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This afternoon I am handing the blog over to music expert Joe Hoten from Bands for Hire as we discuss wedding entertainment and how there are many common misconceptions when it comes to hiring a wedding band or a wedding DJ. Booking wedding entertainment should be pretty high up your to do list, after booking the venue and photographer and choosing your outfits, the wedding entertainment should come next along with your catering. BUT there are so many things to consider when booking your wedding entertainment. Do you choose a DJ, a band, or both? Well Joe is here today to answer many of the questions you may have and to put some of the common myths to bed.
A lot of untruths have been circulating regarding wedding entertainment, and we feel it’s high time they were laid to rest. Here’s a few of the most heinous acts of libel and slander we’ve encountered, along with the truth behind them:
Fact: There are many reasons why one may believe that never the twain should meet – astronomical costs, a clash of tone or style, unwieldy logistics – but there’s no real reason why you can’t have a live party band as the main attraction, then enlist the services of a DJ during their break, or at the end. These days, you’ll find that many wedding bands offer an in-house DJ service as part of the package. This way, the cost is already covered, the band will use their not inconsiderable knowledge of music to match up appropriate songs to preserve the vibe, and they’ll already be there with the equipment to take care of it all. If you have the means to hire and accommodate a separate DJ, then by all means go all out – just don’t feel like you have to.
Fact: While you may be tempted to give your friend’s nephew a chance to show off his new decks, unless he’s familiar with wedding crowds, there’s a danger of the entertainment falling a little flat. Talent is one thing; experience is another. Even if you know a kid studying music at college who’s a regular John Bonham behind the kit, unless they can keep everyone dancing with a smile on their face until mealtime, they’ll go down like a lead zeppelin. The safest approach is to book via an agency, as all of their acts will have been vetted and will know how to act at a wedding. It’s a wholly different gig to playing a half hour set in a dingy club.
Fact: You’d be forgiven for thinking that one person with a bunch of pre-recorded music as his or her disposal would cost less to hire than a group of trained musicians, but this is not the case. There’s a lot of skill involved in professional DJ-ing, and they know exactly how much their time is worth. Conversely, there are plenty of exceptional musicians out there who perform as solo artists or duos who can give you that personal touch without breaking the bank. You can still keep it live for less – just don’t go straight for the 10-piece funk band section and get put off.
Fact: It’s true that many a pair of ears would twinge after a while if they were right next to a drum kit being played at full whack or pushed against a cranked speaker, but that’s far from the wedding band experience. A sound check is about more than whether the members themselves can hear what they’re doing; it’s a necessary precaution to ensure that everyone – including you – can hear everything they’re supposed to, nothing more, nothing less. Wedding bands want everyone in the room to be able enjoy what they’re doing, and they’ll adjust the volume accordingly.
Fact: Believe it or not, your wedding band won’t be nipping off to the van at every opportunity to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and lord knows what else. You’re not paying for a bunch of ruffians who’ve fallen out of the pub; you’ve hired serious musicians who’ll on average take a short ten-to-fifteen minute break to rest their hands and voices, and will be ready to hop back onstage at a moment’s notice. It’s common practice to perform for 45 to 60 minutes before taking one of these short breaks, and you can rest assured that they’ll clarify this with you before announcing it into the microphone.
Fact: There’s an enduring image of the cheesy, school disco-type DJ that emerged from the golden era of Black Lace and Butlins, with naff jokes interrupting your favourite floor fillers, but it’s time to put that to bed. Professional wedding DJs are well aware of what they’ve signed up for, and what you’re expecting from them. The only announcements they should be making are ones pre-approved by you about the actual wedding – when the cake’s being cut, or when a speech is going to be made, for example. It won’t be like a lame radio show with stupid noises and comments being fired out left, right and centre – you’ll get the music you’ve asked for, as well as a responsible overseer of proceedings, so don’t you worry.
Fact: Granted, if you book a jazz band, there’ll be a heavy jazz bias – but don’t go thinking you’ll be subjecting your guests to the same song for two hours. Wedding bands are well aware that you’ll have guests from all walks of life with disparate musical appetites, and they’ll do their utmost to cater for them all. Your typical covers band will know all the old favourites and staples, as well as whatever the flavour of the month is, so there’s no danger anyone will be left with a sour taste in their mouth.
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