New Year, New Look, Naturally!

Many of you may be aware that I’ve had the opportunity to play violin for several religious organizations and ceremonies around the OKC metro from Catholic, to Protestant, to Jewish, to non-denominational and across the spectrum. I play violin and serve as the staff music assistant for St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, where, after wrapping up a yearlong celebration of Kindness, the congregation is now transitioning to a 2017 focused on gratitude.

I love the idea of focusing intentionally on thankfulness. I’m so thankful for having the opportunity to do what I love with the support of wonderful family, friends, coworkers and clients. That’s why we’ve been hard at work rolling out some exciting new features for Laura Naturally!

As you may have noticed, we’ve just rolled out a new, user-friendlier interface for LauraNaturally.com. It’s a more modern design that will help users find what they need with greater ease and enjoyment. In addition to a cleaner aesthetic, you’ll find clearly marked tabs and direct ways to connect and ask questions. One of the pieces I’m most excited about is a super fun, easy-to-navigate MUSIC tab where you can hear unaccompanied samples. (These are just a few popular requests, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to what we have to offer – if you’d like to hear examples of quartet music or discuss further repertoire, let me know! More to come on the music itself in a later blog series.)

Another piece we’re thrilled to roll out is a brand new logo! We worked with a designer to find the perfect combination of energy, versatility and chicness that we hope brides and other clients see shining through their experiences with Laura Naturally:

Laura_Naturally_Logo_A Transparent.png

It will be a slow process rolling out all these new materials, but the New Year is the perfect time for this fresh start. Thanks to everyone for your support. Happy New Year!

Cheers to a Happy New Year!

night

There’s no doubt 2016 has been a year for the books, full of joys and challenges, highs and lows and a whole lot of roller coaster-ing in between. I so enjoy thinking back through the positive things – the weddings we’ve had the opportunity to celebrate with happy couples, the personal triumphs for friends and family – and turn the negatives into positives by incorporating them into goals and resolutions for the New Year. I’m so excited… big stuff is planned for Laura Naturally in 2017!

Stay tuned to this blog and Facebook for more.

Happy New Year!

Plan for the best (and then roll with the punches).

I came across this cute photo on Huffington Post this week and could not help but laugh out loud. I may be a musician rather than a wedding photographer, but I totally know how he feels.

Chase Richardson Photography
Chase Richardson/Followell Photography

Take a look at this beautiful bridal party! They are perfectly coiffed, made up and outfitted for their perfect day. This bride and her trusty bridesmaids have been planning meticulously for months — even years. The photographer is clearly on his A game, bringing together everyone for a well-styled group photo.

And then he slips and falls down, snapping the photo on his way and capturing these priceless, surprised faces. Despite all their planning, life happened in the middle of their life event, and while this may not be the perfect, every-hair-in-its-place photo they thought they’d get, I guarantee you it’s their favorite one. (Oh, and they probably got that “perfect” one for the mantelpiece, too.)

Although I’ve never planned my own wedding (hold your horses, friends — that’s a ways down the road!) I’ve learned that the brides who are most satisfied at their weddings are the ones who embrace the unexpected and have a little fun. Like my mama always says, “make sure your lipstick is on at the beginning of the night, but don’t waste a memorable evening in the bathroom touching up your makeup — live a little!” In other words, plan for the best and then roll with the punches.

On my blog and countless other sources, you’ll find advice on how to plan down to the minute for your dream wedding, and I love the opportunity to help guide brides on the musical aspects of their wedding journey. This photo was just a reminder to me what a memory can be made when the ring bearer drops the rings or crazy Uncle Harold knocks the topper off the cake. You can’t plan for everything.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July, friends!

Timing is Everything

Good wedding ceremony musicians are not only trained to play the music itself, they are skilled at “timing out” the music so that your processional down the aisle is seamless. Whether you and your wedding party feel like taking a little extra time to savor the moment or one of your bridesmaids loses a shoe, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether your musician gets the memo in the heat of battle.

And you won’t – if you take one simple step during your planning process to ensure proper wedding day communication.

It is important to tell your wedding planner or same-day venue coordinator to allow each song selection to gracefully end and a new one to begin before sending out the next wedding party group. Don’t worry, we won’t keep you waiting there forever! Many times, wedding planners feel rushed to get everyone down the aisle. But, if a little time is taken by the coordinator, the musician is able to avoid any abrupt stops in the music. This creates a much smoother and more pleasant experience for you, your groom, and your guests.

Even better, you can encourage the planner and musician to communicate one-on-one by phone prior to the big day so that they are on the same page!

 

Photo courtesy A-Weddings.com
Photo courtesy A-Weddings.com

The Perfect Bridal Processional

It’s the big day. You have your hair coiffed, your dress pressed, and your bridesmaids in line. You have nothing else to plan!

The one thing that you can think about now is the walk down the aisle. Wouldn’t it be absolutely perfect if you had the perfect song for the violin to take you to the alter? If you are into traditional wedding music, these five pieces are the best options for you:

1. “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” (J.S. Bach)

2. “Where’er You Walk” (G.F. Handel) – Check out the lyrics – it’s perfect!

3. “Salut d’Amour” (Edward Elgar)

4. “Trumpet Voluntary” (Jeremiah Clarke)

5. “Träumerei” (Robert Schumann)

Give them a listen – there’s a reason they’ve been around for hundreds of years!

First Presbyterian Church, Oklahoma City
First Presbyterian Church, Oklahoma City

Here Comes the Bride…

Several times a month, a bride-to-be asks me for  recommendations for music to incorporate into her wedding ceremony.

“What do people usually do?” she asks, typically with a touch of panic in her voice. (As you may have heard, wedding planning can be a stressful undertaking.)

My answer, most often, is that it’s all about what YOU like. A few questions I might ask the bride and groom usually include:

  • If you had to choose, would you describe yourselves as traditional or contemporary?
  • What is the tone of your ceremony venue?
  • Are there any songs or artists that are especially meaningful to you and/or your families?

People never seem to have trouble conceptualizing what their dream wedding will be — visions of color palettes, bouquets, event venues, fondant-laden cakes and merengue-laden white dresses dance in their heads from before the groom-to-be drops to one knee. But music is part of what makes your wedding, your wedding!

My humble advice is to throw out the rules of “what people usually do” and select music for your ceremony that (1) fits your venue and (2) fits the couple up at the altar. If the words you would use to describe your wedding include “elegant” and “stately,” then by all means ask your musicians to play Pachelbel’s Canon in D. But, if you don’t know Mozart from Madonna, pick something that is meaningful to you, and you can’t go wrong!

Photo courtesy of SouthernWeddings.com
Photo courtesy of SouthernWeddings.com