Your questions – Our answers.

 Although we try to keep our web site as informative as possible, at times we are asked questions that are not as common as others. The following list  was started just for that reason. We have compiled less common questions that clients have asked us and provided our answers to each…

Your question: “What if I hire four musicians for my wedding and only three show up?” 

Our answer: Knock on wood, it is yet to happen for our musicians.  We have been playing at weddings and other events for close to twenty years and every musician so far has made it. However, it IS a fair question. In the unlikely event of one of the musicians not making it to the wedding – you will get reimbursement for that portion of the payment and we will still play with the remaining number of musicians, doing our best.  Most of our music can be performed with two musicians and still sound presentable. One of the things we have learned over the years is to give ourselves at least forty five extra minutes when we drive to certain wedding locations, those that are over an hour away from Pittsburgh.  That gives us extra time for traffic, constructions, nap times along the way! 🙂

 Your question: What if my plans changed and the wedding will start later or earlier than I indicated on the contract?”

Our answer: Occasionally, it does happen, and we have encountered such situation several times: our wedding musicians were hired to play at a ceremony starting at 2 pm, and one week prior to the wedding, we were asked to start at 1:30 instead.  If the same musicians are booked to play before or after that wedding and there is enough time for the change, especially traveling time – it won’t be a problem. However, sometimes we might not be able to accommodate such a time change. It also depends on the number of  musicians available at that time.  Sometimes we switch players with their jobs assignments, sending a musician to a different playing job to accommodate clients.  Most often, a change within a half an hour window is very feasible. 

Your question: “Will the musicians’ outfits match the bridesmaids dresses?”

Our answer: Unfortunately, no. Musicians have two choices for our dress codes. One is all black – black top and bottom, such as a black dress or black blouse/black slacks/skirt for women, and a tuxedo for men. Two – white top and black bottom for women and a suit/tie for men. You may always let us know your preference. 

 Your question: ” Is there a limit on how many songs musicians will be able to play during a wedding ceremony? Will I get charged if I want more than just music for the processional and the recessional?”

Our answer: You may choose as many pieces for your ceremony as you like, as long as they do not exceed the length of the agreed time in the contract. In fact, especially for weddings, we try to encourage brides to include music not only for the entrance and the exit of the bride, but throughout the ceremony as well.  The musicians are already there, might as well use them as much as possible.

Your question: “Will I get charged for prelude music, or just for the wedding ceremony?”

Our answer: Any time that the musicians are playing we will charge for.  Wedding Prelude and Postlude ARE parts of the wedding ceremony.  Please make sure to include the time for Prelude and Postlude in our contract. If the wedding starts at 4 pm, and you wish the musicians to play a Prelude beforehand, you may put starting time for musicians as 3:30 or 3:45, depending on how long you wish them to play prior to the ceremony. The same logic applies to Postlude. You may opt out of Prelude and Postlude being played by musicians. In that case, we will play ONLY for the wedding ceremony. 

Your question: “My event is for two hours, but I only need the musicians to play at the beginning and at the end, with one hour break in between. Do I pay for one hour or for two hours?”

Our answer: Any time that the musicians are at the ” job site” they get paid regardless if they are playing or not.  We have committed that time to a given job and ask to be paid for. 

 Your question: “Am I able to reserve a group while I think about it, without putting any down payment?”

Our answer: Unfortunately, not. The only way to reserve musicians is to put a down payment.  We receive many weekly requests for our availability, and cannot rely on a verbal agreement in case a client changes his/her mind.  In order to accommodate more than one event per day, we need to know for sure which ones of our musicians are booked and which ones are still available.  

 Your question: “My wedding was in October. I received one price quote on a string quartet when I called in January, and a different one when I called in September.  The September quote was a little bit higher. Why is that? “

Our answer: The closer a client contacts us to the date the higher price might be quoted.  At times it is harder to find musicians who will be available on a short notice, especially for our company since we work only with the top professional string musicians and do not hire college level musicians. amateurs, or those with only a few years of experience.  We suggest to contact us at least four weeks prior to your event to book musicians, especially for wedding ceremonies. 

Your question: ” Can your musicians play at ceremonies other than “standard” catholic ones?”

Our answer: Yes, our wedding musicians perform at wedding ceremonies of many different denominations: jewish ceremonies, hindu weddings, as well as some Asian wedding ceremonies – China, Korea.  For jewish wedding ceremonies we have a repertoire of jewish wedding music from Dodi Li to Simon Tov.  For other denominations musicians usually work with clients who will provide us with necessary music for their ceremony style.  

Your question: ” The location for my wedding ceremony changed due to the weather forecast, and it is farther away then the previos one.  Will I have to pay additional traveling fees to musicians?”

Our answer: It will depend on how far the new location is from the one listed on the contract. If it is within ten miles – there will be no extra fees.  Beyond that- the musicians will charge extra to compensate for fuel and time. 

Your question: ” How often will the musicians take breaks when they are playing?”

Our answer: It will depend on the number of hours.  For the wedding ceremonies music, including prelude and postlude our musicians do not take any breaks. If the musicians are hired to play for a dinner or an extended cocktail hour, then they will take about a five minute break after two hours of playing. Occasionally, during these times one of the violin players will continue to play so there is no “gap” in music while the other musicians are resting. 

Your question: ” I have specific sheet music that I want musicians to play for my wedding ceremony. Would it be ok if I give the music to the musicians on the day of the ceremony, right before they start playing?”

Our answer: The short answer is “no”. On average, our musicians are booked for two or three events per weekend, and we have to make sure that all the music, especially for weddings, is well organized before we arrive at the ceremony.  We are flexible with unexpected last minute changes, but if you know what pieces you would like the musicians to play ahead of time – we would prefer if you mail the music to us. We would like to have a chance to look over the music, especially church hymns and such – to make sure that the music is suitable for the number of musicians you have booked. 

Your question: “I am hiring a solo violin player for a short wedding ceremony. Could you also provide us with a piano player to accompany the violinist?”

Our answer: As you may see from our web site, we are string musicians, performing on violin, viola and cello.  If you hire a piano player via a different source – we would be more than happy to play along with a pianist.  Another option –  for a finder’s fee we will hire a wedding pianist on your behalf, to whom you will pay his/her asking price for the performance.

Your question: “My wedding ceremony location changed location from indoors to outdoors. Do I still  need to provide a tent for musicians even though it is a last minute change?”

Our answer: The musicians always prefer to have some sort of over head  cover from direct sun or rain.  However, if it is a last minute change, and the musicians can be seated where they are away from direct sun – it is not a problem.  However, keep in mind that if during the wedding ceremony there are weather or sun’s position changes – musicians will have to either move or stop playing all together to protect their instruments. 

Your question: “Should I be giving tips to wedding musicians?”

Our answer: The obvious answer here is – it is up to you.  Just as if you were deciding on giving a tip to a waiter at a restaurant. There is no obligation to do so, and in the case with our musicians, the quality of our performance at weddings and events will not go down if no tips were offered. On average, for our musicians, we get tipped every other wedding or so, depending on the circumstances.  The “most heavenly” tip was when our Pittsburgh string trio played at a surprise 50th birthday party. It was already a very memorable event for us: we probably met the nicest people, very pleasant and kind to us, who insisted on feeding us during the party, and kept thanking us throughout the entire evening! At the end of the evening, an envelope was given to each one of us. When I got home and opened it – I thought it was a mistake: there was $100 bill in there.  At the time I assumed that as a leader of the group, I got the $100 bill to be shared between the three of us, forgetting that the other two musicians also were given envelopes.  As I was getting ready to call them, one of them called me, absolutely stunned! Obviously, it was very generous and we do not expect such tips every time. Did I mentioned they had caviar at their party?? 🙂

Your question: “If I hire musicians for two hours, and it turns out that I needed them only for 1.5 hours, will I get reimbursement?” 

 Our answer: Unfortunately, no. Once the contract has been established and signed between our musicians and a client, the time window requested by a client has been set aside by musicians for that job, taking in considerations their personal lives and schedules.  It has happened to our musicians, especially during cocktail hours following a wedding ceremony: the guests were called to be seated for dinner earlier than anticipated, and the musicians had no one to play for except the walls. In such a situation all we can offer is to play for the remainder of the time in the dining room.  Usually, however, that does not work out well. Once the guests are seated, the focus is on the presentation of a newly married couple and their bridal party, and that is when DJ’s play, not classical musicians.

Your question: “Do I have to include the name of the musicians on our wedding program?”

Our answer:  That decision is up to you.  There are times where the musicians that were hired for one wedding will end up going to a different event, and the names on the program will not be correct. The easiest way to acknowledge the presence of the musicians at a wedding is to write in the program “music provided by Chamber Musicians for All Occasions”.