Ashley+Stephen, In Action Photos

Happy October! We have finally entered the new engagement season!

If you are like us, your Facebook news feed is blowing up with ring photos and updates in relational statuses. This is such a fun time of year!

On another note, I am so excited to share some of the images from Ashley+Stephen's wedding! We loved working with Cheyenne and Geoff Schultz and seeing their stunning work. To see Cheyenne's full blog post on the wedding, visit here.

Enjoy!


[Just in case you missed the last journal post - listen to this LIVE recording of us playing a wedding in September while you scroll through the photos! Shutter-Hutch {photobooths+videography}]



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Megan+Jake, Morning Glory Farm

We had the joy of being a part of a Morning Glory Farm wedding on September 5th! The venue is simply beautiful and quietly nestled on a country farm. The weather was absolutely perfect for a wedding as well.

Beauty For Ashes Photography

The videographer, Chad, from Shutter-Hutch {photobooths+videography} recorded us playing music at the wedding! Here is a live sample of us playing about 18 minutes of prelude AND processionals. This is a very realistic sample of our sound in person and what our favorite selections are. Enjoy!

CEREMONY SELECTIONS:

Over the Rainbow

[Seating of the Parents, Officiant, Groom, Best Man, 8 Bridesmaids/Groomsmen, 2 Ring Bearers, Maid of Honor]

A Thousand years [2 Flower Girls, Bride]

Best Day of My Life [Recessional]

Venue | Morning Glory Farm

Musicians | Wescottage Music

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE NEW MR.+MRS. LOWERY!

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Ashley+Stephen, Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens

I had anticipated this wedding for quite some time! Ashley had quite the time with the wedding planning. What should be a fun process turned out to be tricky and difficult. During the first few months of our correspondence, she went from waiting for a wedding venue to finish construction to needing to quickly book another venue and refine the guest list.

In the end, everything turned out absolutely beautiful and stunning.

 Beauty for Ashes Photography - Wescottage Music

Beauty for Ashes Photography - Wescottage Music

Ashley was glowing as she walked down the aisle. Stephen was tearing up. Some of the sweetest moments.

I'm definitely a fan of scripting your own vows. I think the best combination is when couples script their personal vows and then do the "repeat after me" vows.

Ashley and Stephen had such sweet things to say about each other and truly were soaking in the moments and were overwhelmed by the beauty and significance of their marriage. We all couldn't help but smile and stifle our giddy squeals as we shared in their excitement.

CEREMONY SELECTIONS:

You Raise Me Up [Mothers/Grandmothers]

Love Story [Flower Girls/Ring Bearers]

A Thousand Years [Bride]

Best Day of My Life [Recessional]

[all of these are under our music samples page]

After the Ceremony, we headed over to the Cocktail Hour location. The hour was cut short because the area was attacked by bees!  

COCKTAIL HOUR FAVORITES:

Ho Hey

The Prayer

Time to Say Goodbye [Con Te Partiro]

All of Me

Marry Me

We loved working with Cheyenne and Geoff Schultz again! They produce beautiful work and are always so pleasurable to be around. Head over to their photography blog to view some of their work and to see how cute Cheyenne's baby bump is! We're looking forward to see the photos from this wedding. View Ashley+Stephen's engagement session here.

Venue | Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens

Musicians | Wescottage Music

Congratulations to the new Mr.+Mrs. Crandall!

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Laura Lee+Stephen, Victorian Crow's Nest

Laura Lee contacted us back in December of 2014 for her August 2015 wedding. However, since a family member already had a contact with musicians, she decided to book them instead [and we're all for using friends and family in your wedding!]. Fast forward about 7 months.

I got a phone call from Laura Lee and she explained that there were some difficulties with the other musical group. Amazingly enough, we still hadn't been booked that day! I loved how her wedding came together, and by the next day, we had everything nailed down and ready to go!

Wescottage Music

Before the Ceremony began, Laura Lee's friend sang a solo of Great is Thy Faithfulness. I love it when weddings begin with a powerful hymn like that. It prepares everyone for the sacred union and puts everything into perspective.

Although we don't have any photos of us during the wedding, here is the list of music we played!

CEREMONY SELECTIONS:

Great is Thy Faithfulness [Soloist]

Wonderful, Merciful Savior [Mothers/Grandmothers]

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring [Bridal Party]

Canon in D [Bride]

Best Day of My Life [Recessional]

Canon in D is such a popular and common piece for weddings. Some don't like it because it's played so much. Consider why it is played so much:

It's absolutely beautiful! The melodies are woven together to swell in sound and harmony [which is perfect for processionals!]. It also has a very simple chord progression - which means that it's easy to end the song at any point. We also create our own version of the piece, so we never play it the same way twice. It's so much fun!

If you are a Bride, and someone tells you not to use a particular piece/song because it's overused, consider what they say, but make the decision yourself. I would totally use Canon in D for my wedding because it's beautiful [even though I've played it countless times - even a pop version of it].

Congratulations to the new Mr.+Mrs. Parker!

Venue | Victorian Crow's Nest

Musicians | Wescottage Music

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7 Signs of a Professional from an Entrepreneur's point of view

Business owners and entrepreneurs - we all want to be hired. This post is written with both you and potential clients in mind!

Naturally, I'm writing from the musical point of view. However, most of the concepts remain the same regardless of what profession you are in.

Knowing what to look for when hiring musicians [or other creative entrepreneurs] can be daunting if you don't know what to look for. To help you in this process, I've written this post to give you a step-by-step guide when finding the best fit for your needs. 

Let's get started!

7 Signs of a Professional

1. What They Sound Like

I tell my students this all of the time. What you sound like is important, and it is crucial to prepare for excellence. Music is not just music. There are so many styles, genres, and different instrumentations. One group will not sound like the next. When hiring musicians, you have to like their sound. Otherwise, just keep looking.

For other creative entrepreneurs, this would be your product or service.

2. What They Look Like

Anastasiia Photography

Appearance is key. After I tell my students the importance of their sound, I always finish the sentence with this point. What you sound like and what you look like when you're performing go hand-in-hand. You can sound great, but if you look terrified or angry while performing, people will always remember because it detracts from the actual music. Appearance includes attire, composure, and performance presence [the expression on your face].

For other creative entrepreneurs, this would be your presentation and how you carry yourself when you are working. Florists, are you put together and calm when setting up the intricate arrangements?

3. The Importance of the Title

This point is a favorite of mine! PROFESSIONALISM. Do not ever hire a group that is unprofessional! How do you know if they're professional? Here are some signs:

Their attire - classy and stylish professional black attire is the rule, unless otherwise stated by the clients. Are the shirts wrinkled? The ladies' hair: is it a mess? Do they represent well the event or the wedding? One reason we incorporate "In Action Photos" on our website is so that people can see what we look like during a real event or wedding.

I've observed musicians at weddings before and I have been so shocked that I couldn't move for 10 seconds. Black socks with a tiered skirt. Floods. Dirty music bags and rickety metal stands. Not to mention how unprofessional their music was.

Which brings me to the next point under Professionalism.

Sometimes, performing for weddings can be stressful because we govern the entire wedding. How do people know when the Ceremony is starting? The music. How does each group know when to walk down? The music. The musicians set the stage and create the emotional atmosphere. How musicians conduct themselves in stressful situations is important to note. Stay calm, keep the music going - Don't Ever Stop the Music. That is always awkward.

Also, musicians must be able to tastefully begin and end musical selections without abruptly cutting a piece off. Timing is everything.

Last but not least, keep a guard on the mouth. Some coordinators, directors, mothers, attendants, and officiants can be difficult and very unprofessional. If you hear a "professional" speaking bad about someone, steer clear! Even if what they're saying is true, it doesn't need to be said.

Professionalism is also in claiming the title. We are professional musicians. We perform and teach as a profession, but we also conduct ourselves in a professional manner.

For other creative entrepreneurs, this would be your image and conduct. Professionalism always begins with your mouth and attitude. Collateral items such as flyers, business cards, and letterheads fall in this category from an artistic perspective.

4. The Website

Wescottage Music's advantage is that we have all studied business in college. Having a working business knowledge and how to run a business will automatically set those musicians apart. The first sign is the website. The design and functionality of a website is really important because, most times, it's the first things a potential client will see.

If a website is not responsive, then they are not keeping up with technology. A responsive website is one that adapts to smartphones, tablets, etc.

The website also must be able to answer your questions about the business. We have music recordings, videos, a wedding info page, and this journal for people to get to know us.

5. Their Business Model

Upon viewing a musician's website and listening to their music, you should be able to determine if you fit into their target market. A professional is not out to give discounts or deals to everyone who asks. In fact, those things sometimes undermine the service provided. If a musician [or any small business owner for that matter] values their skill and service, they will make sure the price reflects the value.

Once I receive an inquiry, I always try to respond within the same day. For weddings, I realize that this is a very personal and sacred Ceremony. I communicate with people in a very joyful and personalized way. I'm not uptight. I'm also helpful and flexible. There are so many ways a wedding or event can become very stressful. My job is to make the musical process as fun and easy as possible!

6. Raving Fans

Look at what people are saying. When people are really mad, or when people are really happy, you will get a review. I remember when my sister went bridal dress shopping for the first time a couple months ago. It was the worst experience EVER. Boy did we ever want to write a fuming review for that bridal shop! When we looked it up later, people had already written it. When people are mad, they want others to know why.

Conversely, when people are blown out of the water happy, they want to tell the world! Your reviews should give potential future clients a realistic view of what it's like to work with you. To read some of our reviews, visit our WeddingWire profile.

Sposa Bella Photography

I would HIGHLY recommend Wescottage to anyone looking for musicians in their area, they were truly wonderful.
— Bride

7. Flexibility

Sometimes everything doesn't go as planned. Sometimes we play cocktail hour before the wedding starts because of the weather. Sometimes the bridesmaids walk out to the wrong song because the wedding coordinator is completely confused. Because we are young, we can make changes fairly easily. Being siblings also helps tremendously. If you can deal with unexpected changes in a professional and joyful manner, you will be leaps and bounds ahead of your competitors.

And that concludes the 7 signs of a professional! Were any of these points helpful to you? Is there a point we forgot? We'd love to hear from you - please leave a comment!

 

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Katie+Bryan, Brakefield at Riverwalk

"Where are all the real men?!" Woes such as these were common between Katie and I throughout the past few years as we were both teachers at the same music school. We would talk about our dreams and visions while encouraging each other to keep trusting God to provide. We shared stories from life, and I remember her talking about this guy - Bryan. But at that time, she ZERO interest in him [at least, that's what she said...]. It's funny how God can direct our lives. Today, Bryan is her husband.

When Katie asked me to play for her wedding, I was thrilled! Katie naturally knows so many musicians since she played violin for the Forest Hill Church band. I played the cello and filled in on some vocal songs with the band. Fun is definitely a good word to describe it!

CEREMONY SELECTIONS:

Carolina Tide [Mothers/Grandmothers]

We Dance [Bridal Party+Bride]

Called Me Higher, Abigail on Vocals [Communion]

My Beloved - [Recessional]

A big shout out to Autumn for the photos! Autumn is such a sweet person and definitely fantastic to work with. To see the full story of Katie+Bryan's wedding day, visit Autumn's blog.

Congratulations to the new Mr.+Mrs. Saylor!

Venue | Brakefield at Riverwalk

Photography | WE ARE THE KERNS

Musicians | Wescottage Music + Forest Hill band

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