First of all, to state the obvious. A harp (the instrument itself) is the epitome of elegance and grace. When you choose to hire a harpist, not only are you ensuring elegant music for your ceremony, you are hiring a twenty-two thousand dollar instrument to decorate the side of the altar. It raises the whole tone of the neighborhood.
A harp is more versatile than a piano, takes up less space than a string quartet, and produces a fuller, more satisfying sound than a guitar, flute, violin, or cello. Maybe you like the sound of a baby grand piano but want to get married out on the back lawn. Or you’ve always dreamed about saying your vows on the top deck of a St. Croix river boat.
Do you want to dance your first dance to the slow sweet sound of a Sinatra love song, but don’t have room for a stage in your venue? Most harps fit into any flat 6 ft x 6 ft space. Sure, a guitar is easier to pack up and move, but can you get the same diversity of sound – the melody, the harmony, the elegance of a harp, out of any other instrument?
Believe it or not, hiring a harpist is an economical choice. Your harpist acts as your own personal wedding music expert. He or she advises you about whether “Shut Up and Dance With Me” or “Radioactive” would sound better as a processional. He or she offers suggestions, shares opinions on what does or does not work well, and arranges your favorite piece so that it works as a recessional, weaving together the mood of your ceremony.
The famous harpist Carlos Salzedo once said that a harp is basically an entire orchestra. With a variety of tones, from sweet and romantic, to fun and carefree, a harp can convey a hundred different moods all with one instrument. Take a look at the vast sea of harp videos available on YouTube. Some of them are cute, some devastatingly beautiful, some super hip, some quite classical.
A harp can fill the same role as a string quartet or a band, without all the fuss of four chairs, four stands, four people to coordinate, four gig bags, and four instrument cases sitting around. And unlike any recorded music, a harpist will tailor the processional to the perfect length, adding an extra chorus in case the maid-of-honor needs a moment to adjust the bride’s train, or skipping right to the bride’s triumphant entrance if her bridesmaids charge down the isle double-time. Or perhaps the runner gets stuck and needs to be untangled, or the flower girl balks halfway down, or the father of the bride wants an extra long hug. The live harpist has you covered; the MP3 player does not. (Can you tell I’m biased?) A skilled harpist will time the unity candle special music so that it fades as you step back up to the altar, and pitch the background music for a prayer time at exactly the right volume. She’ll lower the dynamic level briefly as the officiant extends the invitation to the reception site. And she doesn’t need electricity! No need to find a church organist, a soloist for the cocktail hour, and something for the reception background music. Harp works perfectly for the ceremony, the cocktail hour, the dinner, and even the first dance. Why hire three musical acts when you can hire one?
Maybe you’re planning on having a blast at your wedding, but I’ve heard that weddings can sometimes be stressful. Think preemptively.
Featuring a harpist at your event is a good idea even when you’re not getting married. When hosting a client appreciation dinner, or opening up a new office, doing something a bit out of the ordinary is a fun way to convey just how much you appreciate your guests. Invite a harpist to play next to the drinks table, and you’ll hear your clients comment, “Woah – this is fancy!” Pianos are nice; harps are extra nice.
Why hire Stephanie Claussen?
Clearly you should hire a harpist.
I’ve been performing professionally since 2000. I have experience playing outdoors, in bad weather, in good weather, in quiet locations, in loud locations, in a box, with a fox… I play solo, I play with ensembles, for weddings, parties, nursing homes, church services, and lots of tea parties. I have a four-year degree from the University of Minnesota in Harp Performance, but more importantly, I play harp quite nicely (or so I’m told), am experienced and reliable, and I make playing the harp look both effortless and enjoyable. (I’m not a fan of grim-faced musicians at parties.)
According to my client Karen, who had initially hired me for a few hours and then spur-of-the-moment asked for one more hour, “It was the smartest wedding money we spent.” According to another client, Alex, “Deciding to have a harp play and then picking Stephanie was one of the best decisions we made for the whole entire wedding!! No joke.”
Stephanie Claussen has served the wedding industry in Minneapolis & St. Paul since 2000. Lovely harp music could be available for your ceremony–consider hiring Stephanie! You might also enjoy reading Minnesota’s Nerdy Harpist.