Frequently Asked Questions|
How early should we book?
Musicians get booked early! Normally, 6 months in advance is a good time to shoot for. However, we can usually do last minute bookings at no additional fee and still hold our standards for excellence.
How long should we contract you for?
Our minimum wedding engagement is for one hour, and more often than not, this covers the entire wedding ceremony.
We are having a dinner/cocktail hour followed by dinner. What are your rates for additional hours?
Our rates for additional hours are usually ½ off the first hour. So, a string trio might cost $600 for the 1st hour and $300 for the 2nd hour. Also, mileage fees and outdoor fees are assessed only once, so if this wedding were outdoors the total would be $930 for the two hours.
What if the ceremony lasts longer than expected?
If it's only a few minutes, it's generally not an issue. However, in cases where we have had to ask for overtime, our overtime rates are based on $100 per musician per hour, prorated by the half hour. Also, our musicians can't always guarantee that they can stay, since we do several weddings in a day. If you feel that the wedding might start late, it's best to contract us a little late as well.
Does you group play outdoors?
Yes, all the time! However, we must ensure that the instruments are not damaged from rain or extreme temperature. We also have a $10 outdoor fee for playing weddings from April 15th – Oct 15th. This is to help cover the costs associated with upkeep to our tuxedos and concert black attire in the Texas heat. If at all possible, we request to perform under a shaded area.
How do you determine mileage?
We compute mileage for weddings outside of Austin at $.40 per mile. Generally this comes to only $10-$25 per musician. Round Rock, Georgetown, Villa Antonia, Buda, Kyle, Kingsland, Dripping Springs, Horseshoe Bay, Marble Falls and Lago Vista all fall into this category.
We have a very formal wedding. What is your attire?
Men will wear black tuxedo, and women concert black dress.
What is the difference between a string quartet, trio and duo?
A string quartet is the flagship ensemble for weddings. However, to save money, a lot of brides decide to go with a string trio, which provides about 80% of the sound of a string quartet. A string duo generates only about 30% the sound of a quartet, because the arrangements can't make up for the loss of 4 part harmony with only 2 instruments. We strongly recommend going with at least a trio, or trumpet/string trio or duo, for outdoor weddings, because the string duo does not carry very well by itself.
I heard a trumpet at a wedding once, and loved it. But would a trumpet overpower the strings?
ABSOLUTELY NOT! Trumpet and string ensemble has been popular for hundreds of years, and there is tons of great music written for the combination. Click here for a sample. The contrast of the trumpet magnifies the impact of the music to the guests and also heightens the emotion of the bridal procession and the festiveness of the recessional/postlude.
Will the trumpet be too loud?
Trumpeters have an unfair reputation for playing too loud. This stems from the trumpet when it is used in marching band, or in jazz/rock bands. Classical trumpet is never overpowering and can be used in small venues.
We would like to add the trumpet but we're worried about our budget. Help!
A lot of brides decide to go with the trumpet/string trio option instead of the trumpet/string quartet. This gets you the trumpet and strings for only $100 more. To meet this demand, Lake Austin Strings has invested over $1000 in exclusive trumpet/string arrangements. A trumpet/string duo ensemble also works, but we recommend going w/ a trio if at all possible.
How many weddings have you performed in Austin?
What do you play in a ceremony?
Each ceremony generally has musical selections during the prelude, and individual selections for the Seatings of the Families, the Bridal Party Procession (or Bridesmaids'), the Bride's Procession, and for the recessional and postlude. We also can play a unity candle piece, if desired, or special music selection or hymn that is within our repertoire.
What is prelude music?
This is music that is played while the guests are being seated. It can last anywhere from 10-30 minutes, depending on how long the ceremony lasts. For instance, if you've determined that your wedding will last only 15 minutes beginning at 6 PM, you might want to contract us to play from 5:30-6:30. If your wedding is going to last 45 minutes, you might want to have a 5:50-6:50 contract.
My cousin or sibling wants to sing. Can you accompany?
Possibly. It really depends on the song, the key it's in, and the arrangement. If it's out of our repertoire, we will have to charge to have the music arranged for strings ($150 per song). If, though, you bring us a string quartet version of the music, we can usually play it. We like to add a rehearsal time of a half hour before the prelude begins, to make sure the music is okay.
We are having a Friday night rehearsal. Do you need to attend?
Not usually. We have done so many weddings that we only need to know a few details: the ceremony selections, the number of family seatings, the number of bridesmaids/flower girls/ring bearers, and what immediately precedes the recessional. The leader of the ensemble will also arrive a little before the contract begins to meet with the coordinator, and also to double check the wedding program. However, if you would like a representative to be there, the cost is $100.
Should we get a wedding coordinator?
Absolutely. Wedding coordinators are the unsung heroes of the wedding industry. They are there to ensure that your wedding flows smoothly so that you can enjoy your wedding day!
I was thinking about a piano, or classical guitar or harp. Do you guys do that also?
Yes, we book harp, piano and classical guitar, but cartage fees will likely apply if the musician must bring the harp or piano. Amplification may also be required. Please consult our rates page for more details.
How can I see your repertoire?
Our repertoire differs from ensemble to ensemble, but generally we can do most traditional works with any ensemble. Click here for a list of our repertoire.
We are having a Catholic ceremony. Is there an additional charge for this?
If it's a full Catholic mass, then the time (including prelude) will more than likely last more than hour. We like to contract Catholic masses for 1:15, which is an additional $25 per musician. However, if it is not a full service (I.E. no Communion or Mass), then we might be able to fit it in one hour.
I really want to have a song by Boccelli,Celine Dion, the Beatles, or other pop artist. Can you help?
This can be quite tough for a number of reasons. First, the venue might not be a member of ASCAP, which is required by law for us to perform any work written in the last hundred years or so. If they are a member, we would still need to determine if it could work for your desired ensemble. Something that works well is to have us hire a pianist to play the piano score, or to have us find a vocalist who can perform with a CD accompaniment. This actually can sound quite professional. It can sometimes be a let down to hear a string quartet reduction of your favorite song because you lose the percussion and sound mixing of the original CD!
Do you have suggestions for the wedding ceremony?
Absolutely. We like to customize each ceremony's selections to the ensemble and musical vision of the client.
Do the strings need amplification?
No. Even with outdoor weddings, the strings will carry just fine. The only concerns we've run into are if it's extraordinarily windy, or if a string duo is trying to play for a very large wedding.