Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about CBSQ.
What instruments are in a string quartet?
In its traditional form, a string quartet is composed of 2 violins, viola, and cello.
How do the musicians dress?
The dress is formal unless otherwise specified: men in a black suit and women in black.
What do you require at the venue?
The quartet requires 4 upright, armless chairs and a space about 8 feet by 10 feet.
Where has CBSQ performed? Have you performed at my venue?
CBSQ has performed at hundreds of local country clubs, churches, historic homes, monuments, museums, and other facilities across Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland. Click here to see our full venues list.
Will you play outdoors?
Yes. Our only concerns are the safety of the instruments and the ability to provide quality music. This means that we must be in full shade (especially in the summer), and there must be no precipitation.
Do you perform at receptions as well as wedding ceremonies?
Yes. We often play during cocktails, dinner, and if there is no dance band, the whole of the reception.
My wedding ceremony and reception are at two different locations. How do you charge for performing in two venues like that?
The quartet charges for the full length of the job, including the time to travel between venues if there are more than one.
How far in advance should we book the quartet?
We encourage you to book as early as is feasible since the majority of spring and fall weekend dates book up rather quickly. As a general rule, we recommend booking at least 6 months prior to the date of your event. We reserve dates on a “first come, first served” basis.
When should we select the music?
Generally, you should speak to us at least once before you meet with your officiant so that we may help you formulate questions to ask them about music. Often there are “dos” and “don’ts” regarding certain ceremonies. Following the meeting, we can work with you to solidify the program. Completed Wedding Ceremony Music Planners must be submitted 2 weeks prior to the date of your ceremony. We also recommend sharing a proof of your program (if you plan to design one) prior to printing so that we can ensure that pieces and composers are spelled correctly.
If I hire the quartet, do I need to use the organist?
No. You do not have to use an organist if you hire the string quartet. However, if you are already paying for the organist with your church fee, there are a number of musical arrangements that we can play together during prelude, processional, Mass, and recessional, creating a beautiful large orchestral sound. Additionally, the organist often is very helpful with cueing/coordinating the strings with the proceedings.
There is a special piece of music I would like performed. Can you do that?
Yes. Even if it is not in our repertoire, or available for string quartet, we will be happy to write an original arrangement for string quartet (an additional fee does apply).
Will you perform with guest instrumentalists or singers?
Yes. We will be happy to communicate directly with them ahead of time to work out details.
Do you need to rehearse with the guest instrumentalist or singer?
Yes. We can arrange to meet earlier at the venue before the ceremony. The amount of time necessary depends on the music.
Do we need to meet in person?
It is not actually necessary to meet in person. All details can be addressed over the phone or by email. However, if you prefer an in-person meeting, we are happy to arrange one.
Will you attend the wedding rehearsal? I’m worried that my wedding party will not be timed to the music.
It is not necessary for us to attend wedding rehearsals. We are adept in timing the music to the right length. We do recommend that you share a recording of the appropriate processional music with your wedding party so that they familiarize themselves with the piece to which they will be walking.
Should I have music before my ceremony?
We recommend 30 minutes of prelude music prior to the start time of the ceremony, whether in a church, synagogue, hotel, or other venue. This sets the mood for your guests as they arrive and wait for the ceremony to begin. We typically recommend 8 music selections for this prelude.
How do I choose the prelude music? Am I required to select the whole program?
It is not necessary for you to choose all prelude music, unless of course you want to. If you give us an idea of the type of ambience you wish to create using a few examples, we can select the appropriate music.
How many pieces should I choose for the processional?
For a Christian or non-denominational wedding, you might have three separate pieces: one for the entrance of the mothers, one for the bridal party, and finally one for the entrance of the bride. This will be determined by the size of the bridal party and the venue. We will help you with this decision during a consultation. Click here to view a suggested repertoire list for wedding ceremonies.
For a Jewish wedding, often there are two pieces: one for the entrance of the rabbi, family elders, groom, and his parents, and bridal attendants, and another for the entrance of the bride and her parents. Click here to find a repertoire list specific to Jewish weddings.
How will you know when to start the processional music?
We will need a signal either from a representative at the venue, a wedding coordinator, or an usher. We will consult with the pre-arranged person before the ceremony and confirm the plan.
Do you need to know how long the music will be in order to time our entrance to finish with the music?
No. You can leave that up to us. We are very skilled in ending the music at just the right time. We need only know the number of people and the order in which they are processing to each piece of music.
Can I have music during my ceremony?
During a Christian ceremony, there is often room for short pieces of music: after readings, during the lighting of the unity candle, and of course communion or parts of the Mass. We recommend asking your officiant about these too, as there are certain pieces of music that may not be appropriate.
During a Jewish ceremony, there is generally no music from the string quartet. Often the cantor, if present, will sing here. Of course, if you wish to, you may choose to have a piece played as a way to include a time of silent meditation and reflection during the ceremony.
How many pieces do I choose for the recessional?
In general, there would be one piece performed during the exit of the entire wedding party, and one or two more depending on the number of guests that will be exiting the venue.