Client Interview with Linda Smith

How did you become a wedding pianist?

Growing up in a home (classical piano lessons starting at age 7) and a church filled with music, I learned early on the power that music has to connect us with our spirit, to connect us to an event, to worship, or to God. I often had the privilege of accompanying singers/choirs; in fact, my accompanying skills gave me entrance into the select choirs and small ensembles both in high school and college.

Shortly after graduating from college I met my husband-to-be and found myself planning the music for my own wedding. Music being such a big part of who I am, I found myself choosing music that really spoke to my heart and reflected my values/beliefs. When the wedding day finally arrived, the music relaxed and drew me in. The emotions "my music" released in me totally enhanced the experience of marrying my sweetheart and created memories that live in my heart today.

Over the next 20+ years of teaching private piano, I was often hired to play for weddings/events, as well as accompanying singers/musicals. Having learned the emotional connection music makes between a bride and her wedding, I encouraged every bride to be involved in the music choices for her ceremony. Then in 2002 I felt God directing me to leave the world of piano teaching and to "just go play the piano." This was so empowering; I was finally doing what I feel I was designed to do!   I am definitely a work in progress, but my relationship with God gives me purpose and direction.   I believe my calling in life is to bring joy and fulfillment to others through my God-given gifts and talents.  And I especially love to play for weddings!

Since leaving my piano teaching career I have played for hundreds of weddings and events, always striving to customize the music to capture the emotion and individual vision of my brides/clients. When this connection is made between music and the bride and groom, the anticipation of the wedding is enhanced and stress is reduced, (especially since a professional-that would be me!-is involved). The joy of the wedding remains long after the cermony, as memories are rekindled every time they hears "their" music. And I love to play the music that touches their hearts! For me it becomes both joy given and received! If you wish I can add a violinist or cellist to my music offerings. The combination of strings and piano adds a special elegance to the atmosphere. So you have a choice of piano solo, piano/violin duo or piano/cello duo.

What makes you different from other wedding musicians?

My specialty is connecting the bride and groom to their event with the music they love. In other words, I play your favorites...and I do it passionately.

Couples love working with me because they can sneak in their favorite tunes (yes, even  baseball themes, Musicals, Sinatra, Country and more) and still have it sound classy and elegant!

I believe your wedding music should reflect you and call up personal memories that add even more joy to the occasion. That's why I make it a priority to get to know your musical taste and help you create a playlist that will be meaningful to you. I even have packages that allow you to have me learn a specific song or two that is special to you, if I don't already know it.

What kind of music do you play?

I play the music you love! My first priority is to find out which songs have the most meaning to you and include those during the most appropriate parts of your ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner or reception. I will also help you discover other popular and traditional songs that would be a good fit for your event so you can select the ones you like best.

My strength and love is classical music, but I have accumulated a wide repertoire of music, including sacred, popular and timeless love songs, Broadway show tunes, country, light jazz, Sinatra...I've even played classic rock and specialty songs at the request of the couple. I love to play your all-time favorites! I play artistically, playing the music not just the notes. The music comes from my soul - sometimes I feel like my soul is singing!

We're overwhelmed! Can you help us select our wedding music, including our favorites?

Yes! I simply love getting to know the couples I work with and helping them discover the music that will create the ambiance they are hoping for, while also adding meaning to the moment.

When it comes to selecting music for your event, the choices can be overwhelming. I will relieve you of this stress by helping you sort through the options and narrow in on the music that is the best fit for your style and taste.

What's it like to have you at our event?

When you book my piano services for your wedding or event you don't just get a pianist; you get me! - my soul, my artistry, my support and encouragement, my ability to seamlessly follow the entrances of each member of the Bridal Party. 

I play the music, not just the notes. 

I provide a connection to your wedding or event with music, giving you a "book of memories" to open whenever you hear those songs again. I am also experienced in playing for a Catholic Wedding Mass. In addition, you get my commitment to play "your music", even if it means finding and learning a new piece(s).

I have a passion for what I do - I love to connect the bride and groom/client with memorable events in their life through the gift of music that touches their heart! The result: "Your music, My passion, Shared joy!"

What else can you assist us with during our wedding planning process?

I am very well connected with the top wedding/event planners, vendors and venues in the Portland area and can recommend professionals that I know and trust to give you outstanding service.

I also work closely with your Coordinator/Officiant to make sure  we are working together to make your wedding/event run smoothly.

When will you be playing music during the ceremony?

I play music as the guests are being seated, for each entrance of the Bridal Party, during the ceremony (unity candle, sand ceremony, communion, vocalist...), for the recessional and as the guests are leaving.

One of the wonderful benefits of working with me is the stress that is relieved from having an experienced, professional at your event, who knows when music is needed so you don't have to worry about any awkward silence at inappropriate times.

Can you also play music during the cocktail hour, dinner and reception?

Yes! I am available to continue playing your favorite songs  through the cocktail hour, dinner and/or reception, if desired.  The Bride and Groom will often have me play for the ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner, then hire a DJ for the dancing and party. And if there is no piano at the venue, I have an electronic piano available.

You select which segments of your event you'd like me to perform during and I'll be there!

How far will you travel for a wedding?

Most of my weddings, social and corporate events are in the greater Portland and Vancouver area, but I am usually willing to travel up to 100 miles for a wedding. It's certainly something we can discuss if you chose to work with me.  35 miles round trip is included in your fee; additional miles are $1/mile.

Who do you work best with?

The Bride and Groom/Client who want and appreciate the elegance of live music are a perfect candidate for me. I am especially delighted when the Client has specific music in mind, because that makes the wedding/event totally theirs! And, of course, I will play it beautifully, leaving you and your guests with a treasured memory of your wedding day/event.

The Bride and Groom who know the value of music in uniting extended family are also a great fit for me. Playing a favorite love song of your parents, new in-laws or grandparents is a wonderful way to include those special people in your life.

Will you work with the vendors I've already found or people I really want to work with?

Of course! I will work with your fabulous vendors and coordinate my efforts with theirs to create a smooth flowing ceremony. It is not necessary to work only with people I know; however, I do have amazing vendors at my fingertips that I can easily match to your needs.

Do you have a contract? Do I need to make a deposit?

Yes, a contract prevents mis-understandings and keeps your date secure. I ask for a $150 deposit and a signed contract, with the balance due two weeks before the wedding date. The deposit is non-refundable after 30 days.

This sounds like everything we've been looking for. How do we get started?

Fabulous! The next step is for you to set up a "Get Acquainted" complimentary session. I want to hear about your vision for your dream wedding and your ideas for music. I'll be happy to take you through my packages to see which is the best fit for you.

To do that, just submit the inquiry form on my Wedding Services page.

May we contact some of your former clients to see what it's like to work with you?

Yes, absolutely! My brides and their families have become raving fans of the the elegance and joy that my music provides and love to speak to other potential brides about the ease of working with me. Email me to receive a reference list. You can also look at client testimonials on my website.

We have a few more questions before getting started. Can we call you to discuss this further?

Of course! Each wedding is unique and distinctive; the music is customized completely to your desires. Please feel free to submit the inquiry form on my Wedding Services page and we'll set up a time to get all your questions answered and discuss ideas you may have for your wedding or event.

I can't wait to meet you! And congratulations on your engagement!

Best wishes,
Linda Smith, Notes of Celebration

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