When it comes to weddings, we all want to get everything right. The problem is, most of us have never done this wedding thing before. So, personal experience of the do's and don'ts of hiring wedding entertainment and booking wedding bands is going to be a bit thin on the ground.
Luckily, the entertainment specialists at Alive Network have helped thousands of brides organise wonderful wedding entertainment without a hitch (so to speak). Here are their top ten things you'll regret not doing if you want magnificent entertainment, not a major drama.
1. Not allowing your function band to use their judgment for their play list
It's tempting to say to your band "Please play this and this and this", but actually, the people who are best placed to know what a party needs at any given point is the band themselves. Let them be flexible and judge the mood and atmosphere of the party, how much the guests want to dance or to listen, or what music will go down well with a mixed age group.
2. Not having your evening reception entertainment arrive after the meal
Venues like everyone to arrive horribly early, so they'll often advise you to ask the band to arrive before the meal. This involves your band sitting around for hours doing nothing while you eat, and costs you hundreds of pounds in waiting fees as a result. Don’t do it: at 90% of weddings, there is plenty of time after the meal for a band to set up as people mill around and chat to each other, and the evening guests start to arrive for drinks. Meanwhile, your party band can set up in peace, do a quick sound check, set up some background music from an iPod, have a bite to eat and get changed.
ALTERNATIVE WEDDING ENTERTAINMENT IDEAS
3. Not checking the size of your venue in advance
It’s a heart-stopping moment when you suddenly realise that with your 150 guests in the room, you only have an area the size of a postage stamp for a ten-piece band with horn section and dancers. So, always do a site visit, get a floor plan if possible and double-check details with your band so they are fully in the picture too.
4. Ignoring sound limiters
Sound limiters are devices designed to prevent excess sound levels at events. Or, to put it another way, if there is an unplanned loud noise during your party the limiter cuts the power to your DJ's decks or your band's equipment. Always advise your band if a sound limiting system is installed, and the band may be able to adjust their line-up to compensate, such as using electronic drum kits.
5. Not having enough entertainment
Your wedding day is just that - a whole day, with inevitable pauses and gaps in the proceedings when guests will be waiting for something to happen. By providing a variety of entertainment, you can create a day that your friends and family will remember for a long time. Plan for:
Pre-wedding ceremony music
Drinks reception entertainment (your photos will inevitably take longer than you think!)
Wedding meal entertainment for kids (speeches are soooo boring for the under 12s)
Something in the evening for those who don't dance.
GETTING THE BEST PRICE FOR YOUR WEDDING ENTERTAINMENT
6. Having too much entertainment!
OK, this might sound like a contradiction in terms, but this is your wedding, not a theme park outing. Use entertainment both to cover the dull bits and heighten the exciting bits, but don't provide wall-to-wall music. Many of your guests will want to chat to each other as they may not have met up for ages, and of course they'll want to talk about how wonderful you both look, etc. If they are constantly shouting over the band or the singer or the mime artist (OK, we'll give you that one), then the whole party can fall flat as people drift away to find somewhere quieter.
7. Not booking acts that are new to you
Here's the thing with weddings. If you've seen an act or band at a wedding, chances are, so have a proportion of your friends, because they were at the same wedding as you. Multiply that by, say, three weddings and a birthday bash a year, and you might find yourself with a live band everyone has seen at least once.
So, book a band you don't know, or an act you've never seen, and give yourself and your guests something different to talk about for months afterwards. The best online entertainment agency websites give you lots of information on each act, including demo tracks, photos and videos, plus reviews from other people who have booked them. If a function band looks good, sounds good and has good reviews, but you've never seen them before, be brave and book them!
8. Buying the cheapest, not the best suited
Function band hire prices can seem high when you first see them written down, but this is because you are paying a little bit towards lots of elements you and your guests will never see, including:
Proper rehearsals during the day, not squeezed in between the day job and the night shift.
Custom-made stage clothes and costumes that look good, not like they were picked up at a jumble sale.
The cost of their reliable, modern transport, not keeping some clapped out Transit well past its scrap-by date on the road (or worse, on the layby.)
Your fee will help pay for their top of the range instruments, sound systems and lighting that turn their performance into an experience.
And most of all, you're paying for their professional experience in judging an audience and playing the music that'll keep all your guests up and dancing all night long, from grandma to grandson.
Remember, a good wedding band always leave you wanting more, not wanting to leave.
WINTER WEDDING ENTERTAINMENT IDEAS
9. Not looking after your entertainers
Entertainers are like dogs; they need food, drink, and somewhere to call home for the evening. So if they ask for a meal and a private room to get changed in, don't insult them by giving them sandwiches and a toilet. They may not bite back, but you'll not have the best from them either, because they are fed up, hungry and possibly slightly wet. Think like a dog trainer and offer rewards for good performances, such as a 'thank you' drink from the bar after their performance, a proper meal, and a slice of cake to take home, and set those performer tails wagging!
10. Not booking through a reputable entertainment agency like Alive Network
Not booking through an established entertainment agency can cost you time, money, hassle, stress and the priceless benefits of years of experience. Alive Network Entertainment Agency have 15 years of experience in helping couples create a bespoke package of entertainment that fits their style, their budget, their venue and their guest list.
You can book every act you want in one place, with a dedicated entertainment coordinator to help you every step of the way.
You don’t need to spend hours dealing with artists direct.
You have the security of a legally binding contract, so they won't get tempted by another offer.
You won’t need to carry around large quantities of money to pay the entertainers on the night.
Best of all, you have an emergency mobile number, so if anything does go awry with your wedding entertainment on the day, you can call for assistance.
And whatever you do, remember to enjoy yourselves too – it’s your day!
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