Subscribe to Blog
88 Keys on the Road - Blog
used with mobile nav - no delete

Twin Cities wedding and event pianist, Sharon Planer, loves the adventure of bringing events to life with her live piano music!

~ search results for ~
Who is the WINNER of 'Best Ceremony Music'?
August 20, 2015

MN Bride Magazine's 'Best of 2015' party was in full swing on Weds., July 15, at the stunning A'BULAE event venue in Lowertown St. Paul.

I was excited to attend as a Finalist for Best Ceremony Music. When the announcer said, "The winner for Best Ceremony Music for 2015 is Sharon Planer, Pianist for Parties", I was so excited and hurried right up to the stage to receive my award!
Pianist for Parties winner of Best Ceremony Music 2015 at MN Bride Magazine
MN Bride Magazine 'Best of 2015' Pianist for Parties

 I am humbled and grateful to all the brides, grooms, event professionals and others for nominating me as a finalist for the MN Bride Magazine 'Best of 2015' Ceremony Music. Your voices were heard!

There are many wonderful wedding musicians in the Twin Cities including the other two finalists the Four Voices String Quartet and the Lake Minnetonka String Quartet.

Engaged couples in Minnesota have great options for finding quality wedding professionals. A good place to start your search is at the Minnesota Bride Magazine Best of 2015!

Remember to pick up a copy of MInnesota Bride Magazine at your local newsstand or call 1-800-637-0334 for great planning tips and real wedding stories.

A'BULAE   /   Comment
Awards, Musicians, Wedding Music, Wedding Planning, Weddings
Best of 2015 MN Bride Magazine Finalists, Winner of Best Ceremony Music 2015, Awards, wedding vendors, wedding professionals, Minnesota Bride Magazine
Should my friend sing or perform music for my wedding?
January 22, 2014

by Sharon Planer, Pianist for Parties

The musical performance of a talented family member or friend can make your wedding music extra special.  


If you are asking a family member or friend to perform for your wedding, here are some questions to ask yourself to assure your music will have the quality you are looking for.

Do they want to perform for your wedding?

If they are a gifted musician and eager to make your wedding special with their music, you are on the right track to follow up with them. Ask if they are comfortable performing in front of guests. I was present at a wedding where the bride's aunt insisted on having her two adult daughters sing a duet. The daughters made is very clear that they did not want to perform, but their mother insisted. The day of the wedding the daughters refused to use a microphone and they barely whispered their music. Only the guests in the first row could hear them. If you invite someone to sing or provide music, you want them to be comfortable doing so. Do not push someone into performing if they don't want to.

Make sure to hear them perform.

If your only experience hearing a singer is a karaoke performance, ask to hear them perform outside of that setting...unless, of course, you want them to perform karaoke at your wedding.

Can they perform the style of music you want?

Can they perform the songs that you want? If they do not know your songs, do they have the talent to learn the music up to performance level? If they need accompaniment, can the accompanist and performer work together to provide a professional performance? A bride that hired me asked me to accompany her singer who happened to be a co-worker of hers. When we met to practice, the singer was very fine on two of the songs, but the third song completely threw her. It was a country song and she didn't sing country. After trying and trying, she refused to perform that song. I recommended to the bride a talented vocalist that I knew would be able to perform the song beautifully. Luckily, the bride allowed my vocalist to perform the country song. The day of the wedding, the co-worker performed her two songs beautifully and my vocalist aced the country song, twang and all! Everyone was happy!

Just last week I met to practice with a vocalist who is sister of the bride.  I can see why the bride asked her to sing.  She has beautiful voice and has performed for other weddings. Since the accompaniment she was used to hearing were band versions, I offered to record my piano accompaniment part for her to practice with on her own so she can feel comfortable with the piano part.

Hiring professional musicians will assure that your wedding music will performed by talented experienced musicians.


Hiring professional musicians that work together and have a repertoire together, will provide even greater assurance that your music will be as wonderful as it can be. Throughout my experience as pianist for hundreds of weddings, I have developed relationships and repertoires with other musicians. When I am asked to find a singer, harpist, violinist, etc. I have a 'go to' list of professionals that I love to perform with.

If you decide to have your friend or family member perform for your wedding, ask them to provide you with their backup plan if they are not able to perform for your wedding due to illness or an emergency.  You don't want to be left empty handed on your wedding day!  A professional musician will provide you with a written contract spelling out just such terms.

Your wedding is a personal and meaningful expression of your love and commitment.  When your musicians have talent and experience they can add a lot to making your wedding truly special!

Music Planning, Musicians
wedding musicians, wedding music
Wedding at a beautiful Minnesota Vineyard
August 25, 2013

by Sharon Planer, Pianist for Parties

My first experience at Carlos Creek Winery was on a cold winter night in January of 2012 when members of the Central Minnesota Wedding Association visited the winery in Alexandria, Minnesota, to find out if all the rave reviews we were hearing about it as a wedding venue were true. 

Wine Tasting Room, Carlos Creek Winery

Wine Tasting Room, Carlos Creek Winery

 When we arrived, the Wine Tasting Room was cozy and inviting and the staff were gracious and happy to serve us some tasty hot food and delicious wines. We got a tour of the wine making process and a peek into the Wine Cellar accompanied by some intriguing true cellar stories. The Stables Hall was totally outfitted for hosting fancy events and receptions.  It was a very cold night.  Peering out the windows, it was hard to imagine what the vineyards would look like for a summer wedding.  I really wanted to see their outdoor ceremony locations but there was too much snow and darkness!

The Cellar at Carlos Creek Winery

The Cellar at Carlos Creek Winery

Fast forward to March 2013 and the Carlos Creek Winery Open House where I participated with other vendors.

The guests were invited to view the grounds and enjoy the delicious catering and wine sampling. They had a chance to meet the vendors and find out how we could enhance their experience at the winery if they chose to hold an event there in the future. I had the privilege of playing live piano music during the event. One of the attendees was a bride who had already booked her August 2013 wedding at the winery.

When the bride and her parents heard my piano music, they hired me to play for the wedding reception in The Grande Stables Reception Hall as well as the outdoor ceremony in the Natural Cathedral. I was delighted!  

Since the bride and groom lived in the Twin Cities, it was convenient for them to meet with me in Minneapolis to plan and select their wedding music. Throughout the planning process for the wedding, Michelle and Katie at the winery were so helpful and responsive to my questions regarding the set up of my portable pianos and details about my music performance.


The Wedding Day! This was the day the bride and groom had waited and planned for.

The beauty of nature provided a relaxed yet elegant setting for their outdoor wedding ceremony.

Since the winery only allows one wedding per day, I had ample time to set up my music equipment for the ceremony and reception ahead of portable piano outdoors in the Natural Cathedral and my other portable piano in the Grande Stables Reception Hall.

The Natural Cathedral was a beautiful setting under a canopy of trees. Even though temps were in the high 80's, the ceremony site was completely shaded by the trees and a slight breeze made it very comfortable. My next stop was The Grand Stables Reception Hall where I set up my other portable piano and amplification.  

As the guests arrived to the Natural Cathedral they were greeted by my elegant piano music. The bride and groom shared their intimate vows in the midst of this beautiful woodland.

Wedding vows in the Natural Cathedral at Carlos Creek Winery.

Wedding vows in the Natural Cathedral at Carlos Creek Winery.

The newly pronounced Mr. and Mrs.! 

The newly pronounced Mr. and Mrs.! 

Outdoor chess at Carlos Creek Winery.

Outdoor chess at Carlos Creek Winery.

  Following the wedding ceremony, the guests enjoyed some outdoor games as well as wandering through the stables and the lovely grounds.

Fruit of the vine, Carlos Creek Winery

Fruit of the vine, Carlos Creek Winery

There was amply opportunity to sample the delicious wines that are made at Carlos Creek Winery.


Their 'Minnesota Nice' brands live up to their names;

  Hotdish Red!  

Wobegon White!

You Betcha Blush!


Pianist, Sharon Planer, wedding reception piano music in the Grande Stables at the Carlos Creek Winery

Pianist, Sharon Planer, wedding reception piano music in the Grande Stables at the Carlos Creek Winery

As the door to The Grande Stables opened for the start of the wedding dinner, I greeted the guests with upbeat piano jazz standards.

When it was time for the bridal party and bride and groom to enter for dinner, DJ Kevin set the mood and got the guests clapping and cheering. As the guests began to dine I created an elegant atmosphere with songs of romance.   The bride and groom seemed ever so happy with guests speaking kind words about them and sharing in their joyous occasion!  I loved sharing my music for their wonderful celebration.  After I was done playing and heading out, I could hear DJ Kevin from St. Cloud DJ's, rockin' the place.  I am sure there was a whole lot of celebration going on well into the night!

Carlos Creek Winery   /   1 Comment
Musicians, Wedding Music, Weddings
wedding ceremony, wedding reception, vineyard wedding, Carlos Creek Winery, wedding pianist, outdoor wedding ceremony