Archive for the ‘Weddings’ Category

Outdoor events in the Pacific Northwest: do you have a ‘Plan B?”

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Above is a picture of one of our awesome cellists, Heather, at a beautiful outdoor wedding in the Columbia River Gorge, where the scenery is absolutely stunning.

Unfortunately, the ambience of said wedding was totally ruined for all by fast winds and  100-degree heat.  The wind blew our music off the stands, in spite of all of the measures we took to secure it.  Several times, the stands almost blew over completely, and blew our bows off of our instruments, causing us to have to stop playing during the processional of the wedding party!  Eventually, Heather found some big rocks off to the side of where we were playing, which she hauled over, so we could secure everything further.  Still, a stressful situation all around.

While outdoor weddings in the summer are ubiquitous and usually lovely,  there are several factors that some coordinators, clients, and a frightening number of vendors do not consider, like the following:

Do you have a “Plan B” for inclement weather?

It is amazing to me how many outdoor events we have played in the late summer where clients do not have a backup plan if it rains (or is 100 degrees, with fierce winds).  Come on, people!  Its the Pacific Northwest – in August!  It could rain at any time, OR it could be ridiculously hot.   Do you really want your guests to sit and drown/burn in an uncovered area?  I doubt it.  But I have seen it time and time again, where guests and vendors alike are all crammed like sardines under a big tree, ducking out of rainstorms…or Aunt Edna and Uncle Fred have both fainted from having to sit in the intense, 100-degree sun.  Tell me, who is really concentrating on the wedding and the couple in these conditions?

At this wedding, there was no outlet for amplification, so with the wind blowing so hard, nobody could hear the officiant except for the couple.  This may have been ok, if there was not a lot of audience interaction planned into the ceremony, with readings, and the like.  The candle lighting was a total bust, but did (thank god) provide some comic relief for the wedding party and audience.  Most of the beautiful flower arrangements had their petals blown off, and some flowers on stands blew over.  As the officiant went on with whatever he was saying for nearly 30 minutes, the guests were all baking in the intense sun, or being blown about by the wind.  Not one of them looked like they were paying any attention.  I thought to myself, “all of this preparation, and for what?”  It was visually beautiful, but I could tell the bride and groom were also distracted.  Later, the bride told me she didn’t remember anything but worrying about her dress being blown off.  That’s so sad!

In the end, this couple sacrificed a few things for a spectacular view of the Gorge.   I have played at this venue every August for years and have come to expect this!  So I’ve decided that this will be the last year that I will agree to play outdoors there.  It is a shame, as it could all be prevented.  The moral of the story is: when planning your outdoor wedding in the great Northwest, it is important to have a ‘Plan B’ in case of severe weather!  Hopefully your venue has a space where you could move things indoors.  If not, consider having large enough canopies to fit everyone under, or at least put the guests in a shaded area.  If this is not a possibility,  provide parasols and umbrellas for people.  It is thoughtful and will help to keep everyone’s attention on the wedding, not on the weather.

Combining musical genres for Kim’s and Colleen’s Commitment Ceremony

Monday, July 5th, 2010

This past weekend we were delighted to perform at the Commitment Ceremony of the lovely Kim and Colleen.  Saturday was the lone sunny, beautiful, mostly wind-less day all week – a perfect day for an outdoor wedding at the gorgeous Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Southeast Portland.

Kim and Colleen chose the “Wedding Ceremony Deluxe” package (see our packages here: The ensemble they chose to perform for their ceremony was string quartet, trumpet, and tenor.  As we worked with the couple on the musical details for their ceremony, we discovered that Kim’s musical style is more contemporary, and Colleen preferred more traditional music.   We suggested they use a mix of classical and contemporary music to be performed before, during, and after the ceremony.

The highlight was the recessional music:  a custom-made arrangement of “All You Need Is Love”  by the Beatles, performed as it was in the wedding scene from the movie “Love Actually.” Our amazing arranger, Evan Kuhlmann (who is a member of the Oregon Symphony, and holds composition and performance degrees from The Juilliard School), wrote a beautiful arrangement!  Micah Wilkinson (trumpet, Oregon Symphony) and the amazing tenor Stephen Marc Beaudoin played and sang their hearts out, accompanied by the MCP strings.  There was not a dry eye in the house!

As the owner of the Melegari Chamber Players, it is very important to me to work with the musicians of this very high caliber, who have passion for performing, and are the most seasoned, experienced, and professional musicians out there.

Kim’s and Colleen’s other musical selections included:

Schubert’s “Ave Maria” for string quartet – seating of the mothers

Handel’s “Hornpipe” from the Watermusik Suite for string quartet and trumpet – Wedding Party processional

The Beatles – “She Loves You” – Kim’s processional

Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary” for string quartet and trumpet – Colleen’s processional

Queen – “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” for string quartet – Ring Warming Ceremony (rings were passed around for each guest to hold and send their love through!”

The Beatles- “All You Need Is Love” for trumpet, string quartet, and tenor – Recessional

Selections performed during the prelude and postlude: Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” The Police – “Every Breath You Take,”  The Beatles “Blackbird,” and “Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This” by Annie Lennox and the Eurythmics. All of these are arrangements for string quartet.

Best wishes and many thanks to the beautiful brides! I hope someday the State of Oregon will wake up and recognize their commitment as well.

A Wedding on Parrett Mountain, OR

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Couple: Angelique and Phillip

Ensemble: Melegari Chamber Players- String Quartet

Musicians:  Paloma Griffin, Gregory Ewer, violins, Justin Kagan, cello.  Not pictured: Matthew Faust, viola

Wedding Coordinator: Sorella Events,

Photography: Nataliya Sostin,

Photos: Nataliya Sostin,

Live vs. Canned music for your wedding ceremony

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Obviously I am biased, but nothing sets the romantic tone of a wedding celebration like live music.

Live music is crucial to a perfectly timed ceremony.  A human being is in charge of matching the exact pacing and timing of the ceremony itself.  This way, nothing moves too quickly or slowly, and the musical details you spent planning so carefully happen as planned.  It is always unfortunate when the timing of a wedding ceremony is thrown off due to a recorded music mishap, like a glitch in the CD, or Uncle Ed forgetting to turn the CD to the next track.  Not to mention, professional musicians are experienced at recovering unforseen moments (like tripping bridesmaids, moms passing out, etc) and know how to keep the ceremony moving as planned.

It is nice to have the ensemble that is playing for the ceremony carry the romantic, elegant vibe into the cocktail hour and even dinner, though a CD does a good job of taking a backseat to conversation during these parts of the wedding celebration.

Once you launch into your reception, a live band  gives a personal feel for events like the newlywed’s first dance, the mother and son dance, etc.. No recording can match the way a live band brings energy to the dance floor!

With live music, every wedding is as unique as its Bride and Groom.


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