Chicago Wedding Harpist

Beautiful Music for Your Wedding

My name is Renee Wilson, and I am a freelance harpist working in the greater Chicago area. As a harp player, I provide beautiful wedding music that is completely customized for your event, and easy to put together. I have helped couples choose their music for over 30 years, and I think the process should be fun, and reflective of the couple themselves. My YouTube channel and repertoire lists will get you started thinking about what you want, and I am available by phone or email to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to reach out at any point during your planning process. My response time is fast, so you won't find yourself waiting too long for answers!

reneewilsonharp@gmail.com
(312) 860-4997

You can link to my YouTube channel at the bottom of the page, but here are a few videos to get you started:


More Videos Available at My YouTube Channel!

Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to the questions I most often get asked. If you have additional questions, I would be delighted to hear from you directly!

reneewilsonharp@gmail.com
(312) 860-4997

  • How much do you charge for playing a wedding?

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    My basic wedding fee is $400. This covers prelude music (before the wedding), the ceremony, and 2 pieces after the wedding (recessional and postlude). Cocktail music can be added for $100 per hour. I do have 3 surcharges: parking (if it is not available from the venue), change of location within the venue ($25), and special request music (see below for specifics).
  • Do you have a normal travel area?

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    My normal travel area includes towns as far north as Lake Forest, as far south as Kankakee, as far west as Aurora, and as far east as Merrillville, Indiana. Locations beyond these areas will have a travel surcharge.
  • Can you play special requests?

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    I am always happy to play special requests! Special requests need to be made 2 weeks in advance of the event. If I don't already own the music, it needs to be available for purchase (in a piano version) at one of the online music stores I use. I will take care of getting the music and arranging it for harp. Most individual songs are available for purchase for between $5 and $10, and that cost will be added to your contract. There is a limit of 2 special requests per event. (Choosing music from my repertoire lists is never considered a "special request")
  • How do we arrange for you to play at our wedding?

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    When you are ready to book, I will need to know who the "purchaser" will be, and I will need a street address and telephone number for that person. I will send a contract via email, and it will need to be signed and returned with a $100 deposit. I accept personal checks and Chase QuickPay (Zelle).
  • Do you have special requirements for outdoor performances?

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    Yes. The most important thing to remember is that the harp cannot get wet. If it begins to rain during your ceremony, I will need to get the harp covered and to a dry location. This has actually never happened during a ceremony, but I feel it is important to let my clients know that even a little rain is damaging. I certainly appreciate being out of direct sunlight and on solid ground, but I do try to be flexible. Outdoor wedding are always a bit of an adventure!!
  • What is your training and experience?

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    I began studying harp at the age of 10 here in Chicago with the second harpist of the Lyric Opera (Mary Jo Green). I received my Master of Music Performance from the University of Northern Iowa, where I studied with Mary Beckman. In addition to playing jobs in and around the Chicago area, I have been the principal harpist of the South Bend Symphony since 1990.
  • How do I start planning the music for my wedding?

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    Usually the first thing you want to do is decide if you will have classical music, popular music, or a mix for your ceremony. Then begin the specific song selection with what you want to walk down the aisle to, and match the other songs as you go along. Having an overall mood in mind and doing lots of listening usually helps! Your officiant will generally tell you where you will need music in the ceremony, but I can also help sort that out if your officiant isn't sure. Some couples like to choose music for the prelude (music for your guests as they arrive), but others like to leave that to me to choose. There is no wrong way to go about it!

Repertoire Lists
Click on the categories below to see lists of some of my repertoire. If you don't see a particular song you're interested in, I may still know it! Please reach out to me via email to check on additional choices, or see the FAQ page for the special request procedure.

  • Popular (Contemporary) Choices Frequently Used in Weddings

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    All I Ask of You (from "Phantom of the Opera")
    All of Me (John Legend)
    All You Need is Love (Beatles)
    A Sky Full of Stars (Coldplay)
    A Thousand Years (Christina Perri)
    At Last (Etta James)
    Beauty and the Beast
    Bless the Broken Road (Rascal Flats)
    Can't Help Falling in Love (Elvis Presley)
    Can You Feel the Love Tonight (Elton John)
    Come Away With Me (Norah Jones)
    Dangerously in Love (Beyonce)
    Embraceable You (Gershwin)
    Endless Love (Lionel Ritchie)
    Eternal Flame (The Bangles)
    (Everything I Do) I Do It For You (Bryan Adams)
    Falling Slowly (Once)
    The first Day of My Life (Bright eyes)
    Flightless Bird/American Mouth (Iron and Wine)
    From This Moment On (Shania Twain)
    Halo (Beyonce)
    Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
    Here Comes the Sun (Beatles)
    Here There and Everywhere (Beatles)
    Ice Cream (Sarah McLachlan)
    I Choose You (Sara Bareilles)
    I Have Dreamed (from "The King and I" and "The American President")
    I'm Yours (Jason Mraz)
    I Will (Beatles)
    La Vie en Rose (Piaf/Armstrong)
    Love Story (Taylor Swift)
    Make You Feel My Love (Adele)
    Marry Me (Train)
    Mary You (Bruno Mars)
    Married Life (from "Up")
    Moon River (from "Breakfast at Tiffany's)
    My Cherie Amour (Stevie Wonder)
    Only Time (Enya)
    Over the Rainbow (Dorothy version)
    Over the Rainbow (Iz version)
    Perfect (Ed Sheehan)
    The Prayer
    Ribbon in the Sky (Stevie Wonder)
    River Flows in You (Twilight)
    Someone to Watch Over Me (Gershwin)
    Somewhere Only We Know
    Storybook Love (from "The Princess Bride")
    Till There Was You (from "The Music Man")
    True Colors
    The Way You Look Tonight (Kern)
    What a Wonderful World (Armstrong)
    (What a) Wonderful World (Sam Cooke)
    What the World Needs Now is Love
    When I'm 64 (Beatles)
    Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton)
  • Classical Songs Frequently Used in Weddings

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    Air (from "Water Music; Handel)
    Air on the G String (Bach)
    Allegro Grazioso (from "Spring"; Vivaldi)
    Allegro Maestoso (Handel)
    All in a Garden Green (Playford)
    Ave Maria (Schubert)
    Bianco Fiore ("White Flowers"; Negri)
    Bridal Chorus (from "Lohengrin"; "Here Comes the Bride"; Wagner)
    Clair de Lune (Debussy)
    Come Ye Sons of Art (Purcell)
    Concerto in B flat (Handel)
    Canon in D (Pachelbel)
    Entrance of the Queen of Sheba (Handel)
    Evening of Roses (Traditional Jewish)
    Flower Duet (Delibes)
    The Gentle Maiden (Irish Air)
    Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring (Bach)
    Largo (from "The Four Seasons"; Vivaldi)
    The Lark in the Clear Air (Traditional Irish)
    Meditation (from "Thais"; Massenet)
    Ode to Joy (Beethoven)
    Prince of Denmark's March (Clarke)
    The Rejoicing (Handel)
    Rondeau (Mouret)
    Sheep May Safely Graze (Bach)
    Trumpet Tune (Clarke)
    Wedding March (Mendelssohn)
  • Additional Popular Choices (Prelude or Cocktail Hour)

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    Again (Janet Jackson)
    Always and Forever
    Angel (Sarah Mclachlan)
    Angel of Music (from "Phantom of the Opera")
    A Sky Full of Stars (Coldplay)
    Beauty and the Beast (Ashman/Menken)
    Be My Baby (The Ronettes)
    Blue Bossa
    Can't Get Started With You (Vernon Duke)
    Caught Up in the Rapture (Anita Baker)
    Dangerously in Love
    Despacito
    Dream (Priscilla Ahn)
    Ebb Tide (Robert MaxwellO
    Edelweiss (from "The Sound of Music")
    Fields of Gold (Sting)
    Final Fantasy Prelude
    Game of Thrones Theme
    Here and Now
    Hotel California (Eagles)
    I Believe in You and Me
    If I Fell (Beatles)
    I Got you Babe (Sonny and Cher)
    I Get a Kick Out of You (Cole Porter)
    I Have Nothing (Whitney Houston)
    Inner Light (Star Trek Next Generation)
    In My Life (Beatles)
    Into the West (from "The Lord of the Rings")
    Iris (Goo Goo Dolls)
    It Might As Well Be Spring (Rogers/Hammerstein)
    Kiss From a Rose (Seal)
    La Paloma Azul (Brubeck)
    Love is Here To Stay (Gershwin)
    Misty (Errol Gardner)
    My Funny Valentine (Gershwin)
    My Heart Will Go On (from "Titanic")
    Nothing Else Matters (Metallica)
    On the Wings of Love
    Pure Imagination (from "Willie Wonka")
    Rainbow Connection (Kermit the frog)
    Scarborough Fair (Simon and Garfunkel)
    Save the Best for Last (Vanessa Williams)
    Singing in the Rain
    Somewhere in Time (Barry)
    Stay With Me (Sam Smith)
    Suddenly
    Sweet Child 'O Mine (Guns N' Roses)
    Sweet Love
    Terrapin Station (Grateful Dead)
    That's All (Nat King Cole)
    Time in a Bottle (Jim Croce)
    Time to Say Goodbye (Andrea Bocelli)
    Tonight Tonight (Smashing Pumpkins)
    Tupelo Honey (Van Morrison)
    Under the Boardwalk
    Unforgettable
    You Are the Sunshine of My Life
    We're In This Love Together
    The Wind (Cat Stevens)
    You've Got a Friend in Me (from "Toy Story")
  • Additional Classical Choices

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    Adagio from "Clarinet Concerto" (Mozart)
    Arioso (Bach)
    Dance of the Blessed Spirits (Gluck)
    First Gymnopedie (Satie)
    First Arabesque (Debussy)
    Fur Elise (Beethoven)
    The Girl With the Flaxen Hair (Debussy)
    I Love You So (Lehar)
    Musetta's Waltz (Puccini)
    Nocturne (Mendelssohn)
    O Mio Babbino Caro (Puccini)
    Prelude #1 (Bach)
    Raindrop Prelude (Chopin)
    Simple Gifts (from "Appalachian Spring "; Copland)
    Sleepers Wake (Bach)
    Sonata en Re (Albeniz)
    The Swan (Saint-Saens)
    Theme from "Jupiter" (Holst)
    To a Wild Rose (Macdowell)
    Villa Song (Lehar)
  • Bollywood

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    Bollywood selections, while not counting as a special request, do need 2 weeks notice.

    Chori Chori Chupke Chupke
    Jashn-E-Bahara
    Kal Ho Naa Ho
    Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
    Pee Loon
    Pehla Nasha
    O Re Piya
    Tere Bina
    Teri Meri
    Tum Hi Ho
Okay, I know blogs are sort of out of fashion. Still, I don't know a better way to get across to you the number of places I have played. If you wonder if I've ever been to your venue, you can head on over and check out the topics at the side of the page. I have lots of pictures of my harp set up at the venues, too, so it can be fun to see what it might look like if you had harp at your wedding!