The name "string quartet" inspires images of a Jane Austen novel and an event that's genteel and quiet. But, today's string quartets are surprisingly versatile and can provide you with a variety of musical options not only for your ceremony, but for your cocktail hour and reception as well. We recently talked to some of our string quartet members and asked what they think about playing receptions.

We love playing Coldplay and the Beatles - LaJolla Strings

South Louisiana Wedding Music specializes in doing all parts of a wedding, not all quartets do. You need to have the right repertoire with dancing songs or special requests from the couple. As a matter of fact we just played a wedding like that last month. - South Louisiana Wedding Music

We do literally thousands of covers. We want clients to let their imaginations run wild and to fill the wishes of their favorite relatives loved ones and friends ... For a small party I think a string quartet can provide dance music, but for any serious amount of dancing I think DJ's and Bands are great.  You really need someone to encourage and talk to the guest to get them up and dancing,  and honestly I don't think most String Quartets are skilled at doing that. But we have performed for several smaller receptions with dancing. - Caprice Strings

We've been asked to provide Jane Austen-theme weddings, Victorian-themed, and this summer a bride really wanted "The Scientist" as her Processional, so I purchased the sheet and arranged it for our Trillium Trio, she also had us play "Green Eyes" and "Hey Soul Sister" which we already had.  I actually encourage couples to find Special Request music, to personalize their weddings, and because, while we love to play Pachelbel Canon, it's a bit boring for us (sorry!), but there are also different versions of Pachelbel which are awesome---Pachelbel Meets U2 for instance.  We've never been asked to wear certain attire.....well, there was one a long time ago who wanted us in plastic wrap, but I declined.- Trillium Ensemble

I tell clients that I have about 45 minutes of dance music available and if they're good with that, I'm good too.  Some brides really want just enough for the first dance and a dance with Dad, etc., so it is doable. - Arroyo String Quartet

We have tons of dance music including pop music that people like to dance to AND ballroom dances like waltzes and fox trots. Many of our weddings have us play through dinner and dancing as well as the ceremony. Often we leave after we have played a fanfare for the bride to throw her bouquet at the END of the evening. We leave after the bride and groom often. We have so many pieces of music, we can entertain guests of ALL ages for hours. - Ribbons and Strings Ensembles

We play Beatles, U2, Christina Perri, Coldplay, Boccelli. Our favorite is Led Zepellin's Stairway to Heaven. Not infrequently, some guest will see our quartet and say, "Hey, do you play Stairway to Heaven?" Then 30 minutes later, we'll surprise the guy and play it during cocktail hour. I love the stunned looks of disbelief and appreciation we get when we do so. Plus, the song is lots of fun to play. - Romanza Music

What do you think? Would you consider a string quartet or smaller ensemble for your wedding reception or just your ceremony? Share your thoughts in the comments.