You swore you’d make your wedding plans as stress-free as possible and that the most important thing is the love you share for each other and that your friends, family, nearest and dearest are there to witness and cherish that moment with you. But….your wedding day is fast approaching and the preparations that need to be arranged are becoming somewhat overwhelming, there’s so much to do and so many people to think about. Who will like the food, who wont, is the colour scheme going to clash with my mums outfit…. and these are just a few! However, among them and the show stopping moment from the brides entrance, back ground music, microphone for the speeches and the evening celebrations, what kind of entertaining music do you go for?
It’s tempting to ignore everyone else and base the decision on your own personal tastes, as you have already really comprosmised on so much, but, yes but you have to remember that you want your wedding to go down in history for being the most amazing, NOT having mediocre entertainment and guests that left early as there was nothing keeping them there. But, if your elderly Grandma Joan is attending, is it really a wise idea to have that Eminem tribute band playing, or Uncle Peter who can’t wait to get down to Abba’s Dancing Queen, is it sensible to book that DJ friend of yours specialising in techno music who always ignores requests? So, where do you start, well let us introduce you to the fabulous Shola Kaye, a musical talent that will inspire and excite you about your wedding entertainment.
Over the last ten years I’ve sung at hundreds of weddings and even launched my own business (Blockbuster Bride) As an experienced professional, I’m going to note down a few points to keep in mind when booking music for your big day.
Whats the style of your wedding?
Rustic, Bohemian, Shabby Chic, Sophisticated? Choose a performer, band or singer that compliments you and your theme. Acoustic acts are very popular and are great for the lawn before or after the ceremony. Or perhaps youd like a string quartet to play at the champagne reception. If you have a large hall to fill with many guests maybe youd prefer a function band or DJ to make a real impact.
As a performer, I sing Jazz and Motown, but not necessarily at the same event. Jazz is sophisticated and intimate entertainment for weddings while Motown is a popular choice when theres a wide range of ages to keep happy. Everyone can and will dance, whether your teenage niece or your game grandparents that love to have a boogie and what better excuse to do so than at your wedding. There’s a lot of power in choosing the right music!
What are your personal tastes as a couple?
Is music something you and your partner are passionate about, is it important to you? If so you might spend a few months scouting around for local indie bands you love, maybe even ones that play original music, but if you are more interested in a particular genre, say pop or rock, then I would advise booking a live band with good references and a playlist of popular hits.
What do you know about your guests?
Are your guests friends from college, co-workers or majority Family? It needs to be thought of as to whether your guests are more conservative or radical? Do they seem to prefer party hits or more traditional music, as this will be a big influence and something you need to consider. In this case, booking a DJ might be a more versatile choice, they are flexible and generally work with a play list supplied by you and requests made by your guests, as they are able to play a wider range of styles of music. You want to enjoy the music but you also want to entertain and keep your loved ones happy!
Whats your budget?
Its easy to forget that you have a budget but it is important when choosing wedding music to be very strict. Booking a solo performer is usually best with a smaller budget, where as a band or DJ can be more costly requiring a larger more flexible budget (and venue size). If your budget permits and the entertainment really is an important focus at your wedding, you may want to consider booking one of the contestants from a TV pop show, they could be affordable or fit the budget, memorable and a great talking point among your guests. The trick is to do your research ahead of time to get who you want and negotiate the best price and service possible.
Also, if you find a band you like but their price is a little out of your range, ask them if they can perform with a smaller group number, for example, I sing Motown as a solo with backing tracks, but also as a girl duo or trio, all the way up to a 10-piece band. That way I can keep my act accessible and affordable and still suit most budgets. You should keep in mind that many contracts ask you to provide the band with food and drink. This might be an expense you hadn’t bargained on.
How big is the venue?
Venue size is something people often overlook. I’ve been at venues where a full band has been booked to play but the reception room is tiny. If there are no alternative spaces for people to relax in you might end up blowing your Grandad’s ear drums! If space is limited but you’d still like to dance, you may want to consider booking an artist who performs with backing tracks. That way all they have to bring along is their compact PA system and iPad versus a whole raft of musical instruments, sound monitors and large speakers.
Most artists who perform solo, as I often do, are great at getting the audience involved and have enough presence to fill the stage. So don’t worry that a solo act won’t have enough charisma to entertain your guests.
And if you’d like music written just for you?
These days, very few couples want a cookie cutter wedding day so are becoming more and more creative to have a personalised and bespoke wedding, this includes the music. I believe that every love story is unique and deserves to be shared, so I started a company called Blockbuster Bride. My team and I create specially written music that tells your love story. You can also use lyrics from the bespoke song in your wedding stationery or have it as the soundtrack of your wedding movie or slideshow. This personal experience can be a great way to remember your wedding forever!
Your wedding is one of the happiest most exciting celebrations in your lifetime, so reduce your pre-wedding stress to a minimum by asking yourself these all important questions, keeping you and your guests happy.
Listen to Shola being interviewed about wedding entertainment here: http://savethedatepodcast.com/2015/03/wedding-music-get-it-right-to-make-your-night/
Shola Kaye is a London-based Jazz and Motown singer who performs internationally in a variety of line-ups. She’s sung support for Florence and the Machine and Andy Abraham (UK Eurovision contestant and X-Factor runner-up). She’s also the founder of www.blockbusterbride.com, creating custom wedding songs for brides and grooms worldwide. Find out more at www.motownsinger.com and www.sholakaye.com