The Complete Harpist Booking Guide for 2023: Tips, Costs and FAQs

The Complete Harpist Booking Guide for 2023: Tips, Costs and FAQs

The harp has long been considered a heavenly instrument and, although the origin of this connection is somewhat unknown, they're still considered the go-to choice for providing wedding ceremony soundtracks.

In more recent years, harp players have also become a popular at corporate dinners and private functions, due to the sophistication and elegance associated with mastering such a complex instrument. If you’re looking to hire a professionally trained harpist, but wish to find out more information prior to your search, then you’ve come to the right place.

The following booking guide is the perfect place to start, as we walk you through all the most common queries related to costs, venue requirements, space requirements, popular wedding songs, and of course, the booking process.

Already up to scratch with all of the above? That’s great! You can start your search right here by heading on over to our harpist page, where you’ll find a variety of professional harpists for hire in your region.

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When should the Harpist play & for how long?

Creating a schedule for any event is often tricky, so it’s important to place your entertainment in the right time slot to make the most of your booking. Harpists are best suited for the more intimate parts of the day such as the wedding ceremony, or as background music to set the desired ambience for your event - for example, during a dinner or drinks reception.

You’ll find most harpists quote for their time on site (excluding arrival and set up) and they’ll perform as much or as little as needed within this time frame. If you book a harpist for 2-3 hours or more, then short breaks and possibly  food will be required (we’ll discuss this in further detail later on in this article).

However, not all quotes will be based on this structure. If you’re looking to hire a solo harp player for a wedding ceremony, then you’ll find the following format is the standard:

  • Pre-Ceremony: 20/30 minutes performance as the guests arrive are are seated
  • Processional / Bridal Entrance: 1 song is performed for the bridesmaids and then for the bride to walk down the aisle
  • Signing of the Register: 2-3 songs are performed as the bride and groom sign the register and take photos
  • Bridal Exit: 1 song is then performed for the newly weds to walk back down the aisle

They may also offer a price for performing at just the drinks reception or the wedding breakfast (covering approximately 2 hours for each respective part of the day). Of course, if you need them to cover the ceremony, drinks and wedding breakfast, then an ‘all-in cost’ might be put forward for consideration.

When will the Harpist arrive?

We schedule all of our harp players to arrive 1 hour prior to performance. In reality, their set up does not usually take this long, but we like to ensure they’re on site in plenty of time. Setting up will take roughly 15-30 minutes and they will need good access to the venue to unload their equipment.

Tip We highly recommend checking with your venue that suppliers have access to unload their equipment prior to booking. It’s worth checking that the performance space is easily accessible, for example, if performing upstairs you’ll need to check they have a lift so the harp can be transported up to that level.

How much space does a Harpist need?

A very good question! The harp is a large instrument and therefore needs plenty of space. A modern concert harp stands at around 75 inches tall and about 1m wide.

The performance space and dimensions need to be considered, as well as the manoeuvring of the harp through the venue itself to the desired location. It’s best to speak to your venue about this prior to booking and how to tackle any potential obstacles before the event.

Please ask if you wish to know the exact dimensions of the harp being provided on the day - we can send these over to you prior to booking.

How much will it cost to hire a Harpist?

On average, a harpist will charge between £200 - £300+ for an hour's performance locally. Harpists will then typically charge per additional hour required, so you can look to spend approximately £400 - £500+ for a 3 hour booking as an example.

A 3 hour booking can typically cover the ceremony and drinks reception, assuming the ceremony is 45-60 minutes long and the drinks reception is at the same venue location.

Harpist Booking Guide

How far in advance should I book a Harpist?

We recommend booking any act around 12 months in advance to your date. It’s also worth noting that harpists are particularly popular between May - September (peak wedding season), so be sure to start sending in your enquiries early on if you’re looking to hire a harpist on a Saturday during this time.

Will I need to provide a meal for the Harpist?

Harpists tend to be booked in for daytime performances i.e. ceremonies, drinks receptions etc, so a suppliers meal is not usually expected. However, if food can be arranged (for example: sandwiches, fruit, snacks etc) then this is always greatly appreciated.

If you were to book a harpist to cover the evening (from 5-6pm onwards), then a suppliers meal will be politely requested. This needn’t be the same meal as guests and most caters should be familiar with the term ‘suppliers meal’ and be able to suggest some options. Otherwise, a bar meal is also satisfactory.

You may also find that a harpist may politely request food / lunch if they are on site for a long period of time (whether it’s during the morning or afternoon) i.e. for 3 or more hours.

Finally, please be mindful that refreshments must always be made available to the musician, whether they are booked in for 30 minutes or 3 hours (i.e. tea, coffee, bottled water etc).

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Can a Harpist perform outside?

The simple answer is yes. However, you’ll need to make sure they are under cover and protected from the elements - this can include direct sunlight as well, which can damage the instrument.

Placing the harpist under a gazebo or marquee is ideal. However, please do make sure to measure the structure you’re placing the harpist under and also obtain the harpist’s dimensions from the agent prior to booking.

Finally, a harpist will need a hard, flat surface to transport their harp around and perform on. If the surface isn't flat, then the harpist may not be able to perform on that space or possibly transport it to the desired area.

What equipment does a Harpist require?

A harpist will come fully-self contained, though they may politely request that a chair or stool is provided for them at the venue. A harpist may sometimes provide an amplifier if required (if they are performing to a large number of guests or alongside other musicians), in which case they will require access to a safe electric source.

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What are the most popular songs for a wedding Harpist?

Below are some of the most popular and familiar songs to get you going, but this isn’t a definitive list. Our solo harp players cover a multitude of artists and genres - you can view each harpists repertoire list online their profile page.

Popular Classical Ceremony Songs

  • Canon in D - Pachelbel
  • Wedding March – Mendelssohn
  • Bridal Chorus - Wagner
  • Air on a G string – Bach
  • Clair de Lune – Debussy
  • Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Handel
  • Eine Kleine Nachtmusik – Mozart
  • Fur Elise – Beethoven

Popular Contemporary Ceremony Songs

  • A Thousand Years - Christina Perri
  • Songbird – Eva Cassidy
  • All of Me – John Legend
  • At Last – Etta James
  • Perfect – Ed Sheeran
  • Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley
  • Eva Cassidy - Fields of Gold
  • Halo – Beyonce
  • Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
  • How Deep is Your Love – Bee Gees
  • Elbow - One Day Like This
  • Fix You – Coldplay
  • All You Need Is Love – The Beatles
  • Wonderwall – Oasis
  • I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing – Aerosmith
  • Make You Feel My Love - Adele
  • Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
  • Hoppipolla – Sigur Ros

Can I request songs not already in the repertoire?

100% yes - our harpists are always happy to take on requests if they can find the sheet music online. If they’re required to buy the sheet music, then this expense would need to be covered. If they can't find the sheet music anywhere, then they can create their own arrangement of the song, but this would incur an additional fee for their time doing so.

What will the Harpist wear?

You’ll find a harpist often wears an elegant dress or a smart suit so that they look the part for the occasion. However, they are usually more than happy to take into consideration a specific dress code if you’re hosting, for example; a black tie dinner, an Indian wedding ceremony, Great Gatsby themed party etc.

Please do speak to your agent or harpist before the day if you have a request regarding the dress code.

How do I book a harpist?

Use our Quick Search feature to browse through harpists in your region, from here you can listen to mp3s, watch sample live videos and view their repertoire.

Once you’ve found something you like the look of simply drop us an enquiry using the enquiry form and we’ll come back to you with price and availability.

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