My Last Wedding of the Season, A San Diego Guitarist Wedding Blog

October means two things to me as a guitarist. First, believe it or not October is usually my busiest month for weddings.  A fitting punctuation as it is also the ‘end’ of the ‘wedding season.’

Although I play weddings year round April through October are the  months I am busiest performing for couple’s big day. I am still not sure why October is the busiest, but it is! And yes, I have even done Halloween Weddings, and no, they were not holiday themed…just regular ol’ weddings!

With October coming to a close, this past weekend marked the end of my wedding season. I played a new venue, to me, and one I thought was really cool! It is called LevyLand. The venue is just a house, like a typical summer rental, in Carlsbad, CA. But just a house does not do it justice. It is a really nice house in a really nice area near the beach in the San Diego area, with a great garden for hosting events, such as, weddings.

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A great wedding, great people…a great way to end my 2012 wedding season. This was also special because the bride was a former student of mine. I am always honored when former students and clients keep me in mind for their music needs.

Best to K n R! Thanks for having me out to play for you!

Now time to gear up for Holiday Events, student recordings, a few weddings and whatever music comes my way until 2013 wedding season!

Click for previous wedding posts.

Met some great vendors as well:

Affairs by Amy

Ramon at Ranch Events

Reverend Ron

It Takes a Village…?

…At least that is what they say. Anyway, I am always happy and proud to share support (links or ?) of others who are passionate about their craft!

Here are a few folks who have linked or promoted my website and now its my chance to pay it forward. Thanks everyone!!

Been having fun chatting regularly with a few fellow music bloggers. Mixolydianblog for all things music focusing on composition, ethnomusicology and of course a love of the GUITAR! Heavy Metal Overload   A great read for all types of music, as well as, Heavy Metal. Last but not least Zombiemisntrel another comprehensive music blog also leaning towards rock and metal!

A wedding photographer from the Philippines shared my blog post  Ten Tips for Planning Wedding Music

An arts magazine called Yareah shared my blog Dodecaphonic Sudoku

Right to Bitch a new blog to me, shared John Bonham 32 Years Missed Check out his blog regarding Bonham’s influence on him as a young drummer. Funny guy!

A local San Diego photographer Nathan Petty …thanks for keeping in touch!

Sharing is caring! If I missed anyone feel free to remind me…I’m always glad to network with like minded people out there working hard at their creative endeavors!

Mike

The Elusive Daring, Crazy, Adventurous Wedding Ceremony- A San Diego Wedding Guiarist Blog

I have been playing guitar for weddings for a long time. I have played a lot of traditional weddings and quite a few unique ones. I’ve played everything from Here Comes the Bride to Metallica. However, I am a little shocked that I haven’t had the opportunity to play a down right crazy wedding yet.

You always hear about couples getting married in ‘odd’ places; football games, NASCAR events, scuba diving, hot air balloons, etc., you get the idea. There are lots of people who just like to be different…really different. 20 plus years of playing guitar for weddings I am yet to play one of these unique ceremonies.

I’ve always pictured an adventurous couple where the bride and groom enter on zip lines or repel down the side of a building and I get to play something like the theme from Mission Impossible. Maybe even on electric guitar with effects.

I did play “Wipeout,” for one of my good friend’s wedding, an avid surfer, as he and the guys walked up to the altar. It was a quick and fitting entrance but just a quick playful joke. Kind of like when the groomsman all pretend they’ve lost the wedding rings.

I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I enjoy playing all types of weddings. I really do! Each one is different, challenging and fun to play.

That said…This is an open invitation for any of you daring, crazy, adventurous couples to hire a guitarist who is on board with you! I would love to have just one wedding where all bets are off. Scuba dive(I am certified), a flash mob, a “Punked” moment for your guests, your call! The crazier the better(although legal is a good idea)! We can collaborate and choreograph the music to fit your idea!

I am Not a Wedding Singer!- A San Diego Wedding Guitarist Blog

Adam Sandler’s movie, “The Wedding Singer,” was hilarious. It followed Robbie Hart a disgruntled musician whose dream of becoming a rock star falls through and he ends up singing at weddings. He became a burned out, bitter, resentful musician, who had to play weddings. He had to play the part of the ‘Wedding Singer’ to entertain the crowds, young and old and all in between.

Thankfully, my career is much different!! Everyday I wake up and have a chance to share music with others it’s a great day, whether it’s a wedding, a corporate event, a concert, a class, a rehearsal, etc. I am truly fortunate to be a working musician. Honestly, I don’t even do the same ‘job’ as Sandler’s character. I usually play the ceremony, cocktail hour and receptions when folks don’t want the over the top wedding band or DJ. The Wedding Singer was definitely over the top!

There is one similarity between me and the character, however, I thought I was going to be a rock star too. Once I heard Eddie Van Halen when I was a kid that was it, I knew what I wanted to do. My musical path since has followed the saying, “Life is what happens while you are making other plans.”

Somewhere down the line I realized that I REALLY wanted to be a musician first and rock star second. Then I realized I wanted to be a musician first, make a living in my field and be a rock star 3rd. Not til I got older I realized, I just always wanted to be a musician. Rock music will always be a part of who I am but not what I am. Having studied classical, jazz and world music among other disciplines in college I get to work in any style I want and get the same energy I did as a kid trying to be the next guitar hero.

There are some of my old friends who are still living the rock star dream. They tour the world, hang out with famous musicians we grew up idolizing and have tons of  fans following them on Facebook and MySpace. More power to them! I love to hear their stories when we get together. Funny thing is they love to hear about what I am doing too!

Everyday, I get to do some combination of play, perform, teach, compose, listen to, write about, record, study, absorb, eat, drink and sleep music! I get to make a living in a tough field in my native San Diego. Life is good!

Click here for more info on planning your wedding music. Let me know if I can help you in any way.

Ten Tips for Planning Wedding Music

Mike Slayen ~ Guitarist

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.

View original post 768 more words

Here Comes the Bride, A San Diego Wedding Guitarist Blog-Bride’s Procession

One of the first things people ask me when they find out I play guitar for weddings is, “Do you get tired of playing, ‘Here Comes the Bride’?”

My answer is NO! I enjoy playing for all of my clients big day. Each wedding is different and has it’s own energy. It is important to make the atmosphere of the event special for each couple and their guests. Second, I really don’t play it as often as one might think.

To some the “Bridal Chorus,” Here Comes the Bride’s, real title, has become cliché or cartoon-ish due to having been placed  in so much media over the years; movies, commercials, cartoons, etc. It also has the feel of ‘My parents wedding march’ to many of my clients.

The irony is that I have handfuls of clients who say NO WAY to the traditional marches and a handful of those who wouldn’t have it any other way. There is no right or wrong, it is each couples decision.

That said there are a few popular alternatives that have trended over the years. Some are short lived trendy and some have become the new traditional, like Pachelbel’s, “Canon in D.” Without doubt the Canon is the most popular piece I play for the Bridal procession. It is classy and timeless but has a more modern feel than the “Bridal Chorus.” “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” by J.S. Bach and Handel’s, “Harmonious Blacksmith,” are two other in demand classical pieces that I am often asked to play.

Then there are the non-traditional options, for those who want their wedding to display something uniquely them. I have played Metallica, Journey, Gypsy Kings, Enya, George Harrison, The Beatles to name a few. There are also trends that are born from mass media, like when the big wedding episode of “Friends,” the 90’s sitcom, used Eric Clapton’s, “Wonderful Tonight.” I played that one quite a bit back then, although I think that song always makes a great procession.

The idea of a piece becoming trendy is not really a new idea to these times. ‘Here Comes the Bride,’ as I mentioned, is really entitled, “Bridal Chorus,” and was adapted from Wagner’s opera, “Lohengrin.” It only became traditional due to its extended trendiness.

So there it is a post about Bridal March music. Hope this helps you pick your music whether you like traditional, semi-traditional or something unique. I am always glad to go over options and ideas with my clients to help them if they don’t already have a clear idea of the music they want.

To see other wedding music posts.

If you need a guitarist or info for your wedding music please check out my Wedding Center.

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.

* * *

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!

* * *

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