Wedding Bands

Can I Have This (First) Dance?

Can I Have This (First) Dance? 2560 1707 adam Michaels

You’ve done the two hardest parts: found your forever dance partner, and chosen to have award-winning live music for your wedding! Now, the fun part: choosing the music. Of course, there are so many special moments to select songs for, but one moment stands out above all the rest: your first dance as a married couple. We at Around Town believe that choosing a first dance song for your wedding is a special decision, as it sets the tone for not just a memorable moment on your big day, but your marriage. So, we’ve compiled a few helpful things to consider when picking out your first dance song:

1. Meaning and Connection: Choose a song that holds personal meaning for both of you as a couple!  It could be a song that reminds you of a significant moment in your relationship, reflects your feelings for each other, is a personal favorite you both share, or is from a favorite moment in a movie or tv show you love. 

2. Sentimentality vs. Fun: Decide whether you want your first dance to be a sentimental moment or a fun and upbeat one! Some couples prefer a romantic ballad, while others opt for a more lively song to kick off the celebrations. Think about your vibe as a couple and take that into account when choosing the perfect song for the two of you! 

3. Musical Style and Tempo: Consider your musical tastes and preferences. Do you prefer something slow and romantic, or upbeat and lively? Choose a song with a tempo that suits your dancing style and comfort level.

4. Length of the Song: Opt for a song that is neither too short or too long. Aim for a duration that allows you to enjoy the moment without feeling rushed or dragging on, usually around 2 minutes! In good news, you chose to hire our live bands, which means we can easily and seamlessly trim a song to the length you need, and your guests won’t even notice! 

5. Danceability: Think about whether the song is easy to dance to or if it requires specific choreography. If you’re not quite so confident in your dancing abilities, choose a song with a simple rhythm that you can sway to effortlessly. 

6. Lyrics and Theme: Make sure to pay attention to the lyrics and theme of the song. You’ll want to be sure they resonate with your relationship and the message you want to convey during your first dance, so be careful not to pick a song that gives the wrong impression or could make your grandparents uncomfortable! 

7. Cultural and Family Traditions: Consider any cultural or family traditions that may influence your song choice. You may want to select a song that reflects your heritage or has significance within your families, or one that incorporates languages or musical influences that are important or meaningful to you and your loved ones. 

8. Avoiding Overplayed Songs: While popular songs can be appealing, consider steering away from overly cliché or overplayed songs to make your first dance feel more unique and personal. There’s nothing wrong with having the same first dance song as another couple, but it can be uncomfortable, especially in the height of wedding season, to hear the same songs each weekend. Here are some examples of songs that have become popular choices for first dances and may be considered overdone:

While these songs are undeniably beautiful and romantic, they have been frequently chosen and may not feel as unique or personal for some couples. If you’re looking to avoid overdone first dance songs, consider exploring lesser-known or more unconventional options that still resonate with you as a couple. 

9. Practice: Once you’ve chosen your song, remember to practice dancing to it together to ensure you feel comfortable and confident on the dance floor. Even if you want to keep the dance simple, it helps to know what tempos to expect – especially if you’re thinking of trying to incorporate spins or dips! Don’t be afraid to set up your phones to record you from different angles as you practice so you’re sure you look the way you’d like to in the photos and videos of this special moment later on. 

10. Consult with Your Partner: Finally, and most importantly, make sure to discuss your options with your partner and choose a song that you both love and feel excited about dancing to as a couple. This is a deeply meaningful moment for the two of you together, and it should be one that you choose together for what it means to both of you!

How Sweet It Is

How Sweet It Is 2560 1706 adam Michaels

While some wedding customs are going by the wayside, such as the garter toss and even the bouquet toss, one wedding reception tradition looks like it will survive the test of time: the cake cutting! And we here at Around Town Entertainment believe that this sweet moment is just as deserving of a soundtrack as the other special moments in your big day – and here’s why: 

Enhancing the Atmosphere: Music has the power to set the mood and atmosphere. By selecting a song that reflects your personalities or the overall tone of the wedding, it can enhance the ambiance and make the moment even more memorable!

Symbolism: The cake cutting ceremony is a significant moment in a wedding, symbolizing your first task together as newlyweds. Choosing a meaningful song can add depth to this symbolism and make the moment even more special! 

Personalization: Every couple has their own unique story and musical preferences. Selecting a song that holds personal significance to you, such as your favorite song or one that reminds you of a special moment in your relationship, adds a personal touch to the celebration.

Creating Memories: Music has a powerful way of evoking memories. By choosing a song that resonates with the two of you, your families, and guests, it can create a lasting memory associated with that specific moment of the wedding day. Like with your first dance song, or the song that plays for your first entrance as a married couple, this song will become one that immediately brings back a happy memory whenever you hear it in the future! 

Adding Fun and Entertainment: The cake cutting ceremony is often one of the most fun and light-hearted parts of the reception. Choosing an upbeat, whimsical, or very apropos song can inject an element of fun and entertainment into the moment, encouraging guests to join in and celebrate! Additionally, this moment can be a little awkward when it happens in total silence – music makes it feel like a fun or even choreographed moment! 

Photography and Videography: Music can enhance the visual storytelling of the wedding day captured by your photographer and videographer. Having a designated song for the cake cutting provides a soundtrack that complements the visuals, making the captured memories even more meaningful.

Overall, selecting songs for the cake cutting at a wedding reception adds a personal and emotional touch to the celebration, enhances the atmosphere, and creates lasting memories for the two of you and your guests! Now, you didn’t think we’d just suggest picking a song for our live wedding bands to play at this special moment and then not give you some carefully curated suggestions did you? Of course not! Incoming, hot off the press, are some of our favorite song choices for cake cutting, broken into categories and accompanied by our reasons for recommending them! 

On the Nose

Ideally, that’s not where the frosting is, but these songs certainly are! 

“Ice Cream” – This playful and sweet song by Sarah McLachlan adds a whimsical touch to the moment, with the added bonus that the song is quite literally about dessert! 

“How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” – A classic song, often performed by both James Taylor and Marvin Gaye, this song perfectly captures the sweetness and joy of being in love – and creates an adorable metaphor by tying it to the sweetness of your cake! 

“Sugar” – Maroon 5’s energetic and catchy hit adds a fun and lively vibe to the decidedly sugary cake cutting moment, making it a great choice for couples looking to infuse some excitement into their celebration. 

 “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies have similarly whimsical and playful lyrics, which can add a lighthearted and joyful atmosphere to the cake cutting moment. The song talks about sweetness and love, which are, again, fitting themes for a cake cutting moment! 

Let the Good Times Roll! 

The cake cutting is one of the best moments to incorporate a sweet, uplifting, up-tempo song, which is a nice contrast from some of the other often sweeter and slower moments of a wedding reception. These are some of our favorites that fit that bill! 

“Lucky” – Jason Mraz and Colbie Callait’s timeless duet is the perfect amount of sweetness – just like your love (and your cake)! 

“L-O-V-E” by Nat King Cole is a charming, bouncy classic that really gets right to the heart of this sweet moment between you and your partner. 

“Better Together” by Jack Johnson is another bubbly, sweet song – and this one is very appropriate since you and your partner are quite literally cutting your cake together! 

“Love on Top” – Beyoncé. Queen B is always the right choice. That’s really all we have to say about this one – you simply can’t go wrong with something this classic. 

“You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne is probably the most brassy and boldly celebratory song on this list – so if your cake has sparklers on it, we can’t think of a better song pairing.

Long-Distance Love Built to Last

Long-Distance Love Built to Last

Long-Distance Love Built to Last 1800 1199 adam Michaels

Zach and Julie met the old-fashioned way, like most couples their age… on Hinge! They met for drinks at The Binc in Brooklyn Heights in May of 2022 and ended up spending hours together that night. But… he was only in NYC for that month before moving to Texas for the next three years! They spent that month ordering sushi, getting to know each other and their friends, all while knowing it would come to an end when he headed to the Lonestar state in June. Despite having sworn off long distance, as the end of May neared, the two found themselves reconsidering – one visit to Texas later by Julie, they said “why not?” and took the plunge! They spent the following year flying between Texas and NYC, eating and exploring their way through innumerable cities, cheering on the Yankees; moving, grooving, and singing along at concerts; getting to know and love each other’s families, and spending hours and hours on FaceTime realizing they were meant for each other.

In May 2023, Zach flew to NYC to celebrate his birthday – where Julie “thought” she was planning a surprise birthday party for him with all of their family and friends. But little did she know, Zach was planning a surprise of his own. He had worked with her brother and their friends to reimagine the supposedly-surprise birthday party as their engagement party! On their way to the bar where the party was, they took a walk through Brooklyn Bridge Park and Zach got down on one knee and popped the question – and Julie said yes! The reverse-engineered double surprise party full of all their friends and family was just the icing on the cake, and was a testament to just how well Zach knows Julie: he knew she’d want to plan her own engagement party (even if she didn’t realize it at the time)! 

When it came time to plan their New York wedding, Julie and Zach chose to have Around Town’s Altitude Band provide the live music for their special day at The View at Battery Park! On one of those strange December days that started out somewhere in the 50s, but suddenly dropped into the single digits, just as the sun had set, the pair tied the knot in the beautiful second-floor room of The View, overlooking Battery Park, with the gorgeous backdrop of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty rising out of the water in the distance. Accompanied by Around Town’s oh-so talented pianist and violinist, the bridal party led the way down the aisle to a stunning rendition of “Kiss the Girl” from Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ – a sweet and very apt precursor to Julie’s entrance. Coming down the aisle to a positively swoon-worthy and tear-jerking “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, as Julie and Zach closed all of the distance of their relationship to come together, forever. Once the vows were exchanged, they made their way back up the aisle to Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams Come True” – a perfect song for the celebration. 

Then it was on to the reception! The Altitude Band kicked off the party with a classic – ABBA’s “Mamma Mia” as the new Mr. & Mrs. grooved their way into the room. As a treat for themselves and their guests, Zach and Julie brought Altitude’s saxophonist in on the action, which elevated the whole vibe – especially since they cleverly slowed down a lot of the songs for their most important and special moments. Their touching first dance was a beautiful, stripped down version of “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – a perfect song for two people whose love grew over lots of distance and lots of travel. Of course, the energy wouldn’t stay slow for long – not with an energetic Hora to follow it up! 

Julie and her father took to the floor with a gorgeous, ballad-like rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” and Zach and his mother followed it with a similarly slowed and poignant version of The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.” One thing is for sure, this couple knows how to have a perfect and heartfelt moment with the people closest to them! Of course, these two also know how to party – and the Altitude Band really brought the heat with energetic bops galore. From Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance” to DJ Sammy’s “Heaven” the dancing went til eleven o’ clock – with nary a mention of anyone named Caroline or how sweet she might or might not be for these Yankees fans! Of course, most appropriately, Calvin Harris’ “Feel So Close” played – reminding everyone of just how much distance, time, and space these lovebirds traveled and overcame to be together. 

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.

 

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?

How long do live wedding bands play for? 570 552 adam Michaels

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 Hosting a Backyard Wedding with Live Music

Tips for Hosting a Backyard Wedding with Live Music 750 449 adam Michaels

Backyard weddings are unique and intimate, and when the weather is good, a great reason to have your event outdoors. After all, there’s no place like home! At-home events have become more popular over the last couple of years; but, for as long as we’ve been performing, couples have been hosting incredibly beautiful and sweet backyard weddings. We enjoy the atmosphere that a wedding back home creates! If you and your loved one are looking to tie the knot in a one-of-a-kind and totally ~you~ setting, and maybe save some money along the way, a backyard wedding is the way to go.

Now let’s focus on your party! Live music brings the sentiment of human connection and personalization full circle, and we really can’t imagine a backyard wedding without live music to set the tone. The guest count of your wedding will help determine how many band members you should have. We offer a cocktail trio or duo option, which is perfect for an intimate soiree or cocktail party where you and your guests can converse in a relaxed environment. You can also customize the instruments to fit your vision. If you plan on having a dance floor, we suggest a 7-12-piece band to guarantee that your guests will be dancing all night long! Here are a few tips to get you started.

PERMISSION

As obvious as it may be, the first step is to check you’ve got permission to have outside entertainment. Lots of venues across the USA have dedicated areas for outdoor weddings, from ceremonies and drinks receptions to marquee receptions, but some may be restricted to indoor weddings due to location, space, and noise restrictions.

If you’re not holding the event on your property or at a licensed venue, then you’ll need to get the landowner’s permission to host live entertainment. If the owner doesn’t legally have permission or a license for live music on their land, this is something you’ll need to discuss with them directly.

TIME OF YEAR

Having your entertainment outside can be exciting and interactive for your guests, but only if your guests are outside too! Something to consider is the time of year you’re getting married. If your date is during the gloomier months, you’ll have to think about the practicality of having your guests outside.

Planning is required but it’s by no means impossible! You can provide heaters, an overhead cover, blankets, and more. It’s also a good idea to let your guests know to bring coats too. It sounds rather cozy if you ask us!

It’s the same situation for a summer wedding; if you’re getting married during the peak summer months with (we hope) scorching weather, provide some shade for your guests and have plenty of sunscreen alongside the hand sanitizer!

WEATHER

Unfortunately, one thing none of us can control is the weather. BUT… we can prepare for it! Outdoor areas for weddings can be kitted out with gazebos and other outdoor shelters to make sure both guests and entertainers are kept dry during rainy days and in the shade during sunny days.

SOUND RESTRICTIONS

Depending on the location of your wedding, your venue may have sound restrictions. For larger venues with vast surrounding grounds, rules may be different compared to a venue in the middle of the city or urban residential area. Restrictions may include a live music curfew or a volume or decibel limit.

Even if your venue has noise constraints, it doesn’t mean you can’t have outdoor entertainment it just means that certain act types will be more suitable for your wedding like an acoustic act. There are hundreds of acts and countless styles to choose between so it’ll narrow your search!

YOUR GUESTS

It’s always important to think about the audience for your chosen entertainment, AKA your guests. Some entertainers, such as string quartets or jazz ensembles, set a relaxed atmosphere and keep conversations bubbling as your friends and family drink a glass of champagne during your drinks reception.

If you’re after an energetic entertainer to get involved with your guests, you may decide on a magician or roaming band to focus your guests’ attention whilst you’re getting your photos taken. Your theme and the size of your celebration are additional considerations when choosing your act.

OUTDOOR ENTERTAINMENT REQUIREMENTS

POWER SUPPLY

Booking a band or performer that requires amplification means you need power. If you’re using the outside space of a venue then they may already have suitable areas where a power supply is easily accessible. If there’s no ready supply of power, some acts can provide battery-powered equipment if notified in advance, so be sure to ask.

The good news is, that there are plenty of acoustic acts who can put on a memorable performance without any power – some may even roam amongst your guests!

Check out our recommendations below or have a browse through our acoustic wedding bands

PERFORMANCE AREA

Similar to the above, you want to make sure your musicians are set up somewhere where they can be seen and heard so everyone can enjoy them as much as possible!

Your venue may have a designated area for live performance or you may need to pick the ideal spot for them to set up. The sound of music travels further in open areas but you’ll want to have a good view of the show.

Your act will require a flat and dry surface to ensure their safety and the protection of their equipment. Once they have that and a power supply (if required) they are nearly set to get entertaining!

SHELTER

Your band or musicians need an overhead cover to protect them and their equipment from the elements. It doesn’t matter if it’s a gazebo, marquee, or homemade tarp bivouac, as long as your performers are sheltered from the burning sun or the incessant rain (or both), they’ll be ready to give you and your guests their best performance.

PUBLIC LIABILITY INSURANCE

Your venue may require your act to hold Public Liability Insurance (PLI for short). Luckily, all of our acts hold PLI up to £1m cover, with certificates available on request.

Backyard weddings are amazing and memorable, so we hope these tips will jump-start your planning with live entertainment in mind – and we hope we can contribute to making your special day that much more fun!

How to Hire a live Party Band for Your Corporate Event

How to Hire a live Party Band for Your Corporate Event 800 600 adam Michaels

Have an upcoming event for your business and want to entertain your employees and clients? The event is a gift to them and the company, and the entertainment you select should represent that. Live party bands that are versatile, professional, and have immense talent can provide you with everything you need to throw an amazing event. However, it isn’t always easy to find a live party band that can ensure an upbeat party while maintaining a professional atmosphere. 

We want to save you the time it takes to research and find the right band. We’ve compiled a guide on what to look for when hiring your live party band below.

CONSIDERS THE DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS 

A business can be composed of groups of people as young as 21 to groups in their mid 70s. These different age groups will most likely not enjoy the same genres of music or decades of music. A live party that finds a way to cater to each varying age group to have them on their feet, dancing to the beat is crucial. A band should have information on how they combat the obstacle of differing age groups and music tastes. For example, We deliver renditions of both old-school and contemporary R&B, Disco, Pop, and Rock songs during the events they cover. This can allow for the alternative introvert as well as the hip-hop extrovert to have a great time together.

PERFORMS APPROPRIATE RENDITIONS

Even if your corporate event is more informal than most, the live band needs to be aware of the fine line between inappropriate and fun. Not all guests will tolerate explicit language or suggestive songs, and successful performers will be able to accommodate that. We have a wide array of classic, age-friendly & appropriate songs that your guests love; however, any songs your business may not want to be included in our performance won’t be sung! Everyone deserves to enjoy the hits without feeling any hint of discomfort, and we’ll guarantee that will be the case

BLENDS WELL WITH OTHER ACTIVITIES

Booking a live party band does not necessarily mean your employees and guests are expected to dance all evening. The band’s purpose is to accommodate guests eating hors d’oeuvres, having cocktails at the bar, networking amongst each other, and dancing as well! We know exactly how to fuse their performance with other activities at a corporate event for a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere.

HAS PERFORMED SIMILAR EVENTS 

No matter how much research is done on a band, the best point of reference is a video of their live performance! If you’re considering a large party band for your corporate event, they should have videos of past event performances readily available for you to watch on their website. Groove & Tonic has multiple videos of our engaging performances and our guests grooving to the tunes on our site! 

Budget Accordingly 

Remember that most professional musicians have a great deal of time and money invested in their abilities and their equipment. A professional musician can have as many years of schooling, just like a doctor or lawyer. 

Musicians usually work as independent contractors meaning they are responsible for their health insurance, self-employment taxes, retirement plans, and other expenses that you may take for granted.  

Not only does playing music on a professional level take a great amount of skill – but it is also physically demanding. All of this is to say that your hired musicians deserve to be compensated accordingly. 

With that being said you don’t have to break the bank to get the band you want.  You must come up with a realistic budget for live music for your event. This budget should be largely based on the number of performers you are looking for, and how long you expect them to play. 

There are a few other elements that go into a live music budget that you might not otherwise be aware of.  Please note that not all of these fees will necessarily need to be a part of your budget, but the more you know the better off you will be when negotiating:

Watch out for extra fees

An ethical bandleader will not try to add in additional costs, but once in a while you’ll get a leader who tries to charge a more than realistic amount. Although some leaders may not be willing to share information on how they pay their musicians, fortunately, you can use the above table to figure out if you think they’re charging an unreasonable amount for their services. As always, though, the cornerstone in this business is communication: If you feel you’re being charged an unreasonable amount, you can always ask the bandleader to explain why he is charging so much. If he gives you a reasonable explanation for his fee, then it’s probably legitimate.

The Secret to Maximize The Value Of Your Live Band

The Secret to Maximize The Value Of Your Live Band 1999 1000 adam Michaels

The wedding or special event date is set, and you’ve found a venue —now you can get to the music! At this point, you have probably decided that a live band will bring your affair to life in a way that is out of this world! It is crucial to strategically figure out how to maximize the value of your live band. There are several things to consider, and we’ve listed them below. 

Remember Why You Hired a Live Band

Hiring a live band is a surefire way to make your wedding or special event unforgettable. The event planning process can be tedious and lengthy, so if you get frustrated throughout the process, it is essential to remember why you hired the live band in the first place. You may have always had dreams of you and your spouse dancing the night away, or maybe your company party needs a boost from the routine plated dinner of holiday parties of the past. Whatever your reason, you have now recognized the need to boost the energy of your event and that there are several reasons to hire a live band. Remembering your “why” is an intangible yet vital way to maximize the value of your live band. 

Choose the Right Size Band

The next step to maximizing the value of your band is to choose the right size band from the start. Bands come in all shapes and sizes, but some factors affect your choice in the size of your band. The first factor to consider is your budget.

Consider Your Budget

In most cases, a 7-piece band will be far less expensive to book than a 12-piece band. You must pay more musicians if you book a larger band, and you may also need more space at the venue to allow them to perform. If you need more venue space, the expense may increase to accommodate a larger band. We always recommend that you work with an entertainment booking agent early on in the wedding planning process to help you navigate through these types of considerations. Local and regional agencies have usually collaborated with local venues. The agents have a pretty good idea of the type of band you will need to fit the budget and venue space. 

Consider Your Vision

When choosing the right size band, your vision should still be at the heart of the decision. If you have always wanted to experience a live band with horns and specialty instruments, by all means, you should have what you want. If you want specialty songs and unique music genres for your event, there are opportunities for that too. Our wedding band provides a diverse song list that includes Top 40, Motown, the classics, etc.

Only Hire Professionals

If you want to get more bang for your buck, you have to hire a professional band. You cannot “maximize” your live band if you’re starting below zero and have to worry about your band’s professionalism or capabilities. Lateness and inexperienced musicians make for a very taxing experience. As a side note, you should know that every musician is not experienced enough to understand the cadences of performing for a wedding. The nuances of knowing when to play, and learning the types of songs to play at different times of the night — are all skills that are honed through experience and leadership of other seasoned professionals and booking agencies. 

Setlist Management

For example, it may be tempting to nitpick at a setlist if you are provided one in advance, but this is an example of why professionalism is a critical quality in the leadership of your live band. Outside of highlighting a few of your favorite songs and deleting songs that make you cringe, a professional band leader should be entrusted with the responsibility to choose the best songs for your crowd and the freedom to perform them at the right time, based on their experience of performing during several events — not just your one event. While this seems like the opposite of freedom in your choice, leaving the bandleader to handle these factors relieves you from having to worry about micromanaging. The band leader will use their experience to set the right tone throughout the changes of the night, keep the party going, and possibly bring a few songs out of the archives – songs you may not have even considered. So trust the professionals to do what they do! 

And while it may be tempting to hire the cool cover band you heard at your local lounge, make sure you do your homework and check references before committing — and paying a deposit!

Group Your Vendors to Save Time and Money

Grouping your vendors is an unseen gem within the wedding planning process. Most people don’t realize that wedding professionals work with several different vendors regularly and have connections that allow them to provide clients with more options than they may have expected. Many of our clients have saved time, and money and increased efficiency by booking multiple vendors through an agency. Lighting is often an additional service offering we provide when clients book bands, and here’s why:

Expand Your Lighting Options 

Lighting was not always a primary focus, but in more recent years, lighting has evolved as a necessity for weddings and special events. Most bands provide simple uplights around the dance floor to help draw people to the space where they can dance. Lighting also enhances safety measures because the same uplights are usually placed near large speakers and expensive equipment to avoid accidents. While most bands only bring about four uplights for this purpose, many clients end up renting additional lighting for the reception hall.

Consider Add-On Options

Add-on options are slightly different from booking multiple vendors. When you exercise an add-on option, and you are booking a live band, you have the option to get multiple services from this one vendor. For example, when you book the live band for your reception, you can ask your booking agent about using the same musicians to perform during your ceremony or cocktail hour. In most cases, the key player from the band will play music throughout the ceremony or while guests enjoy cocktails in the lobby of the reception hall. This works well because those musicians would have already been on-site and available to perform during your big day. Share your vision with your booking agent and allow them to come up with different options that can work in your favor and get you everything you want (and need) for your big day.

Enjoy the Night

This is the final (and most important) way to maximize the value of your live band – enjoy the night! All of the hours of planning and pulling things together should amount to something amazing and enjoyable. Without this factor, your efforts will be for nothing. You’ve invested in time and money, so make sure you find the time to enjoy the music and the energy from the live band. And don’t forget to enjoy the presence of your guests and loved ones! 

Breaking Down the Cost: What You Pay for When You Hire a Wedding Band in 2023

Breaking Down the Cost: What You Pay for When You Hire a Wedding Band in 2023 1500 853 adam Michaels

 

When finding your perfect wedding band, you may find it difficult to figure out what you’re paying for. When breaking down the cost of hiring a wedding band you should also be thinking about your wedding budget. When it comes to wedding entertainment, you are investing in talent and service first, but also insurance policies, professionalism, reputation, and overall experience in the industry. Professional wedding musicians are going to cost more than musicians who do not regularly play at weddings. 

Typically hiring wedding entertainment like a wedding band is about 5-8% of the wedding budget. Working backward from your budget to find out how much you’re able to allocate to your music is usually a better first step than spending hours searching for prices.

By having a draft budgeted amount set aside for a wedding band, you can use this value when calling potential wedding bands. It is highly advised to use this value and ask the wedding band if they can provide a service package that is within your budget. 

With the 2023 summer season here, now is the best time to get your wedding entertainment budget in order! Typically, there is a high demand for the summer wedding season and it’s best to book your wedding at least a year in advance of your big day! Otherwise, you run the risk of your dream wedding band already being booked for another event! Let’s take a closer look at what affects the price of a wedding band so you know what kind of bang you’re getting with your buck!

In 2022, the average price of a wedding band in the United States was around $10,000-$14,000, but this can vary depending on different aspects, such as the time of year, location, travel costs, and the number of musicians in the band. 

A reputable wedding band in the NJ/NYC area, for example, should cost $1,200-$1,800 per musician, including the non-musicians who travel. If the band provides the lighting and speakers, it will attract additional fees. Bands who are billed to travel to your wedding will charge you extra to cover gas, accommodation, mileage, etc.

Just like with anything else, the more demand there is for a band, the higher the value and cost. The number of band members also plays a crucial role in wedding band pricing. The more professional musicians in the band, the more people there are to pay. From acoustic singers/guitarists/pianists/MCs to professional vocalists with backing tracks, there are numerous options to consider.

By increasing your budget, you’ll have the option to add a sax player or full horn section to your band. With seven or more members, you can expect a vibrant performance that will be sure to make a strong impression. Just remember to check space and sound limitations with your wedding venue before making a booking. 

The average cost for a wedding band will largely depend on the time they play for. The number of hours, and where they play. Apart from the reception, do you want them to play for the cocktail hour? Maybe an after-party? All these things should be taken into consideration.

Many wedding musicians offer packages to cover different parts of your day, including the ceremony, cocktails, and wedding reception. A band with more experience and pedigree will charge you more than an upstart will. Before you commit to payment, check out their sound clips by looking up their social media and website. Head over to our wedding video page to watch our roster of talented acts.

The other additional cost that most wedding couples do not consider is that with a full band and their larger base fees, they then have larger postponement and cancellation fees. This is because they are usually a percentage of the total fee.  

An extra cost that can also be forgotten is if the wedding band will be needing food on the big day. It is important to know as you will need to factor that cost into your budget and advise the wedding caterer. Having a wedding buffet can normally keep the catering cost down and help provide an easy option to supply vendor meals.

It is customary to show appreciation to the wedding band by offering gratuity at the end of the night. Additionally, taking the time to write a review on their social media handles and providing a reference would be greatly appreciated by the band. These acts of support can go a long way in recognizing their talent and hard work.

When looking for a wedding band, knowing their cancellation and postponement policy is equally as important as it can add a lot of extra cost to your budget without realizing it. If your wedding is postponed, a lot of bands charge a fee as part of their contract. 

Others may charge a postponement fee as a percentage of their base fee, and this usually falls around 10-30%. Like postponement fees, wedding band cancellation fees usually follow similar policies. However, a cancellation fee is usually set as a higher percentage of the base fee than a postponement fee and can usually be around 40-50%.

In the end, you do get what you pay for. Top-tier talent requires top-tier compensation- it’s as simple as that! There are no hard and fast rules, and many factors affect the price of a live wedding band. Hopefully, our guide has given you a good starting point! 

Are you looking for a top wedding band to work with?  

Contact us directly to learn how we can create the most cost-efficient package for you!