Weddings In the Sunshine
For many couples, one of the most important features of their wedding day is the element of sunshine. Having your ceremony and/or drinks reception on the lawns of an idyllic stately home is (quite understandably) high up on most couples’ lists when it comes to planning their wedding. Add to that the Champagne and Pimms all accompanied by the melodic strains of a string quartet or string duo in the company of family and friends and you have your perfect day.
What this requires is a little forward planning as the sunshine can present problems in itself. When booking a string quartet it is good to know a little about the instruments themselves. Often they are very old and as such are sensitive to any extremes of temperature and humidity. Exposure to direct sunlight for even a short period of time can run the risk of cracking, warping or ‘opening up’ of the instruments. This is when the joins that are bonded together with natural adhesives start to separate. This may only look minor and pose little risk to the long term wellbeing of the instrument, but will result in a repair costing several hundreds of pounds.
I spoke to a registrar recently who told me in surprise that another string quartet had refused to play in the direct sunlight during a ceremony and had gone to great lengths to relocate. She was equally surprised when I explained why they acted in that way. We have had many scenarios where we have been expected to play in the sun and we have at times had to be resourceful in solving the problem. In one venue the ceremony room was like a greenhouse with a glass ceiling and no blinds – this is surprising as the sun beat down on the top of everyone’s head for a good three quarters of an hour and we had to drape tablecloths from the rafters to protect ourselves.
The main piece of advice is to procure a gazebo. They can be very basic and cheap, or perhaps borrowed from one of your guests. Often venues are equipped with their own. They would need to be about 7ft long by 7ft wide and probably the same again in height but could save potentially stressful last minute problems where the musicians can’t play in the location you wanted them in.
Lastly, musicians shouldn’t be expected to play under the shade of a tree as bird mess and falling debris can also damage instruments.