Forget all the myths you’ve heard about hiring and handling wedding bands —we’re here to debunk them once and for all.. No, you won’t have total control over every song played (but you can communicate your preferences early and clearly). Here are the top wedding music misconceptions and why they couldn’t be further from the truth
- Bands take way too many breaks.
One common concern about hiring a wedding band we hear from clients is that each 30 to 60-minute set they play will be followed by a 15 to 30-minute break filled with music from a compilation CD—and that bored guests will vacate the dance floor. But you can manage your band’s need for downtime so it doesn’t disrupt the party too much. Ask the band members to stagger their breaks so there’s live music throughout the night (it may cost an extra fee). Guests will stay entertained and the dance floor will stay full.
- The band will play cheesy tunes.
Worried your wedding band has their mind set on the “Electric Slide” and “The Wobble,” when you’re thinking more along the lines of “Natural Woman” and “This Will Be”? It doesn’t have to be that way—your wedding band wants to play what you want to hear, but you have to communicate your tastes. Don’t rely on words alone—terms like “dance music,” “rock songs” and “slow songs” are vague and can easily be misinterpreted. Make sure you’re on the same music style page and give them a detailed playlist and a do-not-play list.
- The MC always talks too much
You’ve probably heard about (or been to) weddings where a MC, in a misguided attempt to emcee, talked more than the audience bargained for—with cringe-worthy results. An
experienced wedding band MC, however, will only speak when it’s appropriate. To ensure your MC doesn’t abuse their proximity to the mic, be specific about when you want them to talk and when you don’t. If you’re nervous they’ll be a chatterbox, consider sending an example of what you find inappropriate.
- You have total control over everything.
You shouldn’t try to micromanage the music. To some extent, your lists should be guidelines for your pro, not hard-and-fast rules. Your wedding band should know the genre you’re interested in, but let them choose the best way to play the music—after all, it’s their job to keep people on the dance floor. Give your band some flexibility to react to the crowd and adjust the pitch accordingly. You need to trust they know what to do. That’s why you paid all that money!
- Bands love line dances.
The days when it was all the rage for a wedding band to encourage a conga line, the “YMCA” or “The Salsa” are over. Ask for YouTube clips or other footage of previous performances to get a sense of how they interact with the crowd. Just keep in mind you can’t alter a band’s style as easily. If their live act is rambunctious and interactive (complete with line dances), then asking them to change might hamper their performance, and you’re probably better off going with a different group.
- A band can’t offer enough variety.
You’d be surprised by the musical depth a high-quality wedding band can offer. One indication that a band has versatility is if they have more than one singer—if they have both male and female vocalists, for example, chances are they’re open to a wider range of songs. Though a band may specialize in a style (like big band or soul), they’re professional musicians and should be able to stray at least a little from their niche. If a few of the songs you have your heart set on aren’t in the band’s repertoire, simply ask them to learn the songs before your wedding—most bands will learn between three and five songs if you give them enough notice.
- Hiring a bar band is a good idea.
Unless they also have a lot of experience with weddings, using a band that’s oriented primarily toward nightclubs is risky since they won’t be adept at pleasing a diverse crowd. It’s much smarter to find somebody who has experience in wedding entertainment. If you’re inviting coworkers, grandparents, and children, the entertainment should offer something for everyone.
- Slow songs must come first
Some couples request that their wedding band play slow songs early on to please their older guests, and then switch over to more lively beats so the younger crowd can dominate the floor until the last call. But it can be more fun for you and your guests if you have your band mix it up throughout the night. Alternating between speeds, styles, and eras of music will keep wedding guests of all ages more engaged and encourage them to broaden the range of music they’ll jam out to, with truly memorable results so no one leaves early!
- Bands are loud
A pair of ears would indeed hurt after a while if they were right next to a drum set being played at full volume against a cranked speaker, but that’s far from the wedding band experience. A sound check is about more than whether the members themselves can hear what they’re doing; it’s a necessary precaution to ensure that everyone – including you – can hear everything they’re supposed to, nothing more, nothing less. Make no mistake, all wedding bands will do this to ensure everyone in the room can enjoy what they’re doing. They’ll also adjust the volume accordingly.