Monday, November 24, 2008

Karen’s Happy Wedding Day

Karen had everything lined up months in advance for her destination wedding at the historic Cal-Neva Resort at the north end of Lake Tahoe. Karen scheduled a lovely November wedding inside the Lakeview Chapel. The alpine views were gorgeous.

Karen was precise about every detail for her wedding. The autumn bouquets and the rust-and-gold color scheme matched perfectly. But there was one thing that was out of her control—Reverend Dan thought the ceremony was to start at 4 pm, not 3:30. He arrived 30 minutes late to the ceremony!

Karen was cool about it and happily walked down the aisle without taking notice at all (I think she was too happy to worry about the time on her wedding day!).

Fortunately, I always book ceremonies with a cushion of extra time, just in case the ceremony starts late or runs longer than expected. So, the 90-minutes I scheduled worked out just fine. The newlyweds were whisked off to their reception immediately following the ceremony, and I did not go beyond the time I booked for my performance.

Although the ceremony took place in a chapel instead of a church, Karen wanted Christian hymns intertwined with modern popular selections for her ceremony music. So, she requested to have every other song as a hymn for the seating of the guests. Here’s what I played (for more information on these songs, check out my repertoire list.

Pre-ceremony seating music:
1. “Wind Beneath My Wings”
2. “Amazing Grace”
3. “Imagine”
4. “Morning Has Broken”
5. “From This Moment On”
6. “Be Thou My Vision”
7. “You Raise Me Up”
8. “We Gather Together, A Prayer of Thanksgiving”
9. “Hero”
10. “Blest Are They”
11. “Once Upon A Dream”
12. “Here I Am, Lord”
Mother’s Lighting the Unity Candle: “Ave Maria” by Schubert
Wedding Party of 6 Bridesmaids, 1 Flower Girl, and 1 Ring Bearer: “Canon in D”
Bride’s Entrance: “Here Comes the Bride”
Recessional: Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March”

Karen still had a ceremony full of live music--A ceremony that starts late does not need to ruin the bride’s entire wedding day.

Tips for Brides:

Having a timetable for your wedding day agenda is important, but realize that there can be a delay in your ceremony or reception events. You may have absolutely no control over these mishaps—a bridesmaid may rip her pantyhose before she walks down the aisle, the ring may have been left back at the hotel room, or the minister may arrive late (as in the above example). Don’t let these things get under your skin.

Plan for an extra cushion of time by hiring your wedding and reception services for longer periods than you think may be necessary. You’ll avoid the possibility of paying costly overtime fees. Reserve the ceremony and reception sites for more time, too.

Why feel rushed if some things don’t start exactly on time?

Tips for Musicians:

Always book your wedding gigs with more time than anyone thinks is needed. Anything can happen to delay the start of the ceremony, and the ceremony may run longer than anyone anticipated.

This goes for reception musicians, too, because if the ceremony starts late or runs long, the reception may start late, too. And what if the meal is late being served?

Keep in mind that the larger the guest list, the longer it takes to move the crowd—Seating will take longer, and so will exiting. Therefore, book extra time for larger groups of attendees, too.

When you are generous with the time you quote for weddings, you won’t need to ask for overtime pay. Overtime pay may be a great boon for your bank account, but it is a major bummer to have to request it from the bride.

Many more tips are available from my book “The Musician’s Guide to Brides” available wherever Hal Leonard Books are sold: music and bookstores, and through online retailers including,, and of course, at my website Celtic Harp Music by Anne Roos.

I’m looking forward to reading your stories, comments, and feedback. Check back here again for next week’s story.

Anne :-)

And Happy Thanksgiving to those of you in the U.S.!

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