I am a Violinist that has put together string ensembles for events, serving the Milwaukee area for 7 years. I recently just received a B.F.A. in Music Performance (Violin) from UW-Milwaukee, and several of the musicians I employ hold degrees.
Weddings can be incredibly stressful, and my goal is always to create an aspect that does not need to be stressful for the planner or bride. My groups always arrive on time, and can be expected to play the correct music when needed. Essentially, if hired, we will do everything we can to make the ceremony work, so that no one but us has to worry about the music.
For cocktail music or background music, we will play pieces that are subtle and in the background, so that the guests will notice that there is music, but not so much that the music becomes a focal point of the event. If we play for only one hour, we will not need a break. However, after each hour we require a 15 minute break. For example, if we were hired for two hours of music, we would play for 55 minutes, take a 15 minute break, and then play for the remainder of the event.
For weddings, we typically play 15-20 minutes before the ceremony, and 15-20 minutes after the ceremony or whenever the hall is empty, whichever is first. When the ceremony begins, we often play a piece for the wedding party processional, and another piece specifically for the bride's processional. Any pieces you require during the ceremony will be no problem for us (candle lighting, etc.). We then close the ceremony with a piece for the recessional.
Ernest Brusubardis IV (Violin)