Marco Island Marriott

Dirielle and Wagner traveled all the way from New Hampshire to get married on the beach at the Marco Island Marriott Resort and Spa. Late August is a difficult time as we have to endure high humidity and daily rains. Unfortunately,  this week we had a tropical wave that dumped huge amounts or rain and provided very little sunshine. But for this couple and their many guests, the skies cleared long enough for them to hold their celebration on the beach.  It was a destination wedding with guests in contact on their phones with friends in Brazil!

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The couple chose the Seaside Strings Flute and Violin Duo to provide the wedding ceremony music. We began prelude music at 6:15 pm for the 6:30pm ceremony.  The ceremony was delayed more than thirty minutes so I was glad I brought extra music. Dirielle had requested all popular music and had left the choices up to me. We played songs such as At Last, Besame Mucho, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, Somewhere in Time, Forest Gump Feather Theme and Over the Rainbow.

When all was ready, we began to play the Canon in D by Pachelbel for the Seating of the Mother of the Bride, the Entrance of the Pastor and the Groom, the Entrance of 5 Bridesmaids , 5 Groomsmen and the Ring Bearers and Flower Girls. Dirielle entered to the Bridal Chorus by Wagner. It was a very romantic ceremony even though I could not understand the words as Portuguese was spoken throughout.  It was moving to see tears shining in both the Bride and Groom’s eyes. During the ceremony, we played The Prayer as the couple performed a ritual of washing each others’ feet. When they exchanged rings, Dirielle and Wagner kissed the ring of their partner.  It was a lovely romantic gesture.

As the newly- married couple kissed, we played the Mendelssohn Wedding March followed by Le Rejouissance by Handel.  We wish Dirielle and Wagner a long happy life together!  Their wedding was certainly a memorable occasion!

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Marco Island Marriott

It is certainly a pleasure to work with a bride who is a fellow musician.  Alison from Virginia was a violist for 18 years. Her music teacher was going to play at her wedding and a month before her date, she learned she would be unable to make it. This was a destination wedding so things like that can occur. When Alison  contacted me, she was very open to having a string duo even though it was a very small event, with about 12 guests. I always like to recommend at least a duo since you would have a melody instrument and an accompaniment instrument and so much more interesting to listen to than a solo instrument. The Violin and Viola Duo was chosen. Bach was her favorite composer and it was fun working with her to choose the music. I think we came up with great selections!

Marco Island beach wedding

It was a beautiful day for a beach wedding on Marco Island for mid- February. We began playing prelude music at 4:25 and the ceremony began at 4:45. Alison’s Mom officiated the ceremony.

Here was our playlist:


Bach, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring

Handel, Water Music Suite and Royal Fireworks

Bach, Minuets 1,2 3, in G

Gossec, Gavotte

Bach, Invention in F

Bach, Wachet Auf


Bach’s Gavotte en Rondeau for the Seating of her Grandmother and the Mother of the Groom.

The Rigaudon by Campra for the Entrance of the Officiate, Groom, Best Man and Maid of Honor

Bach’s Aria from the Wedding Cantata , Sich uben im lieben for the Entrance of the Bride

Bach’s Arioso for the Wine Box Ceremony and Reading

Vivaldi, Spring for the Recessional.

Bach, Gigue for Postlude

As we left, the couple performed their first dance on the beach to a beautiful recording of Can’t Help Falling in Love (a lovely strings  arrangement). I am sorry I did not get a chance to speak with the couple since I did not want to interrupt but we were honored to be a part of their wedding day! Best wishes Alison and Josh!

Marco Island Marriott

Focus Florals

Our wedding on Sunday reminded us that wintertime also offers weather challenges. A cold front approaching our area brought cloudy skies, periodic rain and windy conditions throughout the day. I am sure it caused stressful moments for Jennifer and Greg , our couple from Chicago, who chose the Marco Island Marriott on Marco Island FL as the venue for their destination beach wedding. The Seaside String Quartet was honored to be a part of their special day to provide the wedding ceremony and cocktail reception music.

The weather had mostly cleared when I arrived at the venue around 3:30. Because it was still sprinkling occasionally, we set up under the gazebo on the spa side of the resort. Barbara of Focus Floral was putting the finishing touches to the ceremony site. Jennifer chose such colorful flowers and we saw later on how awesome the bouquets looked with the Bridesmaids dresses. Barbara did a wonderful job!

Dominick of Mobile Sound Entertainment was on hand to provide the sound system for the officiate and readers.

Jennifer and Greg took  a lot of care and attention to choosing their music and decided on all contemporary songs.We began to play 15 minutes prior to the ceremony and for the prelude performed Glasgow Love Theme, Come Away With Me, So This is Love, In My Life, Don’t Know Why and La Vie En Rose.

Family Friend  Brian served as Officiate and led Greg and his Groomsmen on to the beach.  As we played Seasons of Love, they were followed by the family members who took their seats. This  song is a great new addition to our repertoire and  a wonderful choice for this moment. The music chosen for the Entrance of the Bridesmaids and Flower Girls was Can’t Help Falling in Love.  Jennifer chose At Last as the music for her entrance.

The couple planned to do a Lighting of the Unity Candle which was a real challenge in the windy conditions.  We played Unchained Melody while the Mothers lit the candles at the beginning of the ceremony (  a spontaneous decision since I knew it would take some time) and then again as planned later in the ceremony when Jennifer and Greg lit their candle. As Brian introduced the happy couple, we played More Today Than Yesterday for the Recessional. This was a really fun selection!  I’m Yours was the postlude music and then we quickly moved down the beach to the cocktail reception area. In the meantime, skies has cleared, the sun had made an appearance and it wasn’t quite as windy. What a lucky couple!

I loved all the choices the couple made for the cocktail hour and we really enjoyed playing them. We performed Brown Eyed Girl, Chicago, Do You Want to Know a Secret, Edge of Glory,God Only Knows, I Gotta Feeling, I Heard it Through the Grapevine, Just the Way You Are Amazing, Love and Marriage, Marry You and Firework.

We had such nice comments from folks as we were packing up. We are so glad the weather improved and it turned into a wonderful evening for everyone. We wish Jennifer and Greg all the very best as they start their married life!

LESSON LEARNED: From now on I will suggest to my brides that during their rehearsal they make everyone in the wedding party aware of the music changes. Especially in windy weather,  it can take us a bit longer to turn our pages and get them secure. If people move too fast or early, it makes it more difficult for us to come to nice endings before moving to the next song. This is especially important when there is not a day- of planner there to help.

Preparing for an upcoming wedding

Melissa and William are getting married in December at the Marco Island Marriott and have requested some special music. I obtained the sheet music and arranged it for violin and cello. Angie and I recently got together to run through the songs.

This first song is called Wanted. Melissa has chosen this for her entrance. I am also preparing a string quartet version for another couple and their October wedding. This is just an excerpt.

This song is called Wagon Wheel, also an excerpt.  I have gotten to practice my fiddle. They want to have this as their recessional.

We hope Melissa and William like these! We still have time to make sure they are perfect!

Marco Island Marriott

We are in such a rainy pattern this summer!  We had so hoped for a break in the weather but it was not to be on this first Friday in July. For Kristen and Jonathan, who had come from West Virginia to get married here at the Marco Island Marriott,  it must have been disappointing to not be able to have their beach wedding.  But, I would have to say that when I met Jonathan prior to the ceremony, he was beaming with excitement. His love for Kristen and their vows they would take tonight obviously mattered more to him.

Kristen and Jonathan chose the Seaside String Trio to provide the wedding ceremony and cocktail reception music.  Colleagues Joan Stewart, Susan Sikuta and Diane Coffman provided the live music and I got to watch from the sidelines. We are joined by photographer Tonya Malay, husband Mike and colleague, Emma of  Tonya Malay Photography ; Reverend Russ Winn is here to Officiate and Dominick Buonantuono of Mobile Sound Entertainment was the DJ for the evening.

Since John, the coordinator at the resort, was with the bride, I helped line everyone up for the processional.  Russ Winn, Kristen’s grandmother, Jonathan’s parents and Kristen’s mom were all escorted to their places to the music Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring by Bach. I gave a signal to Joan, they came to a nice ending and changed to Pachelbel’s Canon in D for Kristen’s entrance. As the doors opened for her, everyone rose to their feet to welcome her.  It was so interesting to me to see all this happen from a different viewpoint! I waited out in the reception area and when we heard the applause of the guests and the  recessional music, Viva la Vida, John quickly reopened the doors as the newly married couple emerged from the room.

The cocktail reception was held in the lobby area just outside the ballroom. After a quick relocation, the trio began to play the music chosen for cocktail hour. On the playlist were Better Together, Bittersweet Symphony, Clocks, Come Away With Me, Good Life, Hey Soul Sister, Home, I Walk the Line, Just Like Heaven, Lucky, Make You Feel My Love, Marry You, Moon River, Need You Now, Take Me Home Country Roads and Yellow.

Here is a short sample of Good Life.

Here is a short sample of Need You Now

Many thanks to Kristen and Jonathan for having us be a part of their special day. Best wishes!

Marco Island Marriott

Marco Marriott beach weddingOn this last Thursday in March, I headed down to Marco Island to perform violin solo for the beach wedding of Brenna and Jeffrey. It was a cool spring day with a strong breeze and sunny skies.  The Marco Marriott was vibrant with holiday guests and many were on the beach enjoying the day when I arrived.  The ceremony was set for 6:30 pm and I would be providing the music for the wedding ceremony and cocktail reception. Since I was playing by myself, I knew I didn’t have to wear black so I chose a cream lace top and teal suit. I discovered when I reached the beach, that the ties on the chairs were teal also!

Brenna and Jeffrey came from the east coast of Florida and were expecting approximately thirty guests.  The location was the southern end of the resort, Quinn’s beach, near the resort’s beach restaurant. After checking in with Alyssa, the resort’s coordinator,  I got to meet Jeffrey and I could tell he was excited. I was scheduled to begin at 6:15 but with many of their guests arriving on the beach at 6:00, I started to play the prelude music then.  I played several lively classical selections. When I saw Cathy Nelson, the Officiate, come out on the beach, I knew we were ready to begin. The Groom’s Parents and the Bride’s Mother made their way to their seats. With the appearance of the 2 Flower Girls, I began the processional music. They had on beautiful coral dresses. The music chosen for their entrance was the Mouret Rondeau.  Brenna followed them onto to the beach to the music,  Trumpet Voluntary. After the vows were spoken and rings were exchanged, the couple performed a sand mixing ceremony. The music they chose for this was Smile by Uncle Kracker. It was a special request and a fun song to learn!

After the ceremony, we just moved up the beach for the cocktail hour. It was going to be a beautiful sunset! I performed a mix of classical and pops music that focused on Strauss Waltzes, Beatles and Frank Sinatra songs. When Brenna arrived to the reception after their pictures, I played a special song for her and her dad, Isn’t She Lovely.  Cameras were flashing as they began an impromptu dance together. Brenna had told me her dad told her he remembered hearing this song when she born.

As it began to cool down, the guests made their way inside for dinner. I got to chat a bit with the newly married couple before they headed inside also. I wish for Brenna and Jeffrey many years of happiness as husband and wife!

Marco Island Marriott

On this Saturday in December just before Christmas, a cold front had passed through bringing us cool temperatures (about 65 degrees)  and breezy conditions. The bright sun offered us all some warmth as we prepared for the wedding celebration of Mat and Robin. We are here at the Marco Island Marriott Resort.

Marco Marriott beach wedding 002When I arrive, Kylie, the coordinator at the resort, was putting finishing touches to the set up. We confirmed everything for the processional and then I was joined by my colleagues Joan Stewart and Diane Coffman. The Seaside String Trio was providing the live music for the wedding ceremony and cocktail hour for this Atlanta couple.

The wedding party was in the distance taking pictures. When they finished, the ladies all went inside and soon the guests arrived and mingled. Mat came by to say hello, and after a quick check with the Pastor, we began to play prelude music. Mat and Robin chose all the music and chose songs from our popular song list. Their selections included a lot of our favorites: Angel of Music from Phantom, The Gift of Love, Have I Told You Lately, I Say a Little Prayer, Marry You and the Forest Gump Feather Theme. Soon, Mat and his Groomsmen left to go back into the building and line up for the processional. Things were a bit late in starting so we started to play a song from the reception list.When I saw Mat begin to make his way out onto the beach escorting his mother, we quickly changed to the music chosen for the Seating of the Mothers, Lover’s Waltz by Jay Ungar. We repeated it while I was watchful for the next mother to appear. Instead, I saw the Groomsmen  come out followed by the Bridesmaids so we came to a nice ending and  switched to the music for the Attendants.  The Mother of the Bride came forward and led the Wedding Party onto the beach as we played Con te Partiro.  As the very adorable ring bearer and flower girl made their way down the aisle and took their places, we concluded that song and began to play the music for the Entrance of the Bride , Robin. She had chosen Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen.

Pastor Lynch of Grace Lutheran Church presented a service full of humor and good advice for the couple. After the vows and rings were exchanged, he explained the meaning of the sand ceremony. Mat and Robin came forward to perform the pouring of the sand as we played Can You Feel the Love Tonight. We were able to come to a nice conclusion just as the couple took their places back in front of their guests. Final blessings were made. Mat kissed his Bride and we began to play Wouldn’t It Be Nice as the wedding party exited.

We quickly packed up and followed the guests to the sunset terrace, the location for the cocktail reception.  Since we were a bit late we did not have time to play all the selections they had chosen for the cocktail hour. We did play Beyond the Sea, Forever in Love, Bless the Broken Road, If You Could Read My Mind, Georgia on My Mind, and Strangers in the Night. As we saw Robin appear, we began to play the song she told me was one of her favorites, Phantom of the Opera. We continued with Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, True Love’s Kiss and concluded our portion of the evening with the song, Stand By Me.

It was great to meet and speak with Robin before she went inside. What a great couple and we wish them congratulations and best wishes! It will be warmer for you all tomorrow!