The Cost of hiring a String Quartet to Play for One Hour
Like many professional groups who earn their living from playing at weddings and functions, we do have a minimum booking period that we have to charge for, regardless of how long we are required to play – in our case this is two hours, or three hours on peak Saturdays over the summer months. In the same way that it’s not usually possible to hire a wedding venue for only one hour, or a professional photographer just to take photographs for 10 minutes outside the church, once a string quartet have taken on even a short booking in the middle of the afternoon, it then means that they will have to devote that whole afternoon to it as there is only a slim chance of another wedding booking on that day which can fit around the timings. In essence, most weddings take place in the afternoon, so unless it’s playing for a wedding in the morning or evening, it’ll virtually always mean the group cannot take on any other work that day.
We often receive enquiries asking us just to play ‘Pachelbels Canon’ for the bridal entrance and then leave, or from people who would just like 15 minutes of music before the ceremony and these clients are often surprised that we have to still charge for a 2 hour booking. For four busy professional musicians to turn up and play even for 20 minutes means that’s likely to be the only work they’ll do that day, so it’s just not viable to earn less than we would with our orchestral work, shows or recording jobs on that day.
Happily, most people do want a string quartet for the pre-ceremony, service itself, photographs, drinks reception and wedding breakfast so it’s easy enough to get good value from 2 or 3 hours worth of string quartet by using music throughout the day.