Posts tagged Band
Posts tagged Band
No doubt about it: Music can make or break a wedding celebration. It’s the heart and soul of a reception and can send your guests home with happy feet — or pained grimaces! The fact that you want to hire a talented band or fleet-fingered DJ is a given. Finding one is a matter of polling friends, surfing online, shopping around with fine-tuned ears, and making a move quickly — top talent can get booked up to a year in advance. What type of entertainment suits your personal taste, budget, space allowances, guest demographics, and killer dance moves best? Keep an open mind, and consider these issues to start your search.
The type of music you choose can set the tone of your wedding and solidify a theme. And remember, it’s the thing people most often remember. Think about what musical genre best reflects your personalities and inspires the ambience you want to create: Groovy funk or subdued string quartet? Swanky swing or kick-off-your-shoes-and-sweat zydeco? The way the music is delivered — by live band or DJ — also affects the ambience. The type of music you choose may dictate the choice too — big band sounds are generally best live, for example.
Are you a little bit country, while he’s a little bit rock and roll? Regardless of whether you choose a band or DJ, be sure they play slow and fast songs, and old and new tunes to encourage different sets of guests to hit the dance floor.
In the price war, DJs generally cost less, and prices vary depending on equipment requests and whether it’s a weekday or a weekend. A 12-piece band, for example, will generally be more expensive than a DJ, since there are more people to pay. (There are always exceptions; celebrity DJs can be just as expensive as live bands.) Band prices vary by the number of musicians, the amount of time you want them to play for, day of the week, and what time of year it is.
Don’t get your heart set on an 8-piece salsa band before you check whether the reception site has any restrictions on the number of musicians and pieces of equipment you may bring in, and whether there are any electrical power supply or noise limitations. For example, a registered landmark reception site may not allow you to use large speakers. Ask these questions before you start scouting bands.
There’s nothing like a live wedding band to get a crowd stoked and create a sense of sophistication. Music groups can synergize with the tone of your wedding and almost any niche theme, offering everything from accordion to klezmer ditties. A good bandleader will play the master of ceremonies at your reception if you want him to interact with folks on the dance floor, pay attention to the “feel” of the room, and select music accordingly.
Don’t fear the DJ: The days of disco fever and flashing lights are gone. Today’s disc jockeys are artists in their own right, offering balanced and eclectic mixes of musical styles for all ages. Plus, the songs played will sound exactly as you remember them, encouraging sing-alongs and improvisation. And, depending on the amount of equipment a DJ brings, she’ll take up less dance floor real estate and can be relocated with relative ease.
Ideally, you will want to see a DJ or band in action before you commit so that you can gauge firsthand the way they dress, deadpan, and work the crowd. (Ask to see a taped public performance or attend a dress rehearsal, but you should never crash another couple’s reception.) If that’s not a possibility, ask for a playlist, and look for songs you know and love. If a band gives you a CD, cassette, or video, be sure that the musicians you hear or see are the same musicians who will play at your reception. Also, ask for referrals from the last few weddings the band or DJ played. Consider your first-dance song a test. If the band doesn’t know it and is unwilling to learn it, or the DJ doesn’t own it and is unwilling to get it, move on.
Know that all professionals should be open to your likes and dislikes. Give them your personal request list, songs they must, and, perhaps more importantly, a do-not-play list. Worried that you’ll hear the “Macarena” at your once-in-a-lifetime event? Specifically prohibit the playing of a song you feel strongly about in your contract.
Photo Credit: Miller & Miller
I’m not saying that these are terrible songs (okay…I’m not a fan of the “Chicken Dance”), but you might want to put these 10 songs on your do-not-play list.
1. “Celebration,” Kool & The Gang
Why to Skip It: Unless you want your wedding to have something in common with every eighth grade graduation that’s ever taken place in a dingy school gym, tell your DJ to skip this one.
2. “Cha Cha Slide,” DJ Casper
Why to Skip It: I’m guessing you and your guests have the ability to come up with your own dance moves, so let’s nix this step-by-step group dance lesson.
3. “We Are Family,” Sister Sledge
Why to Skip It: It’s your wedding…we know your family is there. Plus, it’ll be stuck in your head for weeks and weeks after the wedding (and not in a good way).
4. “Hot in Herre,” Nelly
Why to Skip It: This is a stand-in for all the overplayed, inappropriate club songs that have a tendency to creep into weddings. As a general rule, avoid songs with references to “juice” and stripping (unless you have the world’s most open-minded grandparents and ultra-mature flower girls).
5. “I Gotta Feeling,” The Black Eyed Peas
Why to Skip It: After two years of being played at every Sweet 16, bar mitzvah, and prom, I’m betting even Fergie would agree that it’s time to put this one to bed.
6. “YMCA,” Village People
Why to Skip It: The fact that everyone knows the words, everyone knows the dance, and that this song fits lots of occasions — between innings at a baseball game, for instance — does not automatically qualify it as a must at your wedding.
Why to Skip It: At a wedding, everyone’s dressed to the nines and feeling festive. Is this really the best time to flap your arms like a chicken in front of that cute bridesmaid/groomsman/new spouse? Don’t think so.
8. “Macarena,” Los Del Rio
Why to Skip It: You may know how to do the dance — but do you really want to? Besides, everyone has a few certain relatives they’d rather not see get down with that hip-swivel move.
9. “Stayin’ Alive,” Bee Gees
Why to Skip It: There aren’t too many people who know more than one line and one dance move to this song — leave “Stayin’ Alive” to the Saturday Night Fever reruns.
10. ”Love Shack,” the B-52s
Why to Skip It: If the super-repetitive chorus of this song isn’t enough of a reason to put this song squarely on your blacklist, its “overplayed to death” status definitely will.