Budget Wedding String Quartet: Getting Value for Money – The next few blog entries are going to be a series of articles about various ways of keeping costs within budget and also gaining the maximum impact from hiring a string quartet for a wedding.
Overall, if clients are looking for quality, the cost of a string quartet can be a significant chunk of a wedding entertainment budget (after all, you are hiring four full time professionals, with thousands of pounds worth of instruments, a library of music and decades of training), so it’s important to make every minute really count. The music should be a real feature of the day and hiring live musicians can make a real impact.
Firstly – length of booking. Although many people might think that their budget will only stretch to hiring a string quartet for an hour (just for the ceremony), funnily enough the longer a string quartet play for, the more economical it can be. The same applies to most professional bands or musicians. Once a string quartet have been booked for a wedding, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to take on any further work on that day, so groups charge the largest amount for the initial couple of hours of each booking – with subsequent hours of playing dropping significantly in price after that.If you’ve booked a group with a large Playlist, who can vary the music throughout the day, it might be moneysaving to forget about hiring a different ensemble or entertainer to perform during dinner, and just keep the string quartet to play on longer during the wedding breakfast as well. By switching styles of music, it will sound fresh and different and create a¬†different ambience for each part of the day.
Building in breaks…… Perhaps you’d like to have some beautiful classical music before and during the wedding ceremony itself, then modern music for string quartet during the photographs and drinks reception, but¬†then you may not need your quartet for around an hour until they’re due to play again during the wedding breakfast. Naturally they can’t go home and come back, so they’ll have to wait around, taking a break between each period of playing. If this is your scenario, talk to the quartet about building in some breaks or ‘waiting time’ to the overall fee. Many groups only charge for the actual time spent playing, but (a bit like asking a taxi to wait), they charge a nominal fee for ‘waiting time’. In the case of our group, this is a straightforward £10 per hour per musician, and it allows people to be flexible about the plan of their day. For example, booking a wedding string quartet for three hours of actual playing, with¬†an hour break in between means they’ll be present for four hours, but only charging for three hours playing and the nominal fee for the break. This can be ideal if you’ve got specific times of the day when you don’t need music, and it also gives the players a rest (playing music all day is quite a demanding job!) whilst keeping it fresh for guests. If music is continuously played for 4 or 5 hours, there is a danger that guests will start to mentally tune it out, rather like wallpaper!
In tomorrow’s blog I’ll continue by writing about when a string duo might be more appropriate and how carefully positioning your quartet¬†during the wedding can make a real difference to the way the music projects.