Introducing the award-winning Ariella Strings! We caught up with Manager/Musician Cheryl in between her schmoozing with Dragon Theo Paphitis, to get the lowdown on this fabulous company!
When did you launch?
I began running Ariella Strings in October 2012, although the group has been together since 1999 and I was a founder member. Before I took over the group, it was organized by all the members together. I had a real urge to take Ariella to a new level but the only way this could happen was for me to take the management over completely. I felt there was much more we could offer and it is my vision to provide our engaged couples the best string quartet service available. We are now one of the top string groups in the country who specialise in weddings and we are very much loved by both clients and wedding suppliers alike. Weddings are my passion and we help all our clients create the perfect musical scenery for their big day. It is of the utmost importance to me that the music we provide for our couples totally reflects their personalities and their relationship.
Where are you based?
We are based in Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire but we travel as far as we are needed.
Where did the inspiration come from?
The inspiration for Ariella Strings came from playing in other quartets and being very aware that Brides and Grooms needs were not being met. The service they had been given by other quartets was not the kind of service I would want if I had a string group at my own wedding. Since then I have been driven to provide our clients with the best service in the country.
What did you do before running your businesses?
Before I started running Ariella Strings I played for professional orchestras and other chamber groups. I worked full time in a professional orchestra in South Africa for 6 years and after moving back to UK I freelanced all over the country and abroad.
What services do you offer?
Our services are provided in the form of 3 special “Fairytale” Packages. These packages have been carefully thought out and provide clients with one of the best wedding music services provided by a string group in the country.
Our wedding packages give our clients the opportunity to pick a service that fits their budget. No matter which level of package our clients choose each package is delivered with the same personal care, professionalism and attention to detail.
Our entry level package, “Charmed” is a package that offers an elite service with unlimited contact via phone, email and text and 2 hours playing time, although extra hours of playing are available if requested. We work with all our couples to help them choose the wedding music that totally reflects their personalities and their relationship.
Our “Magical” and “Enchanted packages include a slightly more personal touch with services in addition to the “Charmed” Package. For these packages our clients enjoy a music consultation at their convenience at their home for a chat about their music and the logistics of their big day. In these pre wedding consultations we talk about the couples’ ideas and dreams for their musical scenery and we just get to know each other a little better so there is a familiar face playing for them on their wedding day. Both packages include co-ordination with the couples’ colour scheme and our stands are wrapped in matching coloured ribbon. For couples choosing our “Enchanted” Package we liaise with their florist to wear the same button holes as the wedding party. This attention to detail shows the exemplary service we are bringing to our clients and sets us apart from most of the other string quartets in the UK wedding industry.
What has been your biggest achievement?
Ariella Strings has won a number of Wedding Industry Awards over the past couple of years but our biggest achievement was catching the eye of the businessman Theo Paphitis in July of this year and winning one of his #sbs awards. Small Business Sunday, shortened to the hashtag #SBS on Twitter, was created by Theo Paphitis in October 2010. Theo is best known for appearing on Dragons Den on BBC Two. He is Chairman of Ryman Stationery plus Boux Avenue lingerie and Robert Dyas, as well as joint owner of Red Letter Days.
We recently travelled to Birmingham to collect our award and meet him and all the other winners of this #sbs award. It was amazing meeting so many entrepreneurs and we made many fabulous contacts.
What do you love about weddings?
I love the stunning venues we have the honour of playing in. We are very lucky to get to see the work of all the other wedding suppliers – the flower displays, bouquets, the wedding cake and toppers and all the other beautiful touches associated with a wedding. The best bit about weddings is the fabulous, positive energy – sometimes it is almost electric especially as the guests are waiting for the Bridal Party to enter! Even after all these years I have been known to have a sniffle as the couple say their vows! We are honoured to be given the opportunity to share what is a very intimate moment in a couple’s life.
Who inspires you?
This is difficult question to answer for many so people inspire me both personally and professionally. I think small business owners have to be top of the list. They work so hard to make their businesses succeed. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication especially during the recession.
What is your pearl of wisdom for a Bride to Be planning her wedding day?
Your wedding day is YOUR day! Don’t be made to feel guilty about having it exactly the way you imagine it! We always advise our couples to pick music that is completely personal to them and their relationship no matter how quirky!! Try NOT to be influenced by anyone else. Remember your wedding day is entirely about you and your fiance and the memories will last you a lifetime!
Tell us a secret?
Wouldn’t be a secret if I told you!!
What is your favourite piece to play?
Very difficult question to answer for there are many pieces I enjoy playing. To be honest I prefer playing pop and jazz to playing classical, something that surprises many people! I think my favourite piece to play at the moment has to be 1000 Years by Christina Perri although if you asked me next month it may well have changed!!
What trends have you seen for 2013 and what do you think is in store for 2014?
Musically speaking the trend this year has been towards pop music especially for the entrance of the Bridal Party. ‘One day like this’, Elbow and ‘1000 years’, Christina Perri have definitely been the favourites, however, Pachelbel has definitely been the most popular classical Bridal entrance piece!
For us, I think the 2014 trend will definitely lean towards pop music. Our pop repertoire is forever expanding and our new Fairytale Packages include special arrangements of our couples’ favourite songs or pieces of music. We have already booked in quite a few of our new packages since their launch on 16th November and all of the special arrangements that have been commissioned so far have been pop music.
Any other comments?
The one thing that I am really passionate about is letting people know is that “Strings aren’t boring” A lot of people imagine a string group to be very staid and serious and I know that some quartets are! BUT we aren’t and we LOVE playing pop and jazz and like nothing better than having fun!! We are often told this comes across in our playing and guests just love what we do! We are now offering a unique “Jukebox live” service where guests can choose what we play from a list their Bride and Groom have put together.
Contact Ariella Strings:
Telephone: 01908 309783