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How long do we need a string quartet for if we just want music for the ceremony?

Booking a string quartet for your wedding is an exciting part of wedding planning. We aim to make it as easy as possible and are very transparent about our pricing to keep it simple. A question we sometimes get asked is, ‘How long do we need a string quartet for if we just want music for the ceremony?’


Our minimum booking time for a ceremony is 1.5 hours. Why you might ask, if you are having a civil ceremony which only lasts 20 minutes? Why can’t you just book us for 20 minutes?

There are a few reasons:

1. Relaxing Music

Firstly,we assume (hopefully rightly) that you would like us to play some nice, gentle, calming music for your guests and the groom during that period before the ceremony. From our experiences, guests start congregating in the ceremony room at least 20 minutes before the ceremony, so we like to be booked for 30 minutes before the ceremony so that we are set up and playing for any early-comers. We’ll usually arrive well before this so we’ve tuned, set up our stands etc in plenty of time. (We’ve once arrived at a wedding where the bride gave us the wrong start time of the ceremony and we had to get ourselves ready in front of a waiting audience – not ideal)

2. In case the timings don’t run strictly to plan

Secondly, sometimes, just sometimes, the bride and her family are late to the wedding. Surely not? But this does often happen, particularly during weddings where the bride was not staying at the venue the night before. If they are late, it’s usually down to traffic problems (that’s the official reason anyway – more likely last minute dress problems, getting all the bridal party together in one place for final photos etc etc) So this could set back the wedding start time.

3. To allow for longer ceremonies

Thirdly, we never really know how long a wedding ceremony will actually take. There are so many variables – number of readings, length of vows, etc. Even signing the register can take quite a while, and it would be awful for us to be sat clock watching as we have gone over our booking time.

4. To allow for lots of people to exit the room

Fourthly, we usually play music during the walking out of not only the new Mr and Mrs, but also the whole congregation. And this can take a while, particularly in a smaller room with a narrow entrance (think bottle-neck!)

Better to be safe..

So, we find that 1.5 hours is safest. If there is any time left over after that, we will always continue and play for a bit during the reception drinks (extra bonus!), unless you don’t want us to of course!

How long do we need a string quartet for if we just want music for the ceremony?
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