The Brussels commune of Schaerbeek, which already conducts weddings in English and records all ceremonies in 360°, will now also start organising weddings with live music on request.
Rather than playing a record, CD or music from a mobile device, the commune will be working together with the Schaerbeek Music Academy to perform music for couples who wish to have live music at their ceremonies. Quentin van den Hove, Schaerbeek councillor for citizens, who came up with the idea, explained what inspired it.
"We have a Steinway piano in our beautiful wedding hall, it's the Rolls Royce of pianos and a dream for every pianist. We also have a music academy with very high-level young talent in our municipality," he told The Brussels Times.
"Playing recorded music all the time at every wedding is such a shame when you have a top piano and very good musicians in the municipality and I wanted to change that."
Van den Hove has a reputation for making weddings at the commune extra special. "I always try to do what I do with passion, and the people who come to Schaerbeek to get married really appreciate that. I often get a word of thanks from the couple or their family because it was personalised."
He discussed the idea of musical weddings with the councillor in charge of the music academy, Michel De Herde, who also liked the idea, as well as the director of the academy, who was very enthusiastic.
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"Positive reactions from the musicians themselves came very quickly," he said. This same enthusiasm was shown by members of the public, as the first Saturdays with live music weddings are already all fully booked. "So there was clearly a demand for it," Van den Hove said.
Every last Saturday
Schaerbeek is the first of all Brussels' 19 communes to organise these weddings in a structured way. Previously, it was already possible for people taking part in the wedding to carry out a musical number themselves. "This does require more preparation as the musicians do not know the venue in advance."
The first music weddings will be organised on Saturday 28 May and will be available every last Saturday of the month. "People who come to register for a wedding are pleasantly surprised by the proposal to play live music during the ceremony, which is why the agenda for the musical weddings fills up quickly," Van den Hove said.
He is also eyeing opportunities to organise weddings on Valentine's Day every year, regardless of the day of the week (now, they are only organised on Wednesday, Fridays and Saturday, and to make ceremonies even more personalised.