If you’re reading this, you are probably considering having harp music for your outdoor wedding ceremony. Wonderful! It might be absolutely perfect. But as we all know with outdoor weddings in Minnesota, the weather might be interesting. Before hiring me, read the following article.
1. Carefully read the weather policy in my contract and make sure you understand it. I’ve included the text at the bottom of this post with explanatory notes in bold.
2. Harps can fall over in even a gentle wind. Because I need to take multiple trips to set up, please have someone available to stand with my harp while I unload my music stand, chair, gig bag, amp (if necessary), and park my car. They’d need to be available for 10-15 minutes when I arrive, an hour before the ceremony is scheduled to begin. Please also designate someone to stand with the harp starting 10 minutes after the ceremony while I pull up the car to load my gear. This is especially necessary on uneven or sloped ground.
Speaking of which…
3. Please provide a flat place for me to set up. I need 4 ft x 6 ft minimum; 4ft x 8ft is even better. A piece of plywood is ideal if there is grass and the ground is already flat. Some clients have covered the plywood in a table cloth or a sheet to make it prettier. A very (very!) tiny slope is okay if the slope is in the direction that I’ll be facing.
4. Music pages tend to blow around in even the tiniest breeze, and always at the most inconvenient times. I clip my music to the stand for the prelude and postlude, however having someone hold the music to the stand during the actual ceremony can be extremely helpful at critical moments (like the switch between music for the bridesmaids and the bride). The assistant doesn’t need to be musical or to read music, but their presence saves me from having to set down the harp, unclip the bridesmaids’ piece, replace it with the bride’s piece, clip those two or three pages to the music stand, and pull back the harp again: a process that takes an awkward 45 seconds.
5. Plan for me to sit in the shade on warm days. The harp can heat up even more than a person sitting in the sun and needs to be in place far longer than your guests. Overheating can cause the harp’s joints to pull apart, the soundboard to bulge, or the harp to explode.
4. Have a bad-weather plan in place for the day of the wedding. What time will you decide whether the ceremony is indoors or outdoors? Who will call me? Make sure you let me know before I need to start packing my harp. This might be hours ahead of the ceremony start-time, depending on the location of the ceremony. Earlier is always better.
5. Make sure the contact person you list in the contract will actually answer their phone!
Outdoor Wedding Special Conditions:
Harpist will not perform outdoors without suitable protection against precipitation,
wind, and/or extreme temperatures (including but not limited to temperatures below 55
degrees F and above 90 degrees F). In the event of a ceremony where temperatures are outside these limits, I am not able to play outside. If you do not have an indoor location, you are responsible for having your own backup plan such as a cd and a cd player.
Harpist has the right to refuse to perform in conditions which she deems potentially damaging to her health or to the harp and the client agrees to pay the full amount contracted once the harpist has arrived at the event location, even if harpist cannot perform due to inclement weather. Potentially damaging example 1: a tent has been set up but the wind is blowing rain onto the performance space in such a way that the harp would get wet. Potentially damaging example 2: the temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit and the only option is a tent with space heaters and no sides.
Harpist reserves the right to substitute a different harp with different repertoire at any time without notice. In some conditions where I would not be able to bring my pedal harp I might still be able to play with my smaller harp which is less sensitive to humidity and extreme temperatures. I am not able to play all my repertoire on this smaller harp. As detailed above, in such conditions I am not obliged to play, but I will do my best to help you if possible.
In the event of inclement weather, the client is responsible to provide an alternate indoor location or shelter deemed suitable by the harpist. Please notify me AT LEAST 2 hours ahead of time and much farther in advance if possible. If I do not hear from you or cannot reach you the day of the wedding, I will operate with the information available to me, which may dictate bringing a smaller harp.
If the client still wishes to hold the event outside in inclement weather, a tent must be set up at least 30 minutes before the event starts. Note that a tent is not sufficient if the temperatures are beyond the allowable limits.