Tips from the Pros: Live music
It doesn’t matter if you are planning a wedding or a business meeting, the element of entertainment should always be a consideration. Something as simple as an interactive build-your-own Bloody Mary bar can be entertainment. Most often, music is the primary entertainment element.
Live musical entertainment can heighten the energy of an event space. A band not only provides the soundtrack, they also provide a design element. Imagine walking into a ballroom with a 14-piece big band playing atop a prominent bandstand: that’s more than just music, that is fully-felt sound, an impressive sight, and a big energy. While its lovely to hear classical music prior to a wedding ceremony, its particularly delightful to watch a harpist or string trio present the songs to your guests.
We asked a few of our trusted and recommended event professionals to share with us their thoughts on incorporating live musical entertainment into your celebration.
The advice from The Replicas: Mix it up and appeal to all the ages at your shindig. “There are many people from different eras at your event and (respectfully) you want to cater to everyone’s ears and urge them all to dance or even just enjoy the music at some point during your event,” says Veronica Puleo, lead singer for the Replicas cover band. “There’s a reason Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Aretha, and Marvin Gaye (to name a few) are still a huge favorite at private events … even the newer generations love them. Where do we think Bruno Mars and Pharrell got it from? And we are glad they are carrying the torch!”
Susan Sellers of Del Lago Trio agrees and encourages her clients to choose songs for themselves as well as for their guests. “You may love classical but your guests would appreciate a variety of music from classical to contemporary.”
Consider the logistics of the event space and how this impacts the music, your guests, and the musicians. “Due to the sensitivity of the instruments, musicians cannot perform outdoors in rain, excessive wind or any other extreme weather conditions,” offers Susan Sellers of Del Lago Trio. “The absolute need for shade is not for us but for the instruments.” Simple things, like if there is a power source nearby, make a world of difference. Acoustic music for a ceremony may seem the right volume and tone, but consider the space and the overall experience you’re hoping to convey. Amplification may be necessary to boost an acoustic song. “I think the bride should hear her entrance music from as far away as she needs to be before the grand entrance,” says jazz harpist Lori Andrews. “I want her to have that experience through that long (or short) walk to the officiant.”
“Well, the fact is that the music might actually be the most important factor that separates a good event from an over-the-top success,” proclaims pianist Jeremy Weinglass. One suggestion to keep music integrated into the event? Put the musicians by the bar. “People will ALWAYS congregate wherever the food and drinks are. It seems obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shown up to play an event where they somehow thought it was a good idea to separate the bar and the music.” Having music entertainment incorporated with the food and beverage entertainment is a perfect combination.
“Always get a repertoire list from the band before booking,” suggests Scott Cummings from Scott Cummings Music. “We had someone want to book one of our bands recently and we sent them a list of close to 200 songs. They reduced it down to around 12. We ended up telling them we probably weren’t the right fit for the event.”
For entertainment as well as every other aspect of your wedding day, take time to research and know that not every company, band, or professional will be the right fit for your event goals or vision. And that’s perfectly fine. Sometimes you’ll discover what you don’t want before you realize what you do want. And that’s all part of the process.