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Planning Your Wedding Reception – What Can You Expect From Your Musicians at Your Wedding Reception?

Planning Your Wedding Reception – What Can You Expect From Your Musicians at Your Wedding Reception?

Playing a wedding isn’t playing a concert. While some of your favorite bands may be amazing, they may not be right for your wedding. A good wedding band provides not only fabulous music, but also a path through the day that highlights the bride and groom and their fabulous romance. At a concert, it’s all about the band. Long wailing guitar solos or booming drum solos can grab you up out of your seat at a concert. And there may be a point where you want everyone to dance. But mostly, at your wedding, you want your community to mingle. Everything the band does needs to be about that.

There are different parts to the reception. The band you choose needs to be flexible enough to manage all of these. Not all of them are music. Many are party management. You want to know that your musicians want to handle this.

  • Cocktail Hour: Often you’ll choose to have only a few of the band members playing quiet background music during the reception. This is the place where people who know each other and haven’t seen each other for years get to chat. It’s also where people make connections with people they’ve been hearing about for years. If there’s music, it needs to be subtle. And probably not vocal.
  • Entrance: The band needs to announce the wedding party and the bride and groom. There may be an entrance song, there may not be. (At my niece’s first short-lived marriage, she and her sweetie walked in to the Looney Tunes theme. You might want to avoid that! It was a harbinger of what was to come!)
  • First Dance: This is moving about a bit. Some people are opting to get it out of the way right after the couple comes in. Don’t know whether this is nerves or efficiency. Others will do it before or after the cake cutting. This song needs to be something they know well and that means something to you. Are they willing to learn your song if they don’t know it? Are they willing to do everything they can to make you look good on the dance floor?
  • Toasts: the band has the PA system, somebody from the band needs to be in charge of the order of toasts and making sure that everybody in the line up gets to speak. Everybody. No exceptions. Not good form to leave someone out.
  • Dinner: You want them to play quiet easy listening music. Again, this might be a few members of the band to keep the intensity and volume down.
  • Cake-cutting: Someone needs to announce it. And the drum roll, please!
  • Then and only then, is it time for the Rug-Cutting! Who do you want on the dance floor? If you want the whole crowd dancing you’re going to need music to please the tastes reflected in your guest choices.

I interviewed a great guy the other day. Steve Merannus manages the talent at EBETalent in Philadelphia. The musicians who work with him are trained in what he calls “The Art of the Party.” It’s a great notion. You deserve a band that not only wants but also knows how to make you look fabulous and help your community deepen their connections to you and to one another. You have a wedding ceremony and you make vows to get married. You have a reception with your friends and your family to gather support to help you stay married. The right band can help make this work for you. Not bad, eh?