Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Harp for a Wedding?

A harp at a wedding....what do you think?

As a professional harpist, of course I say have a harp at your wedding! I love the instrument and it adds a serious touch of class! :)

Here are some pro's and con's to having a harp at your wedding...maybe you can add a few more!

  1. It's a beautiful instrument
  2. It has a unique and romantic sound
  3. It adds a wonderful *wow* effect for your audience
  4. Live music has a special appeal
  5. Can be used indoor or outdoor
  1. It can be *expensive*
  2. The harp needs room for harp, bench & stand
  3. If an inexperienced musician is hired there could be *issues*
  4. If you are having a theme wedding that doesn't work with the nostalgia of the harp. For example, if you are having a *cowboy* wedding...a guitar, fiddle, or other country instrument would fit better!

Why would hiring a harpist be potentially expensive?
  • Training....a harpist spends some major time & money to learn to play the harp. Professional harpists need to practice daily...usually for 3hrs or more. When you are hiring a harpist, you are hiring them to practice for several hrs to make sure your event is as perfect as possible!
  • Instrument costs.....Harps range from $5,000 for a small lever harp to $20,000+ for the fancy concert harps. They need new strings every year or so, ranging from $75 (for the small harp) to $400+ (for the concert harp). Regular maintenance cost can range greatly with repairs, regulations, and other extra costs. Harp insurance and a vehicle large enough to haul the harp are not cheap on the harpist!
  • Wedding location....Outdoor weddings, usually, cost more than indoor weddings because of the added stress to the harp and harpist. Outdoor conditions can cause lost strings, mechanical issues, and tuning problems....not that this is a concern for the bride...the harpist will manage these issues, they will just charge a bit more to cover for them.
How can I keep costs down?

  • Have an indoor wedding
  • Keep the wedding ceremony simple with minimal vocal accompaniment (some harpists charge per song)
  • If having a smaller wedding, consider hiring a lever harpist...they are usually a bit cheaper with the harp cost and maintenance being lower. Keep in mind that the lever harp doesn't have the *wow* effect of the larger concert harp though.
  • Consider hiring the harpist for the reception too...most harpist offer a discount if hiring for both ceremony and reception!
  • Hire a harpist in your area to keep mileage fees low.

Not sure if you want a harpist? Then I would suggest you call your prospective harpist and ask to hear them play live. Most all harpists are more than happy to do this for a nominal fee...and may waive the fee if you do hire them for your event. By doing this, you can asses the skill of the harpist and look at the harp itself to see if it's design, look, and sound is what you are wanting. Nearly all experienced wedding harpists are very helpful with music selection and ideas to make your day special!


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