As a professional wedding music contractor and an expertly trained violinist, I am intimately involved in the business of hiring string quartets to play for couples’ weddings. My company, Maestro Musicians, services greater Boston and New England. We send only the most talented and well-trained musicians to represent us.
To most brides and grooms, particularly in these trying times, one of the most important factors in choosing a wedding ensemble is the price. In my experience, many wish to economize on the ceremony music and in my humble opinion, don’t quite understand the value of what they are paying for. I wish to speak to you, my audience, from the perspective of a working musician.
According to www.costofwedding.com, which compiles statistics from The Wedding Report, Inc., a wedding party currently spends $494-$824 for a musician, soloist, or ensemble in my area of Boston. Furthermore, the same webpage stipulates that “you should expect to pay, on average, between $989-$1318 when choosing well-experienced professionals.”
I can hear you thinking now…”One-thousand dollars you say??!! What?! Just so the musicians can play for my ceremony and/or cocktail hour??” (Classical musicians don’t usually play dinner music, since most parties wish to dance to live bands or DJ’s. Waltzes, anyone?)
As promised, I’d like to set the record straight. The average wedding ensemble in Boston probably doesn’t play more than 35 weddings per year (and that’s a high estimate). With four people in a string quartet, each player makes no more than roughly $125-$200 per wedding. That’s around $7,000 per year, MAX. Sure, it’s a nice supplement to one’s income, but there’s more. Most classical musicians are already barely making ends meet to begin with – particularly in expensive cities like Boston and New York.
These musicians have trained for decades – literally! Most started playing when they were 5 or 6. Most of our musicians have graduate degrees (some even have doctoral training!). Remember, these highly talented and expertly trained individuals need to put food on the table too – particularly if they have families to feed! So, you’re paying for much more than an hour of music. You’re actually paying for years and years of hard work – most musicians having had to put in 4-5 hours per day of practice throughout their training.
So, when you do shop around and get quotes, remember that you are getting so much more than what appears on the surface. You are getting the BEST musicians to play for the unique time in your life that will never happen again. You are getting performers who have literally slaved away for years to bring joy, happiness, and beauty to you so that your wedding day will be one of the most memorable times of your life.
Thinking about hiring students to save money? Remember, you DO get what you pay for. Aside from the obvious difference in education, students are not organized the way the professionals are. Remember, when your livelihood depends on something, you are much more likely to take it seriously. For that reason alone, you are in better hands with trusted professionals who have the experience necessary for the job.
So, don’t economize on wedding musicians! In our opinion, you’ll discover that it is the string quartet or musical ensemble that will virtually set the ENTIRE ambiance and mood of your wedding ceremony.
Good luck in your quest for quality music!
Daniel Broniatowski, D.M.A.
Wedding music contractor and Artistic Director