Choosing the right entertainment for your wedding is like putting together a wonderful soundtrack that you’ll remember for years to come and it’s an important part of creating the right ambiance for your big day.
But, make the wrong choice, and what you may be left with are memories of awkward silence between-set silences, terrible cover versions of your favourite songs or, even, having the wrong songs played during the most significant moments of your wedding day.
Here are seven ways to avoid wedding-day music disasters:
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Don’t choose your entertainment based solely on price
Of course, most of us are on a budget when it comes to organising our weddings, but if you select your band or DJ or string quartet based solely on cost, you could be sorely disappointed.
“While it is absolutely possible to find many musical offerings that are within your budget, it is rare that the least expensive option offers exactly what you’re after,” warns Chris Ninni, who runs Evoke Entertainment, an Easy Weddings five-star supplier, provides live musical entertainment across the country.
“It’s probably not wise to think you can get the next Whitney Houston or David Guetta gracing your reception for pennies,” he adds.
However, if you are looking for a more affordable option than what’s on offer, suggests Chris, who has performed and toured internationally with dance spectacular Burn The Floor, and was also a member of Joel Madden’s 2012 team in The Voice, “think outside the box.”
That sassy 10-piece band with a brass ensemble may be your dream wedding entertainment, but it may not be within your budget, so why not opt for a lovely four-piece band? There’s a reason it’s among the most popular live entertainment options at Australian weddings.
“Remain flexible,” says Chris, “because there are plenty of wedding entertainment options out there, from bands and DJs to string quartets and, even, opera singers!”
Have realistic expectations
So, you love that rocking four-piece band or fabulous jazz ensemble you’ve hired for your big day, but be aware that it’s not likely they’ll be able to replicate every song you want exactly as it is on your favourite album, warns Chris, who, through Evoke Entertainment, offers everything from seven-piece party bands to acoustic soloists.
They might be talented, but different performers have different skills and strengths and, realistically, a smooth jazz chanteuse is not really going to be able to bring the house down with Living on a Prayer like Bon Jovi can.
“I always recommend to our clients which songs will sound great live and which ones won’t. For example, I’m a fairly well-rounded singer, but my strength isn’t soul music. So, if there’s a request for a particular song, especially if it’s at a big moment, that isn’t in my best range, there’s no point in me singing it because I won’t be able to do it justice,” says Chris.
“I’d either get another singer to belt it out or have it played off a CD. That way, couples can enjoy the original song exactly how you they dreamed it – and their big moment is absolutely perfect!”
Don’t forget the music in between your band’s sets
To keep the party pumping throughout your reception, ensure you’ve thought about what music will play between your band or DJ’s sets.
While many entertainers will bring their own music to fill these gaps, be sure to check that this is actually the case as you may need to provide the music. It’s better to know what the case is up front!
“You definitely don’t want any surprises on your wedding day,” says Chris, “So, ask all your questions early, and don’t make any assumptions. No question is silly – and we’ve heard – and answered – them all!”
Book your entertainment early
Venue? Tick. Dress? Tick. Don’t leave your wedding music to the last minute.
“You may think booking, for example, your favourite band 12 months before your big day sounds too early,” says Chris who already has a handful of bookings in 2017, “but depending on the popularity of your wedding entertainment, they may be booked, in some cases, up to two years ahead of time, so get in quick!”
Hire the right band for your venue
Imagine booking your favourite, very intimate restaurant for your wedding – then realising that the 10-piece brass band you booked won’t actually fit inside? Now, that’s awkward!
“It may be unconventional,” says Chris, “but if you really have your heart set on a particular band that happens to be bigger than, say, a handful of people, you may want to consider booking them before you’ve booked your venue.”
But, don’t fret if you’ve already chosen your venue as many bands can perform as either four, five or six-piece groups and can adjust their configurations depending on the size of your space.
Chris, who says he has performed at more than 800 weddings in his 12-year-career, adds that, certainly for couples who want very specific types of entertainment, he is starting to see a slight reversal in the traditional order of choosing wedding entertainment, in that may of the brides and grooms approaching Evoke Entertainment are booking their entertainment before they book their venues.
“Before, you would book your venue, cars, wedding dress, photographer and then the band, but we’re seeing that changing,” he says.
“Now, certainly with many modern couples, the choice of entertainment seems so personal and so important, that many of them are secure their bands and DJs before they choose their venue.”
“While you may want to have full control of the music, try to let go a little and put your trust in your wedding entertainers,” says Chris.
You may be tempted to have a strict song list for your band to play, but you never know what the mood of your guests will be like until that day – and any professional entertainer will be able to read that mood instinctively.
“Being too pedantic about your song selection and the order of songs might not actually be the best thing for your guests or suit the environment,” says Chris who married in 2012 and gave his wedding band (almost) full control of their wedding day music!
“Most bands will modify their sets to suit the atmosphere and demographic on the night, so if you’re too precise or stick too fast to rules, it won’t work in your favour and the night can seem disjointed. Let the band read your audience and do what they do best – that’s why you hired them in the first place, isn’t it?”
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For example, Chris says most of his clients tend to go through the band’s repertoire and select a few must-have songs and then let the band fill in the blanks according to how they read the room during the reception.
Give your band a run sheet for the day
Make sure your entertainment know exactly what’s going on during the day, such as when and what they need to play during the ceremony or what time they need to be ready to perform at the reception, says Chris.
It would also be a great idea to give them the contact details for someone, such as the Best Man or emcee, they can get in touch with on the day if they have any questions.
“You only get one shot at your perfect day and our job is to create the dream atmosphere,” says Chris. “If you trust us, we’ll ensure that we do just that.
At my own wedding, I gave the band and it was the best thing I ever did.”
“Not only did they exceed my expectations, there was something really wonderful and exciting about not knowing what tune would come next. We – and our guests – spent most of the night on the dance floor and, seeing wedding bands from the other side, as a customer, gave me even more of an appreciation for the value of hiring true entertainment professionals!”
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