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Wedding Planner Guide
Recently, Billy was contacted by an Internet Wedding Portal who loved our webpage. They asked us a series of questions, and we thought we would post the results here for those of you who would like some tips on preparing for your special event. Print this out and read it when you get a chance...
OK , here we go:
1. What questions should couples ask when choosing a band?
Ask if the band has any experience playing weddings, and whether they have a demo tape or CD.. A lot of times couples may hear a band playing at a club and think they'd be a fun band at a wedding, but if the band isn't experienced in a wedding setting, problems may occur. Make sure the band has experience in manipulating their volume, because high volume can be one of the biggest enemies at a gathering. Ask if the band can play uptempo music at a comfortable volume that isn't intrusive. It's also a good idea to see if the band makes a point of bringing people together through conga lines or other fun dances&emdash;this may sound corny, but it's a good way to get various family members introduced and having fun together. Also, know your crowd and the type of music you'll want from the band, and ask if they can play that kind of music. Keep in mind that although the band might do a great cover of a Def Leppard song, your mom and your grandma might not enjoy that particular style. It's not necessarily important for a band to have the ability to play a wide selection of music if that's not important to you, but in my personal experience it's great to have a band that can play a variety of styles to please a variety of tastes because EVERYBODY walks away having had a wonderful time!
2. What are some warning signs that a band may not be that professional or the right band to choose?
Ask if the band has performed recently at any weddings or special events. The fact that a band can play at a rock 'n roll club may mean they're professional, but not necessarily that they're the right band to choose for your wedding. There's a difference between "professional" and "appropriate." A professional and appropriate wedding band knows they're not on stage to hog the limelight the way they might at a club, but they're there to assist everyone in having fun. Also ask if a band has any references from other brides; if they don't, that may be a warning sign. You can also ask if they'll learn a special song for you. A band may be willing to do this for an extra fee, but if they refuse pointblank, that may be a warning sign that they're not capable and flexible enough to meet your needs. Here's another hint: tell the band that they will be served food at your wedding, but that drinks are not included. If they have a problem with this, that's a red flag! I'm not saying that you shouldn't serve them a glass of wine with their meal, but just note their response at the time of booking.
3. What are ways to save money on a band and/or negotiate for a lower price with a band?
In our professional experience, three hours is a good duration for the live music at a wedding reception. If you want music while you're greeting your guests or they're waiting for a meal, ask if the band can supply CD music for background during this time. This can save you the expense of hiring a DJ for this period. Or you can ask for a few of the band members to play background music rather than covering the expense of the entire band for this period. Finally, ask if the band will agree to an option for playing an extra hour or two at the end of your reception (for an additional fee) if the party is still hopping. That way you're not committed to the extra time and expense if your guests are just plain tired after all the fun.
4. How can a couple determine if a band is the right one for their wedding?
Figure out beforehand what your goals are for the band at your wedding, what type or types of music you'd like played, Sometimes a band is a perfect fit for your needs, and you can tell right away. If that doesn't happen, see if you can determine whether the band is flexible enough to meet the needs of your wedding celebration.
5. What determines whether a band is "good" or not?
That's a thorny question, when you think of all the famous bands that have made millions of dollars without necessarily having great musical skills. The important thing is that the band fit the "vibe" of your wedding. For example, a jazz band may be "good," but may not have the "vibe" to pull off a fun version of "Johnny B. Good" for your guests' dancing pleasure. Duke Ellington said there are only two kinds of music: good and bad. You have to trust your own judgment here. If you like it, its good !
6. What are the five most common mistakes couples make when hiring a band for their wedding?
7. What information should a couple give the band to help them do the best possible job at their wedding
Make sure the band knows your proposed timeline, and knows the names of the people they need to know to keep the event running smoothly. Give them the name and phone number of your wedding coordinator and your photographer. Since the band has the microphone, they're the ones who work closely with the wedding coordinator and/or the photographer to keep everything on track. Let the band know what songs (from their songlist) you'd like them to play for your first, second and third dances. Also if you'd like any wedding party names announced, prepare a list for them ahead of time, with phonetic spellings so you don't get any embarrassing mispronunciations.
8. When choosing a band, is it important to know the personality and "style" of your wedding? How can a couple find a band to match the personality and "style" of their wedding?
The "style" of your wedding can be important in selecting your wedding band. For example, if you're planning a formal, "proper" wedding, you might not want to bring in a reggae band in jeans and dreadlocks. Or if you're planning an informal celebration at the beach, you may not want an elegant "tuxedo" band. In both cases, though, the "vibe" of the band is crucial, whatever the personality and "style" of your wedding. It's important to make sure the band understands the "vibe" you want to create.
9. What can a band do to make a wedding memorable, exciting, romantic and a completely special experience for both the couple and their guests?
A professional wedding band pays special attention to your first dance, so it's a memorable experience not just while it's happening, but later when you're enjoying reliving it while watching the wedding video. Unlike a DJ, a band can extend the song so you can get the most out of this special moment-or they can also cut it short, if you're suffering through an interminable dance with your new father-in-law. An experienced wedding band also understands the importance of playing some songs designed to get the crowd hopping, including conga lines and other group dances so everyone has a good time and remembers having fun. A good band can also be flexible enough to welcome a bride or a groom or any of your singing relatives up on stage to perform a song or two (but be careful: make sure any "talented" relative isn't so well-lubricated that they won't give up the microphone or launch into an embarrassingly long story at your expense).
10. Is it important to know what type of music you want played at your wedding ahead of time?
Yes, since you probably have some idea of what you'd like. But it's also important to trust the band, and even to seek out their advice. If they're a professional wedding band, they may know more than you do. Just make sure they have enough information about your guests, the age range and tastes they're catering to. And if there's any kind of music that you simply can't stand, be sure to let the band know, preferably ahead of time!
11. What should be included in the contract with the band?
Make sure the contract states the starting and ending times for music, the date and location, any special considerations such as whether background music will be supplied, and the fact that meals will be included for band staff. You don't need to specify the times for the band to take breaks (most bands take a 15-minute break each hour), since flexibility is important to fit in with the needs of the photographer, any toasts, cake-cutting, etc. When you're discussing the contract, ask if the band has any "wiggle room" on the times in case your wedding celebration doesn't go right on the clock, so you both understand if the times stated on the contract are carved in stone.
12. What has your band done at various weddings that you are especially proud of?
I like to think that every time we go to play at a special celebration, we leave any bad baggage behind and come in with an attitude of FUN. We always pay special attention to providing romantic music for that significant first dance as a married couple. If the crowd is more interested in socializing than dancing at first, we don't force ourselves on them; we just focus on providing some enjoyable listening music for them. When they're ready to party on the dance floor, we're ready for them. All the special moments we've facilitated in the past and all the fun memories we've helped create have given us the confidence and experience to know that any wedding reception we're invited to play will be a memorable and romantic time for everybody.
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