Your Ticket to Romance: A Live Harp Music Surprise

Jack called me from work at a car dealership in New Jersey. “I’m coming out to Tahoe and I’m planning my wedding for June 14th. Are you available? There’s just one thing you need to know…I haven’t proposed to my girlfriend yet.”

Thus, the wheels began to turn on one of the best wedding surprises I’ve ever accompanied with my harp.

Jack had everything mapped out. He planned a summer vacation with his girlfriend, along with his grown son and her grown daughters from previous marriages. On the morning of June 14th, he would propose to his girlfriend, they’d climb into a limousine, and jet off to Logan Shoals Vista Point, a gorgeous photo stop along the southeast shore of Lake Tahoe.

Logan Shoals Wedding Area (photo credit: Anne Roos)
Logan Shoals Vista Point wedding area (photo credit: Anne Roos)

Harp music will be wafting through the air as the minister greets the family upon their arrival. He’ll hand Shirley, the bride, a bouquet, and the wedding begins. Afterwards, they clink champagne glasses and enjoy cake, and then leave to make it to their lunch reservation at a lakeside restaurant.

Jack scheduled this wedding day surprise as good or better than any professional wedding planner I knew. I went ahead with the plan, with Jack understanding that he bought live harp music for June 14th, whether his girlfriend consented to marry him or not.

I phoned his minister, Reverend Ron, to make sure we were all on the same page for Jack’s big day. He said, “You know, this is unusual for me to agree to perform a ceremony for a couple that is not yet engaged. I figure that since Jack is a car salesman, he probably knows when it’s a sure bet that someone is going for a deal!”

June 14th arrived. Did I fear that Jack’s proposal would be turned down and he’d never show up? Not at all. I sat out at Logan Shoals, waiting for the signal from Reverend Ron that the limo drove up, and then began playing.

They arrived on time, a family dressed in t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops—Not quite what you’d consider wedding attire. Reverend Ron handed Shirley, the bride, her bouquet. She stood there, in absolute amazement with happy tears, responding to her vows. Their adult children giggled through it all, because they weren’t in on the surprise, either. I signed the witness papers and left after their post-ceremony champagne toast.

I am often asked about my very favorite wedding, and this one tops them all. No big production, just love. I believe that some of the most romantic experiences of all are sweetly planned surprises.

It’s not only weddings, either. There’s the time that Bob called me and inquired, “Would you play while my wife and I are enjoying room service dinner in our hotel tomorrow night?”

“What’s the occasion?” I asked.

“It’s just our last day of vacation, and I wanted it to be special before we fly back home to the kids.”

How could I turn him down? Sure, it was last minute, but I only need a few hours’ notice to be ready to play.

Bob gave me a short list of his wife’s favorite songs and instructed me to pick up an extra key from the hotel front desk to set up while he and his wife were out shopping. When they entered the room, I began with “Unchained Melody”. She burst into tears and was beside herself with joy throughout their intimate dinner for two.

“You should write a book about how to keep the romance alive in a marriage,” I suggested to Bob. His wife smiled and said, “He does things like this all the time. I think I’ll keep him.”

View with harp from Castello di Amorosa (Photo credit: Anne Roos)
View from a turret when Bre proposed to Martina at Castello di Amorosa, Napa Valley (photo credit: Anne Roos)

Wedding proposals are commonly thought of as the typical events ripe for a romantic surprise. I’ve played harp through many of those, and I have a perfect track record—Every bride responds with an enthusiastic, “Yes!”

Increasingly, hopeless romantics create surprises during wedding ceremonies, too. The bride thinks she’ll be walking down the aisle to a recording, and then she does a double take when she sees me playing live harp music for her entrance.

Harp music is a romantically convincing way to ask your favorite girl to the prom. Or maybe you feel romantic, like Bob, and wish to sprinkle a last-day-of-vacation with love.

Music is an important ingredient to creating these romantic memories, because it has the power to touch the heart and be remembered for years to come. It’s one of the reasons why I love my job.

Pair music with a surprise dance, and the romance tugs at everyone’s emotions in the room. I recently played an Irish jig as a surprise for the bride’s grandmother during a wedding reception, and the little ring bearer boys spontaneously jumped up to the dance floor while grandma applauded them.

Here’s a great wedding video of how one groom surprised his Riverdancing bride at his reception. The look of surprise on her face is precious.

My friend, expert choreographer and dance instructor Catherine Eardley, tells me touching stories of how she helps novice dancers get their groove on at weddings. Yes, I even play my harp for the first dance!

I could write volumes about the romantic surprises where my harp takes me. But now, it’s your turn. Share your story below, in the comment section, of how you or a dear one used live music as a romantic surprise, and one of my CDs or album download is yours! One little paragraph will do, and please keep it clean—This is for a G-rated audience 🙂



  1. Oh, Anne, I love reading your writing, and this article not only inspired me but had me welling up with romantic tears! So heartwarming. Here’s my story of TWO romantic, musical surprises: For our first anniversary, my husband Josh and I spent part of a long weekend in Gulf Shores, about 4 hours south of where we live (Birmingham, AL). On the drive down, he received a text from an unfamiliar number (I’d read it to him, as he was driving). Being still newlywed and foolishly prone to jealousy, I was tempted to wonder who “she” might be… The next day, while we were enjoying a nice day on the beach, Josh pulled out his ukulele and proceeded to serenade me with a sweet, touching song he’d written to commemorate our first year together! It was the first (& only) song he’d written, and it was wonderful. (I so wish I’d have been able to record video of it, but it will always be a special memory!) Fast forward to the last day of our trip – the actual day of our anniversary – we celebrated by having dinner at a fancy restaurant we’d come to love. Afterward, Josh led me out of the restaurant, toward the neighboring tavern and away from the parking lot. I began to protest, wondering why we weren’t headed to the car, when I looked up and saw an old friend of mine just off the path, dressed up and ready with his guitar, grinning at us!! I got so excited! Drew, our friend, immediately began to play the song he’d written for his (now) wife, which mirrored our own long distance love story – about falling in love with a girl who lived in Birmingham while he was living hours away at the time. It was absolutely magical, and I was in heaven from not one, but two personal serenades. 🙂

    • Sharon, what a sweet, touchingly romantic story! Thank you for sharing, and I’ll be happy to send along one of my harp CDs or album downloads for your efforts. Look for an email from me, or simply click “email Anne” in the upper righthand corner of this page.

  2. Unfortunately I do not have a romantic story to offer, but some years ago, I would have afternoon tea in one of London’s finest hotels, just to listen to the harp player, who was indeed a women. I had hired quite a few harpists for my recording sessions and the sound of their instrument was always a wonderful addition to the orchestral pop trend. I envy you, Anne, you have a wonderful career doing exactly what you love to do; play the harp. Paul Michael Curtis X

Comments are closed.