There is something magical about the sound of a string quartet. It somehow combines intimacy with magnificence. The soft tones surging to fill any space create an unparalleled atmosphere. And it can make your wedding day completely unforgettable.
In this Earcandy guide, we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know about booking a string quartet for your wedding.
String Quartets: What You Need to Know
What is a string quartet and what do they do?
A string quartet is made up of two violins, a viola and a cello. These harmonious instruments are typically used to perform classical pieces, but the sound can be adapted for any style of music, from folk to R ‘n’ B. It depends on the quartet you work with.
When would a string quartet play at a wedding?
Any time you like, really! At weddings, string quartets can play a role throughout the day. You might want them to play you down the aisle. You might just want them to provide background ambience during the reception. Some people book string quartets to entertain before and after the ceremony. Others book for the whole day. The beauty of string quartets is that they rarely use amplifiers or other equipment, so they can be flexible and mobile, moving between venues easily.
What would a string quartet play at a wedding?
Every string quartet will have their own specialised set list. Some will focus purely on the classical. Others mix it up with more contemporary tracks. It’s up to you what sound you wish for your wedding. The Earcandy String Quartet, for example, are as happy playing The A Team by Ed Sheeran as they are Wagner’s Wedding March. With more than 35 classical tracks and a similar number of popular contemporary songs under their belts, they have a wide selection for you to choose from. They can even play Christmas songs, if required.
What should I look for in a string quartet?
The main things you need to know before booking a string quartet are:
Can they play?
If it’s not possible to see a live performance – and let’s face it, few people are going to want you to gate-crash their wedding – you need to see a demo recoding. Preferably more than one. If they don’t have one, don’t book them.
Are they reliable?
Firstly, check if they have the back-up of an agency of any description. The job of a management team is to make sure that the musicians get to where they need to be when they need to be there. Secondly, check online for any testimonials or customer reviews. People aren’t shy about complaining, so if there’s anything to worry about, you’ll find it.
Are they presentable?
This is your wedding, you’re allowed to ask your entertainers to look the part. A string quartet who rock up in ripped jeans and sweat-stained t-shirts could have an impact on the tone.
How much space does a string quartet need?
To be able to perform comfortably, a string quartet needs four chairs placed in a loose semi-circle. Leave room for music stands in the centre of the semi-circle. The chairs mustn’t be too closely placed, otherwise the musicians will be bumping elbows! So, keep an area of about 10 feet by 6 feet in mind. The musicians will usually organise the finer details themselves upon arrival.
Will the venue need to provide any equipment for the string quartet?
Unlike most other acts, where amps and PA equipment will be required, most string quartets only need their own instruments and music stands. If the venue is dark, they may require some lighting to play by, but this can be arranged on an individual basis.
A string quartet can be the perfect way to bring sophistication and character to a wedding. The music calms nerves before the ceremony and brings feeling after. It fills silences and builds atmosphere. And, best of all, unlike recorded music, a string quartet can respond to the situation they’re in, going faster, slower, extending the Wedding March, or quietly curtailing a piece for the speeches. If you’re looking for something super-special for your wedding day, a string quartet could just be the answer.