author: guest blogger Eryn Jones Fuson
Outdoor weddings are the best, aren’t they? There is just something about having
the openness and fresh air and nature all around to set the tone for this incredibly
special day in your life, whether it is up on a mountain, down by a quiet river in your
backyard, or in a spectacular garden venue.
I was one of those brides myself, and my husband and I found the perfect little park by that quiet river with trees for a shaded ceremony and an expanse of grass for our guests’ kids to play in at the reception. We had one of my harp students play the prelude, creating an atmosphere of peace and delight, then a dear musician friend from Nashville sang and played guitar for the processionals, ceremony music, and recessional. It was perfect. And we were lucky because the weather was also perfect.
But what happens when you have this dream wedding planned and then the week
before the wedding you see that there will be bad weather? Sure, your planner has
made sure that you have a backup venue or at least a covered alternative of some
sort, but is it really worth considering moving to plan B? I am here to say that, if you
have hired live musicians to be a part of your big day, the answer is a resounding,
I draw not only from my own experience, having been a professional wedding
musician for 14 years now, but also from the experience of fellow wedding
musicians with whom I network and who I interviewed for the sake of this article. So
many of our couples and even planners we work with don’t realize the effect
weather has on instruments, not only for potential damage, but at the very least
causing the instruments to fall out of tune. And believe me, you do NOT want to be
walking down the aisle to out of tune music! Wedding musicians have in our contracts
our policies regarding weather, and we all notice that they can tend to be
overlooked by our clients.
I understand that this is easy to do since ours is not the only contract you are having to look through and sign; all the agreements with all your vendors can definitely get overwhelming, and keeping up with everyone’s provisions is a task unto itself. Be sure to ask your planner to keep track of these things if she is not already and remind you to consider them closer to the big day.
After gathering info from my fellow musicians, the general consensus on safe
playing temperature is nothing above 90° and nothing below 55° (though there is a
slight variance depending on the individual or group), and absolutely no inclement weather. Rain, drizzle, or even heavy fog have the potential to seriously damage wooden instruments. We make these policies not only to protect our instruments, but to provide our clients with the best quality music that we can play. Drastic changes in humidity and extreme temperatures, if nothing else, cause wooden instruments to fall out of tune, which believe me, nobody wants in the middle of their wedding!
A fellow professional harpist friend of mine Michelle Cobley brought up a good point regarding colder weather; not only can it cause damage to our instruments, but it also causes our fingers to stiffen and not have the dexterity they need to play smoothly and at peak performance. Hot weather with or without humidity can cause equally as damaging conditions to the wood and tuning, even having the potential to melt the glue that holds the wood together. This can even be the case in comfortable temperatures 70-85 degrees if we are in the direct sunlight, as the sunlight puts an even more concentrated heat source into the mix.
Before you go asking your DJ to just take over everything, though, there are several options some wedding musicians offer when the weather isn't looking instrument-friendly. Udeshi Hargett is a violinist serving the greater Triangle area of North Carolina; she points out that if extreme cold is the culprit we can set up a tent with walls and a heater. This would work best in a sunny spot and in the absence of strong wind. Or another option is to have the musician just on the inside of the heated venue and amplify out to the ceremony. If extreme heat is the case sometimes it is possible to create a cooler space within a tent is a shaded spot or inside the air conditioned venue as well.
With inclement weather, a tent, gazebo, or other shelter around the site is also a possibility as long as the wind is not going to be so strong as to blow the rain underneath. Some musicians including myself also offer alternative instruments in case of undesirable weather. For example, harps, violins, and cellos are more affected by extreme temperatures than guitars, and electric pianos, and carbon fiber instruments are not affected at all!
Recently I had a couple who had hired me to play the harp for their ceremony, but when the weekend came and the temperature was going to be in the low 50s and windy they made the choice to still hold the wedding outside rather than in their indoor alternative, and I was still able to play all of the songs we had chosen on my electric piano since it didn’t mind the cold, then I played the harp inside for the reception. Deans' Duets is a collaborative event musician group serving North Carolina, and when they have gigs that move forward despite cold or mist, their guitarists or carbon fiber instruments can sometimes still perform if some of the other instruments can’t.
Another very important aspect to think about in regards to moving forward with an outdoor wedding when weather is looking iffy is the comfort and even safety of your guests. A friend had a lovely mountaintop ceremony a few years ago I had the pleasure of being a part of, and am so grateful that I thought to bring a tent with me because several of the elderly guests were taking prescription medications that necessitated they stay out of the sun, and my tent was the only shade around, so I let them pile in with me! They would have had no other safe option to stay for the ceremony otherwise. I have played at one wedding where a bridesmaid fainted due to heat, and another where the bride herself fainted due to the heat.
Those of us who have envisioned our ideal wedding day all our lives may find it hard to consider our plan B when and if that decision needs to be made, and that difficulty is absolutely valid. But you can still have a stunning and perfect wedding in the comfort and safety of a secondary site if the weather decides to misbehave. Keep in mind that when you hire professional wedding vendors, you procure the help of those who have majored in Plan A, B, C, and beyond when it comes to experience, and they will do everything within their power to make this special day one you and your guests will remember forever.
Eryn Jones Fuson is a professional event musician, recording artist, singer/songwriter, and music teacher out of Pinehurst, NC. www.erynjones.com
The Farm at Old Edwards Inn is a dream venue. We play here a lot and every single experience is breathtaking.
We sometimes just play ceremony music and other times add the cocktail hour. This time, our string quartet performed for the ceremony, and our violin and cello duet played live music for the cocktail hour music.
For the ceremony music, we played all traditional classical music, and the bride walked down the aisle to Canon in D. Then we switched to popular and modern music for the cocktail hour.
Beckon Events was fantastic at coordinating the day, as always. This classic luxurious day
We will be back in Highlands soon with more beautiful wedding music!
Our final wedding of August was at LeGare Waring House in Charleston, South Carolina. We had heard about the magnificence of this venue, but to be there is person was a fun experience!
Setting up for the wedding!
The bride's father made these doors!
Violin and harp wedding music is such a romantic touch to a wedding day. Thanks to Kim (harpist) for inviting us to play this wedding with her.
Thank you to the bride and groom for allowing us to be a part of your perfect day!
Choosing the music for your wedding day can make or break an event. Having an ensemble that doesn’t fit your vision of the day, the mood of the event and venue, or literally hits the wrong note can affect the mood of the whole wedding day.
This is what sets us apart from other musicians:
Professionalism. We take our events seriously. We are professional musicians, not hobbyists trying to make an extra buck here and there. Our musicians wear all black to keep the focus on the event and the wonderful music, keep their materials organized and out of the way, and go above and beyond to ensure that the event runs smoothly by working with all other teams involved at the event.
Customization. We realize that each event we play is unique, so we provide endless options to make our part in your big day exactly what you want it to be. Our clients are able to choose many different ensemble possibilities and can choose each song played (we’ll even learn new songs). We are also experienced at performing at many different types of venues, so we can adapt to pretty much any situation.
High expectations. From ending processionals at just the right time and double checking every detail so you have a cohesive sound throughout our teams, we have high expectations for ourselves which we hope exceed the high expectations of our clients.
Being part of your special day is an honor for us - one that we take very seriously. We would love to talk to you about what we can provide for your event. Contact Dean’s Duets to get started.
When we received a request to travel to the Outer Banks for a wedding, we couldn't pass up the opportunity!
We packed up the family and turned the trip into a vacation.
Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo is absolutely stunning!
Hannah and Jorge had the most lovely ceremony under this huge tree overlooking the ocean.
The violin cello harp trio was the perfect ensemble for this occasion. We loved that Hannah requested we learn "I See the Light" from Tangled. Here's a video clip.
After maneuvering through the gardens and wheeling the harp up and down stairs, we made it!
Loved working with Rev Jay Bowman
And Engaging Events OBX !
The reception was held at Pavilion Pirates Cove!
Thank you, Hannah & Jorge, for including us in this beautiful day in Manteo.
From traditional church weddings to exotic destination weddings, the idea of a perfect wedding venue looks different to everyone. There are numerous decisions to make while planning your wedding and the venue is a big one that ultimately sets the tone for your big day.
Here are some of our tips for selecting the perfect wedding venue:
While wedding planning can be overwhelming, don’t forget to embrace this time and enjoy the process. After all, your wedding day is a true celebration of love and if you are with the one you love, it will be perfect! We find that couples who relax and let their vendors do their jobs are the happiest – and their wedding days go the most smoothly too! At Deans’ Duets, we complete your wedding day with the perfect music. Contact us for more information.
Kylee and Michael were married at the always beautiful Westglow Resort and Spa on a beautiful, slightly chilly day in March.
We loved their unique favors for their wedding guests!
Congrats to the bride and groom! Can't wait until our next wedding playing music in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina.
This aisle was so beautiful, and we played Canon in D for the entrance.
On New Years Eve, we were privileged to provide wedding ceremony music in Highlands, NC, as a violin guitar piano trio.
Oh how we love playing music for weddings at Old Edwards Inn! This venue never ceases to host epic wedding ceremonies and receptions.
The seating chart was so pretty!
Congratulations to Amiee and Guy!!! Thanks for allowing us to provide ceremony music for this incredible day!
The Charlotte City Club is on the 31st floor at 121 West Trade Street. A golden elevator takes you to the club level. It's a great view of the city from the top!
Jon and Kathleen's wedding in Charlotte was elegant and full of personal touches.
We Charlotte musicians played an arrangement of the Moldau for the bride's song, which the groom requested to be arranged just for the occasion. Here is a video of the arrangement played by a string quartet and pianist in Charlotte.......
Our Charlotte string quartet played Christmas music along with the piano during the prelude, and then the string quartet stayed and played music for the cocktail hour as well.
Thanks to Jon and Kathleen for inviting us to be a part of this very special day!
April is a violinist and music coordinator for Dean's Duets.