Playing for a short period…..
This week, we received a telephone enquiry from a potential client who wanted to hire a string quartet for a wedding. When we spoke further, it emerged that she really only wanted 4 pieces of music playing for the event itself and after this, the quartet would have no further role in the day. In the vast majority of cases, we are booked to continue playing after the ceremony, during photographs or a drinks reception, so it was rather unusual to have an enquiry for what would amount to about 20 minutes of playing time.
When I spoke to the bride, she seemed genuinely surprised that we would have to charge her for a minimum of a 2 hour booking, in order to make it viable for all four players to relinquish their other paid work for the day and to travel in the region of 2 and a half hours by car (there and back). As with any other professional wedding supplier, we can rarely fit in a 20 minute booking with other work in the same geographical area. We are booked to play at weddings and functions throughout south east England, the midlands, the cotswolds and the Greater London area, so the chances of being able to nip straight out of one wedding and drive round the corner to another one are very slim.
As all the players within the string quartet and duo are full time musicians (in other words, we don’t have other jobs outside of music), we will usually be booked for either concerts, recordings, shows or other engagements. Even taking 20 minutes to play for a wedding in the middle of the day would rule out the possibility of earning a full day’s pay elsewhere, so we stipulate a minimum of a two hour booking.
So, for anyone thinking of hiring a string quartet purely for the wedding ceremony itself, it may be worth thinking thorugh the plan of the day and finding other times when live music could enhance proceedings.