I played as a last-minute sub for an October
I think it depends on what you think is healthy for you and the harp, and when you decide that put it in to a contract. Some harps aren’t supposed to be exposed to less than 45 degrees (probably all of them, but I know some models have a specific stipulation on that).
Despite living in Michigan, that happened to me for only the 1st time this year. A bride wanted to get married in an orchard in May. It was 70 on Friday and 43 on Sat. She was adamant that the wedding be in the orchard despite the wind and cold. I pulled out the contract she had signed stating that it’s up to my discretion to go out if it is below 60. She agreed to the contract. There was no PA out in the orchard ( the guests had to ride a wagon to get out there.) and no one had a jambox so the wedding was sans music. I felt bad and agreed to play during cocktails and part of dinner.
The minister approached me later and told me there was no way I could have played out there, he almost dropped the rings because his hands were numb. The guests were miserable and quickly gathered indoors, ignoring the appetizers for the outdoor cocktail hour.
Sometimes the wedding coordinator needs to
Meg, the idea of having the recording of the music in case it’s too cold is brilliant. I had 4 people this year schedule outdoor events in October. I’ve decided to call and remind them of their contractual agreement. I reserve the right to refuse to perform outdoors below 60º and used it this year. It’s very hard, in the moment to tell a bride who already has everything set up that I won’t go outdoors for her. It’s much easier to remind them ahead of time. I think many don’t read everything on the contract and are truly taken by surprize.
Barbara, what was the bride’s response when you called to remind her of the clause? Was recorded music acceptable to her? I’ve had some clients who feel they’re also paying for the atmosphere the harp lends and don’t want to pay what I’d charge to bring a harp and play if they end up getting something they think a DJ (or their ipod) could do.
First, it was Meg that suggested the recording. I’ve never tried that, but it sounds like it might be acceptable to some people. I always have a small amp with me for outdoor events so I could make that loud enough. Most people don’t have any sound system set up for outdoor weddings so a simple iPod wouldn’t be enough of a system.
The bride was plenty gracious. I think it helped to remind her ahead of time instead of dealing with it the day of the wedding. It gave her time to get a plan ready and adjust her plans. I never take an outdoor event if the client doesn’t have a plan for bad weather in place. If there’s no backup plan, I decline the job.
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