Ritz- Carlton Naples

Center Court at the Ritz- Carlton Naples hosted the wedding celebration of Christina and Nick on this first Friday in December. The weather was ideal, the flowers by Botanicals on the Gulf were gorgeous and the live music of the Seaside String Quartet filled the air. The 4:30 ceremony was officiated by Dr. Dan Lamey and Kathie and Jacqui of Side By Side Weddings helped put it all together.

dec weddings 002

We began prelude music at 4:00, performing classical music by Bach, Delibes, Handel and Corelli.  It was all classical music for the 4:30 ceremony as well. The Family was seated to the music of Bach,  Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring   The Wedding Party entered to the Canon in D by Pachelbel. The Bride entered to the traditional Bridal Chorus by Wagner and  the Recessional music was the Wedding March by Mendelssohn. The highlight was listening to Dr. Dan sing The Prayer to the couple. It was a very passionate performance and so romantic to see the couple holding hands throughout. Well done, Dr. Dan!


For the cocktail hour, we performed popular songs requested by the couple: Under the Sea; I Want to Hold Your Hand; She from “Notting Hill”; Oh, Pretty Woman; Linus and Lucy; Strangers in the Night; Can’t Help Falling in Love; You’re My Best Friend; Harry Potter Medley; All of Me (version by John Legend); When I Fall in Love; Girl from Ipanema; Over the Rainbow( Israel K version) ; Somewhere Only We Know; Moon River. We ended our evening with Georgia on My Mind for this family from Georgia.

We were honored to be a part of this special day! Congratulations Christina and Nick!



Ritz- Carlton Naples

The Ritz- Carlton Naples hosted the wedding of Claire and Peter on Sunday, October 25th. This was a destination wedding for the couple from England. What a gorgeous afternoon it was! The water was so calm and there was a wonderful breeze.

Ritz- Carlton beach wedding

The Seaside String Trio arrived at 4:15 to set up. The staff at the Resort were finishing up the ceremony site, making sure everything looked perfect. We especially appreciate they always have our chairs ready for us on a podium and today they provided an umbrella for us too!

We began prelude music at 4:45 when the guests began to be seated on the beach. Claire chose these songs for us: Beyond the Sea, Bobby Darin; Best Day of My Life, American Authors; Yellow, Coldplay; Wind Beneath My Wings, Bette Midler; Moon River, Mancini

Here was the music for the ceremony. Reverend Les Wicker Officiated.

             Trumpet Voluntary by Clarke:  Seating of Mothers


                                                                              Groom/ 3 Men

                                                                             5 Bridesmaids

             Bridal Chorus, Wagner: Entrance of the Bride

             Can’t Help Falling in Love, Elvis: Sand Ceremony

            Wedding March, Mendelssohn: Recessional

As guests moved to the reception, we played Handel’s Le Rejouissance as postlude music.

We moved into the beach house lower level for the cocktail reception. Claire chose  the following songs for us:

             Canon in D, Pachelbel

             Con te Partiro, Bocelli

            Crazy for You, Madonna

            Edelweiss from Sound of Music

            Firework, Katy Perry

            Over the Rainbow, trad version

            Someday My Prince Will Come, Disney

            Somewhere Out There, Ronstadt      

            This Guy’s in Love With You, Herb Alpert

            Under the Sea, Disney

            Volare, Dean Martin

            What a Wonderful World, Armstrong

            When I’m 64, Beatles

            Whole New World, Disney

            Wonderful Tonight, Eric Clapton

            You Are So Beautiful, Joe Cocker

            Your Song, Elton John

            America, Neil Diamond

            Your Love is King, Sade 

The last two were new songs for us. We enjoy adding new music to our repertoire!

All our best to Claire and Peter!

Ritz-Carlton Naples

It was a magical evening at the Ritz-Carlton Naples, FL for the wedding of Lauren and Zackary. I heard one employee of the Ritz say it was the grandest wedding of the year for them. Center Court was decorated beautifully for the couple and after more than a year in the planning, their big day was finally here. The Seaside String Quartet was honored to be chosen to provide the ceremony music and cocktail reception music.

Ritz Carlton Naples Center Court

We arrived at 5:30 and prelude music began at 6pm. Brigitte was our coordinator overseeing all the details.  It was a windy day so that made it a challenge to keep our music in place and even our music stands!  It is always a pleasure to see and work with Rabbi Michael Raab and Tonya Malay, photographer, along with her husband Mike and colleague, Emma Burdis.

Our classical music fit the elegance of our surroundings. We performed Mouret’s Rondeau, Handel’s Entrance of the Queen of Sheba, Delibes Flower Duet, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #3, Elgar’s Salut d’amour and Mozart’s Quartet in C.  We began the Processional with Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary as the Rabbi entered and Zack and his Parents walked down the aisle.  For the entrance of the wedding party, we played Pachelbel’s Canon in D. There were 5 Bridesmaids & Groomsmen, 3 Flower Girls and the Ringbearer who entered carrying a sign proclaiming the arrival of the Bride. Lauren entered to the traditional Bridal Chorus. She told me it was always her dream to enter to this music.

After the very heartwarming ceremony, we played the traditional Wedding March for the Recessional. While the guests headed to the Vanderbilt Courtyard for the reception, we played Handel’s Le Rejouissance for postlude music.

For the cocktail reception, it was all contemporary music. The couple chose a few of our newer songs on our repertoire list so we were excited to try them for their guests. We did not get to play all that was on the playlist but I always like to have more music on hand than we may need. We did play Amazed, Beautiful Day, Brown Eyed Girl, By Your Side, Come Away With Me, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Don’t Stop Believin’, Fields of Gold, Game of Thrones Theme (this one got applause!), Haven’t Met You Yet, I’m Yours, Just the Way You Are Amazing, Kiss Me, Layla and Piano Man. Thank you to Rabbi Michael for this picture.

cocktail reception

The next morning, I returned to the Ritz- Carlton beach house to play violin solo for the brunch.  I was so disappointed that I did not get to meet Lauren and Zack but they had already left to begin their honeymoon.  On display for the guests was a painting done last night of the couple’s first dance. The paint was still wet! What a wonderful and unique gift from the groom’s parents! Best wishes to the newlyweds!


Ritz-Carlton beach house brunch

Ritz -Carlton Naples

Fredell and Bobby came  to Naples from Houston Texas to celebrate their 50th anniversary and renew their vows before their family at the Ritz-Carlton Naples Resort A week before their scheduled event they decided to add live music and their Officiate Suzi Freeman referred them to me. I gave Fredell a call and we had such a wonderful conversation over the phone!  Originally she asked for violin solo but after talking it over, I convinced her they would be happier with a violin and cello duo. We scheduled a meeting two days later at the Ritz on Saturday morning to take care of the paperwork and to discuss the music in more detail. Their event was to be held on Wednesday evening in the Rose Garden. Diane Coffman, cellist, would be joining me for the event.

When I arrived at the Ritz lobby that morning,  I got to meet both Fredell and Bobby. What a super couple! I could tell that now Bobby was starting to get excited about the event. Fredell talked about the show tunes she loved and how her family loved them too . Bobby was looking forward to everyone being involved, especially the small children.

After our meeting, I got busy putting together the music and writing out several new arrangements. Fredell had told me Anything Goes and Hello Dolly were her theme songs and Gigi was her favorite musical. She also loved My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music. For the little ones, we would play some Disney songs and for the adults some country songs and Frank Sinatra songs.

Plans were already changing because of the weather forecast. Nicola, their event planner, told me it was now planned for Center Court but there were also other options in case of rain. On Tuesday, Fredell called me to say they were hoping to be able to have the Presidential Suite but would not know until Wednesday afternoon. Tropical Storm Andrea had formed and the rain kept coming. That afternoon just before 4:00, Nicole called to tell me that the event would be in the Suite. This sounded like a wonderful place for them and I was excited about being able to see it!

Diane and I met up with Suzi in the lobby at 6:30 pm and we went up together to the 14th floor. We would also be joined by Tonya and Mike of Tonya Malay Photography. The room was perfect. Chairs were set up in front of the fireplace, lamps were brought in to provide soft lighting and I could smell the lovely flowers. Thank you to Suzi for taking this picture of us.

As the family members began to arrive we played Vivaldi”s Spring and Handel le Rejouissance.  It felt right to have lively cheerful music.

The adults took their seats and the children and Fredell and Bobby made a grand entrance through the double doors to the music Bashana, a happy Jewish song.Seaside Strings Violin & Cello Duo

Suzi had written a very touching ceremony that included their renewed vows and the drinking of a glass of wine together. It ended with the breaking of the glass. We played To Life as the family celebrated afterwards. As pictures were being taken, we played all the show tunes. I heard some singing a long with us which was great!

We were asked to join them in the private dining room for another hour. This was such a compliment since it meant they enjoyed our music!

What a wonderful family and it was a privilege to witness the love they have for each other!

Ritz- Carlton Naples

Here is a video from a wedding we played in February of 2013 at the Ritz -Carlton Naples.  

Joan Stewart is on violin, Vivian Aiello on viola and Diane Coffman on cello.  This is the song Lucky. We loved everything the couple chose for us to play! Congratulations to  Lauren and Jeffrey !

Thank you so much to Scott Wolfson Films for putting this together for us!

Due to the weather we could not have the ceremony in Center Court as planned but it was still a wonderful event held in their Vanderbilt Ballroom. We would also like to thank Alan James of  The Powerhouse Group and Kelly McWilliams and her staff at Weddings by Socialites for all their help.

Ritz-Carlton Naples

Another springtime morning wedding was planned on this Friday in April. The wedding ceremony of Nancy and Dorian was held in Center Court at the Ritz-Carlton Resort in Naples and followed by brunch on the terrace overlooking the pool. The ceremony was set for 9:30 am for this local couple. Even though rain was in the forecast , all turned out beautifully. The Ritz always does such a gorgeous job.  I was joined by colleagues Susan Sikuta on violin and Julie Cornwall on cello as the Seaside Strings Trio provided the wedding ceremony music and reception music for this event.

Ritz Carlton Center Court

Ritz Carlton Terrace When Stephanie, planner at the resort,  opened the doors to the Center Court, we began to play music Nancy requested for the prelude. These included From This Moment On, Unchained Melody, I Will Always Love You, and a Spanish song called Cielito Lindo. When we did not see any guests,  we repeated them but were unsure if they might just be waiting inside the doors. So, we added a few more that were on the reception list such as Beautiful Day, Lucky, La Paloma and Marry You. It was about 9:50 when the guests began to arrive and take their seats.

When everyone was seated, The Officiate (the Groom’s father), the Groom, the Parents and the couples’ son and daughter came in to the music ” I’ve Got the World on a String”.

The Entrance music for the Bride was” A Moment Like This” . This was a great new song we added to our repertoire list. When the ceremony ended,  we played “Come Away With Me” as the Recessional. The couple also wanted this for their first dance. I wasn’t able to see them come out right away so we played “Just the Way You Are Amazing” until we saw them. When I caught a glimpse of them near the fountain, we began to play “Come Away With Me”  again for them. Since things were running late, they used this song for all their dances , the Father-Daughter and Mother-Son. We saved the other songs chosen for the dances , “Butterfly Kisses” and” Sway”,  for the reception.

It was great to see AnnMarie and Steven from iHEart films doing the video and Astrid and Rene of Astrid and Rene Photography capturing the photographs.  While those pictures were being taken, we made our move to the terrace overlooking the pool and took our break.  We continued with all popular songs for the brunch. Nancy picked a lot of our favorites. When the cake was being cut, we played Forever in Love.  Since we were there until 12:45 pm, I had Nancy pick about 48 songs from our list. There were only a few we did not get to play so it all worked out very well.  Another song we added to our repertoire list and played for them was Besame Mucho. We appreciated all the kind remarks the guests made to us!

I really enjoyed working with Nancy and it was such a pleasure to meet her after all our phone conversations! Best wishes to their whole family!

Ritz-Carlton Naples

The wedding of  Lauren and Jeff was planned more than a year in advance. Our Seaside String Trio was booked to play the wedding ceremony through the entertainment services of Alan James and The Powerhouse Group.  On this Saturday after Valentines Day, the ceremony was to take place in Center Court at the Ritz-Carlton Naples.

A very strong cold front moved through our area the day before their event. We had a nice sunny day but it was windy with gusts over  30 mph. With the wind, it was very cold indeed. When I arrived at the Ritz, I parked in the service area so I approached the Center Court from the back. I was relieved to see immediately that the location was changed since it was not set up. We learned from a previous experience instead of being a protected spot, Center Court becomes like a wind tunnel in conditions like these.  In fact, several of the huge pots were blown down. It was going to take several men or machinery to put them upright again.

Upon going inside and asking about the change, one of the Ritz staff members graciously led me to the new location. I saw my colleagues Joan Stewart and Diane Coffman at the entrance of the resort as they were arriving and we were all led to the Pavilion area and Vanderbilt Ballroom in the front of the Resort. As we walked by, we saw Michelle Reed of Michelle Reed Photography taking photographs of the wedding party.  Final preparations were being done to the room. We could hear the Powerhouse Group Band warming up next door. The room looked lovely and when they brought the lights down,  it looked so romantic.

Ritz- Carlton wedding Lauren and Jeff chose nontraditional music for their ceremony. With the help of Kelly McWilliams and her associate Kellie Connors of Weddings by Socialites it all worked beautifully. I did miss having personal contact with the couple but having the help of both of these ladies was wonderful too. I knew it was going to be a complicated processional and their help would be invaluable.

We began to play 30 minutes prior to the wedding. The couple did not make specific requests for the prelude so I chose music based on the choices that had made for the ceremony. We played popular songs that I thought were fun and would be enjoyed by the guests. Turned out to be good that I had already prepared my books for an upcoming reception so we had extra music. Things were delayed and we had to play about 20 extra minutes before the ceremony began.

Kellie came to stand beside us and told me the wedding party was just lining up so we began the music for the entrance of Rabbi Rosie, Wonderful Tonight. It is a good thing we started the music before she appeared as she came in quickly. We were able to come to a nice conclusion of the song.

Following the Rabbi, the grandparents and  parents of the couple entered to the music, I’ll Stand By You. Thankfully, they paced it slowly so we were able to play enough of the song and come to a nice ending.

Following them, the Groomsmen made their entrance to the song, Your Song. There were 8 men including the Groom so I certainly appreciated Kellie being there to let me know when they had all come out. It is sometimes hard to play and count that high at the same time! Once again the timing worked out great.

Next to come were the Bridesmaids to the song, Can’t Help Falling in Love. Once again, Kellie helped so much because the order of the ring bearer and flower girl had been changed and the Maid of Honor was the last to enter.  Another tricky song to end  but it worked!

Now for the Entrance of the Bride, Lauren. She chose Have I Told You Lately That I Love You. It was a wonderful choice and Lauren looked beautiful as she entered the room.It was a beautiful service- I loved Rabbi Rosie’s clear voice and the symbolism in a Jewish service.  At the breaking of the glass, we played Lucky as the wedding party exited the room. It was a fun song to play and long enough to continue to play as the guests left the room as well. We met Scott of Scott Wolfson Films for the first time and he recorded a bit of the song for the couple’s video.

Congratulations and best wishes to the newly married couple, Lauren and Jeff!