I’ve always loved string quartets. I’d appreciate listening to them and wished that there would be an occasion where I could gather a quartet to play for me. That said, I had intended to have a string quartet play at my reception all along — especially for the walk on the red carpet, it’s one of the things I look forward to.
How I approached the string quartet
I think you can find string quartets in Malaysia by just looking them up on Google.
Me? I used the existing contacts I have.
I approached an almost long lost childhood friend. He was involved in music earlier on in high school, had a band which consisted of the boys in the old neighborhood and played the role of the lead guitarist. Back then, when I needed guitar lessons I’d go over to his place. When we’re scheduled for auditions or shows throughout high school and college, we’d call each other for help — he’d play the guitar for me and I’d sing for him or the band.
(Man, I almost forgot all these happened until I’m writing this.)
Anyway. This childhood friend was a rebel. He was hesitant but enrolled in business school, then decided to leave and instead took a path that he believed that was right for him — to pursue music… to become a rockstar (this is what I heard). So he went to study music.
After that I moved and have seen less of him, but I learned that he took his studies seriously and instead of turning into a mad-skilled guitar player, he chose a more “classical” path and became a serious cello player, playing for orchestras and travelling while doing it. Now he’s involved in some gig, where he and his band plays rock music with cellos.
So as I said, I sought his help and he hooked me up with his mates, students from UITM’s Faculty of Music.
Dealing with the string quartet
Here’s how it went — after I approached them, I was given a song list. The songs consisted a mix of old and new. We’d agreed that the quartet will be playing when the bride and groom enters the reception hall and walks on the red carpet toward the pelamin and they will be playing a set during the dinner.
I had a song list prepared, but after several discussions, only one thing was properly confirmed… that I’d be walking toward the pelamin accompanied by Moon River, the song from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
(There were many songs I’d considered — I had them all bookmarked, but I decided to stick with the classic.)
More than a week before the reception, Mama and I drove to UITM to see the boys play after they’ve managed to arrange the songs.
We were hoping that they’d be present during the rehearsal, a few days before the reception, but we learned that most performers won’t rehearse until the day of the reception itself.
Cost of the quartet
Hiccups along the way
Childhood friend was supposed to lead the team, but just weeks before the reception he couldn’t make it and became the middleman between me and the string quartet, which was still cool.
Since our schedules were tight, we could only come up with an agreement and confirmation weeks before the reception, which meant that time was scarce.
The elders decided that instead of letting bride and groom walk to the pelamin with the song as per my itinerary, we should stop the music and stop walking midway to give room to bacaan selawat. This was decided a week before the reception… can you believe the hassle that we’d need to go through e.g. changing the arrangement of the song at the last minute? Thankfully the elders agreed to follow the initial plan toward the end — with the selawat being read only after the bride and groom have reached the pelamin.
Live on the day
I walked into the hall with my dashing husband with Moon River — the full song without any interruption midway woohoo. That’s all that matters.
Apart from that, the quartet played their own selection of songs which fit the theme for the banquet dinner and the cake-cutting ceremony.
I’m just happy I got my quartet hahaha.
Like everything else, plan ahead and know what you want. If you plan to get a string quartet for your event:
- Decide on the theme. Would you like it to be classical or temporary? Look up for string quartet covers of the songs you love on Youtube to have an idea of how it’ll be.
- Look up for string quartets based in Malaysia on Google, ask for the rates and the songs they can play.
- With the list that they’ve given, work out which songs you’d like for walking down the aisle and which you’d like for the dinner (usually 3-4 songs in a set). If the song you want isn’t on it, ask them how much it’d cost to get them to arrange the song for you.
- Discuss with your stakeholders earlier on the flow of the event which would involve the quartet e.g. will you stop your song midway for selawat, or do you walk all the way to the pelamin? This will influence the music arrangement.
- Have fun listening to the quartet!