Classical music guide for brides

Your Book Live Music guide to hiring Classical Music.

Which string quartet should I book, where can I find a wedding harpist, how much does an opera singer cost and our complete guide on how to hire classical music for your event.

Classical Music Guide

Which classical music should I book?

Perfect for the wedding ceremony, during the drinks reception or over dinner, classical music is still one of the most popular music genres to have for any special event. It’s sophisticated elegance adds a note of formality to the occasion whilst maintaining a warm musical backdrop that exudes class. Here are a few pointers to what is best for each event from our portfolio:

Classical String Quartets:

Usually comprising of 2 x violins, a cello and a viola, a string quartet plays much more than classical music. Today ensembles perform a huge range of music from light classical to jazz, show tunes and even some modern chart hits. You may even have been at a reception and heard a version of Wonderwall by Oasis pierce through the chitter chatter. It’s elevating, fun and really sets the tone for your event. A string quartet is ideal entertainment for the wedding service, ceremony, drinks reception and during dinner.

When you hire a classical string quartet with Book Live, you’ll have plenty of input into the music performed on the day or you can simply leave it to them – string quartets usually know what is well received.

One of our most popular classical string quartets is:
Viva Strings:

Viva Strings Classical String Quartet


A harpist is such a stylish addition to an event. The long lines of the harp and light, music is such a subtle and sophisticated way to entertain your guests. The repertoire is similar to a string ensemble but the harp is quieter and may demand special focus for larger events. If you are expecting more than 100 guests in a large venue we would recommend adding a PA [sound equipment] to amplify the harp or it may not be heard so well. A harpist is ideal entertainment for the wedding service, ceremony and possibly the drinks reception and during dinner with amplification.One of our most popular harpists is:

Harpist London

Classical Duos:

A classical duo may be perfect for smaller venues and budgets. They perform beautiful music and are available in many different formats:

  • Violin and cello
  • Flute and cello
  • Flute and harp
  • Piano and flute
  • Piano and harp

A classical duo is ideal entertainemnt for the wedding service, ceremony, drinks reception and during dinner with amplification. One of our most popular classical duos is:
Gemini Flute & Cello Duo:

Classical Duo

Opera Singers:

With the popularity of Katherine Jenkins, Alfie Bowes, Andrea Bocelli and others, an opera singer is a stunning option which most people use as a highlight to a very special occasion. Many people also like to have an opera singer for their wedding service as a powerful and romantic centrepiece to their special day. An opera singer can sing without any sound equipment although we recommend having one so they can play backing music for a truly memorable experience. An opera singer is ideal entertainment for the wedding service, ceremonyor as a feature during dinner. One of our most popular harpists is:
London Soprano:

London Soprano

How much does classical music cost to hire?

Fees vary considerably although classical music is still one of the best value musical options for weddings and celebrations. Book Live has negotiated the best fees for all of the artists we represent. Opera singers cost from £400 for up to 5 songs, harpists start from £250, string quartets pricing starts from £500 and these will both perform 2 hours of music with short breaks.

£250-£350: This price range includes harpists, classical solos and duos for a typical performance of up to 2 hours of music. Sound equipment or travel expenses is not included. Examples include:

Gemini Flute & Cello Duo
London based elegant flute and cello duo performing beautiful music for weddings, parties and corporate entertainment.

Harpist Magdalena
Magdalena is an experienced harpist and provides beautiful harp music available to hire in London, the South coast and throughout the UK.

£350-£600: This price range covers most classical ensembles in the UK. These fees have historically been the usual cost to hire a string trio or classical string quartet for up to hours. Examples include:

Cheshire Strings
Cheshire based. Bright and sophisticated ensemble available as a duo, trio or quartet for weddings, receptions and events.

Jubilee Strings
Highly experienced string ensemble available to hire as a duo, trio or classical string quartet. Perfect for the wedding service, the wedding breakfast as well as private and corporate events.

What is included in the price?

The fee covers a typical performance for 2 or 3 x sets depending on your requirements. It also covers all their insurances. String ensembles usually only need around 15 minutes to set up prior to performance. Expect to pay extra for an early set up / a late finish, significant travel expenses plus any additional sets or musicians. All enquiries made with Book Live will include the total cost for the performance as long as we know all the information about your event.

What does a classical music artist need to perform?

The requirements are usually much simpler than a band that needs sound equipment:

  • A suitable performance area including equipment. An opera singer or harpist will need approximately 2 x 2metres and a string quartet will need approx 4 x 3metres
  • Around 15-20 minutes to set up.
  • Inclusion in any nibbles or food provided for your guests for each performer and soft drinks. You will get the best out of the artist if you look after them whilst they are with you.
  • A changing / chill-out area where they can also leave their valuables.
  • Parking spaces to be provided or paid for.

Can I go and see the artist before I book?

It is very rare for our classical music artists to have any public performances due to the nature of the music. Most bookings are made by private clients for weddings, celebrations or for corporate entertainment. We are unable to arrange for any prospective client to go and see a band at someone else’s wedding or private party.

How does payment work?

A deposit is due at the point of booking. Book Live can accept payments by Visa, Switch, Mastercard, Cheque or Bank Transfer.

Balance payments should be settled directly with the band leader either 2 weeks in advance or in cash on the night so they can pay all the band members promptly.

Why should I hire a classical artist with Book Live?

Book Live is one of the UK’s most respected entertainment agents supplying superb live bands and singers for weddings, parties and corporate events. We have worked with customers at the highest level (read more) and we offer a completely impartial service. Most agencies have a house band that they are trying to sell and the rest of their portfolio may not get a look-in. We have pre-vetted all of our artists and offer a Peace of mind guarantee:

  • All of our artist have been selected for their professionalism, musicianship and performance, so we know that every event will be special for all the right reasons. The Book Live team regularly go and see our acts perform so we know what clients can expect before they book.
  • Public Liability Insurance and PAT certification can be provided on request for any performances.
  • All bookings are secured by contract with both the client and the artist for complete peace of mind.
  • We provide a 24/7 emergency number should you need to talk with us.
  • Our artists all have regular deputy musicians so an event will never be compromised. In addition, Book Live can provide replacements for our singers in the unlikely event that something unexpected happens [subject to availability].

What else do I need to know?

We hope we have covered all bases. If you have a question then please get in touch and we will do our best to answer it.

Additional articles from the Book Live blog:
Cheap Entertainment or Expensive Mistake?
Wedding Entertainment Agency
10 things to know about hiring a live band
How much does it cost to hire a band?

You’ll find a full list of all of our Classical Music Acts here:

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