Harp at friends’ weddings

  • Participant
    unknown-user on #152163

    Hi!

    I’m a recent college graduate who has been playing harp for weddings and other events for some time now. I am at the age where quite a few of my friends are getting married (or will be in the next few years), and a lot of them have mentioned that they want to have me play for their weddings (no dates set yet, but they’ve just mentioned it for the future). So I’ve run into a bit of a predicament; playing for weddings is

    Participant
    Jerusha Amado on #152164

    I don’t play harp at weddings, but I can tell you that as a bride some 25 years ago I paid a friend of mine and her accompanist (vocal and guitar respectively) $300 for the ceremony, which was a lot of money back in those days.

    Participant
    harp guy on #152165

    I have been in the same position and will surely be there again (I’m about your age).

    Participant
    harp guy on #152166

    PS. I forgot to mention that in the one wedding that I played for free, I ended up getting some compensation anyway. It was the day of the wedding, and the Father of the Bride gave me a thankyou card from the bride, and inside was the last of their wedding budget: a small but meaningful portion of what I would have charged them.

    Participant
    carl-swanson on #152167

    If these people are really your friends, they will say, at the time that they ask you to play the wedding, that they insist on paying for this. If they ask you to play and don’t say anything about money, then my guess is that they think this is going to be a freebee, which is rude, insulting, and very presumptuous. So it’s then up to you to make it clear, in a diplomatic way, what your charges are and what, if anything you will discount or throw in for free.

    I have been working as a harp technician/rebuilder/builder in the harp world for a long time now, and many of my clients have become really good friends. But if they want my services, they pay for them. Friends are friends, and business is business.

    If one of your friends is a dentist or lawyer, would you expect them to give you their services for free just because they are friends?

    Participant
    unknown-user on #152168

    I

    Keymaster
    kimberly-rowe on #152169

    This is always a tough call. My rule of thumb is that if it is a close enough friend that I would give up the work day to attend the wedding anyway, I generally do it as a gift without charging. If I would attend the wedding, I’m already not earning income on that day so whether I play or not doesn’t really matter to me. I usually know many of the guests, so there is more help with harp moving and logistics than for a regular gig. If it’s just an acquaintance and you’re debating about going to the wedding in the first place, I would charge or maybe give a reduced rate.

    You have to think VERY carefully about agreeing to play for a friend, because you can’t really “sub it out” if something else comes up.

    My two cents!

    Spectator
    Calista Anne Koch on #152170

    Since I get this ALL the time, here is what I do.

    I tell them what my fee WOULD have been (so they understand what they are gettings… otherwise, they think $50 should cover it).

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