what to charge for violin soloist during wedding ceremony?
I don't know anyone who performs professionally, so I have no one to ask this question. What is common practice as far as fees charged to perform during a wedding ceremony?
Anything between $150 and $2000. Depending on how long, how special reportoire they want and how professional you are.
One violinist or a string quartet? Catholic mass or non-Catholic wedding? (masses are a lot longer) Wedding in the city where musician is based or at some quaint country locale a solid 30-minute drive from anywhere? Lots of variables here.
New York or Memphis?
It's for my niece in Phoenix and she is looking into having a soloist play traditional wedding music for an hour. She wanted to have an idea what range to expect to pay.
Whatever fee you charge, free refreshment should come with it on the occasion! Just make sure it's mentioned in the contract.
I think Trevor is joking but just in case any of the lurkers take that seriously...it's extremely unprofessional to even mention the possibility of eating when playing at a wedding reception. It doesn't matter how delicious the food looks, you're not a guest and the food is not for you. And of course there is no food at the actual ceremony.
When I played for a wedding I only played the E-major Gavotte and Gigue on the violin, then switched to viola for 4 movements from the E-flat. Didn't have the effrontery to charge!
Mary, if I am the one hosting the wedding and I hire a quartet to play for one hour, I'm totally inviting them to enjoy the food/lunch/dinner/cocktail, unless they are meant to be playing while we eat or have a little cocktail time before the actual dinner, in which case they physically couldn't eat while playing. Anyways I'd never let that happen cause if I hire a quartet I'd expect all my guests to pay attention to them, just like a concert, I'd hate so much if they become background music. Probably my solution would be that I'd divide that part of the ceremony in 2 acts: a concert for those music lovers, and far away a cocktail or something for people not interested in music and kids.
Mary, well not quite joking! There is a measure of truth in what I wrote, because some years ago I was the cellist in a small dance band that did paid gigs for dances in my region, which included the occasional wedding reception - not the marriage ceremony itself, so there is a clear distinction here. The band leader always insisted on sustenance for the band during the interval, when the dancers refreshed themselves. Of course, at the wedding receptions the food was on a distinctly higher plane!
Tim, while clients will indeed sometimes invite musicians to have a drink or eat something, it's not something that the musicians should expect (and they should certainly not do it unless explicitly invited to do so).
I would say that perhaps one out of 200 clients will invite the musician(s) to partake at the reception. I think I've been invited to do so twice.
And even then, you should really expect that the professional thing to do is to bring your own bottled water.
Hahaha, wow. May be I think this way because I'm also a musician and I'd feel like "one of them", but even then. I'm hosting a wedding with 120 guests, how wouldn't I invite to join the lunch or dinner 1 or 4 more that played for 40 minutes or so to us?
It looks like it could just be different customs in different parts of the world.
"Ms. Leong, if one comes from Juilliard and has attended to Master Classes by Vengerov and Perlman, I'm pretty sure he will charge substantially more than a violinist that is self taught."
It also depends on how that hour of playing is split up. Is part of it for the service and part for the reception or dinner? If so it will require the musician to be around for more than an hour. Around here you can get good musicians to leave home for $100 if they don't have to travel far. $100 an hour is fair - or it least it was 12 years ago, the last time I did it. IN ADDITION I WAS GIVEN A 20% TIP.
1/10th of the divorce lawyer's charges.
Hahahahaha, SPOT ON!
30 years ago when I was in the wedding gig market in suburban Maryland, I, as a high school student, was paid $30 a gig. We normally read through string quartet arrangements of Pachelbel Canon and the like. I hope kids can make more now!
$200 is very low for a string quartett. Mine does not play for less than 400, unless we want to participate and do it for free. And thats really the entry level, we are also only two professionals (not me).
$200 for a solo violinist, not a string quartet.
"Anything between $150 and $2000. "
Confirm first that the cake will be gluten free and the champagne real (I.e., imported from France)
Mary Ellen, that 200 were on Victors quartett he booked.
"... if I hire a quartet I'd expect all my guests to pay attention to them, just like a concert, I'd hate so much if they become background music.'
I've never had a solo violin gig, but I would guess that a reasonable fee for a soloist at a wedding for one hour of playing is $200-300 in most US localities. An accompanist costs extra but I would expect $150 an hour for them -- their job is not nearly as hard unless you are playing sonatas, which you're not.
"That's very nice, but also very unrealistic. People don't go to weddings to watch (usually) mediocre quartets reading through their gig books. They want to drink and socialize. Personally, if I knew the whole wedding party and guests were going to watch us like it were a concert, I'd stay home. NO quartet I know would want that. We just want to stay in the background, thank you very much.”
If you ever host a wedding reception, believe me, you're going to have a lot more to think about than whether the guests are chattering nearby the string quartet. Like whether your daughter is going to be truly happy with that penniless violinist she's marrying! LOL!! What are you doing to do? Scold the folks close-by? Withhold their drink tickets? One of the reasons people hire string quartets for weddings is because they seem "classy" and unlikely to offend anyone (for starters, no lyrics), and they're quiet enough to talk over (no sax, no drums). In other words, ideal background. If a violinist plays a solo as part of the actual wedding ceremony, that's a different matter, of course.
Also, a quartet playing any kind of reception gig (or in a restaurant, etc.) is not giving a "concert". They are playing background music, and that's normally expected to be light classical, showtunes, and other music that's easily sight-read. Most quartets maintain a gig book for this purpose.
Well, I don't like background music, at least when talking about classical music. If I want background music, I will put some ambient music through speakers.
Well, Tim, there's a flip side to that argument. One of the reasons classical music is considered "snobby" is because you can't just enjoy it while you're doing something else -- you have to be actively listening and silently polite while you absorb its intellectual content, etc. My suggestion, respectfully, is that if you ever do host a wedding reception, that you consider foremost what the couple and their guests would enjoy instead of using the happy occasion to assuage your own sensibilities.
In "another life" that ended 25 years ago, my piano trio (of that era) played annually for the graduation fete of the local community college (of which our pianist was Dean of Students). We would start out with what we called "garbarge" music and as the conservation of the diners got so loud as to almost overwhelm use we would launch into the Mendelssohn piano trios - playing them loudly enough to hear ourselves. The last time we actually played the two Mendelssohn trios was for actual recitals and we really had to work at containing our dynamics to Felix's intentions.
Paul, by "host" I mean that I'm the boss of the event, in other words, I'm the one getting married. Of course I wouldn't hire a string quartet if I'm the host (organizer) of someone else's wedding, unless asked to do so.
But we don't play Ravel or Beethoven in the background while people are talking. We have gig books of enjoyable arrangements of well known classical pieces that we play. Some people do listen to us and compliment us afterwards. We're not there to look snobby; we're there to play music that is pleasant and enjoyable. I do not understand this attitude of "formal concert or nothing" at all.
On my wedding I played later in the evening a couple of songs with my string quartett myself. A few irish fiddlers and well know medleys(I might have been a bit on the drunken side). It was fun for all.
@Mary Ellen Goree I agree about not eating unless invited to do so sometimes the caterers will charge the client extra if it hasn't been worked out in advance.I have played quartet wedding gigs where we've played the prelude, ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner aaaaand dancing and yeah dinner was worked out with the client. That is still rare and when you do get fed it's usually get it down fast and I hate eating in a rush. It's also not always the same food the guests are eating often it's sandwiches. I always have snacks or food in my gig bag and try to eat something just before the gig so I'm not running out of steam halfway through.
Maybe I come from a friendlier part of the USA because out of the loads of weddings I have played, by far the majority of them have offered me or my group dinner. One time they even sent us home with a couple of bottles of champagne each. I have also received some generous tips which were not expected but certainly appreciated. Regarding the original question, just ask. If it seems too high you could negotiate, or if it's below the $200-250 recommended price you could give him or her a tip to bring it up to this if you enjoyed the music, and probably make that person's day.
Once someone has experience at weddings and in a given market, I would advise against negotiations.
I think also sometimes we are offered things we're not expected to actually accept.
I agree with Scott 100% about negotiation (as in, don't). I have a fee; it is more than fair given my training and experience. Most people respect that.
And people who can't afford the fee can generally take the risk of hiring someone who charges less, usually because they're less experienced and/or not as good. (Honestly it doesn't take impressive chops to be able to get through typical wedding music; what you are partially paying for is the "knows what they're doing and won't screw up your wedding" factor.)
About tree fiddy.
"Honestly it doesn't take impressive chops to be able to get through typical wedding music; what you are partially paying for is the "knows what they're doing and won't screw up your wedding" factor."
I agree, it is a very special day for those people and part of the job is to understand that and react apropriate.
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