Your wedding is one of the most important days in your life, which means that it's important to get every detail just right! In order to make sure things run smoothly it's helpful to appoint someone to follow through on each and every aspect of your day so you can focus on the fun with family and friends. So after the ring, the shoes, the dress, the ceremony, the cake, the limo, and all those other details - the music is the key component that determines whether your reception is a dance party or a nice dinner party. Nothing beats a live band with a fabulous singer playing your favorite songs!
It's the swing and sophistication of current popular jazz that has such a strong appeal now-a-days. So with that in mind, take a look at these ideas:
Music Playing As Your Guests Arrive - The Style of music will absolutely set the tone for the evening's parties. Jazz from the 1920s and 40s are often cross-generational, popular hits. Music made famous by great musicians such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, or Louis Armstrong and re-made popular today by Michael Buble, Diana Krall, and Harry Connick Jr. can make your party popular for the kids and grandma, and everyone in between. This genre, known as the "Great American Song Book," will set the mood as your reception begins.
Plan for the Flow of the Party, plan (or How To Avoid The Low Points) - The best advice for avoiding low points is to plan ahead. Events such as toasts, bouquet and garter toss and of course the cake cutting should be listed on the timeline and the musicians' breaks can be scheduled to coincide with all of this. Of course it's should be a given that the band will be able to play background music during their intermission.
Don't hire the band for too long (or short) of time - most weddings average between 3 and 4 hours. The fact is most musicians are hired for 4 hours or think of it as a "half-day" rate. So whether it's a trio or an ten pice band with horns, it's basically a labor cost on a per musician basis. Most bands are five to eight musicians and that's can depend on the number of guests, the size of the venue and how much dancing you anticipate for the evening.
Picking the Playlist in Advance - Seasoned professional musicians can play hundreds of songs from memory, but a four hour event will usually mean about 50 songs. It's a good idea to give the band a list of songs you like in advance (roughly 25 or so will usually do it) so they can get an idea of your taste and style. A list of songs you DON'T want played can also be helpful and help the band from making an unintentional faux-pas at your special occasion. Give this list to the band 4 to 6 weeks in advance in case they need to work up a special arrangement of a tune. That's also the time to pick the song you want for your first dance or any other special dances in the evening.
Encourage Dancing - It usually only takes one or two couples (don't count on children) to get others to the dance floor. You may want to suggest to close family or friends to consider helping out here by getting on the floor first. You know better than anyone which of those people are not shy and even a little bold to show off their moves on the dace floor. Another way to encourage dancing is to consider the placement of the band in the room. It's a good idea that food, beverage and the music is in the same room. (You'd be amazed how many times people think about putting the music in "the other room" for dancing. That almost never works!)
Finish Big - Think about the last dance of the evening when working with the band on your playlist. For example, a slow song such as "What a Wonderful World" or a salsa swing version of "Save the Last Dance For Me" are two very different versions of a last dance based on your preference. Of course, the south traditionally does second line parades and a separate brass band to lead everyone out the door has become very popular in the past few years.
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