailed communications with your officiant and wedding planner, to keep the ceremony moving smoothly.
Will you accompany my best friend singing a song?
We would love to accompany your singer. This will require a rehearsal, and you may be billed for extra time. Generally the musicians rehearse with the singer 30 minutes before the prelude starts.
How much time do you need to prepare the music?
Two weeks, in most cases.
Should I tip you?
If you are pleased with our service, a tip is appreciated, but there is no obligation.
When will I be charged for overtime?
You will be billed for overtime if your wedding starts 30 minutes late or more, or if the duration is 30 minutes extra or more. Please note that it is not always possible for the musicians to approach you or your family at your wedding and ask if they should stay. If your ceremony starts late and is not finished at the planned time, the musicians will stay to the end, and you will be responsible for the overtime that accrues. This is included in our contract. The only possible exception is if the musicians have a booking immediately after yours and must leave at the original contracted end time. But they will do all that they can to cover you with music. If you like, you can instruct us to leave at the planned time no matter what (although we would prefer to stay and make sure you have music!).
No one likes to pay additional charges after the wedding is over. If you think your wedding might start a little late, it’s best to contract us at the outset for extra time.
Do you have packages or seasonal specials?
Discounts are given for weddings in January (except New Year’s Day, February (except Valentine’s Day), March, and November (except Thanksgiving Day). Please note that the discount only applies to weddings.
Where should we expect you to set up for the ceremony / reception?
For the ceremony, visibility is the key factor. We need to clearly see the altar or podium even when everyone is standing. To the side is optimal, since it allows for sightline of the processional entrances and of the altar. If we set up in the front, right or left doesn’t matter — although it is not a good idea to place us directly behind a line of bridesmaids or groomsmen. If we must set up in the back, we will need to be close to the aisle in order to look down between the rows of standing guests. When we arrive at the ceremony site, we will choose the best place.
The location of shade and of electrical outlets will also be our considerations.
For the reception, it depends on how many rooms will be used and where the food is being served. The goal is to set up in a place that will allow the music to flow throughout the reception space. The venue will be able to help with this. Of course, if we are using the piano owned by the venue, we will set up where the piano is. It is generally not a good idea to plan on moving the piano — it can affect the sound, or the piano may not fit through the doors.
Will you bring speakers or amplification?
Sometimes. The violin, viola, and cello will carry very well indoors or outdoors without amplification. However, string players will bring amplification for your cocktail hour, when the level of conversation may make it necessary. Our musicians will bring their own amplifier and will not need to use your DJ or sound engineer’s equipment.
Do you have a microphone that we can use for announcements?
No, we do not provide microphones or speakers for general use.
Should I provide a meal for you?
We may request one meal per performer depending on the timing of the event.
Are you insured?
Yes, Sweet Harmony carries an annual general liability insurance policy. We will be happy to name your venue as additional insured and provide them with a certificate.
Are there extra charges for travel/parking?
Any travel considerations will be covered in our initial quote to you. If you are validating the parking for your event, we would appreciate it if you would include us. Please note that we add $50/musician to our basic rates for travel to Long Beach Island.