Wedding Musician/ Harpist
One of the best things about my career is the diversity it affords. As I reflect on this past year, I realize that my work has varied greatly throughout. From releasing my debut CD, to solo shows, wedding ceremonies & receptions, to large and small ensembles, choirs & orchestras and everything else in-between I am always up to something. On top of all that, one cannot overlook all the business & marketing side that needs my attention too! Lately, my harp and I are out of the house about 3-5 times a week for performances and I am constantly working on new and exciting projects. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all there is to keep on top of, but in these moments of reflection I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be doing what I love.
This Saturday marks the end of this year’s wedding season and I would like to take the time to share with you some of my most memorable experiences from this year’s nuptials.
A highlight for me was working with so many fabulous couples. The pictures below are from one of my favourite weddings this year, mostly because of Angie, AN amazingly sweet bride who wedded her partner Adam at the Vancouver Art Gallery. This ended up being the perfect setting for a modern and exquisite couple.
Here is the lovely couple walking out:
This couple did a great job with their decor, they hired fabulous people and it was very cool to watch their guests move around in the unique space.
I also had many requests for songs to play on the harp this year. Here is a list of my Top 5 well-known favourites for a live wedding playlist:
1. Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis
2. Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles
3. What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
4. Just the Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra
5. Unchained Melody – Elvis
These are my top 5 favourite things about the weddings I play at:
1. When everyone is happy. Yes, it’s simple but true! It is so easy for me to see when people are happy and supportive and I love it when they are.
2. When, at the end of the aisle, the father hugs his daughter and then the groom. It is such a sweet moment.
3. When the couple has hired a supportive and experienced team of vendors. Every moment is seamless, effortless and executed the way it was planned.
4. When couples write their own vows. I know this is not everyone’s cup of tea but those are the ones that I love the most as they are so unique and special.
5. When the couple incorporates special details. This can be anything from a familial or cultural tradition, to lighting a candle to symbolize the presence of those who could not attend. These are the moments and touches that make the day unique and meaningful.
I started playing weddings at 13 years old and I believe I have played around 800 to date. As you can imagine, I now have quite a few stories as a result! So many celebrations have been incredibly beautiful and some have made last impressions for all kinds of reasons.
I have started a list of don’t’s which I am calling “Etiquette by Janelle.” Below are the first 10 and after that, I will be posting a new one to the list every Friday on my Facebook and Twitter. Each post will be accompanied by the hashtag: #EtiquettebyJanelle. These posts are meant to be entertaining, tongue-in-cheek and perhaps some readers will learn a valuable lesson or two and avoid any potential aftermath!
Here are the first 10 “Etiquette by Janelle” tips:
No 1. Always practice walking in your gown before the wedding day. You don’t want to look or feel uncomfortable.
No 2. If I am given a three page itinerary, just for myself when I show up, you’ve gone too far with the micro-managing.
No 3. If I am wearing my sunglasses outside, it’s because I need to see my strings and music. Don’t worry, it won’t effect anything!
No 4. If it rains, I absolutely cannot have my harp outside without adequate cover. And no, a tiny umbrella just won’t work.
No 5. Take the plastic off the flowers before you walk down the aisle.
No 6. The base of my harp is not a stool to elevate yourself to get a picture.
No 7. Do research on your vendors so you can have peace of mind and be sure that you can fully revel in your day without worrying.
No 8. Touching or testing out my harp is not ok just because I had to step away for two minutes.
No 9. My harp column is probably the worst place in the whole venue to put down your drink.
No 10. Last but not least, this day is a big one. Enjoy it!
Tune in to my social media to hear more tips from a Vancouver harpist!
Thank you for reading my blog!
All photographs on this blog post taken by: Thomasz Wagner.