I really love playing for weddings and it’s a special honour to be part of your magical day. Music is such a vital part of any celebration and especially the celebration of a loving partnership, and it shouldn’t be forgotten. Over the years I have played at countless weddings and ceremonies and I know first hand the powerful impact the right piece of music can have. My challenge is finding out which piece of music this is and then adapting it to make it sound great on the harp. I find that to do this well and to put my stamp on a well known piece of music can take a while – from first listening to it to downloading a printed version from the internet which invariably mostly gets scribbled out as it’s a piano arrangement, to making the piece my own. This means that couples get their very own version of the piece which has so much significance for them. This could be the first song you danced together to, or a tune that was popular at the time you met. I recently met a couple at a wedding event who liked my music and my playing and they want a reggae song for the bride’s entrance. Curious, I asked if they could send me a link to it to see if I could make it work. Having listened to it I’m pretty sure I can and I feel quite excited about it. With lovely lyrics it’s a poignant tribute from groom to bride and most importantly I think it will sound fabulous on the harp!
Thanks to technology and the internet now, most things are possible. I played for a ceremony earlier this year and the bride was due to come and hear her request at a wedding open day. I was disappointed to find out at the last minute that the venue had decided to have a pianist instead without letting me know, which put me in a slightly uncomfortable position with this bride-to-be who had planned to come and hear me play. I got my thinking cap on and arranged a video call with her. To my delight and relief she was pleased with the end results!
It’s worth bearing in mind that not all music works on the harp and I’m happy to guide you in your selection.
If you’re thinking of having harp music at your wedding, here is what I can provide:
Civil Ceremony – I am ready 30 minutes before your ceremony and I play relaxing background music from my repertoire list while guests await your arrival. One of the key moments musically is your entrance. It’s important to get this one right so have a good think about this. You may have a certain piece of music in mind or you may need some ideas – either way I can help you choose the right piece for the mood you want to get across. I then play for the signing of the register and the photos, and finally a piece of your choice for your exit together. Registrars and venue staff are always delighted when you have live professional musicians – it takes the pressure off them having to press that button and it ensures the smooth running of your ceremony.
Drinks Reception (1 hour) – After your ceremony I can provide background music for you and your guests as you all have fun and have your photos taken. Please note that due to the unpredictable British weather, I don’t play outside. Some harpists do, I don’t.
Wedding Breakfast – having live music can make a huge difference to the atmosphere while you have your meal, and again I can play from my varied selection of tried and tested pieces.
Other options –
Church Ceremony – I love playing in the sacred and slightly more solemn setting of a church. I set up well in advance of your ceremony time and I can play while your guests congregate. A bridal march is appropriate and I have also played other requests in church. I can play the hymns depending whether you have an organist – usually they do play the hymns and it goes with the setting and tends to rouse more singing! I can play suitable background music while you sign the register and have your photos taken. I can also play your exit music, or again you could have the organist play. It all comes down to your individual taste.
(I can offer a combination of the above, although I don’t do more than 2 elements, so for example Ceremony and Wedding Breakfast is fine but I wouldn’t play for your Ceremony, Drinks and Wedding Breakfast – you can have too much of a good thing!)
The Money Question! My prices start from £250. If you think this sounds expensive, I hope you’ll bear in mind the basic running and development costs of my business – website construction, hosting and updating, publicity photos and promotional materials, vehicle and travelling costs, harp strings, insurance and maintenance, buying sheet music, suitable clothing and shoes, practice and training time, the dreaded tax bill, the list goes on… These are all important factors in providing you with best wedding music experience I can possibly give.
Of course, the best way to find out more about your choice of wedding music is by attending a wedding fair or event and I do as many of these as I can. I have lots of wedding standards in the Listen and Watch section on my website and I update these as often as I can. I also have a Facebook business page – Rhian Evans Harpist – this is where you will find the most up to date information about any fairs and events at which I’m playing. You can also get in touch by using the link to the Contact page on my website. And if you see me looking quite serious and focused as I play at an event, do hang around to have a chat – I occasionally come up for air and I’m much friendlier than I look!
MANY THANKS TO RHIAN EVANS FOR THIS ARTICLE.
IMAGE COURTESY OF SARAH BRABBIN CAPTURED AT HUDDERSFIELD TOWN HALL