Many times over the years I’ve had people come up to me and tell me their wedding band horror stories and it’s so true – the band will make or break your night!
So much importance needs to be placed on the band you choose to provide the music for your wedding reception. Long after the wedding day when you speak to guests, they remember the band but do they remember them for the right reasons or the wrong ones?
Go to any wedding website and you will be inundated with ads for bands. There are so many out there so choose wisely. Many come and go – they just don’t last in the industry because they’re not good at what they do. Other bands forget that it is YOUR night, not theirs. They are there to create the atmosphere, not steal the show from you. A good band will set the mood of the reception with easy listening mood music and then pack the dance floor later in the night.
It’s important that they have full control over their volume as all too often the complaints I hear are that the band was too loud. A wedding is a wonderful opportunity to catch up with family & friends but how can you have a conversation when you have to scream over the noise the band is making?
Something else to consider is the type of music the wedding band plays. The first part of the reception should be quiet, easy listening music. After the bridal dance the band needs to liven up and create the fun, party atmosphere that your guests are going to rave about in years to come. Make sure that your band can play a mix of new songs & old songs as your guests will range in ages – so must your music. A band that plays swing & jazz all night is going to alienate those guests who want to let loose and party. Likewise, a night of doof doof is going to have the oldies heading home early. Check out your prospective band’s song list – there should be a good mix of music that they can play.
Something else to consider is that many bands these days are not really “bands”. Often they are vocalists singing along to backing tracks but there are no live instruments. Live instruments not only add to the amazing sound of the band, but musicians actually playing real instruments is visually entertaining for your guests. In order to keep the costs down, many bands use backing tracks and that’s fine, but make sure your band is really a “band” and can actually play live instruments, often combined with using backing tracks. The difference live instruments make to the sound and the atmosphere is incredible.
Speak to the wedding co-ordinator at your reception venue. Many venues have space restrictions and a 5 piece band may not fit or they will take up most of the dance floor and leave your guests dancing amongst the tables! Sometimes a duo or even a trio is all that can fit at the venue.
Reception venues in residential areas often have sound restrictions so as to not upset their neighbours. It’s important to have a band that can control their volume as once a sound limiter in a venue goes off, the band loses power. Oh dear - instant awkward silence! There would be nothing worse than boogying on the dance floor and the sound stops every few minutes because the band is too loud for the venue and sets off the sound limiter.
Consider the appearance of your band. Are they professionally presented? You’re having a beautiful reception and the band looks like they’ve just walked out of their pub gig ……. Hmm, maybe that’s not the look you’re going for?
Speak to your band and find out how much experience they’ve had playing at weddings. I’ve heard so many stories of weddings ruined because the band had no idea of how to play appropriately at a wedding. I’ve also had quite a few brides over the years who have rung me in a panic, frantically trying to find a band because the band they booked pulled out at the last minute. One poor bride had her band cancel 3 days before her wedding, another was left high and dry the day before! Another band turned up AFTER the bride and groom had been introduced at the reception. The band set up, sound checked etc., whilst the reception was well and truly underway. A professional wedding band will turn up, on time, NO MATTER WHAT.
Does your wedding band have male & female vocalists? Two guys or two girls singing love songs to each other just isn’t right is it. A lot of songs performed at weddings are romantic songs that sound so much better with a male and female vocalist. It also gives each song a different, more interesting sound when it’s not the same vocalist singing absolutely everything.
One more thing to consider is price. Good bands are not cheap but they shouldn’t be ridiculously over-priced either. You know the old saying, “you get what you pay for”? It definitely applies to wedding bands but beware of being over-charged too.
Does your prospective band offer discounted prices? Do they charge a travel fee? Do they charge a management or agent’s fee? If they bring lighting or a larger sound system, do you have to pay extra? Do they have a smaller band option if you’re on a tight budget?
There are so many things you can’t control on your wedding day so make sure you look after the things you CAN control, like booking the right band. Good luck and have an amazing wedding day!
Three’s Company Trio