Looking for an Adventurous Wedding in 2013, But Maybe Not Quite Like This

I still haven’t had anyone book me to play guitar for their Elusive Daring Crazy Adventurous Wedding I wrote about last year. Maybe 2013 will be the end of my wait.

You know the type of wedding I am talking about? The ones you see at the end of the news every now and then… A couple gets married on a zip line, under water or in a hot air balloon.

I used to work for a hot air balloon company back in my college days. They really aren’t that adventurous. You take off, float over a scenic landscape, watch the sunset, drink champagne, land and head out to your dinner, etc. It really happens that way 99.9% of the time. Actually a cool way to start off a marriage. But, this wedding………….not so much!

Wedding Interrupted by Hot Air Balloon Crash

Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt as this high-flying wedding ceremony was abruptly brought to an end in a San Diego neighborhood.

This story aside, I am not deterred in my quest to play your wedding with a twist. If you have an idea let me know and we can set it up!

Tough Day at the Office: Musings of a San Diego Guitarist –July/August Weddings

It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged about my wedding performances so here is a combined effort from the last four. Each was unique and as always great people to play for! Congrats and best to you all!

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One of the cool things about teaching and performing so long in San Diego is building up a clientele which become more like friends. Here’s a brief back story behind a recent July wedding…

I had been teaching a student for a few years when her uncle got married and they asked my guitar duo to play for the wedding which we did. A year or so later this super sweet guitar student of mine passed away. With a heavy heart I played for her memorial. This recent July wedding was another chance to play for the family…I’m always honored to play multiple events for my clients!

This wedding was also unique as I got to perform with two outstanding singers. One was an opera singer and the sister of my previously mentioned student and the other a family friend who sings musical theater. It was a pleasure to work with them both and their contrasting styles and talents.

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So I got an email in July asking if I was available to play a wedding…koto, violin and guitar.  First thing I thought was “that sounds interesting” and immediately jumped on the chance to play with some new musicians and a unique ensemble. Plus I always enjoy playing at Loews Coronado resort one of San Diego’s incredible wedding venues.

If you don’t know, the koto is a Japanese instrument kind of like a harp that lays flat. The sound is truly amazing and I found myself listening attentively during our performance.

We played a mix of typical classical wedding pieces, as well as, western pop for the cocktail hour. Personally I would have loved to play some traditional Japanese music to bring out the koto’s personality.   No rehearsals and it went great! I look forward to playing with this ensemble again.

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Looking for a great wedding venue in San Diego? Recently, I found an amazing somewhat unknown spot in Balboa Park’s Administrative Courtyard. The venue is really beautiful, located in Balboa park and has views of the downtown skyline, Coronado and other parts of Balboa Park. In addition to all these attributes the courtyard is located on the east side of Park Blvd. which makes for easy access and parking not afforded at some of the Park’s more popular locations.

Great couple too! Good luck to you both on your move across the country!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Seagrove Park in Del Mar is always a great wedding venue and with temps around the county reaching the high 90’s and 100’s I was really looking forward to playing atop the bluffs overlooking the Pacific! …then cocktails at the Del Mar Hilton adjacent to the Del Mar Racetrack/Fairgrounds.

The couple had some special requests for their ceremony music. I learned “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel and Andrea Bocelli’s, “Con Te Partiro” or in English “Time to Say Goodbye” which will definitely be added to my wedding repertoire.

Booking this wedding was a little different as I did not work with the bride and groom at all. I was contracted through a New York DJ and party planner who I hope to work with again…maybe in the Big Apple next time! Thanks Martin!

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Coincidentally, two of these events I got to work with the good folks at GD Productions. It is amazing to be playing guitar for so long in San Diego and then back to back weekends work with the same vendor who I had never worked with before…check them out for all your party needs!

Well that’s it in a nutshell …the last month of guitar and weddings in Sunny San Diego.

Click here for previous wedding posts!

Ten Tips ~ Planning Wedding Music

Having played weddings in San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, Palm Springs area and throughout Southern California for 20 years I’ve learned so much. This post is a chance to share some of this info with you!

Here are ten tips to help you plan your wedding music to the fullest. Feel free to share this page with your wedding planners, friends and family.

-These tips are not in any particular order except #10 may be the most important!

-Not all these tips may apply to your specific plans but some of them definitely will.

If you have any questions I would be glad to help!

1) Ceremony Events.

Although all weddings are different most have some semblance of the following events requiring music; pre-music as guests are being seated, seating of parents, bridal party and couples recession. Often music is needed for an interlude; a prayer or sand/candle ceremony, etc.

2) Have a trusted friend or relative be your musical liaison.

This person can keep the musicians informed on a variety of items including time line issues/changes that arise and cue them as ceremony events unfold. Sometimes wedding coordinators will take charge but discuss with them first they are often multi-multi tasking to make your event perfect.

3) Protect your musicians from harsh elements.

Direct sunlight, rain, standing water (wet grass), etc., can effect the sound adversely, be uncomfortable and even dangerous. If you don’t pick your musicians location carefully they might have to move to a less desirable location to avoid problems.

4) Availability of electricity.

Guitarists need amplification. Make sure there is a power source near the location you place the musicians, if there is no power other arrangements can be made. I have battery powered equipment that works great for outdoor events like La Jolla or Del Mar bluff side weddings overlooking the Pacific.

5) Placement

Ideally you want your musicians in an area where they can see the ceremony participants when they are ready to walk or have a person (your music liaison) to cue them who can see. It’s also nice to see the front so they know when you are done walking and end the music accordingly (remember your guest will most likely be standing up at this time.) Place musicians far enough out so they are not in the way of your wedding party. See #3 & #4, as well.

6) Provide ceremony details.

Let your musicians know how many parents are being seated, bridesmaids are walking, who is the last person of each group (i.e., the flower girls will be the last to walk down before the bride.) These are things your music liaison can pass along before the ceremony.

7) Do you have a favorite part of the piece you plan to walk down the aisle?

If you love the fast part of the Pachelbel Canon make sure your musician knows to play that part. The average bridal walk time is less than one minute and it may take the music a few minutes to get to your favorite part. Unless your musician knows to arrange the piece accordingly you may not get your desired musical phrase included.

8) How/where people congregate.

I’ve played so many outdoor weddings. There is a phenomenon I’ve noticed regarding guests taking their seats…’They will wait until the absolute last minute to take their seat!’ Can’t really blame them. It is often sunny and hot so they are going to line up in the shade usually away from the ceremony site. If you have cocktails or refreshments before they will tend to hang out there.

Why is this important regarding the music? Oftentimes I am playing to empty seats and guests can’t hear the music.

Two suggestions; set up any type of ‘hangouts’ near enough to the ceremony site so guests can hear the music and have someone make an announcement for guests to be seated when YOU want so you don’t have to wait for them when you are ready to go!

9) Know what is going on at your location on your big day!

I was to play elegant classical music for a particular outdoor reception. Unfortunately, the venue had a restaurant right next door and had hired a full band to play. There was no way to compete with the volume. I had to move indoors and the guests stayed outside near the bar. So make sure you know what other events might also be held at the same location and that the venue knows your intention. They would not have hired a band if they knew that the wedding had already planned something outside.

9) Communication!!

Ask questions! Talk to your musicians, coordinator and venue staff to make sure everything flows smooth as possible. The more everyone is on the same page the better. I always try to talk with them, as well, to gain insights into the plans.

10) Enjoy!

Take a deep breath and soak everything in for memories that will last forever. I can’t tell you how many times the bride has told me, “Everyone said the music was beautiful, but I didn’t really even hear it!”

Remember you can’t micro manage everything! But knowledge is power and if any of these items personally strike you hopefully this post empowers you to make the best choices for YOUR music.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

To submit an inquiry form click here

Hope these tips are helpful and I hope to play for you soon!

Mike

Wedding Venues

My original thought with this page was to list all the venues I have played over the years. After quickly coming up with a whole lot of venues off the top of my head, I realized that it would be an extremely long list and not really necessary.

What is important is that having played so many venues I’ve learned how  how to take care of all the little things needed for performance whether or not I have played at a particular site.  My experience  makes things easier for everyone involved; wedding coordinators, venue staff, myself and most importantly…YOU, to make your day special and easier on you…in essence the music will be one less thing to worry about!

Regardless, I thought it would be fun to post the original list of venues I came up with. The list is certainly not all , but a representative of wedding venues I’ve performed at throughout Southern California; San Diego to Santa Barbara, Coronado to Temecula, La Jolla to Palm Springs. ..

For those of you still looking for a wedding site perhaps this list can help give you some ideas.

Balboa Park-

-Japanese Friendship Gardens

-Prado (Rest. & Wedding Bowl)

-Museum of Man

-Café del Rey Moro

Bayfront Hilton

The Beach House

Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Calumet Park

Coronado Beach (on the sand)

Coronado Cays

Coronado Golf Course Clubhouse

Darlington House

El Camino Country Club

El Cortez Hotel

Embarcadero Park

Estancia Hotel

Fairbanks Ranch Country Club

Four Seasons Aviara

Georges at the Cove

Grand Del Mar Resort

Heritage Park

Hornblower Cruises

Hotel Del Coronado overlooking Coronado Bridge
Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel del Coronado

L’ Auberge Hotel Del Mar

La Costa Resort & Spa

La Jolla Cove Bridge Club

La Valencia Hotel

Levyland

Loews Coronado Bay Resort

Manchester Grand Hyatt

Martin Johnson House

Mission Hills CC-Rancho Mirage

Museum of Contemporary Art-La Jolla

Navy- Admiral Kidd Club

Navy- Submarine Base

Orfila Vineyards &Winery

Palm Desert Visitor Center

Ponte Winery-Temecula

Powerhouse Community Center

Paradise Point Resort

Presidio Park

Rancho Bernardo Inn

Rancho Bernardo Winery

Rancho Valencia

Rose Creek Cottage

San Diego Convention Center

Santaluz
Santaluz

Santaluz Clubhouses

Seagrove Park

Soledad Club

Summers Past Farms

Thursday Club

UCSD Faculty Club

Wedding Bowl -Cuvier Park

Wedding Bowl at Cuvier Park
Wedding Bowl at Cuvier Park