I can’t quite believe we’ve arrived at October. It seems the older you get the faster it goes. But here we are – at the close of another British “Summer”. Some of our clients even managed to coax some sunshine amidst all that rain – well done to you!
Every gig we play gives us a little more of an insight into weddings and what works and what seems not to so much. So here’s a few things we’ve learned…
You can make plans for everything apart from people
As a bride and groom, you’re the hosts of an amazing celebration and party. You try and meticulously plan every detail in order for it to be as awesome as possible. Of course, there comes a point where you have to let go of the things you can’t control and trust in what you have put in place. One of the things you can’t really predict is how your guests will behave at a party. You may have envisaged everyone dancing all night long having the most fun ever. That definitely happens for the vast majority of the weddings we play, but there are always some groups of people that are more interested in talking, watching or listening and the dancefloor looks a bit empty and neglected! How can you ensure it’s the best party possible? Here are some ideas.
- Plan accordingly for the kind of people you’ve invited. If you’ve invited predominantly family, they might not necessarily share the same music tastes or particularly go for it on the dancefloor in the same way than if your evening guests are mostly your friends and know each other and like similar music. A band is a big financial outlay, so it’s good to be confident that your guests’ tastes and the band you’ve chosen match up. As a band we can only do so much to enable people to dance – they have to make the decision to get involved!
- Remember that as hosts, even though the day is definitely all about you, it’s also totally about your guests. That means that what you like as a couple might not be shared by your guests. We often get asked if we can drop certain songs or include certain songs because of the bride and groom’s tastes, which is fine, but you need to remember that although it’s important that you have a great time – it’s equally important that your guests do, because you won’t if they don’t. So that weird annoyance you have with ‘Random Artist Name Here’? Well, pretty much everyone else loves them, so maybe don’t worry about it!
- Small numbers of people at weddings are harder to get into the party spirit. People are essentially pack animals and they feel more comfortable when the herd is larger and everyone’s doing the same thing! Sorry about the animal analogies, but it’s true! Make sure you invite some party animals if you’ve got to keep numbers down – they’ll make sure they get on the dancefloor enabling less confident people to follow suit. If your venue permits, get as many bodies in there as you can for the evening party – trust us, it will be so much more fun! The venue will have a capacity, but will make more money on the bar, so they’re happy. If you have to cut down on expenses for the evening food, so be it! People are fine on cheese and cake. Spend your money on a good band 😉
If you’re planning a weekday wedding to save money, you don’t need anyone to tell you you’re taking a risk in terms of the level of energy your guests will have for the evening party. Expect people to leave early, not drink so much, be tireder, have commitments in terms of children etc. Unless the majority of your guests are taking the next day off, you might be disappointed by the party atmosphere. Smart couples spend less money on details and make sure to book a weekend day for their wedding. Everyone just has a better time.
Venue Choice is Important
We say this a lot to couples when we meet them before the wedding… that large stately homes with lots of rooms and grounds for guests to disperse into are bad news for evening parties. It’s great during the day, but come the evening, you want to contain everyone. More people = a more fun atmosphere. People are more likely to have fun and dance if they’re all in the same place rather than strewn over all the rooms. So if your venue tries to excite you by the prospect of having the whole place to yourselves, remember that this can actually be a hindrance to your party, and it may cost you more money at the same time!
Here are some tips to help contain those wayward guests…
- If your venue is large, get your venue to seal off areas after all the speeches and dining is done.
- Hire a small venue. No word of a lie – village halls make the best weddings. All those people packed in together. No-one cares that it’s not fancy, and all that money you saved can be spent making the place look fantastic (and by hiring an awesome band 😉 )
- Before hiring the venue, check if the bar can be in the same room as the dancing. People love to disappear to the bar!
- There’s nothing wrong with a winter wedding! It keeps everyone inside. It’s cosy. People warm up on the dancefloor. It’s darker earlier and that makes a better party atmosphere – lights are more effective etc. And of course, it will most likely cost you less. Another thing is that there’ll be less competition for dates and more of your friends and relatives will be able to make it.
Another thing to check on when you’re out venue hunting is if there are any sound level restrictions in place for your venue. Some venues have noise limiters that cut the power if the sound levels go over a certain threshold. This can be a bit of a downer if the band is in full swing. Of course, any band worth their salt will accommodate this, but it may depend on the threshold that has been set. We’ve played one place where we were still tripping the sensor with our front of house speakers turned off completely!
If a venue doesn’t have a sound limiter, they may just have a worried venue manager/owner instead who will badger the band all night to continuously turn it down. We sympathise – but only to a point. No-one wants a quiet band. Talk to the venue about noise levels, neighbours, cut off points for music etc.
A Photo Booth is Always a Winner!
Every wedding we’ve played where there’s a photo booth it’s been a hit. It allows people to dress up, be silly and make friends, whilst creating memories of the night for the couple. Get a big album people can stick their printed pics into and write a brief message.
Make Use of Your Team
Your bridesmaids and groomsmen are your personal entourage. Not just some of your mates in fancy clothes. They’re there equally in positions of honour as they are in their role to help everything run smoothly, and they can be used for more than just showing people to their seats during the ceremony!
Get bridesmaids and groomsmen to come onto the dancefloor halfway through your first dance (or throughout the night) to encourage people to get dancing. Charge them with the responsibility of making the party fun. Have them give out inflatable instruments, fancy dress items, blow bubbles, initiate dance-offs in a circle, whatever works!
Remember to Enjoy Yourselves
Yes, you are the hosts and yes it is your duty to speak to everyone at your wedding. But there does come a point where the endless repeating yourself and plastered on smiles must be put away and you need to get your ass on the dancefloor and participate in the fun!
And one final word of advice… don’t get more drunk than your husband/wife!