WEDDING MUSICIANS HIRING GUIDE 2023
The Best Recommendations For Hiring Musicians
Welcome to London Strings’ guide to hiring wedding musicians! While planning your wedding can be very stressful, we hope to smoothly guide you through the process of booking wedding musicians, what to ask, what to expect, and just generally how it all works. We cover topics from what songs we can play, the styles we perform, how much do musicians charge and more. If you have any queries please feel free to get in touch with us directly! We’ve worked with hundreds of happy customers and know exactly how to help.
When should I start looking for musicians for my wedding? Can I hire musicians at the last minute?
We highly recommend booking early to take advantage of lower prices and to secure our availability before your date becomes fully booked. We recommend around 9 months prior to your wedding date. For example, at the time of writing it is early 2023, and we already have around 30 bookings for 2024! People have been smart in booking early to guarantee lower prices, due to inflation we highly recommend booking earlier than later.
However we can certainly do our best to accommodate last minute booking requests! In fact, we have never turned down a customer to date, some customers even booked live music the evening before! So you may be in luck if you inquire.
Should I have live music during the wedding ceremony, cocktails, or dinner?
Of course we believe in live music during all parts of your day, but as musicians that is our opinion! You may only wish to have beautiful Bridgerton-style live music during your ceremony, which is the most romantic part of your wedding, and a DJ for the evening meal, or you may choose to have the same ensemble perform for all parts of the day (and thus keep the cost down!) And yes, we are versatile and alternate between classical music and pop, and even offer an upbeat party vibe with backing tracks instead of a DJ!
For example, if you hired the same musicians for the duration of your entire wedding you could curate your day like this:
Before the ceremony, the musicians could perform some romantic and/or classical music to set the mood, as the guests mingle and take their seats. Then, during your ceremony you may ask the musicians to perform your favourite song (or piece of classical music) for your bridal entrance – music that has a lot of meaning for you and your partner! For your signing we recommend choosing two songs or pieces, and then something rather upbeat and jubilant for your exit.
Then you may move to a different location, or stay in the same venue. Whichever option you choose, our musicians would be amenable to relocate, or remain in the same area. It’s up to you! After the ceremony, and during the cocktail hour, we could perform more of your favourite songs or pieces of music, ranging from classical to pop or rock – whatever style you desire, we have the music to suit! If you are after a Bridgerton vibe, that essentially means pop music performed on string instruments – yes, we love it!
Perhaps then you will move on to dinner. For this scene you may either wish to maintain the same style of music, or maybe you would like something a little different – if you’d like to get the party started and the guests up and dancing we can certainly offer that, either acoustically or with our set of popular backing tracks! If you like the backing track idea, we could bring our own portable PA, or connect to the venue’s sound system. As a violin and cello duo, a string quartet, a string trio or a solo violin – any of these are possible, and we can even offer the same set-up on electric instruments.
For a more intimate wedding reception you don’t need to hire us with backing tracks either – as both an acoustic violin and cello duo and string quartet we’ve had plenty of dancing and singing from happy guests!
Can I choose my own music?
Yes! Our repertoire list (the list of all the music we play) is not exhaustive. We actually have the music for a lot more songs and pieces of classical music that are not on our list, so do ask if there’s a song you’d like that you can’t see on there.
If we don’t have the music, we can offer one song for free. Any others will be an extra charge for the sheet music purchase or arrangement.
Can you recommend songs for my wedding ceremony? I’m stuck for ideas!
No worries! We have lots of suggestions and here are some of the most popular songs and pieces in 2023! They include both classical music and pop favourites.
For the entrance and the signing, Elvis – Can’t Help Falling in Love, Perri – A Thousand Years, and Ed Sheeran – Perfect are very popular, and classical pieces like Elgar – Salut d’Amour, Pachelbel – Canon are nice too. For the exit something like Coldplay – Viva la Vida, The Beatles – I Want to Hold Your Hand or All You Need is Love, or a more classical note Handel – Queen of Sheba, or Clarke – Trumpet Voluntary are also good choices.
Of course there are always the traditional favourites for the bridal procession too, like Mendelssohn – Wedding March and Wagner – Bridal Chorus.
What’s the difference between a string ensemble and a wedding band? Can I hire London Strings as a band for my wedding reception or party?
Actually, we are a band without a singer, as we play the melody on our instruments! Even though we play classical instruments like the violin and cello we can liven up your reception or event just like a band with a saxophone or guitar. We can amplify our instruments and perform with backing tracks to give the ensemble extra texture, rhythm and get the guests dancing and singing! We can even perform with electric instruments and thus turn the volume up (or down) as you wish. We can project our music all over the hall with our portable PA tested speaker or connect to the sound system in the venue.
Our band also includes keyboard or piano if requested – a piano trio is one of our favourite ensembles!
We have a list of our most popular songs with backing tracks upon request – no need for a DJ when you can party with London Strings!
How much will it cost to hire musicians?
The good news is that we offer ensembles that suit all budgets. While a string quartet will start from around £600 for an hour’s booking, a solo violin or cello would cost a lot less, beginning around the £300 mark. Bear in mind that these are starting prices – for a three hour booking, for example, you may only be paying an extra £200 compared to a 1 hour booking, so it is quite cost effective to hire musicians for longer than an hour.
There is often a difference in price between hiring a professional musician and a music student. While the difference may be as little as £50, we don’t believe in compromising quality, which is why we only work with the best professional musicians.
Your wedding day is one of the most beautiful and memorable days of your life – and we believe that the music and service offered by the musicians should be only of the highest level.
Is it better to book wedding musicians with an agency?
Not necessarily! While agencies can be very helpful, there are a few reasons why we don’t recommend booking via an agency. The first reason is the hefty commission you will have to pay. Most agencies charge at least an extra 20% fee on top of the musician’s quote. If you can find a way to contact your favourite musicians privately, for example via social media or a Google search, we highly recommend doing so. Also, agencies often do not verify the performer’s standard of musicianship.
As long as your musicians have a solid contract like we do at London Strings, and good reviews and social media presence, there is no reason why it is better to book the same musicians via an agency.
Will there be any extra costs?
Do keep in mind that for bookings outside of central London, we will charge a small travel fee to cover costs. This includes destination weddings and those in other parts of the UK!
The only other extra cost is for our portable speaker if you request backing tracks, and for electric instruments. The extra cost of these will be quoted to you when you inquire.
What do I need to provide for the musicians?
You don’t need to provide much – we will bring our music stands and equipment. There are only a couple of things we need – chairs with no arms (so that we can perform comfortably without hitting the chair!) and enough space to play. For a string quartet this will be approximately 3×2 metres and half as much for a violin and cello duo or solo violin.
We would also love a glass of water 🙂 A meal is required for bookings of 3 hours or more.
If your wedding ceremony or reception is outdoors then your musicians will require a form of shelter to play under, to protect their instruments from the elements. The sun and rain can damage valuable instruments. An example of sufficient shelter is a simple portable gazebo. They look very elegant too!
How long can I book the musicians for? How many sets can you perform?
We have been booked to play a single song for a wedding proposal, and for whole day events as well, so we can play for as long as you wish. Every hour we will have a 10 minute break, and for bookings over 3 hours we need one a little longer as well to refresh our minds and fingers! We usually can perform around 20 songs or pieces of music in an hour.
Another thing you should keep in mind is that if you would like us to play for your wedding ceremony at, say, 11am, and then perform for your reception from 2 – 3pm, you would be quoted for a 4 hour booking, not a 2 hour booking. This is standard practice amongst musicians as we charge for the time spent during the booking, not only for the playing time.
What is Public Liability Insurance and PAT?
If your venue asks for proof of Public Liability Insurance (PLI) before your musicians will be allowed to perform that is no issue – it simply covers the musicians for the cost of compensation for loss or damage to property or injury to a member of the public. PAT testing means that the electrical equipment used is safe. Remember, it doesn’t cover you, just the musicians, wedding insurance is another matter entirely!
We booked London Strings to play at our wedding and they were amazing! Throughout the whole process leading up to the day, they were really accommodating and informative. They even played a custom song for our ceremony and coordinated with our officiant to accompany him throughout, which made the ceremony all the more beautiful. Our guests also loved the addition of a string trio, saying that it added even more joy to the day! Thank you so much, Ben and Amy
First of, thank you so much Lucy and Arda for the swift response/answering all my queries since day one and down to our big day. You have been so helpful and professional. Thank you so so much for accommodating us. Also, we would like to give our thanks to your duo (violist and cellist) for playing our songs before, during and after our ceremony. It was spot on, everyone loved it and got lots of compliments. All of our guests were moved(some to tears) of course including us whilst listening to them play. It made our wedding day extra special and memorable. Your team is amazing! I wish you and your team all the best! More clients to come. Thank you so so much and we appreciate it all. -Charmie and Joseph
Lucy and Arda played at our wedding ceremony July this year. They played beautifully and made the day so magical. They are very professional and polite and are great with their communication. I would highly recommend London Strings to anyone who would love live music at their special occasion. Simply outstanding!