Renewal of Vows

Heitman House

Heitman House

Melissa and Pete decided to celebrate their anniversary in late June by renewing their vows. Melissa’s mom wanted to give the couple the wedding celebration that they did not have the first time around.  Melissa really wanted us to provide her music for the reception and even changed her venue so that the number of guests she expected and we could all be accommodated. They chose the Heitman House in downtown Fort Myers. I played violin solo music for the cocktail hour and then I was joined by Wendy Willis on flute, Rachel Cox and violin, and Diane Coffman on cello. I switched to viola to complete the quartet ensemble for the dinner music.

Melissa told me that she did enjoy classical music. She sent me a long list of requests from our popular song list.  So, I suggested that I play light classical for the cocktail hour and the popular music for the rest of the reception. Since she chose a lot more music than we could play in the booking time, I went through her list and chose the songs that I knew were our best arrangements and ones that would sound well with the flute. From This Moment On was a special song for them so we made sure we played that at a time they were close by to hear it.

Here was the playlist:

Cocktail Hour: 3:30- 4:25 light classical, violin solo including pops songs Nothing Else Matters, You’re Still the One, November Rain and Getting to Know You.

Set 1 4:30- 5:20 Quartet

          A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

          All My Love, Led Zeppelin

          Baby, I Love Your Way, Peter Frampton

          Beauty and the Beast, Disney

          Be Our Guest, Disney

          Beyond the Sea, Bobby Darin

          Black Magic Woman, Santana

          Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen

          Brown Eyed Girl, Van Morrison

          By Your Side, Enya

          Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You, Frankie Valli

          Come Fly With Me, Sinatra

          Crazy For You, Madonna

          Don’t Stop Beleivin’, Journey

Set 2 5:30- 6:20

          Every Little Thing She Does is Magic, Police

          Eye of the Tiger, Survivor

          Fields of Gold,  Sting

          Fly Me to the Moon, Sinatra

          Forest Gump Feather Theme

          From This Moment On, Shania Twain

          Game of Thrones Theme

          Grow Old With You,  Adam Sandler

          Have a Little Faith in Me, John Hiatt

          How Deep Is Your Love/ Yesterday Once More

          I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, Aerosmith

          I’ll Stand By You, Pretenders

          I Just Called to Say I Love You, Stevie Wonder

          Kiss the Girl, Disney

Set 3  6:30- 7:20

          Livin’ on a Prayer, Bon Jovi

          Love and Marriage, Sinatra

          Love Story, Taylor Swift

          More Than a Feeling, Boston

          One Fine Day, Chiffons

          One Love, Bob Marley

          Open Arms, Journey

          Penny Lane, Beatles

          Saving All My Love, Whitney Houston

          Secrets, OneRepublic

          Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Stevie Wonder

          So This is Love, Disney

         Stand By Your Man, Tammy Wynette

          Sunrise, Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof

Set 4 7:30- 8:00 pm

          Moondance, Van Morrison

          Stairway to Heaven, Led Zeppelin

          Nights in White Satin, Moddy Blues

          Unchained Melody from Ghost

          You’re the First, the Last, My Everything, Barry White

          Over the Rainbow, Israel K version

As you can see, the couple chose a fun mix of music!  We enjoyed performing these for everyone and want to wish Melissa and Pete many more years of happiness together!


Casa Ybel Resort beach wedding

On this final weekend of December, as 2014 winds down, I traveled to Sanibel Island for the wedding of Julia and Jon. Joined by colleagues Wendy Willis and Diane Coffman, it was the Seaside Strings Flute, Violin and Cello ensemble providing music for the wedding ceremony and cocktail reception. This was a destination beach wedding with about 40 guests. We shared the day with  Tori from Casa Ybel, Rabbi Michael Raab, Audrey Snow Photographers and Floral Artistry.

Casa Ybel beach wedding

It was such a beautiful day! The beach was full of guests enjoying an unusually warm day for this time of year- it was probably in the low 80’s. Ceremony time was 4:30 and we began prelude music at 4:15. I had worked mostly with the Mother of the Bride, Jane, on the music selections. Lively classical was what was requested so we played some Baroque classics along with a Mozart Trio.

The Processional was simple. The 2-year-old flower girl preceded the Bride. Julia had requested the Handel Allegro ( ) for her Entrance so I chose the Handel Air ( ) for the flower girl’s entrance to complement it. The pieces were both in the same key and the timing worked perfectly.

Rabbi Raab officiated a beautiful ceremony. The breaking of the glass was our cue for the Recessional, Siman Tov. Guests stayed on the beach afterwards for pictures and as they made their way to the reception, we quickly packed up and joined them on the terrace. We played a mix of music for the cocktail hour. I was given freedom to make the choices and we played some waltzes, some Jewish songs and some contemporary songs. We finished the night by debuting a new one, Happy.

Best wishes, Jon and Julia!! Thank you for having us share this special day!

Casa Ybel trio


Fort Myers Florida Wedding

When I got the inquiry for a wedding ceremony and cocktail reception with a Victorian Theme I suggested our flute, violin , viola, and cello ensemble. Our couple, Kevin and Christin, residents of Fort Myers Florida,  loved that idea and Seaside Strings was chosen to be a part of their wedding day. Along with their requests for Celtic music and classical music, I helped them choose music that enhanced the elegant and romantic feel  for this special day.

I admit to being a bit skeptical when Christin and Kevin told me they were planning to have their wedding ceremony in an open field next to a barbecue restaurant. When we arrived, we found the family owned the property. The restaurant provided parking area and rest room facilities and the lot next door with the huge grassy areas and shade trees provided a beautiful site for the event. It could not have been a more lovely day- the weather was just ideal!

Fort Myers wedding ceremony

Fort Myers cocktail reception

The ceremony was set for 2 pm and we began prelude music at 1:30. The couple had one request for us, a Celtic song called ” She Moved Through the Fair. We combined that with lively music from our baroque album, movements from Handel’s Water Music Suite , the romantic music Delibes Flower Duet , Gluck Minuet and Salut d’ amour, a Celtic Suite featuring Ash Grove and Rakes of Mallow, Handel’s Entrance of the Queen of Sheba and Bach’s Sheep May Safely Graze.

The ceremony began with the Entrance of the Officiant, Pastor Don Strange, Kevin and his Groomsmen followed by the Seating of the Grandmothers to Bach’s Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring. The Father of the Groom and the Mother of the Bride walked down the aisle together, lit the candles for the unity ceremony and took their seats.  As the Bridesmaids walked down the aisle, we began to play the Canon in D by Pachelbel.  The young children serving as Ring Bearer and Flower Girls followed. Christin chose “A Thousand Years” for her dramatic entrance. We were surprised and thrilled that the pastor thanked us for our” lovely music” in his welcoming remarks.  Keeping with the Celtic theme, Be Thou My Vision was chosen for the Lighting of the Unity Candle. After the introduction of the couple, we played All I Ask of You for the Recessional. The couple chose  this selection and it really fit the romantic atmosphere.

Since the ceremony had been delayed by almost a half hour. we did not get to play all the music that had been planned for the cocktail reception. So we performed most of the Celtic music which included Bonnie Banks O’ Loch Lomond, Skye Boat Song, Scotland the Brave, Berceuse,  Irish Reel, Irish Suite, Killarney and Scottish Dances. Many guests commented how much they enjoyed our music and that was so satisfying. Before leaving, I got to meet the newlyweds and congratulate and thank them for choosing us to be a part of this special day. May Christin and Kevin have a long and happy life together!

Casa Ybel, Sanibel Island, Florida

Valentines Day is such a romantic day to get married , don’t you think?  Choosing a beautiful Sanibel Island Florida destination, the Casa Ybel Resort,  Rebecca and Abdul shared their vows on the beach on a gorgeous sunny day. The Seaside Strings Flute, Violin and Cello Trio added to the romantic atmosphere and provided the live music for the wedding ceremony and cocktail reception.

Casa Ybel beach wedding

The wedding was scheduled for 5:15 so we began prelude music at 5 pm.  There was a slight breeze and at low tide, the waves were gently coming in onto the beach. It was so peaceful! The small group from Ohio were definitely happy to be here as it was still so cold back home.

Rebecca and Abdul preferred popular music for us to play. The selections included Married Life from”UP”, The Forest Gump Feather Theme, At Last, In My Life and Can You Feel the Love Tonight. With the signal from Tori, the wedding planner at the resort, we began to play” Everything” for the Entrance of the Officiate, Janette Adams  of Wedding Vows by Earth, Air & Sea,  and the Groom, Abdul.  Once they  took their places in front of the arch, Rebecca entered to the music Portuguese Love Theme from the movie “Love Actually”.  At the spur of the moment, we played music during the sand ceremony and chose ” You & Me”. As the ceremony concluded, the couple kissed, we played “All You Need is Love” for the recessional. Since the guests were still mingling on the beach while pictures were being taken , we played ” All I Want is You” and “Marry Me” before we headed to the terrace for the cocktail reception.

Rebecca told me she was happy with anything we played for the reception. So, I put together a playlist of music that I thought they would all enjoy. Selections included Cheek to Cheek, Don’t Stop Believin’, Fly Me to the Moon, God Only Knows, Good Life, Here Comes the Sun, How Sweet It is, It Had to Be You, Love Story by Taylor Swift, Lucky, Make You Feel My Love , Moon Dance and This Will Be (An Everlasting Love). As the DJ took over for the rest of the evening, I got a chance to meet and congratulate the newlyweds. They looked so happy! We hope they enjoyed their time in Florida!

Marco Beach Ocean Resort

November is one of the most ideal months for a beach wedding in Southwest Florida. Our couple from Michigan had a beautiful evening for their wedding at the Marco Beach Ocean Resort. The weather was absolutely perfect!

I am joined by my colleagues Wendy Willis on Flute and Diane Coffman on cello as the Seaside Strings Trio performs for the ceremony and cocktail hour of Daniela and Mike.  Daniela allowed me to choose the music for the prelude so I chose selections by Haydn, Bach, Delibes and Handel. Here is a video clip of the Menuet from Handel’s Royal Fireworks music.

Dr. Sean Alexander of Winter Park was the Officiate for the ceremony and as he led Mike and his Groomsmen onto the beach, we played Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. Then came the Seating of the Mothers, Entrance of the 3 Bridesmaids and lastly , the children who served as Ringbearers and Flower Girls. As everyone stood to welcome Daniela, we played the Bridal Chorus as she made her way down the boardwalk and onto the beach. Readings were performed, the vows and rings exchanged. As the couple moved to the small table beside the arch, we played Ave Maria as they poured the sand during the Sand Ceremony. Next came Communion and many of the guests participated. We performed the Air from the Handel Water Music Suite. We began to play the Wedding March as the service concluded and the newly married couple led their wedding party back down the aisle. Since the guests were mingling on the beach for a bit, we played Mozart’s Alleluia and then made our way to the terrace for the reception. At this resort, you have such a wonderful view of the beach and the water from this terrace.

It was a mix of music that was requested for the cocktail reception. On the playlist was Can You Feel the Love Tonight, You and You  Strauss Waltz, Someone to Watch Over Me, Cheek to Cheek, Berceuse by Faure, Kiss the Girl, Strauss Waltz Tales from the Vienna Woods , Fly Me to the Moon, The Way You Look Tonight, Elgar Salut d’ amour, Embraceable You, Forest Gump Feather Theme, Delibes Valse Lente and What a Wonderful World.

Thanks so much to Daniela and Mike for having us be a part of this special day! Congratulations and best wishes!

Catholic Service on the beach

The south beach at the La Playa Beach Resort was filled with orange-colored streamers proclaiming the wedding site of Mary Jane and Kevin. This destination wedding was unique. Guests numbered about 180,mostly from the Kansas City area, the Priest was flown in from California and we had the Seaside Strings Flute, Violin, Viola and Cello ensemble providing music along with Todd Peterson, vocalist.

Every detail was handled by Kathie Resop and her daughter Jacqui of Side by Side Destination Wedding Services. Kathie and I talked a couple of times before this particular wedding and I knew she would have everything we needed ready for us.

We arrived early to go over the music with Todd. As we were setting up, a steel band, Steel Cruzin’, was setting up on the lawn area. As the guests began to gather, they entertained everyone during the cocktail pre- wedding time. Twenty minutes before the Ceremony it was now time for us to start. I gave the steel band the signal that we were ready and we began with the Mozart Flute Quartet. I had worked with Margy, the Mother of the Bride , very carefully on the music. Lively was the order of the day!

Guests were escorted to the beach to the music of Boccherini and Handel.  Todd then joined us for the Mozart Alleluia from Exultate Jubilate. I could see they were almost ready so we played a quick movement from Handel’s Water Music Suite and then the signal came from Jacqui that they were ready. As we began to play Trumpet Tune by Purcell, two “sand” girls walked down the aisle with the sand filled vases that would later be used during the sand ceremony. Then the Grandparents were seated, the two Mothers were seated, and finally the Priest, Groom and the 12 Groomsmen took their places.

For the entrance of the Bridesmaids we played the Rondeau by Mouret. Since there were 10 girls, I appreciated Jacqui’s help once again in letting me know when the final girl was in place. We were able to time it perfectly!

For the Entrance of the Bride it was the Trumpet Voluntary by Clarke. Mary Jane looked beautiful as she was escorted onto the beach by her father. We ended just as she arrived before Father Suwalsky and Kevin.

After the greeting, opening prayer, and first reading, we accompanied Todd to Blessed Are Those by Haugen as the Responsorial Psalm. After the second reading, we all performed the Celtic Alleluia. The Gospel and Homily and Prayers of the Faithful followed and then the Wedding Party came forward for the Sacrament of Matrimony. Once vows were spoken, rings exchanged, Todd once again went to the microphone and we performed Hail Mary, Gentle Woman together. The Our Father was recited and Father Suwalsky gave the Nuptial Blessing. As the sun began to set, the sand  ceremony was performed to our music, Ode to Joy, with Todd singing the verses. The Closing Prayer and Blessing and Introduction of the Couple were quickly done and the newly married couple exited to Handel’s Le Rejouissance.

It was another very memorable event: beautiful location, wonderful weather, beautiful music, gorgeous sunset and happy people! Congratulations Mary Jane and Kevin!

La Playa Gulf Lawn

What a difference a day made. On Friday, the day was very overcast, cool and extremely windy. On Saturday, the sun was back out, the temperature was ideal and although still windy , it was a welcome breeze. Our lucky couple, Alexis and David from Colorado chose the right day to get married. It was a garden theme with the beautiful arch created by Jenny and Sarah of Lyfe of the Party.

Our event was at the La Playa Beach Resort. Today the couple chose the Seaside Strings Flute, Violin, Viola and Cello Ensemble so I was joined by my colleagues Wendy Willis on flute, Joan Stewart on violin and Diane Coffman on cello. It was a 4:30 ceremony so we were prepared to begin at 4:15. When the guests arrived to enjoy champagne prior to the Ceremony, we began to play. I was free to choose the music so I selected several pieces that complemented the flute in the group. We were helped today by Kathie Resop of Side by Side Destination Wedding Services. I was especially grateful when her assistant confirmed when all the Bridesmaids were in place. Sometimes it’s hard to count people and play at the same time!

It was a lovely ceremony performed by Reverend Thomas Harp. At the conclusion of the Ceremony, we shifted around just slightly and continued to play on the lawn for the Cocktail Hour. Alexis requested mostly classical music which the guests seemed to enjoy. It was another beautiful sunset which grabbed the attention of everyone. We are grateful to Alexis’s parents for coming by to say hello and tell us how much they enjoyed our music. All our best to Alexis and David!