Congratulations on your engagement


If you do not see the answer to your question, feel free to send me an email. If the answer is there but you'd like a bit more detail, just leave a comment (no need to sign in or create an account to post).

FAQ: Booking a Wedding Singer


Typically, a 50% deposit is required to reserve a date; but before any money changes hands, consider the following:

Unless the artist is just starting out, you should be able to go to a reputable web-site to learn more about them, hear some samples, view a calendar to find a date & venue to attend to see them live (when you do, please introduce yourself), and some way to contact them.

Upon your initial inquiry, they should respond to you with a Pricing Structure and Sample Contract. You should then be prompted to provide information such as Date(s) & Time(s), the location (name of venue), the number of people expected, and any unique requirements/requests that need to be worked out at the start (for example, if yours will be a Theme Wedding).

FAQ: Will we need Amplification?


I am familiar with most venues in the greater Ottawa region and can advise regarding your specific sound requirements. Knowing the venue, number of people and whether or not your event will be videotaped will help me judge if a sound system is necessary. I provide my own sound system if required.

Song Selections


Quite often I will learn songs specifically requested by the Bride & Groom. The only limitation is the amount of time I have to do so and that the style of music generally fits into my own. All other artists should be willing/able to do the same.

Often, the Bride will ask me what I suggest be played. I am proud to say that the most requested song for the weddings I've done is an original of mine called "You are the One". However, you should feel free to choose whatever songs fit the vision you have for your wedding day. (Note: the further you are from a major city, the harder it will be to find versatile artists at an affordable price.)

Whether you are looking for more traditional songs like the "Wedding Song (There Is Love)" by Peter, Paul & Mary; or "The Rose" by Bette Midler (written by Willie Nelson), or if you prefer a more modern selection more and more couples are creating tailor-made soundtracks that truly define who they are and what their love is all about.

Here are some popular selections:

- YOU ARE THE ONE (Luc Normand)

- GIVE A LITTLE BIT (Supertramp)

- I SWEAR (John Michael Montgomery)

- LOST TOGETHER (Blue Rodeo)

- ROPE THE MOON (John Michael Montgomery)

- WONDERFUL TONIGHT (Eric Clapton)

- YOUR LOVE AMAZES ME (John Berry)


Other options:

- ANGEL EYES (Jeff Healey)

- BATTLE HYMN OF LOVE (Kathy Mattea)

- BOOK OF LOVE (Peter Gabriel)

- Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon & Garfunkel)

- DARK ANGEL (Blue Rodeo)

- HAPPY TOGETHER (Turtles)

- LEAN ON ME (Bill Withers)

- LOVE IS ALL AROUND (Wet, Wet, Wet (Turtles))

- LOVE YOU TIL THE END (The Pogues)

- ME AND YOU (Kenny Chesney)

- REMEMBER WHEN (Alan Jackson)

- STAND BY ME (Ben E. King)

- WHEN YOU SAY NOTHING AT ALL (Alison Krauss)

- WILL YOU MARRY ME (John Berry)

- YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND (Carole King)

- YOUR EVERYTHING (Keith Urban)


If you're looking for a more unique flavour, here are some additional songs from my originals collection:

From my current CD

- JUST FOR YOU

- I WISH I WAS A FLY

...or if the Bride-to-be's name is...:

- MEAGAN (or Megan or Meaghan)


As well, given ample time and details of the story behind your relationship, I may be able to write an original based on your very own story.

FAQ: Do I take requests?


All musicians promoting themselves as Wedding artists should be able to take requests. In my case I do, and even though my repertoire may not be as vast as that of a DJ or a dinner & dance band, I do have a list of over 300 songs from which to choose. This has often been plenty to fill an entire evening of singing along to live music with the Bride & Groom providing a playlist to plug in during breaks.

References


If the artist(s) you are considering is unable to provide references, be concerned. It's one thing for a musician to record a YouTube video from the comfort of their living room; quite another to replicate that live.

I am deeply honoured to have been the soundtrack to so many dreams come true; and nothing humbles me more than a Bride compelled to put pen to paper.

A Thank-You from Leanne and Mike


A job very well done. Thank you again for accepting my song requests. I know you worked really hard on preparing those songs for me. It truly was a joy having your music be a part of our day.

FAQ: Friends and/or Relatives Singing


"I'd like a relative/friend to sing a song at the Ceremony. Would you be able to accompany them?"


It is your wedding and anything that can make it special is encouraged. The same limitations apply as I've mentioned elsewhere in this blog. For instance, if your relative is an opera singer, consider having them perform A Capella (unaccompanied). If, however, the chosen number is within my style and abilities, I will gladly work with them to rehearse and prepare. There is a $50 per 1/2 hour fee (plus travel) for each rehearsal required.

"My relative/friend has a wonderful voice. Can they go up and do a few songs with you?"

Yes. As stated above, I will need to carefully rehearse the number(s) with this person prior to your wedding day and assess my own ability to incorporate their vocal range, skill and style into the repertoire. There is a $50 per 1/2 hour fee (plus travel) for each rehearsal required.

A Thank-You from Steve and Nicky


Steve and I just wanted to say thank you for the wonderful job you did! Your performance of "The Book of Love" was absolutely beautiful... Thank you so much for learning that song for us! The feedback we've received about you from our guests is amazing; you truly succeeded in entertaining everyone and keeping the dancing feet happy!

Our heartfelt thanks.

FAQ: Can I perform *all* the wedding standards?


It depends on your interpretation of what "standards" are. For example, traditional in a religious sense can have vastly varying meanings; even non-religious traditional means something. The traditional "Wedding March" or "Feelin' Hot Hot Hot" (a very common song at any wedding reception) are extreme examples at both ends of the music spectrum.

Consider this however: if you are planning a church ceremony, most already have their own musicians that are capable of providing exactly what you are looking for, usually at a very reasonable rate. Food for thought.

From a reception point of view, nothing can beat a great wedding band capable of pumping out rock classics as easily as they can a polka. The live feel of a group of musicians cranking out the hits makes even the finest DJs pale in comparison. With a band, at least the people who don't feel like dancing also get a good show.

For those who can't afford a band, there's always the one singer/one guitar entertainment, which I'm proud to say, has been successfully done at more than a few weddings. While my 12 string acoustic guitar has twice as many strings as a traditional guitar, there are still some limitations one singer/guitarist has. I do not perform with any canned accompaniment ("band-in-a-box" or karaoke style) therefore, should one of your guests request "Hotel California" by the Eagles, I will happily oblige ...but your guests will have to air-guitar the blazing solo at the end of the song... :-)

A Thank-You from Jill & José


Dear Luc,


Thank you for sharing your musical talents with us and our guests on our wedding day. The ceremony music was perfect and just what we had imagined! And while we didn't get to enjoy a lot of the cocktail hour, our guests raved about it and were so impressed with your talent & your range.

Thank you again ~ we will never forget how you contributed to our special day.


FAQ: Will you throw on some CDs or a playlist during the dinner?


Imagine how funny it would sound if you were to reverse that and ask a DJ to play guitar part way through the evening. Most DJs are not musicians, and, funny enough, most musicians are not DJs. Still, if you provide a playlist of the chosen music (and in the case of CDs, whatever stereo equipment required to play it), most musicians will oblige during the dinner and breaks as the case may be.

FAQ: Chantez-vous en francais? (Do I perform French songs?)


Normalement, non. Quoi que je suis parfaitement bilingue, et que je suis capable d'interpreter des chansons en francais, ce n'est pas dans mon habitude de le faire. Si vous avez une chanson que vous tenez à coeur, je vous en prie, demandez. Si, d'autres parts, vous vous attendez à un répertoire complêt de chansons francophones, il vous faudra trouver un interpreteur francais.

(Translated: Not usually. While I am fluently bilingual, and am capable of interpreting French songs, I am not in the habit of doing so. If you are enquiring because you have a specific song in mind, I encourage you to ask. If, on the other hand, you expect a full range of French music selections, I urge you to find an entertainer that specializes in that genre.)

Leon Switzer of TotalPhoto.ca


Leon Switzer - TotalPhoto.caA ridiculously talented photographer - They say pictures are worth a thousand words... Leon's leave you speechless.

Update: read through this interview I did with Leon for more information on his craft.



Need a baker...?



If you're looking for a cake, cupcakes or specialty baking goods, send me a note. My God-Daughter is a baker by trade and while she claims she doesn't often do wedding cakes, based on the picture on the left, I'd say she's more than capable.

I may be slightly biased though. :0)

Austin Lonsdale of ThruTheLens.ca


Austin and his team won't disappoint. I hired them to videotape my own wedding. You could too; except now they use Blu-Ray.

Jennifer Armstrong of Ottawa Event Essentials


If you are planning a wedding, corporate or private function, birthday party, or any other special red carpet event, Jennifer will be there to assist you to ensure the success of your celebration.

The latest trends. High quality products. Memorable events.

FAQ: Do I have a Band?


Sometimes, yes. However, the bands I have play primarily original music and are not what you would consider a "wedding band". If you also need a full band, it would involve a separate contract to hire the professional band of your liking. I can assist you in finding such a band and can work closely with them to develop the material you require. This, of course, would affect your total cost of entertainment for your wedding.

A good option available is to contact Rick Smith (details below) who is an entertainment bookings manager. He has a long list of dozens of artists capable of doing various styles, including duos, trios, bands, etc.:

Rick Smith
Metcalfe Music Entertainment
http://www.metcalfemusic.com/home.shtml
(613) 821-1195 (Office)
(613) 286-3214 (Cell)
Normal Office Hours - 9:00 am to 6:00 pm - Monday thru Friday

FAQ: Do not pay SOCAN fees directly to musicians!


When it comes time to sign on the bottom line, the venue(s) you book for your wedding or event will charge you a "SOCAN Fee". This is standard for all venues that have the performance of live and/or recorded music as an integral component of the event.

Again, when it comes time to sign on the bottom line, the musician or entertainment company should NOT charge you a SOCAN Fee. If they try to, tell them they have no mandate to collect such fees and would they please strike it off the contract.

If you have any doubts or if you want to learn more about SOCAN Fees, visit them here.

FAQ: Am I a classically trained musician?


No. I am entirely self-taught. Everything I learn is by ear; that is, I must listen to it repeatedly in order to capture the flow and dynamics of the song. This also means that I cannot perform selections from Bach or Strauss.

That being said, I am capable of playing certain basic portions of classical pieces such as the first minute or so of "Canon in D" by Pachelbel. Unless the aisle is a quarter mile, or the Bride is an extremely slow walker, 60 seconds is actually a very long time (the record currently stands at 12.5 seconds from door to altar).

If you are having difficulty locating classical talent, please do contact me and I will happily assist you. This is your special day and I firmly believe in helping you get exactly what you want even if that doesn't necessarily include me.

FAQ: Do you perform in a duo, such as Violin/Guitar or Trio such as Violin/Guitar/Piano?


I do not provide guitar & violin duos. These types of ensembles are typically for classical style music which I unfortunately do not provide. Still, feel free to contact me and ask questions. I do not share your information with anyone else (I would only ever give their contact info to you).

A good option available is to contact Rick Smith (details below) who is an entertainment bookings manager. He has a long list of dozens of artists capable of doing various styles, including duos, trios, bands, etc.:

Rick Smith
Metcalfe Music Entertainment
http://www.metcalfemusic.com/home.shtml
(613) 821-1195 (Office)
(613) 286-3214 (Cell)

Eight questions with...










Leon Switzer is a highly talented photographer based in Ottawa, Canada. His company, TotalPhoto, and his skills are sought after by brides and grooms the region over as well as festivals and concerts for organisers and promoters. His incredible talents have captured some of the most memorable moments in recent history and, increasingly, he is invited down south to sporting events because of his marked ability to seize that split-second flash of drive and determination in the athletes eyes.
I thought it might be both interesting and helpful to ask Leon a few questions about wedding photography; photography in general; and a bit about Leon himself to give this little blog a breath of fresh (non-musical) air. So, here for you are:

8 Questions with... Leon

1) Being a talented photographer such as yourself, you've no doubt captured more than your share of precious moments on film. What is the most memorable moment you can recollect where you did not have a camera in hand?

I would like to go back to the Grand Canyon (I did not have my professional gear). That place is wonderful! Since then, I always make sure to carry my cameras with me, and never separate myself from them for that exact reason.

2) How would you explain your craft to someone who’s never seen a photograph before?

I capture a moment in time, that I hope with age, like fine wine, will become better and have more meaning to more people. We are only here for a short time and in 20 or 30 years, to be able to have visual documentation for our future generations, to have a story told to them without the need for words is something I try to achieve with every flick of the shutter.

What would you give to have had professional pictures of your grandparents & great-grandparents? My craft is memories; my specialty is to make them age well.


3) In your expertise and travels, do you find tradition holding out, or are times changing?

Let me think about that... In general, I'd have to say weddings have not changed all that much over the years.

4) What new trend (such as dancing down the aisle) would you discourage/encourage and why?

I have to plug my Trash The Dress photo shoots. A woman will more than likely look her best ever on her wedding day. All to often there is such a small amount of time for photos on that day. Putting your dress back on a month or so after your wedding and making some unique and creative images is something I would encourage all brides to do.

Does the bride or bridesmaid have to ruin their dress in order to do a "Trash the Dress" shoot?

No, you do not have to ruin your dress to do this. I am currently working with a bride who does not like water, so I have some dry locations for her.

It's more about juxtaposition... About capturing striking poses that would otherwise be impossible to capture. Unpredictable scenarios that add so much life and meaning to the dress and create so many more memories that truly define the person who wore it.

5) What is the most common, avoidable mistake a Bride & Groom make?

Plain and simple....Do not do too much on your wedding day. Trying to cram too many things in will make the whole day less enjoyable for the bride and groom.

6) Given the chance, whose wedding would you most liked to have photographed and why?

Funny story...NASCAR driver Carl Edwards just got married in the off season. My 3 colleagues/friends that shoot NASCAR races with me covered his wedding. I could have attended, and we did chat about it, but in the end they had it covered. There were over 1000 people there, many celebrities, so I heard.

7) "TotalPhoto" seems to imply the complete package. Do you specialize in any specific type of photography?

I will accept any challenge, but recently I was told by a little bird that it would be in my best interest to specialize in just weddings. Though it was hard to finally do, I have since streamlined my website to showcase weddings and family events. I now post my professional sports photos exclusively on social networking sites such as Flickr and Facebook.

8) Speaking of total packages, what is your vision of the "picture perfect wedding"?

The Perfect Wedding......A tropical wedding with just parents and immediate family. The bride and groom each have their best friends standing for them. A 20 minute service with a wonderful sunset dinner followed by drinks on the beach around a campfire.....and Luc, of course,.....they would have to have a guitar player there!!!!!!

The following morning would be a 2 hour photo shoot on the beach at sunrise for the bride and groom only.

Wow, would that be fun to shoot!




Leon Switzer is a highly talented Ottawa-based photographer and his company, TotalPhoto, is sought after by brides and grooms the region over as well as festivals and concerts for organisers and promoters. His incredible talents have captured some of the most memorable moments in recent history. As a way to freshen up my wedding-oriented blog, I invited Leon to answer a few questions about his passion. Below are the final 8 questions which give us more of a glimpse of the man behind the lens... Enjoy!
9) What core nugget of advice (mantra) do you have for aspiring photographers?

Careful what you wish for! I would have never thought I would have done so many cool things, but a lot of the time it is WORK, and not as glamourous as everyone thinks. YOU'D BETTER LOVE IT!

10) What is the strangest thing to have ever happened to you (or near you) at a photo shoot?

20 minutes before a wedding I was shooting, the groom was in a car crash and was air-lifted to hospital while we all watched. Scary to say the least. He was lucky to have made it and it sure was one of those life lessons for everyone.

11) If you could have a super power, what would it be? 

The power to never need sleep. I have some late nights sometimes. I just find it is easier to work when my family is asleep.

12) Favourite TV show (when no one's around)?

"American Idol"....nobody will read this though, right?

13) Favourite movie?

Well most watched would be Days Of Thunder, but it would be anything by Clint Eastwood... "Unforgiven" comes to mind.

14) If you were a cartoon character, who would you be?

Road Runner!

15) Favourite quote?

"The only thing left to do is everything"

16) Favourite quote YOU made up?

Someone else might have said it before me: "Sometimes you take a picture, sometime you make a picture."

Lightning Round:

  • Coffee or Tea? Coffee at Breakfast, Tea before bed.
  • Cats or Dogs? Dogs
  • Bungee Jump or Texas Hold'Em? BUNGEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
  • Stones or Beatles? Tough! Goes back to my whole thing about history. Imagine being there with todays' cameras when the Beatles got off that plane in the US? Wow! Beatles it is.

~~~~~


Thanks Leon. Your time and advice are greatly appreciated.

To contact Leon, please visit: TotalPhoto.ca and tell him Luc sent you.

~~~~~


FAQ: Can I Emcee?


Yes. I often have and will happily perform any such function professionally and respectfully. From carrying out the basics (introduction of the new couple, first dance, etc.) to truly being the Master of Ceremonies (including managing time, speeches, reading prepared speeches from shy guests, etc.).

A Thank-You from Shannon M.


Hi Luc, I just want to thank you, everybody said you were great.

(ps: there's great shots of you at TotalPhoto.ca)