If music be the food of love, play on – Shakespeare
Choosing whether to hire a band or a DJ for your wedding is a big choice – the difference in atmosphere can be profound. If you choose to go the traditional route and hire a live band, finding the right one can sometimes make or break a great party. In fact, the band’s energy will get your guests up and moving in an instant or keep them relaxing in their seats.
A band that isn’t versatile enough to play across a wide range of genres won’t have the chops to segue way from that sweet first dance to the funkier numbers, enticing the guests to get up and strut their stuff, once the food has settled and the beverages have gone to work. We all know these wedding party moments of pure dancing freedom for our friends and family — when captured on candid camera — make for some of the finest and funniest Kodak moments to view for decades to come!
The ability to hit all the right notes as a party progresses through its natural phases of gentle sentiment and raucous enjoyment requires a group of musicians who understand the party is not about them. Period. First and foremost, the music must maximize the atmosphere of celebration for the couple marrying, alongside their family and friends. In other words, no primo donnas or wannabe rock stars need apply for the gig!
Whatever genre band you choose – rock, funk, swing, or salsa – it’s highly recommended that they are able to play a variety of music for all age groups so that no one feels left out of the party. When in doubt, choosing a so-called “party function” band probably represents your best bet, since they specialize in covering all the bases, musically speaking. If a band insists on their own play list without your input, you should definitely move on to the next option.
If you want to include your wedding party in the song-list selection process, why not email them the band’s set list and ask them what they like. It’s a great way to get them involved in the entire affair. For the breaks between sets by the band, you can choose to hook up your own playlist of favorite recordings. Here again, you can ask your wedding party – or at least a cross section of them – for their input on what songs to include.
Wedding bands typically play for two or three sets, which equates to two hours of performance. Others may offer two 45-minute sets, or 2 one-hour sets. It varies from band to band, and situation to situation. Decide your preference and investigate if a band will accommodate. They should!
If you have any ideas about how to end the party musically, discuss this with prospective bands, too. You might want to finish the evening with a DJ or recorded playlist.
Whatever band you choose, remember, they’re working for you! It’s about your special day and not about their artistic ego. As long as everybody is singing from the same song sheet in this regard, the music should feed the love in the party. Just remember, it’s about celebrating good times and doing the Macarena!