Saturday, February 15, 2014

(Sponsored Post) Your Wedding Soundtrack: Meet Composer Lauren Hanna

Note: This is a sponsored post - I was compensated financially or with something else of value for this article. I only feature products or services that my wedding clients or I have used in the past, or that I would eagerly recommend to them and my readers. 

Lauren Hanna, Wonderstruck Music
"A wedding is the start of a new season for every couple, and it’s always a time of hope and joy. Even if there's been the worst family drama that's happened leading up to it, everyone present is in complete awe of the love that these two people have for each other. And I love being a part of showcasing and expressing their love through my music. "

I was grinning the whole time Lauren Hanna and I  spoke, because her passion and enthusiasm - for her work, and her clients, and most of all, for the power of music, is so tangible. And it began very early for her:

"I started playing piano when I was 8 years old. And, I’m classically trained, jazz trained, musical theater trained, basically any genre you can think of, I learned how to play on the piano. Until I was 17, it was a hobby, I wasn’t really planning to do anything with it, and then I discovered that I had a knack for writing and composing music. And, I just absolutely fell in love with that."

She went to Cal State Northridge, which has one of best film scoring schools in the country. There she was able to study with some of the most prominent composers in the industry. Since graduating in 2011 and opening Wonderstruck Music, she's worked on several TV, film, and theater projects of her own.

Creating custom songs is a relatively new venture for her. Last year, she was in three weddings, and she wrote first dance songs for two of the couples as her wedding gift to them.

"One of the came to me and asked, 'Lauren, Lauren, will you please do this??'  And I said, 'Yeah, of course!" Lauren laughs. "And for the other bride, I just wanted to because I knew she would love it. And I after I did those two pieces, I thought, you know, I bet there are people out there who would love to give that gift of song."

Composing a wedding piece usually takes 4-6 weeks, Lauren tells me.  "I’ll talk to the couple, find out what their likes are, what their dislikes are. If they want lyrics, if they don’t. I’ll ask what kind of instruments they want, anything specific, " Lauren tell me. "I have all the instruments on a computer program, so if you want something like a trombone, I can give that to you, and it sounds just like the real thing." She can also set up a recording session with live instruments and other singers, if you would prefer that, instead.

"Under the Gazebo" - First Dance Song

Each couple receives a cd and an mp3 file with the final version of their song, which they can give to their DJ to play at their wedding. If a band or a live singer that will be performing it, Lauren will email the sheet music to the band leader or singer, too, and go over it with them personally . Her most popular requests are for first dance songs, followed by ceremony procession and recession music. 

"If they have lyrics, then I’ll incorporate those into the song. Or, if they want, I can write lyrics for them - we’ll sit down, and they’ll tell me about a life event they want to talk about, or a feeling they want to come across, and I’ll start sending them versions of lyrics until they have their song." She usually sings the lyrics herself, but she can also provide a male soloist, or a choir if the piece requires it, as this one below did:

Sound of many waters - Ceremony Processional

"Couples feel like the recessional music doesn't have to be so serious, it can usually be more personal, it can be playful, it can be more joyous, it can be anything they want it to be, a dance number, whatever," she says. "And those are really fun to write and perform."

Thespian's Theme - Recessional music

Commissioning a  first dance song, which is normally between 3-6 minutes long, averages around $500, depending on the complexity of the details. The cost for a 1-3 minute long ceremony piece, usually costs between $250 - 300. That's 1-3 minutes long with a few extra seconds, just in case."I come from a show choir background, so I understand that Day-of never goes as planned," Lauren explains."There’s always something that gets thrown into the mix, good or bad. So, I do get a general idea of how many people will be walking down the aisle, but then I’ll usually add another 15-30 seconds on top of that. And, the way I write those pieces, the end and the beginning can be put on repeat, so they can morph together in a loop, if they need more time to get down the aisle. So, if the flower girl has decided to stop halfway down the aisle and say hi to Grandma, and holds up the whole procession line, you're not going to run out of music!" 

The overwhelmingly positive response her custom wedding songs has lead to other requests, too. She's been commissioned to create music for marriage proposals, personal songs for babies, background music for baby showers, and has even composed personal theme songs. Lauren also works with small business owners and coaches. She created a meditation soundtrack for a business coach who helps right-brain creatives put together business plans, an is finishing up her latest project with personal trainer, who has created series of health and fitness affirmations that he wants to set to music. "It’s really a great ride, doing music," Lauren tells me."And as long as I get to bless people with music every day, I’m pretty happy."

You can hear more samples of Lauren's work on her website, - There is a great video clip of her conducting an orchestra playing on her pieces, FYI. Or, order your custom wedding music directly from her store at

See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events
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