Wedding Music from the Movies

In our quest to create unique soundtracks for your I Do's we came across the soundtrack to the timeless movie "The Princess Bride". This 1987 American romantic comedy film combines comedy, adventure, romance and fantasy. It has developed into a cult film since it's release. Mark Knopfler created this memorable soundtrack to enhance the story.

Take a listen to the entire soundtrack on this site. Just gives you a sample of all the songs, but you will get the general idea.  

How would we describe the mood of this soundtrack? Dreamy, shimmery,"any thing is possible if you love enough",simple melody, soothing and harmonious, recognizable ....fairytale.
Your wedding music is basically a playlist that you should be able to recall and relive each time you hear it.
So, to quote Miracle Max ( played by Billy Crystal)
"True Love is the greatest thing,in the world --- except for a nice MLT - mutton,lettuce and tomato sandwich...where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe. They're so perky, I love that"
Take a listen!

How would we describe the mood of this soundtrack? Dreamy, shimmery,"any thing is possible if you love enough",simple melody, soothing and harmonious, recognizable ....fairytale.
Your wedding music is basically a playlist that you should be able to recall and relive each time you hear it.
So, to quote Miracle Max ( played by Billy Crystal)
"True Love is the greatest thing,in the world --- except for a nice MLT - mutton,lettuce and tomato sandwich...where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe. They're so perky, I love that"
Take a listen!

Here Comes.....the Groom

Listen to this inspiring piano song (below)  to get you up , off the couch and attacking this list!

Yes! YOU are getting married too! There are things to do!

We so often hear grooms joking about just renting the tux and showing up. There are so many things that the grooms are responsible for. Highlight the following, copy and paste it to your "to DO list"

Select and pay for that engagement ring - with or without your bride. Big or small - just remember - it reflects you too.

  • Choose your wedding party: best man, groomsmen and ushers
  • Choose the attire for the guys - whether it is khakis, tuxes or jeans - make it suit your wedding day style.
  • Choose thanks-you gifts for your wedding party. They put out a lot of cash and time to be a part of your day!
  • Choose the music for you ceremony with your bride. It is important as it also reflects you as a couple.
  • Picking up the marriage license!!!
  • Planning transportation for the wedding party!
  • Paying the wedding officiant and musicians - before the wedding ceremony.
  • Write you thank you speeches and toasts  - not the night before the wedding - don`t "wing it"

Here Comes the Brides!

Donna`s mom...good sensible dancing pumps

Donna`s mom...good sensible dancing pumps

Kim and HER attendants November 2011

Kim and HER attendants November 2011

Donna and her attendants - 1962

Donna and her attendants - 1962


These brides had  nothing in comman except they both chose the same music to walk down the aisle. Wonderful music seems to stand the test of time. It is honest, simple, and meaningful.  It represents what marriage should be. Incidently, Donna is still married. ..... just saying.

More FAQ

We have provided a site FAQ here -  but here is an interview we did.

We came across a survey on the Calgary wedding Services Website  and thought it would be a great idea to answer these questions as we get asked them quite often

Oh, Oh.. a little wedding music to get us in the mood:


Q : Is our venue suitable for you, your instrument, or group? (If it is outdoors, can we accommodate needs in way of shelter or amplification? What if it rains?) 

Answer from Occasional Notes:

One of the reasons that Occasional Notes was formed, was to perform at wedding venues that presented sound and space challenges for musicians.we have all been guests at weddings where a gifted violinist or harpist is performing, but not heard. Power is required at weddings so your vows can be heard and the music can be enjoyed.  We perform on Yamaha's finest digital pianos whose sleek form and function are cutting edge. Our portable sound system is Yamaha's STAGEPAS 300, and has the power, high quality sound and portability to fill any wedding  performance space. Combining a built-in powered mixer and PA speakers, we also provide a microphone for the wedding officiant which is powered through our system. You will hear all of your music as you walk down the aisle.We are completely set up in 30 minutes with this powerful, reliable and convenient sound system. It is our little "roadie"! Hey, we're girls! 

Outdoor wedding must  have a rain plan. Shelter has always been planned and provided. We cannot play in the rain due to our electrical problem, and we DO not like frizzy hair.We have never been rained out yet!


Q: What is the cost? The time? Does that include travel and set-up/pack-up? What are overtime costs?

Answer from Occasional Notes:

Our price packages start at $700.00. This price includes consultation, our sound system and complete ceremony music. (30 minutes prior to the wedding, complete ceremony music, as well as music for departing guests.) There is an  travel fee for out of town weddings. We do have solo pianists available upon request.


Q: Do you carry insurance for your instruments? 

Answer from Occasional Notes: 

Yes we do - it is part of our contract .We also have replacement instruments available to us.


Q: How much experience do you have at weddings of our size?

Answer from Occasional Notes 

We are accredited, professional musicians with over twenty years of teaching and solo performance experience. (check our website for our accreditation) We have performed at small intimate weddings ( 50 people) and very large weddings (Over 350)

It is most important to prepare music and sound quality to the venue, but the music chosen should always be personal to the couple, however many guests are attending. 


Q: What is your dress code? Do you smoke or drink during the evening? How do you motivate the guests of all ages? 

Answer from Occasional Notes:

Every wedding is a formal event for us, therefore we present ourselves in formal black attire. Our professionalism is always reflected in our behaviour.


Q: What pieces or style of music do you play? Do you take requests? Can we select the songs (for soloist) or play/don't play list (for group)

 Answer from Occasional Notes                     

After years of education, performing and experience our repertoire is extensive and we believe that your wedding should reflect you as a couple. Choosing music with an excited bride and groom is the best part of what we do and the reason we love our business. We can perform any genre of music varying from Handel's Water music to Kenny Chesney's  country hit "Me and You. "


Q: What happens if you or one of your group members is sick? What is your cancellation policy?

Answer from Occasional Notes 

If the couple cancels more that 60 days prior to the event or  if we must cancel for any unknown reason, all money is completed refunded. We however, have other teams of professional pianists always prepared to perform.Our contract will outline not only our duties, but responsibilities for our brides and grooms as well.


Q: Do you have references?

  Answer from Occasional Notes

Yes. Check our Page and our ur reviews are also available on www.weddingwire .com


Prelude, My Little Girl

"The bridal party has made its way down to the front of the assembly... The crowd stands... It’s time for the Bride to process up the aisle to the altar! She may be alone, or she may be escorted by her father, an uncle, a good friend, or even the Groom, but one thing is for sure... she’ll be accompanied by music!"

We have discovered a new piece of music by Jon Schmidt that captures the feelings of that moment. It is based on J.S. Bach's Prelude in C Major BWV 846. It presents the formality of the baroque spirit accompanied by a modern, romantic and sentimental elegance. We love this and hope you do too.

Remember that this walk down the aisle is also a very emotional moment for the person on her arm - who taught her to tie her shoes,watched her learn to ride a bike. This song represents - love.

Halloween Weddings can be Bootiful!

Danny Elfman wrote this piano duet for "The Corpse Bride'. It would be a unique piece of music for a haunting processional.

Okay - Halloween weddings are not for every bride - but think of the positive aspects of a ghoulish occasion.  It doesn't matter if your make up really is not a problem if you are pale - no spray tan for you! Orange!

Celtic Wedding Music

If you are planning a wedding with a Celtic mood consider this beautiful song - " The Lark in the clear Air" - beautiful sentiment as well as lovely melody.

Dear thoughts are in my mind And my soul soars enchanted,
As I hear the sweet lark sing In the clear air ofthe day.
For a tender beaming smile To my hope has been granted,
And tomorrow she shall hear All my fond heart would say.

I shall tell her all my love, All my soul’s adoration,
And I think she will hear And will not say me nay.
It is this that gives my soul All its joyous elation,
As I hear the sweet lark sing In the clear air of the day.

What a gorgeous processional for a bride, on her dad's arm, or for wedding party entrances. 
More Celtic music to come.

Why Hire a Wedding Professional?

Unless you plan on marrying twice, you  actually get only  one opportunity to enjoy the wedding day of your dreams. And while you cannot control the weather or the behavior of guests ( you know that annoying family member that you feel you HAVE to invite - we all have one - or more), you can control and plan for almost everything else, if you hire professionals. What do we mean by professionals? Accredited wedding planners, with credentials to match, seasoned florists with experience handling blooms in all weather conditions, and in our case musicians who are trained, educated and polished. Amateurs have not spent hours practising and perfecting their craft precisely for weddings. Your goal is to find musicians who will cater to your needs, financially and professionally. They must be able to provide the perfect ambiance for your style, providing you with an abundance of  musical choices and genres to help you choose the music that defines you as a couple.  They must be confident in performing a large repertoire in front of large groups, punctual and create perfect sound production. That is what you are paying for!

 Self managed wedding musicians are less costly, as there is no  booking agent being paid, but you  need a contract. It protects you and us.Professional musicians will ensure that the price you are quoted coincides with the actual product that you will be paying. A professional contract is required to be clear about  the terms of service that is agreed upon by both parties.Make sure the dates, times, and even  dress attire ( for the musicians) are secure, well understood and written in the contract.

We feel bad for the pianist in this wedding clip - not his fault - just a little inexperienced. Don't risk this happening at your wedding. Ouch.

We want your wedding to be our greatest performance. Hire professionals!

William and Katherine's Processional Music

I have to admit that I had not  heard the processional song from the Royal Wedding of Will and Kate, but it was so regal and beautiful  For anyone else whom may not have heard it is the  choral anthem  " I Was Glad" composed by Sir Charles Hubert Hasting Parry. It was originally composed for the coronation of William's 3 - time great grandfather, Edward VII at Westminster Abbey back in 1902. Most of the content of the psalm is a prayer for the peace and prosperity of Jerusalem.
I am thinking that it could be scaled down to something simpler - if you don't have a full orchestra, and choir  booked for you wedding. The melody and harmonies are amazing.


More Wedding Planning Yarns and Stuff

We met with such a nice couple yesterday, who are marrying this August. Their ceremony will be held in the gazebo at the Silvertip Resort in Canmore - heart of the Rocky Mountains. Albertans are lucky  to have the mountains as a backdrop for the best day of their lives.

At consultations it is so nice to just sit and relax over a cup of coffee, listening to the vision of their wedding - the colours, the flowers, the dress. Little memories and classic stories always emerge about special  people who are a part of the couple`s lives. You know, like "OMG I hope my grandpa doesn`t actually wear his kilt`"..or ``Do you think we can get Sam (the little two year old  ring bearer ) to walk down the aisle``..or `` We think that Brad (one of the best men) has a thing for Jen (one of the bridesmaids)...but she is WAY taller than him``. So, not only do we choose music, but we get some  scoop on the guests.One hour consultation inevitably becomes two. Hey - we are girls - we like this stuff!``

Before choosing music we like to hear where  the couple`s first date happened , best concert ever, favourite restaurant, best holiday .. BECAUSE  answers such as ``quiet dinner alone, Keith Urban, Earls and camping in Banff will coordinate with music that has a bit of a country feeling. If a couple`s  first date was jetting off to Vegas, a performance of Madame Butterfly ,Rouge Restaurant and a holiday in Paris, we are heading into a different direction musically speaking - a  classical soundtrack. Both genres are perfect.

Oh and by the way ...SMARTIES! That is how they got Sam  down the aisle!

The Sounds of Outdoor Wedding Ceremonies

We love outdoor Wedding Ceremonies!  There is something very special about witnessing a couple exchange vows under a beautiful blue sky surrounded by nature.  Outdoor weddings are filled with beautiful sights and sounds.   If you are planning an outdoor ceremony, you need to ensure that your guests will be able to take in the sounds of your day.  Make sure that there is a microphone available for your officiant and that your musicians offer a sound system.  Your guest will want to hear your vows!  At Occasional Notes, we will provide a full sound system including a microphone.  We want to make sure that your "sounds" are as spectacular as your "sights"!

Say "I Do" at the Calgary Carriage House Inn

Occasional Notes at the Carriage House

The Carrige HOuse, Calgary

The Carrige HOuse, Calgary

Finding the perfect Calgary venue for your wedding can be a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be at the Carriage House Inn. The Carriage House Inn staff are professionals and can help you plan an unforgettable wedding day.

This hotel  provides the perfect blend of sophistication, style and modern facilities to make every part of your Calgary wedding a memorable experience.

Your ceremony and reception can both be held in the same location and  your out of  town guests can be comfortable in the knowledge that they are in one location for the entire event.

The Carriage House has elegant and spacious event facilities that will  help set the scene for your perfect day. Whether you’d like an intimate cocktail reception or a sit-down dinner for 350, choose from one of their three beautifully appointed ballrooms.

Occasional Notes has enjoyed performing for weddings held at the Carriage House. After working with several couples we have heard only wonderful comments. The staff is very professional and we have noticed their attention to detail. They are  courteous and welcoming to the guests at the wedding and the weddings were set up carefully with the details that the brides and grooms had requested. 

As musicians, the Carriage House ensures that we have ample room for our equipment, enough set up time, and are very knowledgeable. We are always very concerned about the sound level of our music. The volume settings for pre-ceremony music is much different from the  actual processional and recessional music. We like to complete several sound checks prior to  the weddings that we perform at. The Carriage House was very understanding regarding these details, for they are striving for the same goal - the perfect wedding.

Trust your wedding ceremony to the professionals at the Carriage House. You will not be disappointed. We never are.

Occasional Notes - Wedding Ceremony Music for your Outdoor Wedding

If you are planning an outdoor wedding in Calgary this summer, prepare for  sun, rain, wind, ....snow..! Yes it has snowed in August before. Always have a rain plan. You will need shelter for the musicians because instruments will not tolerate moisture, and in our case there is a problem of electricity. Order a tent that can be picked up in the event of a weather problem. Umbrellas should be available for your guests just in case there looks like sprinkles of rain, or if it is exceptionally hot. It is worth it! Outdoor weddings have a particular charm.

Calgary's Valley Ridge Golf Club Weddings

From intimate and romantic to grand and posh,Calgary's Valley Ridge Golf Club is the perfect venue for your upcoming wedding. The  beautiful indoor facilities offer all the amenities you need with stunning floor-to-ceiling views of our golf course and gardens. Their spectacular outdoor gardens, fountains, waterfalls, and ponds are a beautiful backdrop for photographs and videos, imagine your wedding surrounded in beauty. There is something very special about outdoor ceremonies.Somehow  wedding nerves seem to evaporate into the blue skies above. As  guests, we love the natural feeling that the outdoors offers. As musicians, the challenge is being heard, as sometimes notes also disappear into the sky above. Be sure that when you are choosing the musicians for your day, that they have a sound system to supply enough volume. Also choosing music that compliments the surroundings. Billy Idol, nope...Handel's Water Music ...yup.

Occasional Notes is looking forward to this summer's weddings at Valley Ridge.

Food, Wine and Music Pairing

What goes better with Napa Valley Cabernet... Mozart or Metallica?

Just as a musician merges groups of notes into chords and arranges them into a melody, the chef or wine maker combine food or wine notes.

Historically, wines from one region were traditionally paired with the food from that region..In areas where red wine was more popular or plentiful, it was not uncommon to see it served with fish or seafood without  too much thought given to the character of  the wine or the food. Each was appreciated and savoured on it’s own; there was no search for “synergy” as we strive for nowadays

There is a creativity that is necessary to making music and making great food, and wine, for they all have a history. Food , drink, music are essentially all easy to share, and are the best things in life, but  they should compliment each other. Start out with good ingredients and you end up with a good product. When we speak of wines as having an " old world, elegant, savoury character, Chopin's music comes to mind with it's layers of tones, tempo rubato,and depth. It has stood the test of time. Take the time to enjoy a glass of Cabernet Franc while listening to the Nocturne in E flat major. It is an oral and aural delight!

Here Runs the Bride

"This is Your Big Moment...walk (don't run) down the aisle"

I can't tell you how many brides I have seen racing up the aisle to arrive breathlessly in front of the minister just as the 5th bar of Pachelbel's famous Canon is being played - not even getting into the canon part. There is a scramble to find some sort of cadence so the ceremony can continue. (And then there are the rare times that the Canon is played through twice as the high-heeled brides who are getting married outdoors start their "aisle" walks way up on a grassy hill the day after a big rain....)

Many brides unwittingly shorten even more the time allotted for the musicians to play the bridal entrance music. Often, one piece of music is specified for their attendants and another for the exclusive entrance of the bride. Here is a typical example of what can happen in such a circumstance: The music begins for the attendants who are hovering in the entranceway. The crinoline'd flower-girl, out of her mind with joy to be the focus of attention, waltzes prettily up the aisle tossing flower petals and smiling radiantly to the wedding guests. The attendants follow at a judicious pace, giving all a chance to admire their beauty and to murmur approvingly at the impeccable taste of the bride,who has chosen exactly the right colour for them to wear. The last attendant takes her place just as the chosen "attendant" music comes to an end. The "bridal entrance" music begins and the wedding guests crane their necks to the back of the hall, only to see a cloud of petals and brief glimpse of flying veil. They all snap their heads back and forth searching in wonder through the floating petals. But she has already dashed by. There she is in front, standing beside her future husband waiting to speak their vows. How did she do that???

I want so desperately to say to these anxious brides that the wedding ceremony is already short enough. Take your time as you walk up the aisle. Breathe! Smile to your guests as well as to your future husband who awaits you. Give everyone a chance to see how happy you are. Enjoy and savour this moment as your great adventure into married life begins.