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Important Info

Dear Ariana Strings Couple,

 

We are so excited to work with you! Here is everything you need to know about planning and working with us. Please review each section carefully and reach out if you have any questions. 

Musically yours,

Ariana 

Song Selections

How to choose your music

About 2 months prior to your wedding, I will send questionnaires (usually 2, maybe 3) to gather your wedding day information and song selections. Please submit them by weeks prior to your wedding. I need plenty of time to make sure we rehearse your requests, have your music ready, coordinate with your vendors, and plan accordingly. 

Most of our couples listen to the samples on our website, Instagram page, and look at our song library. I have also created a small guide to help you.

If you'd like a more personalized experience where I perform for you, you're always welcome to add on a Performance Consultation to your package. Then, can either meet online or at my studio in Southington, where I'll help you choose music. This service is billed separately and usually takes about 45 minutes. If you'd like to add on a performance consultation, please reach out anytime. 

Repertoire

An Important Note

Each of our ensemble's song libraries (repertoire)  is listed separately because they're all dramatically different. If you have booked the string trio, please select from the trio list. The songs on the quartet's don't work because the arrangements are not interchangeable.

 

For example: The quartet version of Can't Take My Eyes Off of You (Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons) passes the melody between all 4 instruments. If the trio were to play this same version, the melody would drop out partway through the song! 

Another example: The flute trio doesn't play all of the same repertoire as the string trio because the flute cannot play in as low of a register as the violin. 

If you book the string quartet and want us to play something from the trio list, this is technically possible, but not recommended. We usually read from our iPads, so a few requests can be accommodated, BUT we ask that you keep to the quartet list for 2 reasons: 

1. Technology is not infallible, so we bring a hard copy books as a back-up. We have multiple events per weekend, so each library is out with its group. If you have booked the quartet and the trio has the books, we would need to add on the cost of printing specialty back-up books for your event. 

2. When the quartet plays a string trio arrangement, it means 2 players are playing the same part ("doubling"), which affects the balance and overall sound of the ensemble. While this can work for some arrangements, it's not recommended overall.

Arrangements

What if I'd like you to perform a song that isn't in your library? 

We can do that for you! First, e-mail me with the name of the song and artist. If it's unique, please include a YouTube video. Often, there are great duo, trio, or quartet arrangements already made and available for purchase. If not, I'll hire my in-house composer to write an arrangement specific to your ensemble. Depending on the song and what's involved, arrangements can be anywhere from $45 - $200. I will always give you a quote and get confirmation from you before starting any work on an arrangement. 

 

Please provide plenty of notice. Arrangers will charge a rush fee and we cannot guarantee arrangements with short notice. (In the height of wedding season, every month counts. If you order an arrangement with 3 months' notice, you should be fine!)

If you fall in love with an instrumental/strings version of a song and you would like us to replicate it, please note: Many YouTube videos show an acoustic group, but sneak in a backing track and editing. Though Vitamin String Quartet, by name, is 4 players, some of their arrangements feature 10 players! Our arrangements will complement your AS ensemble and be designed for live performance, so it'll be true to the original artist and beautiful. 

Ceremony Information

What we need to make sure your wedding is perfect

I will send you a questionnaire to gather your wedding day information, including the processional order and how many people are walking in each processional. We are literally counting the number of people walking down, so please don't worry about listing names, relationships, or wedding titles (except in the case of the ring bearer/flower girl). Remember, your wedding party is full of people we have never met before, so we don't know who is who! Presenting information like this will help: "7 couples are walking down the aisle together," or "We have 8 attendants walking single-file, then the ring bearer."  If there's a trio or single person walking after couples, you can note that as well. 

Once you have submitted information to us, please do not change it. We carefully plan and time your music according to the information that you've provided. When you write that the 4-year old flower girl is walking last, we will stop the music when she gets to the top of the aisle. If she walks in the middle of the processional, we will stop the music too early and there will be an awkward silence before we realize what has happened! We plan carefully to avoid disasters like stop-starts and awkward silences at all costs. 

 

Each ensemble plans well in advance and coordinates with your ceremony vendors, creating specific materials about cues for your officiant, venue coordinator, and wedding planner. While we try our best to be flexible, if you leave us a message a couple of days before the wedding, it might not be enough time for us get in touch with everyone involved. 

 

If you need to make a change:

- A week prior: Please email Ariana, your officiant, & venue coordinator/wedding planner (all on one email) so we can coordinate. Some officiants say they use phone only, but we are unfortunately unable to ensure success if we're playing phone tag with such short notice. 

- Under a week prior: Please email us AND print out the details. Make sure we get this print-out when we arrive on site. By the time we've started prelude music, we've already finalized things with your officiant, cue person, and coordinator. We would have to stop performing in order to inform them, which would delay your ceremony and music. 

Setup Requirements

Storage

Each ensemble brings a TON of equipment for your wedding day. To avoid our cases, personal belongings, and backup equipment making an unwelcome appearance in your photos, please arrange to have a separate storage area or closet ready for us upon our arrival. Many venues have space for this, but they need to know in advance. 

Layout

For outdoor ceremonies, remember that we need to have a clear view of the aisle, the person cueing the ensemble, and the officiant. Please remember that we are seated when we perform. Any visual obstructions will hinder our performance. For example, if you set up ensemble behind a line of bridal attendants, we will lose sight as the attendants file in. 

 

We read off of iPads (usually), so we may need to change the angle of our ensemble depending on the lighting (if there's a glare on the screen).

 

For safety reasons, please keep us away from walkways, thorough-fares, the bar, anywhere that guests will congregate, making sure to leave plenty of space. A guest who innocently tries to sneak in between us and another guest can knock into our instruments and cause irreparable damage. A stage is always recommended, especially for our larger ensembles. 

Arrival

We arrive approximately 1-1.5 hours prior to the ceremony, depending on your venue, the length of your prelude music, and our setup needs. 

Weather

Please review our weather policy (below), as this has information about tents, shade, and back-up performance areas.

Here are the requirements for each ensemble and service offering. Please make sure these items are ready upon our arrival (up to 2 hours prior to the ceremony), to avoid any delays. When we arrive, we have a lot to set up, so having in place makes all the difference! 

String quartet

Space requirements 8' x 8'

Number of armless, straight-backed chairs: 4

Electricity requirements: None

String quartet + Singer

Space requirements 8' x 12'

Number of armless, straight-backed chairs: 5

Electricity requirements: 1 power outlet, for backup 

String trio

Space requirements  8' x 6'

Number of armless, straight-backed chairs: 3

Electricity requirements: None

Acoustic duet (violin duet, violin/cello duet, violin/viola duet)

Space requirements  6' x 4'

Number of armless, straight-backed chairs: 2

Electricity requirements: None

Violin & Guitar Duet

Space requirements  8' x 6'

Number of armless, straight-backed chairs: 2

Electricity requirements: 1 power outlet, for backup 

Ceremony Sound

*This service requires a flat, solid, and dry surface for the microphone(s), microphone stand(s), cords, and speaker system. If the ground is wet, slippery, or muddy, we cannot safely provide this service. 

Electricity requirements: 1 power outlet, for backup. If the back-up power source is far away, please write to Ariana and indicate the extension cord length that we will need OR provide an extension cord for us. 

What we need to make sure your wedding is perfect

Cues

This is how we make it look easy! 

This information is for the person who will be cueing the musicians, like your venue coordinator or wedding planner, but it's important information you need to know for your rehearsal. 

 

If you are cueing the musicians, please introduce yourself to us PRIOR to prelude music to avoid interrupting the music that our couple has planned. The best time to meet us is 15 minutes prior to prelude music start. Please tell us where you'll be standing and how you'll get our attention.

 

We will perform continuous prelude music even if a ceremony is running late. If it's running more than 10 minutes behind, please update us, so we can plan accordingly. We'll try to pick songs that fit within the timeframe, so it's all seamless. 

Our ensemble will provide a ceremony cue card like this (below). Follow the instructions exactly. Giving a thumbs up and waiting for our response/music is key, especially over long distances. (Many people will wave their arms, instead, but this could be read as "Stop!" or "Watch out!" A head nod is hard to see over long distances and also can be misread. The thumbs up is old school, but exactly what works.) 

We will continue performing Prelude music until we see your signal. Please wait for us to finish wrapping up whichever song we're on, so everything is perfectly polished for the guests. 

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Weather

Beautiful music, no matter the forecast. 

We want you to receive the highest quality performance from our classically-trained professional musicians. Stringed instruments are very fragile and susceptible to irreparable damage from temperature fluctuations, humidity changes, and precipitation. If your event is held in conditions that are unsafe for the instruments, the ensemble will not be able to perform. For the protection of the players' livelihoods, we are unable to make exceptions to this policy. 

 

The ensemble is unable to perform in temperatures under 60 degrees or above 95 degrees Fahrenheit. If conditions are such that the ensemble players determine that it is dangerous to take out their instruments, the ensemble will not perform until such conditions are remedied. In this event, the contracted start and end times remain in effect. 

If you plan to have an outdoor event and we are unable to be outside with you, we can provide amplification and perform from an indoor location. This will keep our instruments safe and still provide your music. It is an additional cost and subject to availability, so please inquire with Ariana at least 72 hours prior to your wedding to add on this option. 

For outdoor performances, it is the responsibility of the couple to provide the ensemble’s protection from the elements and inclement weather as follows:

In case of rain, a tent or umbrella large enough to cover the ensemble must be provided to protect each member of the ensemble. If the protection provided is not adequate, the ensemble will not perform. 

If the temperature is over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, significant natural shade or a tent which covers the entire ensemble and their instruments must be provided. 

If the temperature is over 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the heat and/or humidity is affecting the instruments, the ensemble must be moved indoors to a temperature-controlled location in order to perform. 

If the temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the ensemble must be moved indoors to a temperature-controlled location in order to perform. 

If the couple opts for an outdoor event without providing protection from the elements,  the ensemble will not be able to perform. There are no refunds in this case. Please see our amplification options (bolded above) to see how we can help accommodate you. 

Requests

All the hits from 1645 to Today

Guests will often ask us if we can take their requests, so please let us know if you would like us to take requests. If we have it in our repertoire and under our fingers, we are happy to oblige. 

We want to bring your wedding vision to life. If a guest requests a song that doesn't fit with what you've expressed to us, we will ask them to get your permission prior to us playing it. If you'd prefer we simply decline instead, just let us know. 

Changes

We'll bend over backwards

Sometimes (especially since the pandemic), couples need to change the time of their event or even the location. Please remember that we are not a full-day vendor (like photographers, for example) and so we perform for multiple weddings per day. We need to leave plenty of time for travel (and traffic) and to be fair to all our couples. If your plans need to change, please contact Ariana immediately so we can accommodate you. We do our best to help, but please note that only the event details listed on your contract are officially covered. 

Food & Drink

Don't mind if I do!

Please provide water for your ensemble, especially if it's a hot summer day. We greatly appreciate it. 

Often, caterers and venue coordinators will invite us to have a bite (after the guests have left the cocktail hour). We will not eat during our performance, but will have water on hand.

 

We don't need a vendor meal for ceremony & cocktail hour bookings. For longer bookings (like ceremony through dinner), vendor meals are included. 

Gratuity

I only address this because so many of our couples and clients have asked :)

Tips are always welcomed, but never expected. Tips are divided equally amongst the players of the ensemble unless you indicate otherwise (Some couples give us individual envelopes, gift bags, gift cards, and write our names on them.) If you provide one envelope, please make it easily dividable per player. Example: If you've booked the string trio, a $150 tip is easily divisible by 3.) 

We leave directly after cocktail hour, so the best time to reach us is before the ceremony.