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November 2023

Tips For Asking Friends to Perform at Your Wedding

Tips For Asking Friends to Perform at Your Wedding 1707 2560 adam Michaels

Let’s say you’ve got a friend or family member with tremendous musical talent. Maybe they’re in a band or maybe they sing at karaoke every Wednesday night. Or, maybe you’ve only ever heard them sing along with the radio! Either way, you think they’re great. Asking them to perform at your wedding seems like a great idea, but when you search the internet for advice on how to ask, you find only one tip: don’t do it.

Asking loved ones to perform at your wedding is a dangerous game. If they agree and all goes well, you’ll have a lovely memory of your friend being a special part of your special day. However, if you aren’t careful, you could spoil your wedding and (more importantly) damage your relationship with your friend! We don’t believe you should avoid asking entirely, but we do think you need to ask with reasonable expectations. Here are a few dos and don’ts to guide you in asking your musical friends to perform on your wedding day.

Do Know What You’re Asking (and Make Sure They Do, Too)

When you ask your friend to perform at your wedding, you’re asking for a lot more than a simple song. There’s a lot that goes into a perfect show (just like a wedding), and it’s important that both you and your friend know exactly what is being asked of them.

For instance, does your friend need to provide sound equipment or will the venue have some on site they can use? Will there be time for a sound check or does the reception immediately follow the ceremony? Is your friend only performing one song, or acting as the evening’s entertainment—complete with emceeing duties? These details need to be hammered out before you and your friend agree to anything.

Of course, if your friend is a professional musician, they may already be aware of what “playing a wedding” really means. If this is the case, great! But it is still critically important that you establish expectations and understand how much time, effort, and money will go into this gig. If not, you’re almost certainly in for a world of stress and strained relationships.

Do Offer to Pay Them

When you hired your caterer, you agreed to pay them. When you bought your wedding dress, you paid the bridal shop proprietor. When you booked your venue, you definitely promised payment (and probably put down a deposit). But when it comes to “friendors”—friends we ask to be vendors, like musicians or photographers—we sometimes forget to pony up the dough. Let me say it loud for the people in the back: do not do that!

If you want your friend to perform at your wedding, you have to offer to pay them. It doesn’t matter if your friend is a working musician with years of shows under their belt or simply someone who can carry a tune— they always deserve payment for their time and talent.

Of course, there’s always a chance that your friend won’t accept payment. Maybe they’ll consider the performance their wedding gift to you, or maybe they just won’t take it to be nice. If that’s the agreement you come to, great! But offering to pay them proves that you respect their time and consider them a true artist, and every artist will appreciate that.

Don’t Pressure Them Into Performing

Have a cousin with an excellent singing voice? Is he always asked to sing at every wedding, first Communion, graduation party, and Christmas get-together my family ever?!

Over the years, does this cousin start turning down requests to sing? For him, attending a family event was no longer fun; he felt put-upon and annoyed by the pressure to perform. And guess what? Sometimes, musicians just want to kick back with their friends and enjoy a wedding without standing in the spotlight.

If you ask your friend to perform at your wedding and they refuse, let it go. There are a million different reasons why someone may turn down a chance to play the music they love, and no amount of “Please, please, please” and “But you’re sooo good” will change their minds—or if they do finally agree, they may feel resentful.

Don’t Micromanage the Music

So, your friend has agreed to play music at your wedding. You both know what that entails, and you’ve agreed on a fair price for the gig. Good work, but you’re not out of the woods, yet. Now your job is to toe the line between creative suggestions and creativity killer.

You probably booked your friend because you think they’re talented and you like their musical style. But as it is your wedding day, you definitely have special requests for their set: specific songs you want them to play, a general ambiance you want to create–that sort of thing. It’s perfectly reasonable to want these things (it is your day, after all), but it’s important to give these suggestions sparingly, so your friend doesn’t feel stifled by their performance.


Having a loved one perform at your wedding can be a beautiful way to include more people on your special day. And if you respect your musical friends and follow these tips, you’ll certainly get through the show with your friendship intact.


Custom Details That Will Make Your Wedding Unique

Custom Details That Will Make Your Wedding Unique 1707 2560 adam Michaels

There are lots of aspects that go into making your wedding day perfect, from finding the perfect florist to booking your dream band. It’s easy to get caught up in the glitz and glam of wedding planning and forget the unique love that you share together as a couple, which is the real reason for your special day.

It’s important to remember to weave in pieces of you and your partner’s personality into the wedding. Remember the reasons why you and your partner fell in love. Did you bond over your love of pizza? Did your love story start at a special spot in NYC? Do you and your partner both love a certain song?

Try to think of unique elements to your love story, because those are the small details that your wedding guests will love. Whether it’s a hand painted invitation, walking your fluffy friend down the aisle with you, or including framed photographs of loved ones that have passed, these personal wedding touches will make your guests feel the special love between the both of you.

Personalized Hankies

The wedding ceremony is a tear-jerking moment that will make some of your wedding guests emotional. It’s an especially sentimental moment for the parents of the bride, who watched their little girl grow up and waited for the day that they could walk her down the aisle.

This special detail that Meghan included at her Cape May, New Jersey wedding is perfect for the bride who wants to express her gratitude to her parents. Meghan wrote notes to her mother and father and had them embroidered on custom hankies. This is a custom wedding element that will not be forgotten.

Monogrammed Cups

Check out these personalized cups that are super easy to custom order! Guests will love having a cup that they can bring home with them to remind them of your special day. Monogram the cups with a unique element that ties in with your theme, like this one which has a compass with the couple’s initials and wedding date!

Custom Cake Topper

One of the most classic personalized elements to include on your special day is to have a custom cake topper. Some brides choose to skip this detail and opt for a custom cake instead, but we can’t get over how cute these figurines can be! Check out this custom cake topper of a bride and her groom in his U.S. Marine Corps dress blues!

Signature Drinks

One unique detail that a lot of brides and grooms are choosing to include on their special day is a signature drink. Madeline and Joe chose to name one of their drinks after their pet dog, Louie. The drink was called “Louie’s Mint Drool-ups,” and they featured a picture of their adorable pup next to the sign. If you opt for this custom wedding idea, guests will love the personalization when they go to get a drink at the bar!

Custom Wedding Hashtag

In the day and age of Instagram and other social media networks, having a wedding hashtag is extremely important! Finding the perfect wedding hashtag can be difficult, but there are many online hashtag generators that you can use. 

Having a wedding hashtag ensures that all of your wedding guests post the pictures from your special day under a specific hashtag, so you can view them all after the wedding. It’s a great custom wedding idea that is completely free!

Puppy Love

What’s more personal than your own pup walking down the aisle on your big day? Include your fur baby in your celebrations to add a unique element to your wedding. Your wedding guests won’t be able to stop smiling when they see the bride and groom being blessed by their dog at the end of the aisle.

Custom Cookies

Did you and your love meet in a certain city? If so, you can include unique elements that represent the city you fell in love in.

Custom Corn Hole Boards

Having an outdoor wedding? If so, include yard games like corn hole that will let your younger guests play while the adults mingle and converse. You can even customize corn hole boards to represent meaningful things in your life as a couple.

Watercolor Map Invitations

One of the latest trends among brides and grooms looking for ways to include custom elements in their wedding is to have hand painted wedding invitations. These gorgeous watercolor invitations will get your guests excited to attend your wedding

Custom Themed Socks

Is your wedding themed? For many brides and grooms, a theme is central to the wedding planning process. Include unique elements to your themed special day, such as bridal accessories, to carry through your theme in every intricate detail.

Live Painter at Your Reception

One super unique touch to include on your special day is to hire someone to paint your wedding reception live. Not only will guests love the interactive feel of watching the painting becoming more and more complete throughout the night, you will also have an irreplaceable piece of artwork from your wedding day to bring home.

Song Serenade

Last but not least, if you share a favorite song with your partner you can share a special first dance to a song that means a lot to you. If you are blessed with a partner who knows how to play an instrument or sing, maybe they will surprise you with a song serenade to show their undying love.

If you are interested in having a live band or DJ at your wedding to help make your song serenade go seamlessly, contact us here at to make your dreams a reality!


Best Tactics to Use Real Reviews to Find the Perfect Wedding Band

Best Tactics to Use Real Reviews to Find the Perfect Wedding Band 800 532 adam Michaels

Once the magic of your recent engagement starts to fade, the wedding planning panic starts to set in. But have no fear, wedding planning nowadays is easier than ever with the help of the internet. It is super easy to find real reviews from other brides and grooms to make sure you find the perfect live band for your wedding.

Why Is Finding the Perfect Wedding Entertainment So Important?

Your live wedding band can make your wedding unforgettable, so it’s important to take the time to consider which entertainment is right for you.

When planning your special day, there are a few things you want to consider when looking for the perfect entertainment. One of our biggest wedding pro tips is to look for live bands that are well reviewed by lots of people. This assures that on your special day, everything will go to plan and you will feel confident that your live band will be professional, sound exactly how you imagined, and that the same band members that made you choose them will be there on your wedding day.

Some entertainment companies choose to arrange bands and change out different band members, but here at Around Town Entertainment, we assure you that what you see is what you get. All of our bands are passionate about music and pride themselves on being top tier wedding professionals, which is what makes our bands the best in the NYC region!

All of our live wedding bands are committed to creating top-notch entertainment. They consistently earn 5-star reviews on Wedding Wire, The Knot, ZOLA, Google, and Yelp. The Around Town bands have experience performing at the highest level venues around the NYC area.

We have compiled a list of the top ways to find real reviews for your live wedding band. Use these resources to make sure your entertainment matches what you want your special day to be like. One helpful tip for future brides is to use all these resources to look for the perfect wedding day entertainment. Just because a band has great reviews on one platform doesn’t mean that you should pick them immediately. Do your research and make sure the live wedding band is well reviewed among all or many of these platforms before booking them.

Wedding Wire

Wedding Wire is a fabulous resource for future brides and grooms. Besides offering different planning tools such as wedding registries and websites, Wedding Wire also has a specific section on their site for vendors. When looking for wedding bands, select your budget and region and it will narrow the results for you. From there, it is important to not just look at the amount of stars or reviews the band has, but the actual text of the reviews.

Here is a perfect review of what you should look for when looking for wedding entertainment on Wedding Wire:

“I’d give so many more stars. We couldn’t be happier to recommend Around Town Entertainment — they absolutely helped make our wedding so incredible. From booking to wedding day; entire process working with Adam was so easy and seamless – he gave us great guidance on our ceremony, cocktail and reception selections and helped us feel so confident in their ability to work with our venue and walk us through the day’s timeline. We ended up using violin and piano for our ceremony, a jazz trio for cocktail and full band with an added horn section and it was AMAZING – so worth it! Our guests are still raving about the band and people came up to us during the wedding and called us after to ask how we found them– they were so impressive! I was most nervous about music because we have such a varied musical taste and they delivered above and beyond! Everything from house music to R&B and classic hits. Our first dance was a Lauryn Hill R&B inspired cover and I am still stunned at the amazing performance they put on. They learned every song we requested, read the crowd and kept the party going all night long. Truly just such amazingly talented musicians and wonderful to work with.”

The Knot

Another site that is extremely helpful for future brides and grooms is The Knot. Similar to Wedding Wire, this site is helpful for anyone who is looking for professional wedding vendors. 

Wedding Venue and Planner Suggestions

Another route that you can go when looking for a wedding band is to ask your wedding planner or wedding venue! Usually wedding planners and venues have connections with high quality entertainment groups that they can suggest. They are also on the ground at weddings constantly and know exactly which direction to point you in based on your needs!


One way to double check that your wedding band are going to be exactly how you imagine is to search for them on Youtube. Usually the entertainment company that the band is affiliated with will have a Youtube page with lots of live wedding content and professional promo videos. If the company does not, or you can’t find anything about your wedding band on YouTube, that may be a red flag.

Word of Mouth

If you have friends who were recently married or family members who had a great live band at their wedding, ask them who they booked! Word of mouth is a great way to find out what your close friends and family will enjoy at your reception.


One of the more recent ways that brides and grooms have been looking for wedding bands and is through Instagram. Many bands will have their own specific Instagram page where you can see videos and content from real weddings that they have performed at. On Around Town Entertainment’s Instagram page, you can check out loads of real content from our lovely brides and grooms!

Book Your NYC Wedding Band 

If you want expert entertainment for your big day, contact us today to speak with an entertainment specialist and we’ll find the best fit for you! We are passionate about making your wedding dreams come true through the gift of live music, and we treat your big day like it’s ours!

Top Wedding Trends in 2024

Top Wedding Trends in 2024 680 425 adam Michaels

From statement aisles to over-the-top wedding cakes, the 2023 wedding trends have been big and bold in all the best ways. But the 2023 wedding season is quickly drawing to a close, and 2024 is set to be even bigger, bolder, and brimming with endless possibilities for creativity. These are our predictions for the wedding trends that will capture the 2024 wedding season.

On-The-Day Content Creation

If you’re just itching to post pictures from your wedding but haven’t received your wedding photo album yet, we’re anticipating a rise in on-the-day content creation: booking a social media creator to take pictures and videos and create all kinds of content for your wedding day.

On-the-day content creation will not only give you images and videos of your special day that you can post while you wait for your professional photos and video to be developed, but it’ll also allow you and your wedding party to be fully present throughout the day instead of watching everything through a phone screen!

A Private Last Dance

It’s the end of the night, the wedding reception is winding down, and you want to share one last dance alone with your new spouse before your life together truly begins. Talk to your band and wedding planner and let them know you want a private last dance, a trend we think will stick around for a while.

A private last dance can give the two of you a chance to take time to breathe, to be with one another in a special way on an otherwise hectic day. Pick a song you love, enjoy the moment with your love, and take in the joy and beauty of the last moments of your wedding day.

Nostalgic Film Photography

We think film photography will have a new life in 2024. There’s a certain nostalgia to film photography, a reminder of a time before everything turned digital, that many newlyweds are leaning into with their wedding photography.

Photos taken on film have a timeless look to them that’s perfect for capturing the special moments on your wedding day, and the anticipation of waiting for the film to be developed will make the moment you finally get to see the photos all the sweeter!

Embracing Color – Think Bright and Bold

Teals and tangerines, rich purples, and vibrant yellows – there’s a color combination for every style of wedding imaginable, and 2024 will be the year of bold color palettes! Brighten up your wedding day with vivid, eye-catching colors that will wow your wedding guests.

Warmer colors like reds and yellows will bring lots of energy while cooler colors like blues and purples will add an air of sophistication. Whether you add subtle touches to your palette here and there or opt for loud, in-your-face colorful décor, don’t be afraid to embrace those bright and bold colors of 2024 with open arms!

Immersive Experiences

You want your wedding guests to remember your special day as fondly and as positively as you surely will. We’re noticing many couples decide to include immersive guest experiences at their weddings to leave a last impression of their big day. Themed greeters, aerialists, photo booths, and more are enjoying their moment in the wedding trend spotlight, and we see no end in sight!

Want to thrill and amaze your wedding guests? We provide an extensive list of guest experience offerings, from champagne skirt greeters to character impersonators – even aerialists!

Champagne Walls

Champagne walls are a trend we think will only continue to gain momentum going into the 2024 wedding season. While a champagne wall sounds self-explanatory – a wall that holds glasses of champagne (or your choice of beverage) for your guests to take – you can take it to the next level and add your seating chart to your champagne wall or turn it into a gorgeous photo backdrop.

For an interactive guest experience, try a living champagne wall: a fully customizable wall where servers will offer drinks to your guests at the ring of a bell. 


The 2024 wedding season will be even more environmentally conscious than the 2023 season has been. There’s been a big move toward sustainability in the wedding scene recently – potted plant centerpieces, zero-waste catering, and even decorations and favors made from recycled material. Many couples are taking steps to shrink the ecological footprint and environmental impact of their wedding day. Though some choices may seem small, like using biodegradable confetti, they can have a big impact, and that’s why we’re big fans of this trend.

Custom Dance Floors

Add another personal touch to your wedding reception with a custom dance floor! We’re seeing so many couples make their dance floors their own with LED monograms or vinyl floor wraps to set their receptions apart from others. If you know you’ll want to jump on this awesome trend, talk to your reception venue to confirm it’ll be possible, and don’t forget to leave enough time for manufacturing and installation.

Want to be sure your beautiful custom dance floor gets plenty of use all night long? Book a Around Town Entertainment wedding band and you’ll have to drag everyone off that dance floor!

High Impact Florals

Flowers are a staple of weddings, and we’re predicting a fabulous floral arrangement trend that will leave your wedding guests with beautiful scents and smiling faces. These floral arrangements don’t have to be very big. Rather, they should be dramatic, full of vibrant colors and unique types of flowers that draw on and ultimately enhance the overall aesthetic of your wedding.

Bridesmaid Mix and Match

There’s a new trend on the horizon: mix-and-match bridesmaids! Rather than having all of your bridesmaids wear the same dress in the same color, some brides are deciding to let their bridesmaids make their own choices regarding the color, style, and even texture of their dresses.

Letting your bridesmaids make the decisions for themselves will not only help them feel comfortable throughout the big day, but it will also allow their personalities to shine while still reflecting on you on your special day! The difference yet coordination in garb also makes your photos pop!


The Best Wedding Entrance Ideas for Any Style

The Best Wedding Entrance Ideas for Any Style 768 575 adam Michaels

Once you’ve shared your heartfelt vows, and said “I do,” and your ceremony comes to a close, it’s time to get the party started! While your ceremony is every bit as important, your reception truly provides the opportunity to celebrate your nuptials in whatever way you choose. Whether you’re planning a unique cocktail hour with plenty of food stations, a sit-down dinner, or a beach party, a memorable wedding entrance idea can help you set the tone for the rest of the evening. Whether you’re hoping to make a grand, jaw-dropping entrance, simply plan something meaningful, or get your entire wedding party in on the fun, there are several options available to every couple. 

The decision is yours—but be sure to make the choice intentionally. This will be your first introduction as a married couple. Why not make it special? Need inspiration to get started? Read on for creative wedding entrance ideas to find the perfect fit.

Go Big on Entertainment

If you’re planning on hiring performers or a unique entertainment act for your party, consider working with them to coordinate a one-of-a-kind wedding reception entrance. 

Prepare a Wedding Party Performance

Are you a musical theater enthusiast? Were you part of an a cappella troupe in college? If so—and if you have a few other music aficionados in your midst—turn your wedding entrance into a song-and-dance number that your bridesmaids and groomsmen can join in on. 

Kick Off the Dance Party

Ready to get your groove on? Enter your reception space to a favorite song and coordinate a dance right off the bat. This is sure to draw attention and set the mood for the party (not to mention get everyone out on the dance floor).

Have Fun With a Wedding Band

If you’re planning a destination wedding in a place that speaks to your culture, why not embrace local music? Have a wedding band escort you to your reception space to get the party started, for example.

Engulf the Ceiling

While adorning the band stage itself is a must, you can also make use of the negative space above the stand. Draping reflective spheres from the ceiling is a stunning option for glamorous affairs. Not only will the surface match the textures used throughout your décor, but these decorations will also draw the eye upward and play with depth and dimension by reflecting the dance floor. Consider incorporating unique uplighting to cast fun patterns on the ground, which is what this couple did at their New Year’s Eve wedding in New York.

Suspend a Flower Chandelier

You can also dress up the ceiling above your band stage by hanging a flower chandelier. Suspending an overhead installation of blossoms will evoke a lush and ethereal feel at your reception, especially for garden nuptials. Mix different types of flowers and greenery to incorporate multiple textures and add an artistic touch. For a cohesive look, adorn the actual stage with matching florals.

Include Mood Lighting

Embellishing your band stage with light fixtures will create the right mood for your post-ceremony party. Hanging globes stuffed with tea lights that float above your podium will illuminate the space once the sun sets, creating a romantic atmosphere. A neon sign featuring your name, like this couple used at their nuptials in NYC, will also help cast a warm glow over your evening while personalizing your setup.

Use an Existing Door

Looking for a simple wedding entrance idea? Use an existing feature at your venue. You can dress it up with greenery and blooms and create a beautiful entrance by walking through to your reception space, hand-in-hand.

Try Theatrics

Love the theater? Why not have some fun? Because this couple utilized a theater as their reception venue space, they made a statement by descending and appearing through a trap door. How magical!

Play an Entrance Song

Choose a meaningful song that speaks to your relationship to announce your nuptials. This will help set the tone for the entire reception—and is a great way to connect your wedding entrance idea to your love story.

Take the Stairs

If your reception space has stairs, be sure to use them! Dress them up with bundles of blooms, or keep things plain and simple. Either way, it’s a space that’s sure to draw attention as you and your partner enter the venue.

Take a Trolley

Consider traveling to your reception venue in style! Arrive via trolley for a fun and festive option—and consider having your guests line up to greet you as soon as you step off your ride.

Deck Out a Bus

All aboard the bus! Transport your guests to your reception space with a personalized bus. Ride in style with everybody else, or follow behind in your custom transportation.

Make a Speech

Before making your way into the crowd, give a speech. This is such a great time to welcome guests to your reception and to share your gratitude for everybody being there to celebrate.

Put On a Show

Planning something glam? Make a Hollywood entrance! Performers escorted this couple into their reception space to command attention. 

Include Live Music

Having live music can provide such a special touch and is a great wedding entrance idea. Have a violinist or guitarist begin playing a sentimental song as you and your partner enter your reception.

How your musicians plans for bad weather on your wedding day

How your musicians plans for bad weather on your wedding day 1500 1500 adam Michaels

You’re getting married outdoors. All is sunny and grand, and your guests are smiling and happy when suddenly a rolling dark cloud comes in and starts pouring on your friends and family. What happens next? Are you prepared for potential rain or have you thought this through? Many couples want to be confident in the weather, which in most cases works out – but WEATHER you like it or not (ha!) it’s always best to be prepared for the unpredictability of mother nature, especially if you plan on having a live band. April showers bring May flowers, but with a day this important you should plan for every weather possibility in whatever season you choose. After being a part of so many wonderful events, we’re here to give some pointers on how to throw an incredible outdoor wedding, rain or shine.

Some of the best advice we’ve heard is to not check on the weather the week of your wedding. Weather can change at any time and, as we all know, weather apps are rarely accurate until the day before. If you’re constantly refreshing a weather app, it could create a lot of unnecessary stress. Instead, have a plan in place for sun or storms and designate a friend or family member to follow the weather and implement your alternate plan if needed. Things usually work out and your wedding is going to be the best day of your life no matter what the weather is. Walking down the aisle surrounded by family and friends, you’ll realize there was no reason to stress about it beforehand!

Move your wedding indoors

This is the easiest option if your venue has an indoor space. In the NYC area we have no shortage of gorgeous indoor venues, and even more with fantastic indoor and outdoor spaces at the same venue. Moving your wedding indoors eliminates pretty much all of the issues you’d face weather-wise with having your wedding outdoors.

This isn’t to say either that you can’t take photos or have memories outside! Running out with your new spouse in the rain or getting a photo with your bridal party in fur stoles is a great way to bring the outdoors into your wedding day without subjecting your guests to sitting uncomfortably for an hour during your ceremony.

Look into renting a tent. Tents are great for shade coverage from the heat and sun as well as being sturdy enough to withhold rain and winds. They’re an essential backup plan and still offer an outside feel. While we love a rom-com kiss in the rain, seeing your guests run for cover isn’t as romantic. Your older guests will especially appreciate the gesture even on a sunny day. Tents are also great for your live entertainers to perform under. Anything that needs to be plugged in, including our instruments and sound gear, is not equipped for rainy conditions; so we do appreciate when couples plan and have coverage of some sort ready to go.

Make sure that your venue, planner, caterer, florist, photographer, and band are on the same page with a backup plan that everyone agrees on, whether it’s to move under a tent or a nearby indoor space. If the sky decides to open, we’ll know where to relocate to keep the event running smoothly.

If the weather is looking iffy, let your guests know about your plan B so they can prepare ahead of time on what to bring to feel comfortable throughout the celebration. Sunscreen is great if you plan on having your ceremony in an open area where all of your guests are seated in direct sunlight. If there is a chance of rain, providing ponchos and umbrellas could also be extremely useful. Save money by renting these items or get fancy with monogrammed goodies your guests can take home! Also, keep in mind that when the ground is wet, it could get slippery! Provide alternative shoes like flip-flops for your guests so they can keep dancing the night away while avoiding any slips or falls.

A longer cocktail hour, live getting-ready music, or brunch the next day (if your musician is available of course!) are all options to still use your booked time with a musician, but indoors or when the weather is more suitable. I’ve done all of these options depending on the event, and it’s a great way to still bring some of the magic of hiring a live musician to your special day.

Use custom-recorded tracks

We’ve done this option too in a pinch when the weather was just too cold for me to be outside for the ceremony. The bride and groom both walked down the aisle to their original song selections, only played through a speaker than me “live”. The tracks were custom-recorded for them the day before and they were able to have their ceremony outside still. Then guests rushed inside after the ceremony to warm up and I was ready to go for their cocktail hour.

 Wirelessly connect to outdoor speakers

If the indoor and outdoor spaces are relatively close, another option is to have a wireless microphone set up on the harp indoors and the speakers outdoors. This way you’re still getting the experience of live music, only in a way that’s more comfortable for your performer to play. 

When it comes to your wedding day, your vendors are on your side. We not only want to protect the investment in my instruments (whose up-front and maintenance costs are similar to a car, but with no financing available) but your investment in your wedding! Planning a party as big as a wedding isn’t cheap, so having backup plans and hiring professional vendors are just two ways to protect your investment. I would much rather opt for a backup plan for one of my couples than stick through it and be worried about my strings or soundboard breaking during the middle of your ceremony. A distracted, stressed-out vendor isn’t going to perform as well as one who isn’t battling the elements, which ultimately means a better outcome for you too!

Don’t forget to enjoy the moment and make the most of it if it does rain! Rain is considered good luck for a lasting marriage AND it makes for super cute photos! Get transparent umbrellas and take a stroll with your photographer. Or if you’re feeling daring, splash around in a puddle. You will look back on these photos and have fun memories knowing that you were prepared but willing to have fun with it regardless.

Weather can be unpredictable but just remember, whether it’s rain or shine, always be prepared and commit to enjoying your special day and making the best memories with your loved ones and friends

Should you have continuous music at your wedding?

Should you have continuous music at your wedding? 1200 800 adam Michaels

Wedding bands offer lots of add-ons to go along with the baseline service of performing dance music during a reception.  One of those add-ons is the option of ‘continuous music’, which probably means different things to different people, but in the context of the wedding band world, it means that the band will always be on stage performing, aside from stopping for speeches and toasts (admittedly, there are probably many Best Man speeches out there that could use mood music for sentimental moments and cymbal crashes to go along with bad jokes, but coordinating that kind of synchronization sounds unnecessarily complicated).

While the idea of constant live music might sound appealing – making a classy wedding even classier by never using pre-recorded or piped-in music – it detracts from the overall trajectory of the wedding.  The best example of this is when the band starts their first dance set, after speeches and dinner.  They pack the dance floor and everything’s great, but after an hour or so, people start to get tired, or wander off to have conversations with friends where they can hear each other, or head to the bar to grab drinks.  If the band keeps going, then sure, some people will keep dancing, but eventually, the crowd-that-was will lose its energy and dissipate, and then you’ve got a band on stage playing to nobody.  Not fun for the band, and serving no purpose for the guests.

Instead, try this: the band stops after that first killer hour of dance music and takes a short breather, leaving the crowd wanting more.  Guests step off the dance floor to chat, grab drinks, and take a breather themselves, and when the band returns after 10 or 15 minutes, everybody is fresh, energized, and ready to go.  In addition, the band will have made sure to play recorded music during that break, just so there’s no dead air and to keep the general party vibe going.

If the band never breaks, it’s unclear when the crowd should break.  The dance floor stays minimally populated for a large chunk of the night, and oftentimes, it only builds back up to being packed for the last few songs.  If the band breaks before that last rocking set, the crowd immediately returns to the dance floor when the music starts back up, and it stays packed for that entire final hour of live music.  And behind the scenes, the musicians will finish the gig feeling happy and proud of the job they’ve done, instead of exhausted after not having left the stage for four hours straight.

While alluring, continuous music isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.  Yes, it’s a bit counterintuitive, especially when marketed as a great way to elevate your wedding, but keeping the band on stage all night is likely to do more harm than good.  So don’t pay any extra money for it!  Give your band a break, give the crowd a break, and watch the wedding run like clockwork and the dance floor explode with energy for every set.

It’s continuous music throughout the party. The entire time, if the band is not playing dance music, then we’re up there playing music in the background. It’s not obtrusive, people can talk 

while they’re eating, but it’s a nice point of focus that there is still live music going on. There will always be live pieces on the stage. There will always be a couple of pieces up playing background music while people are eating. That gives us a chance to do other artists too that we can’t get in during the dance time: John Legend, Jason Mraz, James Taylor, Van Morrison, and that kind of stuff.   

We go in knowing what our clients want. We go in with a list of all their favorite songs and special moments and things that are unique to them. And then we feel the crowd. We have a huge arsenal of songs in every genre and we are very fluid at going back and forth between one and the other. We take the pulse and we’re always watching and thinking “What is the next great moment going to be?” Then, of course, it’s knowing what the band does well and knowing what those special moments are that we could pull out that are going to surprise and delight everybody. For years I would stand as the guests were walking into the ceremony just to get a lay of the land and see who was there, and what their vibe was, when they walked in because that initial impression is something that will stay with us, as bandleaders, all night long.   

The most successful parties we do are where we get to mix things up a lot, so we have a chance to expand the repertoire and not just play one genre. It becomes much more eclectic; we’re much more pick and choose in terms of what’s going on. We have the same agenda: you want to see the dance floor packed, we want to see the dance floor packed. Mixing it up a lot helps a lot with making everybody in the room feel like the band’s playing for everybody. We have no problem covering requests across the board, all different genres, all different age groups. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for Phish if you’re looking for Biggie, whatever you’re looking for, we can play all of that. The band’s repertoire is very deep, so we have no problem covering all of that material. Keep in mind that part of what you’re hiring us for is the experience. We’ve done so many parties. We’ve seen so many things at different parties. We’ve worked out different materials and we know what works and we know kind of what doesn’t work. 


How Do You Book A Band You Haven’t Seen Live Before?

How Do You Book A Band You Haven’t Seen Live Before? 1200 1200 adam Michaels

At Around Town Entertainment we get asked a lot of questions about booking bands and what you should be looking for or thinking about with regards to finding the most suitable one for your event. And, how do you know that they are going to be any good? After all, many functional bands do not perform in public events so it can be hard to see live. So, to point everyone in the right direction we have come up with the following things to check and be aware of before you hire a band for your event.

Weddings are private events and seeing a band before you book them for your big day is difficult in ‘normal’ circumstances. Now more than ever, couples are having to get used to booking their musicians online without being able to see them play before.

Here are our best tips for booking a band without seeing them live!

Do you like the band?

It may sound obvious but 99.99% of the time your choice of band will be based on whether you like them or not. Yep, very obvious. But, what is it you like? Do you like the photos? The audio? Does the band have a great video that shows them in action? Or, is it a mixture of everything? Either way, these constituent parts add up to the same thing… the band’s marketing. How a band markets themselves says a lot about them (apart from the fact that they look and sound good). If they have taken the time to have professional photos taken, recorded audio in a good quality studio, and, daft as it may sound even bothered to spell check their write-up, then the band has invested in their product… themselves! And, if they are prepared to do this to a high level then it means they are serious about what they do and want to portray the right image. It is a common belief that if somebody has invested in themselves then they are more than likely to be invested in by others.

It is one of the first things that artists sign up at Around Town Entertainment will look for when vetting bands – how serious are they about what they do and have they taken the time to sound good, look good, and pay attention to the finer details. After all, these are the people that will be representing Around Town Entertainment at weddings and corporate events so we have to consider these things carefully.

Video First

How a band markets themselves says a lot about them. If they have taken the time to have a professional showreel put together along with high-quality audio, then the band has invested in their product… themselves!

We know that when couples are looking for bands, they will often gravitate towards watching a video before anything else. When watching a band’s promotional video, look out for how the band interacts with each other, how energetic they are, and the general look they are portraying.

Does this match what you had in mind for your wedding band?

And, if they are prepared to do this to a high level then it means they are serious about what they do and want to portray the right image. It is fair to assume that if somebody has invested in themselves then they are more than likely to be invested in by others!

Read Reviews

The next thing to look out for is what previous customers say about a band.

Chances are if they have lots and lots of great feedback then it means they have lots of experience! Some of our bands are so experienced and have even clocked up hundreds of 5-star reviews with happy couples up and down the USA. Our top tip here is to of course look for bands with a high number of 5-star reviews, but do your research and also look deeper.

What do the reviews say and can you draw any conclusions about how the band will act on your big day from previous customers?

You might find out that a band is particularly friendly, punctual, fun, or any number of things from reviews alone!

Industry Approved?

So, what happens if you love a band… but they don’t have hundreds of reviews?

Booking a band online isn’t as difficult as you think. You just need the right signals to know that the band is good enough before you have them on your big day.

One really important signal is if they are approved by the ‘industry’. By this, we mean websites and businesses such as ourselves, Around Town Entertainment.

To understand the quality of a band, we must stress that not every musician has a place on our roster. 96% of artists who request a place on our roster are turned away by a diligent artist sign-up team! This means that the 1% who are accepted are a fantastic addition to any event and have our full confidence and backing.

The Setlist

Another very important thing when you are looking to hire a band online for an event is to check the songs that they perform.

Although a band may be dubbed a ‘cover band’ or a ‘wedding band’ there are still varying types.

For example, some bands concentrate on mainly modern and more contemporary material, whereas others perform a mix from the 1950s/60s right through to the present day.

This isn’t to say that one band is better than the other, it just means one may be more suited to a specific event!

If you aren’t able to experience these songs in a live setting, look at what the band has in its repertoire to help you decide if they are the right kind of style for you.

Speak To An Expert

As much as bands will try to answer every possible question or address any potential concerns with their video, promotional material, setlists, and FAQs, we understand that couples sometimes have a few more questions before pulling the trigger on their chosen wedding band.

At Around Town Entertainment, our experienced entertainment experts are on hand to answer any questions about your musicians! We speak to and deal with our top acts daily and will be able to answer any pressing questions you have about your musicians.

Maybe you’d like to know what else is included in the price, how the whole thing works or just want a professional opinion.

It is always worth having as much information as possible so you can make an informed decision on your wedding band!

Are the logistics covered and are there any extra ‘freebies’?

And, that brings us to the final point… logistics, practicalities, and sweeteners. A professional band will have experience performing everywhere from stately homes to hotels so they should have everything in place to make sure that playing at your event is easy and stress-free. This means that they should be fully self-contained as far as equipment goes (PA, Lighting where relevant, Backline Equipment such as Guitars, Drums, Microphones, etc.) and they should have all the relevant paperwork and documents in place to ensure they are legally allowed to perform at your venue. The 2 main things they should have are PAT certificates, which will cover their electrical equipment and ensure that safety checks have been made, and, Public Liability Insurance to cover the band from an insurance point of view. Occasionally, a band will also be asked to provide a Risk Assessment, which assists with additional health and safety concerns for a venue.

It is also worth seeing what extras the band may be able to offer or have included in their package to make the deal more enticing. Because it is a competitive industry, and lots of bands are more than aware of this, many have augmented their product by adding options such as free jazz cocktail music, the use of extra microphones for speeches, etc. So, if any of these are going to be of genuine added value to you and would help you make a decision when choosing, be sure to ask what a band can offer.

We hope these pointers have been of some use and will help you find the perfect band for your event. But, if you have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact one of our Entertainment Coordinators here who will be only too happy to help.

How long do live wedding bands play for?

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Wedding bands typically perform for six hours which is usually split into 2×1 hour sets and 1×4 hour sets. However, there are quite a few variations and some of them may suit your wedding more than others. The choices and options are endless enabling you to fit a live band around your wedding schedule perfectly.

Because most bands are used to playing for two hours over three or four hours, you are unlikely to get a discount if you want them for less time. Factor in their setting up and travel times and you can see why they may refuse to play for less. Most bands and musicians will book an entire day for one wedding.

Day of the Wedding

Factor in a few hours before the music needs to start for the production crew and band to arrive. For us, even though setup takes an hour, the sound crew will arrive around two hours before to ensure everything is running smoothly. The band will arrive about one hour before showtime to prepare and perform a sound check. Digital consoles save the band’s settings so only slight adjustments need to be made, saving a significant amount of setup time. Please note, if the ceremony and reception are in the same location, plan for the production crew and band to arrive earlier to ensure everything is in order before the festivities begin.

We have been part of the wedding entertainment world for over 20 years now so we are a well-oiled machine when it comes to performing at weddings. Below is the typical schedule for our (and most other) wedding bands come wedding day. When we say typical, we mean roughly 90% of weddings follow these timings year after year. With our bands, the background music always follows the end of any live set and continues until the beginning of the next live set so the music never has to stop and that party keeps rockin’! 

3 pm: The band arrives at your wedding venue and unloads their equipment.

4 pm: All the equipment is set up and sound checked. Pre-ceremony music begins at the beginning of the ceremony.

5 pm: The jazz trio performs at the cocktail hour, 1-hour live set.

6 pm: The reception begins and the full band performs for the final 4-hour live set.

10 pm: The band finishes their live set and begins to pack up equipment.

Popular booking options with most wedding bands are early arrivals, late finishes, and extra live sets. In the past, we’ve arrived at weddings as early as 10 a.m. and finished performing at 1 a.m. or 3 a.m. These options often cost extra but they could be just what your wedding needs! We’ve had couples knowing they have dance-hungry guests and so the 6×1 hour live sets we performed for them went down an absolute treat! Just ask us for more information on all these great options!

In our experience, at least 90% of weddings run late and it usually becomes impossible to fit sets into revised or packed schedules. We never like to see the venue managers or wedding planners frantically running around trying to cram everything in! Also surprisingly, if your wedding band starts early, you want them to finish around 11:30 pm/12 am the gaps between the sets can end up being huge – sometimes well over an hour which can kill the party vibe a bit.

Of course, it doesn’t necessarily matter how long wedding bands play for because you can usually ask for a unique live set timing and many wedding bands will accommodate. Our bands will always try their best to fit around your ideas and wedding timings. You can see an example of some of the booking options we offer here and because of the unique way we work, we can design 100% custom live wedding bands just for you.

When everyone knows that the wedding band is only going to perform once, they get up on that dance floor and as soon as you are up there, your guests will be so supersets can be some of the most fun had at a wedding! Some couples ask for them as standard and many, many wide-eyed, smiling couples have come up to us after a hectic, delayed wedding day so happy with a superset that got everyone dancing and having boundless fun. Supersets can be the perfect stress reliever and sometimes the ideal way to end a beautiful wedding. 

Remember to factor in food for the band. While they don’t have to join you for your three-course banquet, they will need sustenance if they’re going to be rocking the night away. If you hire them for longer, they’ll need more food. This is important to factor in when you are looking at how much a wedding band will cost.

What time should they finish?

Work out if your chosen venue has any noise restrictions. These could be all day, or only start at a certain time. Some places even have a sound limiter, which means power is cut if the noise goes over a certain volume. It would be awful to book a big rock band, only to discover that you can’t play loud music.

90% of wedding venues only allow live music up until midnight latest so despite what many a drunk and excited guest has said to us over the years, no, we can’t just keep performing and ignoring the rules of the venue! The venue could lose its music license and we could be banned from the venue or given an awful review! Don’t miss out on the wedding band and get up on that dancefloor early!

Work out what time you have your venue and work backward. You can’t arrange for the band to play their last song at five minutes to midnight if you are expected to all be gone by the hour; the band will need time to pack up and leave. However, the band announcing the last dance is a great way to subtly tell your guests it’s time to go.

If you have a strict finishing time by your venue, pass this information on to the band. They will be able to tell you how long they will need to pack up so that you can be safely out in time.

Tips for Proper Wedding Lighting

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Do you ever look at pictures of a wedding and find yourself blown away by both the details of the space and the intimate, romantic vibe of the event? You probably have uplighting to thank for that. Though uplighting isn’t a standalone solution for making a reception pop, it is an integral part of the overall lighting design package that will emphasize your décor elements and bring out the beauty of your venue. We can now offer more services to make your planning process easier and your event perfect! With our lighting, we will work with you to create and customize the atmosphere you’ve always imagined for your event, whether you’re hosting an intimate backyard gathering or a full-scale wedding!

To help you determine which type of lighting works best for your venue and your needs, we’ve given you a breakdown of some popular lighting tips below. 

Is Uplighting Necessary at a Wedding?

Though nothing is truly “necessary” at a wedding other than the marrying couple, uplighting is, more often than not, a good idea. If you’re having an indoor or covered reception during the evening, uplighting will add drama and elegance, but it will also indicate points of interest in your venue and help guide guests to areas of the event they’ll be interacting with, such as the bar or photo booth.

Uplighting looks best when it is lighting something. If you’re in [a historic venue] and they have these killer columns with corners at the top and dramatic fluting, uplighting will bring that out. It puts the shadows and all the little details into relief, which makes it pop.

Uplighting is not as necessary during a daylit event, or in a basic square room with four white walls where there is little to call attention to. For that reason, an outdoor wedding in an open field will similarly not require uplighting, as there will be nothing for the light to bounce off of, but that doesn’t mean all outdoor weddings are off the hook.

Don’t forget the outside areas of a tented event. At night, if the tent is 50 feet from the house and down a set of steps, is there enough light to see the pathway? Same with the bathroom trailer – what does the walkway look like between the main tent and the trailer after it gets dark?” For that reason, Toner’s team will look for trees, bushes, and sides of buildings to uplight, so the light can bounce back into the space. This gives guests reference points and sets boundaries for an area so they can more smoothly navigate their way around.

How Much Does Uplighting Cost?

For a professional lighting design package, We estimate that costs will begin between one and three thousand dollars. Uplighting should be one part of a bigger lighting package. Because if you only have uplighting in a dark room, you’ve essentially lit all of the outsides of the room. The dance floor, tables, band, etc. will be much darker than everything else.

We suggest that the ideal lighting package should also include pin spots, splash lights on the dance floor, and lighting on the band so that in photos and video, there’s a balance between all focal points of a wedding. If you take a picture across the room while the couple is dancing, they should be lit along with the centerpieces and the wall in the back.

Uplighting Dos and Don’ts

Here, find a helpful list of dos and don’ts when it comes to uplighting at your wedding.

Don’t develop your lighting plan in a vacuum.

Approach every event from a photography and videography standpoint. The pictures last forever. If it’s not lit the right way, then forever all of your crowd is in the dark, or you won’t see the flowers. To that end, make sure to communicate with the event designer, florist, photographer, and videographer ahead of every wedding. 

DO ask if your vendor uses LEDs.

Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, are a better option because they don’t heat up the way traditional filament bulbs do, so there’s no risk of anyone burning themselves or a décor element such as drapery catching fire. Bonus: Most LEDs are battery-operated, which means you can eliminate the clunky look and trip hazard of cables.

DO be strategic with color choice.

Amber is the most universally flattering LED shade for wedding uplighting, as it adds a romantic yet formal glow. It also brings out the flesh tones of people. Uplighting can also be used to unify the color scheme of a wedding. For example, if you’re doing a very blue wedding, you could uplight the room in blue and tie it together!