Monday, January 23, 2006

WEDDING BANDS: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY (PART II)

Not all bands are created equally.

Have you ever been to a restaurant (or seen a movie with a restaurant scene) where a strumming guitar player goes over to serenade an embarrassed and/or annoyed couple?

This concept was self-evident at a wedding I attended where the band was armed with a “strolling keyboardist."

People seemed either put out or highly amused by the aimless wandering--AND singing.

In addition, there was a saxophone player who strolled about the reception hall, "playing to" people at various tables.

Although in theory it was a cute idea to have table-side music, the saxophonist was quite loud. Therefore, it was (a) difficult to talk to members of our table while he came around and (b) rather grating in terms of the sound-level when he came close to our individual table. It's not that I disliked this particular type of jazzy music--and I'm sure that guests didn't either--I simply found this to be an in-your-face manuever that didn't necessarily work well in practice.

Therefore, it’s important that the band act as unobtrusively as possible during dinner, particularly if the dinner and dessert is served in one sitting (as opposed to having the dancing interspersed between courses).

While the band must be entertaining and keep everyone moving, unobtrusiveness is a key element in hiring a successful band that doesn’t annoy your guests by interrupting or intruding upon their personal space.

Although I’ve advocated that brides-to-be temper any bridezilla-like tendencies and say “que sera sera” in many of the situations I’ve discussed, it’s important to realize that you should be in control of your band--particularly because it affects the enjoyment of the people you have invited.

For example: Song choice, song choice, song choice. It’s amazing to think that your guests’ enjoyment may ride on whether you choose Cisco’s “Thong Song” or not, but trust me--this very well may be the case. If you give a band free reign over what songs can be played, they will play what they know. And what they know may not necessarily be what is appropriate, or even more commonly, enjoyable.

At a recent wedding, the band gave a very heartfelt rendition of “Hotel California.” Was it performed well? Sure. Did it have guests asking why the heck they were performing it AT A WEDDING? Absolutely.

Don't allow your band to choose the songs independently and make ABSOLUTELY sure they have a playlist before the wedding that has been approved by you and your fiance, as well as perhaps one or two close friends/family members who are not as much in the thick of things (and can see a little more objectively than you that Salt 'N Pepa's "Push It" may NOT be the best choice).

Bad or completely random music will throw your guests off guard, and there’s less chance people will leave their tables for the dance floor.

The bottom line: Communicate with your band, and be damn sure you know what they're planning on doing (both song-wise and other) long before the first song is played.

Tomorrow, I'll be back with some band horror stories that definitely should--and can--be avoided.

Stay tuned!


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