top left image
top right image
bottom left image
bottom right image

Couple's Choice Award 2016

I feel honored to have played a special part for so many wedding ceremonies over the years and pleased to receive the WeddingWire Couple’s Choice Award for 2016! If you’ve gotten engaged recently and are planning a wedding in the Santa Barbara area this year, please let me know if I can be of service. I’d love to bring some magical music to your day!




Laurie Rasmussen, Harpist Reviews

 


Harp and Violin at a Garden Wedding

Last weekend it was a harp and violin duo for a spectacular garden wedding at San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito. The setting on the Upper Lawn was elegantly draped in white with mountains of white flowers everywhere. Seated under a flower-covered arbor, we had a view of the ocean while filling the garden with music.

Harp and violin at garden wedingHarp and Violin at garden weddingHarp violin duo in garden arbor

Santa Barbara Courthouse Wedding

The Anacapa Arch at the Santa Barbra courthouse Sunken Gardens makes a dramatic backdrop for a wedding and the Spring weather is perfect.

Harpist at Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens Anacapa Arch

Wine Country Wedding

The wine country of the Santa Ynez Valley, just north of Santa Barbara, is full of beautiful venues for weddings. Last weekend I had the pleasure of playing for a late afternoon ceremony in the lovely rustic setting of Sunstone Winery. Huge live oak trees created a back drop for stucco walls while the warm golden light of autumn sun slanted over the hills.


Harpist_Sunstone_Laurie_Rasmussen

Rose Garden Wedding

At Fess Parker’s Rose Garden the rose bushes have matured and are in full boom. With the bubbling fountain, the perfect blue sky and the beach just across the street it’s a fantastic location for a wedding celebration.


Harpist plays in Rose Garden at Fess Parker's.

Blue Harp Wedding

Last week I had the pleasure of playing for a wedding ceremony at the beautiful Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. The groom had asked me if I would accompany him while he serenaded his bride in the middle of the ceremony. To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive. I thought he might feel so emotional that he would get too choked up to sing but he felt it wouldn’t be a problem, so I arrived early before the wedding for a short rehearsal of the song. It went fantastically well, sooo....

In the middle of the ceremony, the groom walked to where I was positioned with the harp, picked up his guitar, and we hit it. The guy sang like some kind of rock star and it was nothing other than pure fun to play back-up for him! He maintained complete composure but I got a bit teary because the song was such an open-hearted declaration of love and he sang it with uninhibited passion.

Laurie plays Blue harp at Ojai Valley Inn

The bride and groom had informed me in advance that their color theme was blue and orange so I though it was a perfect opportunity to bring the Blue harp. After all, it won’t always be the case that I own a harp that is color-coordinated to the event so I thought I should take advantage of the moment!

Pink flower on Blue wedding harp

Mural Room Winter Wedding

There are winter days in Santa Barbara when the air temperature is a bit too chilly for an outdoor wedding so I was glad this recent ceremony was held indoors. The Mural Room at the Santa Barbara Courthouse is quiet, elegant and warm. Thick velvet draperies are pulled back to allow sunshine to stream in and nobody has to shiver!

Laurie plays gold harp in Mural Room Wedding.

Bride's Choice Award

I am pleased and honored to have been given a Bride’s Choice Award from WeddingWire.com! WeddingWire Bride's Choice Awards™ recipients represent the top five percent of wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism.

It’s always a pleasure for me to bring the magic of the harp to accompany the intimate expressions of a wedding celebration!

Weddings, Wedding VenuesLaurie Rasmussen, Harpist, Best Wedding Ceremony Music in Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo - 2013 Bride's Choice Award Winner
 

Wedding in the Mist

Yesterday I enjoyed playing for a morning wedding in the Mariposa Garden at the Four Seasons Biltmore in Montecito. The garden is just steps from the ocean and is one of my favorite venues in the area - sometimes I’m lucky enough to spot dolphins playing in the waves during the proceedings.

It’s common at this time of year to have a thick marine layer roll in and that’s exactly what we had today. Wispy tendrils of fog gave the garden a mysterious yet romantic feeling while the air temperature remained comfortably warm for the celebration.

Bride and groom with harp in Mariposa Garden.

Ojai Wedding

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of playing for the wedding of some of my dear friends. They selected a beautiful venue for the ceremony - the enchanted garden of the Lavender Inn in downtown Ojai, California. Tucked away behind a tall fence on a quiet side street, it is casually elegant and private. With the eerie light of the annular eclipse that occurred during cocktail hour the ambiance was perfect for harp music in a garden.

wedding harpist in Lavender Inn Garden


What a beautiful bride and handsome groom - Mazel Tov to you Lisa and Scott!


wedding coupe and harpist in Ojai rden

San Ysidro Ranch Wedding

I have the good fortune to play frequently for events at the San Ysidro Ranch, located in the hills above Montecito. From the gardens there is a beautiful view of the mountains on one side and the ocean on the other and no matter the time of year, something is always in bloom here. I played for a recent wedding at the Ranch and even though the clouds were hanging low on the hills, everything was perfectly lovely. The overcast weather made the flowers seem brighter and the wedding couple didn’t have to squint into bright sun for the photos. Best of all, the florist spread a romantic carpet of rose petals for the bride -- and the harp!

harp on bed of rose petals

Santa Barbara Courthouse Mural Room Wedding

The Mural Room in the Santa Barbara courthouse is one of my favorite wedding venues in town. Although weather in Santa Barbara is usually pleasant enough for outdoor ceremony practically year-round, one has no control over things like airplanes flying overhead or a freight train blasting past. And there’s nothing like having a herd of Harleys passing by to drown out your wedding vows.

In the Mural Room one simply has to shut the huge leather-embossed wooden doors to have a private and peaceful space elegantly furnished and decorated with brilliantly colored murals on the stucco walls. The beautiful terra cotta floor tiles make for great acoustics so the harp sounds fantastic even without amplification.


gold harp in santa barbara courthouse mural room

Wedding at Gainey Vineyards

Gainey Vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley is a lovely setting for a summer wedding. Late afternoon sunlight slants over the rolling hills and creates perfect lighting for wedding photos.

gold harp at Gainey VIneyards, Santa Ynez

Wedding at Hartley Botanical Garden

The Hartley Botanical garden is out on the middle of a desert but once you arrive it’s a cool green oasis - perfect for an August wedding.


Bridesmaids and harp

Indian Summer Wedding

One of the many things I like about Santa Barbara is that the weather is nearly perfect most of the time making it possible to have outdoor weddings almost any time of year. A few weeks ago I played for a wedding in the Palm Court Garden at the beautiful Santa Barbara County Courthouse where the glorious mid-October sunshine brought temperatures into the 80’s.

Gold harp and harpist at Santa Barbara wedding

The adorable flower girl was enchanted by the harp - how cute is she?

flower girl plays harp at Santa Barbara wedding

Wedding at Mission Santa Ynez

This afternoon I played for a wedding at the lovely Mission Santa Inés (Ynez) in Solvang. I welcome every opportunity to play here because no matter how hot it is in the valley, the thick adobe walls of the Mission keep everything inside comfortably cool. There are delightful frescos and 18th century paintings adorning the interior and best of all, the great acoustics make my harp sound crisp and golden.


bBride, groom and harp in Mission Santa Ynez.
Brian and Gloria on their wedding day

Beach Wedding

Last week I played a lovely wedding at a beach house near Rincon. The event took place on the deck overlooking perfect surf waves on a sunny afternoon. Still recovering from foot surgery, I arrived on crutches and brought an assistant to move my harp for me. The sunset made this whole scene a photographer's dream. My harpist's-eye-view was pretty nice, too.

gold harp and wedding couple on Ventura beach

Waltzing Matilda

Yesterday I played at the wedding of Jessica and Mark who were blessed with perfect weather for their celebration. Mark is from Australia so he requested that I play “Waltzing Matilda” as the recessional, which brought chuckles from his family members when they recognized the tune. It was a nice change from the ordinary.

bride and groom with harpist

My Big Fat Wedding Weekend

October generally brings beautiful weather to Santa Barbara. Crisp, clear air makes for a perfect view of the Channel Islands and sunny days aren’t too hot - just right for outdoor wedding celebrations. This weekend I played at three of them. On Friday I was at the Ojai Valley Inn's Herb Garden.

wedding harp at Ojai Valley Inn
The harpist's-eye view


Saturday afternoon's wedding was at the Sandpiper Golf Club where the officiant was the same judge who excused me from jury duty in August. I was grateful because it was a three month trial and although it was an interesting case I couldn’t spend the time. Thanks Judge Hill!

flower girl plays the harp
Flower girls are always fascinated with the harp and they're usually quite photogenic, too.


Sunday afternoon's nuptial event was in the sunken garden at the lovely Santa Barbara Court House. I took the pedal harp because the bride and groom asked me to play "their song" ("Love Letters" as sung by Elvis) which is too chromatic for the lever harp. My version was a bit different from the King's but I think he might have liked it anyway.

Laurie plays harp at SB Court House

Playing the harp all weekend is easy compared to schlepping different instruments to various venues every day. I think I need a sherpa.

Alice Keck Park

I often play for weddings at Alice Keck Park which is located in downtown Santa Barbara, just a few blocks off State Street. This afternoon's event was a small intimate gathering at the arch near the sundial and koi pond. The good thing about a Friday wedding there is that it's relatively quiet, unlike weekends when there are parties, picnics, music jams and flying frisbees. Today there were just a few dog walkers who stopped at a respectful distance to watch the proceedings and listen to the music. I had an old K & K pickup lying around that I slapped into the Wurlitzer at the last minute and was surprised to find that it makes the harp sound amazingly golden and bell-like.

Gold harp and wedding couple in Keck Park

Wedding at Fess Parker's Double Tree

Last weekend I played for a big wedding at Fess Parker's Double Tree and it was definitely one of the most entertaining weddings I've been to in a while. At the reception the newly married couple, along with their numerous bridesmaids and groomsmen, burst out into a well-choreographed dance routine set to rap music. This seems to be a new trend. After that a troupe of Tahitian hula dancers provided colorful hip-shaking excitement with the sound of their traditional drummers pounding all the way down the waterfront. Meanwhile, my harp lounged in the shade on the cocktail deck...

Harp in shade

Greek Wedding

St. Barbara’s Greek Orthodox Church in Santa Barbara is a place I’ve had the good fortune to play many times. Not only is it visually appealing with its sparkling golden Byzantine-style mosaics, but the acoustics are also outstanding making the harp sound gloriously crisp and clear. I was happy to be there last Sunday to play for a wedding that was standing-room only, packed to the rafters with festive Greek and Armenian friends and relatives.

Gold Harp in Greek Church

Traditional Greek wedding ceremonies are long and full of ritual. Interestingly, the bride and groom don’t exchange vows - just the fact that they’ve shown up at the church together is interpreted as a sign of their commitment to marriage. My favorite part of this ceremony was when the priests sang prayers in beautiful harmonies that rolled around the interior dome and brought me to tears. Yes, I go to weddings almost every weekend but I haven’t become jaded to the emotional aspect and frequently I find myself crying at the weddings of people I don’t even know!