Remember that your guest’s attention will be drawn to the music as soon as they enter the room. And if you have a real party band, they will not be as interested in how elaborate your floral arrangements are, nor will they want to eat so much that they are too stuffed to dance. But your guests will most likely eat another three meals the next day. The food will soon be forgotten. However the excitement that they experienced during hours of dancing will create a lasting memory about your reception. I’ve had numerous clients tell me about how they “…went to a brunch months after the wedding and our friends were still talking about The BIG FUN Orchestra and how much fun they had.”
And what kind of photos will the photographer snap at the reception? Will they be pictures of guests eating baked salmon or having a blast on the dance floor? Will the reception end when the food is eaten and the photos are taken? Who creates the party? Let’s face it! The ultimate success of your reception is riding on the entertainment… GET THE BEST!!!
Below is a very revealing poll taken by www.weddingzone.net regarding the most important element for a wedding reception. The response is overwhelmingly in favor of entertainment as the most important element of the reception, coming in at 46%, with food in second place at 25%.
What do you think the most important element of the Wedding Reception is?
The food – 846 votes (25%)
The photographer/videographer – 218 votes (6%)
THE ENTERTAINMENT – 1538 votes (46%)
The flowers/decorations – 188 votes (5%)
The location – 486 votes (14%)
Often when clients call me regarding The BIG FUN Orchestra, they ask, “How many songs will I get in four hours?” The answer to that question depends upon the reception schedule. My band usually performs at least eleven to twelve songs per “set” (a set is approximately 55 to 60 minutes of live music). This should give you between 44 and 48 songs during a four-hour reception. We will take a 15 to 20-minute break between each set and play recorded music to keep the “flow” going. Our goal is trying to establish a momentum to the party during each of the sets. If you interrupt the “flow” in the middle of a set to have a toast or cut the cake, you will clear the dance floor and kill the momentum of the party; not to mention the momentum of the band.
My advice is to plan for cutting the cake during the band’s first break. This would place the cake cutting between the band’s first and second sets. The BIG FUN Orchestra usually starts the reception off with what we call “dinner” music (dinner music consists of jazz standards and soft love songs like you would expect to hear at a fine restaurant). The dinner music should begin when the first guests begin to arrive.
After the wedding couple arrives, hopefully at approximately 30-minutes into the reception, the wedding party can be announced and the customary “first dances” should occur. It must be noted that proper etiquette considers it inappropriate for guests to dance before the wedding couple have danced their first dance together. Therefore this must take place prior to the band beginning the dance music portion of the reception. By the time the dances are completed, it is usually time for the band to take its first break. Our bandleader will announce the cutting of the cake before he/she leaves the stage area.
We will have a CD player, or MP3 player available to play some soft music in the background while we’re are on our first break. When the band comes back from the first break, it should be time to begin the dance party. The BIG FUN Orchestra usually starts the second set off with a wide variety of musical styles ranging from great oldies and swing to party favorites. This is when The BIG FUN Orchestra gets to know the crowd and establish some guidelines regarding what songs should be played later.
Toasts can take place immediately after the cake cutting or during the band’s second break (between the second and third sets). Again, allowing the band to continue to build the momentum of the party and raise each set to another level of intensity.
A good time to have the bouquet toss, garter toss, etc.(if appropriate) is during the band’s third and final break. The band will come back and keep the crowd dancing with popular favorites while the blissful couple makes their plans for the big getaway.
When it is over it goes into the history books, under one of three chapters, disastrous, mediocre, or SPECTACULAR!