Classical wedding singers or opera singers add a touch of wonder and beauty to any wedding or civil partnership service, whether in a church, a registry office, or country house hotel.
Your wedding soloist or group can sing you in as you walk down the aisle, delight your guests while you both sign the register, and provide a wonderful uplifting serenade for you to walk out to. (Of course, if you having a church wedding, it also means that at least someone will be singing the hymns in tune!) If you choose experienced soloists for your church service, you may not need to book a church choir as well, unless you want a particular anthem or choral item sung.
The best singers to hire as soloists for your wedding ceremony are opera singers, because they are accustomed to performing solo, and have a wide knowledge of a range of music (not just opera). Opera singers also have their own ‘built-in’ amplification thanks to years of training, so they are able to fill even the largest church with sound without the need for microphones. Equally, they can sing at just the right level for an intimate wedding chapel, registry office or country house room to thrill you and your guests without being too loud!
Opera singers very much enjoy singing with live accompaniment, so the most experienced opera singers for weddings will either sing with your church organist, or bring their own pianist for ceremonies in other venues. Equally, a singer with wedding soloist experience should also have their own specially recorded backing tracks for when a pianist or organist is not available or appropriate. Do remember that any music you wish sung at a church service must be approved with your clergy (vicar or priest) first, as not all churches allow non-religious music to be performed. Equally, any music sung or played at a civil wedding or civil partnership should not be religious, or make references to God, which quite a lot of opera arias do!
One of the great advantages of booking weddings ceremony soloists is that often they'll be more than happy to stay on and entertain your guests at your drinks reception or your wedding meal. For example, you could surprise your guests with a 10-15 minute ‘opera slot’ in the middle of your drinks reception, where singers interrupt the party in full song. (Please note, however, that due to the nature of opera singing, it is really not suitable as background music, as people just tend to talk louder over it!).
For a touch of fun at your wedding breakfast or wedding dinner, why not surprise your guests with a singing waiters act? Your guests are served by seemingly ordinary waiters and waitresses, who then suddenly 'decide' they'd like to sing and entertain, and are revealed as opera singers in disguise. This kind of act usually ends with all the members of the ‘singing waiters’ group joining together, and is terrific fun for all ages.
If you and your guests have already seen singing waiters type acts, or enjoy opera and operetta on stage, you might prefer a group of opera singers performing in between courses of dinner. The best opera entertainment groups present a 'chocolate box assortment' of favourite arias (solos), duets and trios, to give everyone a taste of opera live, close-up, and personal.
Always look for professional groups who have experience in this kind of performance, as it's quite skilled to do well and very different from what they do on stage. The most experienced ‘opera dinner’ groups take time to talk with you well in advance about the space they will be singing in, what level of musical experience the guests have (if any), and usually create a tailor-made show to suit.
While most opera singers are happy to sing for wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, be aware that some opera groups do not do the singing waiters kind of performances, and vice versa for the highlights opera singing. It's all a case of whether you want the humour first and then the music (singing waiters), or whether you want the music to be the more important aspect (opera highlights between courses of dinner).
Booking individual opera singers is tricky, and finding opera groups that specialize in singing at weddings difficult, so it’s often best to book your soloists or opera group through an established online live music booking agency. The best online agencies have profiles for each of the artists or groups, so you can hear demo tracks, see videos or photos, see a list of suggested music that they can sing, and read client reviews as well. Look for agencies with an online quote and availability check, and which offer proper contracts to secure your booking. If you have any questions, just call the agency and ask; they should be more than happy to help with advice and recommendations.
Whatever you choose, soloists or group, you can be certain your guests will be talking about your wedding entertainment for weeks afterwards. One of the country's leading groups for this kind of entertainment say the most frequent feedback they get back from wedding guests is "I don't like opera, but I loved this!"
Alive Network (http://www.alivenetwork.com) is the UK's largest live music and entertainment service, with over 4000 experienced musicians, bands and groups on its books.
Specialising in wedding musicians and wedding singers for hire, Alive Network also offers a diverse range of musical styles, from classical to mariachi bands, Bollywood to big band, opera singers to bagpipers. Event organisers can also browse a selection of the UK's best DJs and discos, plus an impressive range of entertainers from caricaturists to toast masters, and specialist suppliers for firework displays and PA hire.