Janna & Luke: a Rose given in Marriage

What on earth happened? This blog has been sadly neglected! With the engagement and marriage of Janna, our harpist, change is in the air for Whispering Roses. We couldn’t be more thrilled for Luke and Janna. They are awesome together. We continue to love music and are booking concerts and performances for the spring and summer (more on those coming soon). For now, I will share a few wedding photos! Her adventures are an her blog: adventuresoftherose.wordpress.com


Janna and Luke were married on February 7th, 2015.


Family photo.


Wedding party. It was so special for each of us to be a part of this glorious day.


The four sisters who form Whispering Roses. Did you know that Janna was the one who came up with the name for our band?

It was a beautiful day, and an important new chapter begins for Janna and Luke. It’s a new chapter for Sarah, Krista, Noah and I as well, as we navigate decisions with the band now that Janna is moving out of town. Check back as I resurrect this blog and let you know what’s in store for Whispering Roses in 2015!

I want to give a shout out to Kamirin of Crooked Stream photography, who did an incredible job with the photos, and Kim of Fetching Florals, whose flowers were beyond-stunning.

Cheers until next time,


Wedding Wednesday | Sulamita Church

My wedding season opened with a gorgeous ceremony at the Sulamita Slavic Church. It was a new experience for me to be unable to understand a word of the service except for a single prayer that was said in English! I have seven more ceremonies currently booked for the summer, so check back for more vendor and venue reviews.

I’m super excited about an interview and give-away slated for next Wednesday, so check back then!

IMG_0261 (800x600)The Sulamita church is available to rent for all weddings and special events. The sound man was very nice to work with and the stage lighting was expertly handled. The main advantage to this church is it’s huge size – I would estimate it can seat up to 800, although I wasn’t able to get this number confirmed.

~ Quick Look ~

Location: 20575 NE Sandy Blvd, Fairview, OR 97024

Pros: Can accommodate a large number of guests

Cons: May appear overly large for a small wedding


The #2 Wedding Processional

Here Comes the Bride! Nothing sings these words to the waiting guests like the Bridal Chorus by Wagner. Not to be confused with the Wedding March by Mendelssohn (usually used for a recessional), Bridal Chorus has been used by countless brides over the years to help create a stunning entrance.

Tyler_Katie_0752Bridal Chorus has lost some popularity in recent years due to the it’s association with big church weddings and pipe organs, but it never fails to provide an elegant backdrop to the bridal entrance.

Bridal Chorus comes from Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin, and in the opera was actually played after the wedding as the bride was accompanied to the wedding chamber. Although the marriage was doomed to failure in the opera, the words of the song are full of promise and hope for any new couple!  Considered a secular song at the time it was written, it has been discouraged by some churches, so you may want to check with the officiant if you are planning a religious ceremony. However, this is a piece of music that has stood the test of time even if it it isn’t heard as often for a modern ceremony!

Rarely heard, below is a translation of the the German lyrics. May they be true of your marriage!

Faithfully guided, draw near
to where the blessing of love shall preserve you!
Triumphant courage, the reward of love,
joins you in faith as the happiest of couples!
Champion of virtue, proceed!
Jewel of youth, proceed!
Flee now the splendour of the wedding feast,
may the delights of the heart be yours!
This sweet-smelling room, decked for love,
now takes you in, away from the splendour.
Faithfully guided, draw now near
to where the blessing of love shall preserve you,
Triumphant courage, love so pure,
joins you in faith as the happiest of couples!
lyrics from Bridal Chorus by Wagner
~ Janna Bisceglia, harpist for Whispering Roses

Romantic Wedding Music


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and many brides are planning the wedding of their dreams complete with red roses and pink hearts and white satin.  Even if your wedding isn’t in February, chances are you are still looking for ways to make it the most romantic day of your life. And what is more romantic than the music you choose?  Music sets the mood and makes the day a special reflection of you as an individual.

So just what is some of the most romantic music every written?  Movies and Broadway provide a host of wonderful pieces with deeply romantic connotations.  All I Ask of You from the Phantom of the Opera is a popular choice for mid-ceremony, such as lighting the unity candle.  For many, the theme from Romeo and Juliet is the most romantic melody of all times, but some find it evokes tragic emotions, so maybe you would like to go for something lighter such as the theme Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (provided you banish the sounds of Mrs. Pott’s voice from your head!).

If your thinking of using a movie theme as your processional, look for something a bit classical.  The theme from A&E’s Pride and Prejudice makes a great processional, as would some of Beethoven’s music used in Immortal Beloved. Folk music offers a lighter selection of romantic music.  Perhaps you would like a singer to perform My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose or Shenandoah.

Sorting through the host of romantic music may seem daunting at first, but an experienced wedding musician will be able to provide suggestions based on his or her current repertoire.  Look for music that excites you, that makes your heart beat a little faster, that makes you cry or laugh or smile or simply remember your wedding as the day that your dreams came true.  Happy wedding plans!

~ Janna Bisceglia, harpist for Whispering Roses


Wedding Wednesday | The #1 Wedding Processional

So what is the number one wedding processional? You guessed it! Pachelbel’s Cannon in D!  My mom walked down the aisle to it…my friend had it played when she birthed her children…it can often be found and relaxation CDs with ocean sounds in the background…and somehow it never looses it’s charm.

This beautiful piece of music just sounds like a wedding ceremony! It isn’t too fast or to slow.  It is sweet and gentle, without being overly dreamy.  Since it is a cannon, it has an 8-chord pattern which repeats throughout the song, making it easy to come to a graceful conclusion as soon as the bride has reached the end of the aisle.

Most often it is used as the processional for the bride, but it can also be used for the bridesmaids, particularly if the bride wants to come in to the second most popular wedding processional (which we’ll talk about next time!). As you listen to it, note your reaction. Are you bored, or drawn in? Do you roll your eyes at the classical sound, or does it make you think of white dresses and flowers? It is all about what starts your emotions rolling!

Does it make a difference to have live musicians play it?  If it repeats so much, surely it could be faded out on an iPod.  

Of course it makes a difference!  Live musicians can add a fanfare at the beginning to let everyone know it is time to stand for the bride. (Something you won’t find on recordings!) Or if it is being performed on the harp, a swirl of dramatic glissandos can announce the bride before the harpist launches into Cannon in D!

Trying to remember what Cannon in D sounds like?  Click below to hear a sample of our arrangement!

Whispering Roses: Canon in D

If you actually want to have this song at your wedding, you might not want to watch the video below by the Piano Guys. It certainly gives the music a fresh twist!

Wedding Wednesday | The Music of a Wedding Ceremony

Here on Wedding Wednesday, I’ve been reviewing venues and services for weddings, but now I want to delve into the part of the wedding that I usually guide – the music!

First, every bride needs to be familiar with the terms for the different parts of the wedding ceremony!  During the first phone consult with a musician, he/she may ask if you have chosen music for the processional and recessional, if you have a style preference for the preludes, and a host of other questions using terms that are only vaguely familiar to a first-time wedding planner!

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Your musician(s) will start with preludes 20-40 minutes prior to the ceremony while your guests are being seated. This ambient sound sets the tone for the wedding.  Generally, you do not need to choose each individual song played, but rather give the musician a genre – like Celtic, classical or romantic movie themes.

The processional is often broken down into three parts.  First is the seating of the mothers. The mothers and grandmothers are formally escorted down the aisle after the last of your guests have been seated. The music usually remains gentle, but should have a “walking tempo”.

Next comes the processional for the bridesmaids. Something more march-like is often used; however, generally it should maintain a formal character – we don’t want the bridesmaids running down the aisle! The officiant and groom usually come from the side and stand at the front  just before the bridesmaids come down, but they can also process down the aisle if desired. (I’m reminded of one wedding where the groom came down in a suit of armor to our arrangement of Forth Eorlings from the Lord of the Rings!)

After the bridesmaids and flower girls have reached the bottom of the aisle, it is time for the entrance of the bride! The musician(s) can play a fanfare, letting everyone know it is time to rise, and then launch into the music you have chosen!  If you prefer a quieter entrance, you can always come into the same piece as your bridesmaids, but why not make an striking entrance on your special day!

It is time for an introspective mid-ceremony piece while you light the unity candle, sign the marriage registry or have any other unity symbol. A soft Celtic air can create the perfect atmosphere for a sacred moment, but this can also be a time to play your favorite romantic movie theme.

The recessional is fast, lively and fun! It comes right after you have been announced as husband and wife.  Everyone cheers and the music starts while you recess down the aisle, followed by the rest of the wedding party.

A few minutes of postludes are often played as your guests are released from their seats. The ceremony is over and the reception begins!

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(Photos by Samuel Ramsey)

Coming soon…what is the most popular wedding processional music of all times?

Wedding Wednesday : 4th Street Brewing Company

Tonight I attended the Northwest Wedding Pro meeting at the 4th Street Brewing Company. We met in one of their two private upstairs event rooms. The spread of hor d’ oeuvres was excellent and the room was elegant and comfortable. Noise from the restaurant below did drift up, but it was not loud enough to disrupt our meeting.


The Ale Room can accommodate up to 48 people and can be set up a variety of ways. It is more closed off from the main restaurant, and would make an ideal place for a business meeting or wedding rehearsal dinner!


We met in the Lager Room, which can accommodate up to 90! The set-up is open and it is an excellent choice for a reception or larger party. Catering starts at just $8 per person and goes up from there.  4th Street does not cater outside their building, but they do sell kegs of their home-brewed beer.

~ Quick Look ~

Location: 77 NE 4th Street, Gresham, Or

Accommodates: up to 90

Pros: Excellent food and great location

Cons: Somewhat noisy open room (large room only)

Wedding Wednesday | Portland Catering Company

I’ve had several chances to sample the cooking of the Portland Catering Company, and each time it has been delicious!  I first tasted their food when we both had booths at the Rose City Bridal Showcase. They had an extremely popular chocolate fountain, along with other delicious appetizers.

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One of the things that sets Portland Catering Company apart is that they prepare the food on site. The difference of freshly prepared food is noticeable! They are the exclusive caterer for the Pacific Crest Grand Ballroom, so I had another chance to enjoy their menu at a wedding professional event that took place there. Portland Catering Company offers a variety of menus and seasonal dishes to suit your wedding style and budget needs. They also offer a beverage catering, and company catering, so take the time to browse their website and see what they can offer you!

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~ Quick Look ~

Pros: Freshly prepared food, varied menu choices, casual and formal catering

Cons: none I’ve experienced

Wedding Wednesday | The Aerie at Eagle Landing

Recently I played for a wedding at The Aerie at Eagle Landing and found it to be a lovely setting for any special occasion!


The Aerie at Eagle Landing is a beautiful golf course located in the heart of Clackamas. It is available for weddings and other special events. The Aerie offers a several locations for your event, including a big tent outdoors and an indoor ballroom.


The indoor ballroom is a perfect back-up plan if it rains on your special day; however, it also provides a lovely indoor setting for the reception or a winter event.  And if you happen to get married on one of our hot days (like the day I played there!), your guests will appreciate the indoor coolness as well!


The semi-permanent tent structure provides insurance against our Portland rain, while still offering the charm of an outdoor setting.


It was a lovely day for a wedding!

~ Quick Look ~

Location: 10220 SE Causey Avenue Happy Valley, OR 97086

Accommodates: up to 250

Pros: Indoor and outdoor options, golf course can be a part of the event

Cons: Not as much of a view as I would expect from a golf course

Friday’s Feasts | Lemon Lime Spritzer

My aunt first made this spritzer for me when I visited her in July.  Quick and easy and just barely sweet, you can make just one for yourself, several for your family or a big punch bowl for a party or wedding reception!

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Knudson’s Jamacan Lemonade Spritzer (grape juice sweetened)
Sparkling Water
Lemon sorbet or ice cream (optional)

Fill glasses or punch bowl halfway with ice. Thinly slice lemons and limes, and on top of the ice. (I use about 3 slices of each in a glass). Add 1 part lemonade, and 1 part sparking water. Scoop some lemon sorbet or ice cream on top if you like!

~ the Second Rose