How to Book a String Quartet for Your Wedding
— By Sam Browne
28 April 2019
A string quartet for your ceremony ensures an elegant, sophisticated start to your big day, and will create a truly magical experience as you walk down the aisle.
A string quartet will dial up the emotion in what is already a very special moment (tell Mum to have some tissues handy), and you'll create a unique musical soundtrack for what is one of the most precious moments of your life.
We spoke to Auckland string quartet The Black Quartet to learn more about what couples need to know before booking their quartet. We’ve also listed a collection of popular processional pieces you may like to consider, and frequently asked questions quartets are often asked by brides to be.
Why Book A String Quartet?
If you're using music from Spotify or iTunes, you and your bridal party have no choice but to walk down the aisle at the speed of the music. That might be fine...or it might not. But a string quartet can be completely flexible. They can adjust their tempo (the speed of the music) or even repeat a section to accommodate for a larger bridal party or a wayward flower girl who stops to pick daisies or chat with Nana.
Traditional or Contemporary
There are gorgeous traditional pieces like the evergreen Pachelbel's Canon in D or Schubert’s Ave Maria, but a good quartet will offer so much more. The Black Quartet offers a wide range of contemporary artists’ songs, from Gershwin and Cole Porter to The Beatles, through to top 40 pop artists such as Adele. They can also learn a piece especially for your big moment, if desired.
Image by Levien & Lens Photography
Leave it to the experts
You can have a lot of involvement in the pieces you would like, or simply give the string quartet a brief and they’ll put together a wonderful selection of music in line with your unique taste and style. Or you can do both - give the quartet some of your “must haves”, like the piece you'd like to walk down the aisle to, and leave it up to them to make the afternoon after the ceremony magical.
More than just ceremony music
A quartet is highly portable and uses no equipment besides their own instruments and four chairs. No electricity is required, so resetting to a new location is a 5-minute job. After the ceremony, consider having your quartet entertain guests through the afternoon, or performing beautiful music through dinner.
Top 10 classical music choices for your walk down the aisle
Canon in D – J. Pachelbel
Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring – J.S. Bach
Air from Suite in D (aka Air on the G String) – J.S. Bach
Claire de Lune – C. Debussy
The Four Seasons – Spring – Vivaldi
Water Music – Finale – G.F. Handel
Ave Maria – F. Schubert
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade) – W.A. Mozart.
Wedding March – Mendelssohn
Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride) – Wagner
Here is our top 21 most popular processional songs article for more choices.
String Quartet wedding FAQ
1/ What do you need for your performance?
A quartet just needs four chairs. They will bring our own instruments and music stands.
2/ What are the instruments in a quartet?
Two violins, a viola, and a cello
3/ Can you perform as a trio?
Yes. This would be one violin rather than two.
4/ What about a duo or soloist?
No. The music requires at least three different instruments to do it justice, and four is ideal.
5/ Can you learn a song for me?
Yes. This may incur an additional charge depending on the song.
Image by Hollow & Co
6/ Will you play outside?
Yes. Quartets frequently performs in the sun for wedding performances. No quartet will perform in the rain (even light rain) for the sake of their instruments.
7/ Can you travel?
Yes. This is no problem because a quartet is able to travel with minimal equipment.
8/ Will my entrance music be the correct length?
Yes. String quartets are experienced at finding a suitable place in the music to finish, or repeating a section if necessary to ensure you arrive at the same time as the music is drawing to a close.
9/ Do you require a meal?
If a quartet is to be on site for several hours including over dinner, then it is appreciated if a meal is supplied, but is not compulsory as a general rule.