Live music adds a special feel to wedding receptions

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For as far back as I can remember, my family has enjoyed reminiscing about my parents’ wedding reception. It wasn’t to describe the food or the flowers; even my mother doesn’t remember the colors. It was the band that everyone kept talking about long after that July evening in 1979.

 

With the bar set high, I started planning my own reception last September. It didn’t take long for me to get the message that a DJ simply would not do. With that I started my quest to find a band.

 

Now, I’ve been to some amazing weddings with DJs who mastered the art and left the wedding party and their guests begging for more. But if you’re looking for something different that also supports musicians, a band might just be for you.

 

Finding a band is not as difficult as you might think. It does help to know your budget and music preferences before you start your search.

 

Typing “bands for hire near me” into your favorite search engine is a great way to start. For my June 2017 wedding in Fredericksburg, I chose the talent sourcing website called GigMasters to find a swing band. I was able to peruse a long list of reviews on bands in the area in a matter of seconds. When I found a band I liked, I was able to request a quote after providing information such as budget, number of guests, start time and so on. Based on the bands I picked, the site sent me recommendations, including the Andrew Thielen Big Band.

 

Other talent sourcing websites include GigSalad, GigTown, Yelp and Thumbtack, but feel free to look outside the internet as well. It’s possible that the musicians at your church might know someone in a band.

 

Don’t be afraid to ask a local band you like to play at your wedding. I talked to a bride who heard a band at a restaurant one evening and asked them to play at her wedding. Even though they didn’t normally do weddings, she said the band was a huge hit.

 

When it comes to the price, it’s going to be more expensive than a good DJ, which runs in the upper hundreds or low thousands. A good band, however, will cost at least a couple thousand or more, which makes sense because it’s more than a one man show. Decide now if this is something you really want. If it is, try and funnel money away from something less important. In my case, that was alcohol, but for someone else that might be flowers.

 

One of the things that sealed the deal for me, besides their awesome musical skills, was that the band had played at my reception venue before. The band already knew their equipment would work there and that all their musicians would fit behind the dance floor, something to keep in mind for either a band or DJ.

 

From a photographer’s point of view, having the band dressed up with their instruments also adds a nice backdrop for the dancing photos.

 

If the band does not know a certain song that you are in love with, don’t worry, many will learn it before the big day. But you need to give them more than two weeks to do it. 

 

A good band will do more than just play the tunes. They also bring a certain charisma that helps them connect with your guests and they can also be full of surprises. My band gave me an unplanned rendition of “Sweet Caroline” with my bridesmaids. It was a moment that I will treasure forever, one of the many reasons I’d say that you can’t beat the band.   

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017