Sweet Harmony Music

How to Incorporate Live Music into Your Wedding Events

Music plays such a pivotal role in setting the tone for your wedding—there’s truly nothing quite like the presence of live musicians. Whether it’s a solo musician, string quartet or larger ensemble, live musicians can transform a special day into an unforgettable experience by creating an atmosphere of elegance and sophistication.

The charm of live music lies in its ability to connect with people on a deep, emotional level. Musicians can adapt their performance to the mood of the crowd, infusing the event with a dynamic energy that resonates with everyone present. Whether it’s the bride’s walk down the aisle, background ambience at cocktail hour, the memorable first dance or celebratory tunes that get everyone on their feet, live music adds a personal touch that recordings simply can’t match. Each note played and each song sung becomes a part of your unique wedding story, creating lasting memories for all involved.

To learn more about selecting live music for your wedding, we spoke to Tara Bhrushundi, owner of Sweet Harmony Music, a network of local professional wedding musicians that includes soloists, duos, trios and quartets. Here she answers a number of questions that many couples have and offered some great expert tips as you plan your wedding music.

Sweet Harmony Music

How can live music transform a wedding or special event?

“Live music elevates your event and shows your guests how special the day is—and also adds another visual element to your day,” Bhrushundi explains. “It creates a moment and encourages people to listen more. When you see the live musicians, you are hearing the music being created in the moment and everyone feels connected. Not just connected to the musicians but connected to the entire event. It draws people in to be a part of your wedding.”

Live musicians are also right there alongside you, supporting you on your big day. “You have people celebrating there with you,” Bhrushundi adds. “Your musicians become part of the group of people there with you on this day celebrating in the form of music. That’s the support that you’re going to feel as you’re walking down the aisle, as you’re lighting your candle, and at the end as everyone is cheering.”

What sort of live instruments do you recommend for weddings?

“There are a lot of wonderful choices,” she explains. “The violin is going to give you a feeling of romance and elegance and classical beauty. The cello will give you a rich tenor sound. A saxophone, piano and bass keep people swinging and grooving. The drums add volume and energy.

“If your ceremony will have cultural elements, there will be certain instruments that are perfect to create the music of your heritage—how about Spanish guitar, Bollywood violin or beautiful Korean love songs on the piano?

“We always think about the flow of the event and how people are going to feel. So for your ceremony we keep things classical, beautiful and romantic with instruments like the violin, cello and harp. The harp is large, exotic, noticeable and gleams gold in the sun, adding a unique visual with a flowing, majestic sound.”

“The cocktail hour is the kickoff to the celebration, so you want people to relax and start talking with each other, looking ahead to the evening. So it’s nice to have an upbeat music group for cocktails. Then a full band or deejay for your reception.”

To hear more of these sounds, you can sample them all on Sweet Harmony Live Music on You Tube.

Solo, duo, trio or quartet?

“You’re going to have different song options depending on how many musicians there are,” Bhrushundi explains. “So, what type of music do you want to hear? For example, if you want to include romantic hip-hop love songs, an unaccompanied solo violinist or cellist probably won’t be the best choice. There are reasons why certain instruments sound better in certain situations than others. Today’s pop and rock and hip-hop music need harmony and rhythm for the song to come across. A solo violin will only play the melody, and that may not be enough.”

What ensembles are couples requesting for weddings?

“Our most popular request is for our violin/cello duo, although many people love the fuller sound of trios and quartets,” she adds.

Traditional or modern music for walking down the aisle?

“People today tend to want the best of both worlds,” Bhrushundi says. “When everyone hears the traditional music begin to play, people immediately know that they’re part of a wedding. You feel the power of this day that comes once in a lifetime. That’s what Canon in D is about,” she says. “When couples pick out popular music, or music that is a little different, they get to tell their own story, and I think the guests love that, too. So I would say that most of our couples have this nice mix of modern music with classic touches.”

“Canon in D is number one,” Bhrushundi says. Close seconds are: “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis (and people love the remake by Kina Grannis), “A Thousand Years” (from Twilight) by Christina Perri, “Lover” by Taylor Swift, “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran, “Turning Page” (also from Twilight) by Sleeping at Last, “Viva La Vida” or “Yellow” by Coldplay, and Disney favorites such as “Tale As Old As Time” from Beauty and the Beast and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” (by Elton John) from The Lion King.

Taylor Swift, along with Disney classics and music from “Bridgerton.”

What to keep in mind when choosing unexpected songs

“It’s important the way the music builds,” Bhrushundi says. “You want a melody that goes somewhere and tells a story. It has to have a feeling of building because the music accompanies a person walking down the aisle…and they’re walking toward something very important and dramatic. Another thing to keep in mind is whether the music was originally written for the instruments you’ve chosen or if it has been adapted. There’s something magical about music written for the instruments—it allows the instruments to speak.

“As a musician, I’m always aware of where music comes from,” she adds. “That’s something I would encourage our couples to think about. Music evokes memories, images, feelings. Some of the film scores, for example, are exquisitely beautiful. But consider the scene and the story that the music was created to support, and if that scene and story connects with your wedding.

“I once had a couple ask me if the theme song from the TV show Curb Your Enthusiasm would be a good choice for processional music. I told them the truth, that if you’re going for humor and some chuckles from the audience, that would do it. They ended up going with something else!”

Questions to ask when hiring live musicians

  • How many years of experience do they have?
  • Do they have wedding experience? (Remember, musicians may be professionally accomplished with a music degree and years of performing experience, but playing for weddings is a unique job with its own challenges that must be learned over time!)
  • Do they have liability insurance?
  • Can they learn new songs? “Everyone is always coming up with new creative requests, which is one of the most fun aspects of a wedding. It introduces us to great new music and is a fun challenge. A lot of the music requested may not be written for the instruments that will play it,” Bhrushundi explains.

Other considerations

There are a variety of behind-the scenes logistics that brides should be aware of when choosing live musicians. These factors may affect the practicality of live music at your specific venue. Sweet Harmony Music has played at countless locations throughout the state and is aware of each venue’s unique offerings and potential limitations. But here are some factors to keep in mind:

  • Will the musicians be amplified or not?
  • Will the ceremony or cocktail hour be held indoors or outdoors?
  • Is the venue located near a highway?
  • Are there local zoning requirements such as a sound ordinance or curfew?
  • What month are you getting married? There are weather limitations since string instruments are delicate with low and high temperature guidelines.
  • What is the rain plan? Will your live musicians work with your events coordinator to watch weather and coordinate with venue?

For song suggestions and to learn more about Sweet Harmony Music’s offerings, click here.

Sweet Harmony Music

Sweet Harmony will transform your wedding with beautiful, live music. From a solo violinist to a string quartet, their professional team of musicians caters to each individual event to ensure your day is as memorable as it can be. Whether it’s for your engagement party, wedding ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, after-party or other event, their seamless process can help you curate a song list that reflects your unique taste and personality. To learn more, click here.

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