Live Band For Wedding

Live Band For Wedding

One of the most common post-wedding regrets that grooms have is…

…they didn’t hire a live band for their wedding reception

live band for wedding

This is understandable, mostly because it is a natural thing to make mistakes at our first attempt at things.

I have personally played at around two thousand weddings, and in my lifetime as a Wedding Singer, I’ve seen and heard it all. Occasionally something new and different happens, like the recent aeronautical display I witnessed during pre-dinner drinks at a wedding at Jonah’s, Whale Beach. Or, the nude wedding ceremony on the secluded beach. Or, the end of night punch up that didn’t end until the police riot squad arrived.

Here’s the source of the problem with wedding planning.

The budget versus the fantasy.

Weddings are like going to restaurants. You can go to a really expensive restaurant, spend lots of money and have a lousy time. Alternatively, you can go to a real “cheapie”and have a wonderful experience. Naturally, there are a whole range of experience in between. You can spend  a lot of money and have an amazing time, just as you can have a cheap meal that’s totally awful. But, ultimately, it all comes down to the quality of the experience.

These days, when I go to a restaurant, what impresses me is the quality of ingredients. If you have a cut of meat that’s from an animal that’s been grass feed and has led a stress free life, you know you are going to be in for a treat. If this is served with organically grown vegetable that have only been picked a few hours earlier in the day, then you know you are going to experience something special. Not much more has to be done, because of the supreme quality of the ingredients.

Dessert could be custard make with fresh, free range farm eggs, organic unpasturised milk, sugar and a fresh vanilla pod. It’s not how many ingredients, it’s the quality of those ingredients.

A wedding reception is the same, and there are really only four important ingredients.

1. A great location.

This could be a hired restaurant or venue, a relative’s house, or a marquee in the backyard.

2. Superb Food.

This could range from fine dining at a restaurant, to your Aunty’s home cooking, to perfectly roasted lamb on a spit in your back garden.

3. Plenty to drink

We I was a boy, my father always used to say, “the sign that you’ve had a good party is plenty of alcohol the following morning”. This never made sense with me until I got old enough to understand this pearl of wisdom!

4. Outstanding Entertainment

Never underestimate the value  of a really good band.  They are the final layer in making your wedding reception a stand out event that you will cherish the memories from for the rest of your lives together.

Addendum

If you have the above four elements covered, you’ll be in for a totally memorable event, and I would recommend hiring a photographer to capture these memories in images that you’ll be able to look back over for many years afterwards.

 

Wedding at The Hughenden, Woollahra

On Saturday, 1st August, 2015, we played at Andrew and Helen’s wedding ceremony, followed by their reception at The Hughenden, Woollahra.

Wedding at The Hughenden, Woollahra

Helen and Andrew had seen us perform last December at their friends’ wedding in Berry. They actually based their whole wedding date around our availability, which is a wonderful endorsement.

The ceremony was in Centennial Park, and was performed by the Marriage Celebrant, Melissa Soncini. The weather was sublime for the first day of August, and Melissa led a relaxed ceremony. We played at the ceremony in our un-amplified roving acoustic format.

Here’s a photo (below) of Melissa with Blake (from the band).

For more information on Melissa Soncini, please click on this link to her website – http://www.marriagecelebrantonline.com/

Wedding in Centennial Park, Sydney

 

After the ceremony and photos in the park, guests walked the short distance to The Hughenden Boutique Hotel on Queen Street, Woollahra.

Centennial Park Wedding

 The Hughenden, Woollahra

The Hughenden is a classic “old world” styled private hotel, that oozes decadence and charm. The band band set up in a function room they have at the rear of the hotel. Dinner was from a couple of pieces of meat that were roasted over the spit, which keep the guests (who chose to spend time outdoors) salivating in anticipation.

For more on The Hughenden, please go to their website. Here’s the link – http://thehughenden.com.au/

What I loved about Helen and Andrew’s wedding reception was the format. It was a stand-up/cocktail styled event. This type of function is so simple and relaxed. There were chairs for those who wanted to sit down, but then nobody was stuck sitting between two people for hours on end, trying to make conversation. The stand-up style event is also more conducive to dancing. Many guests are already on their feet, so transitioning into dancing is easy.

And (best of all), Helen and Andrew were staying overnight in one of the hotel rooms, so at the end of the function all they had to do was shuffle up upstairs to their room.

How relaxed is that!

Same Sex Marriage and Band Hire

Same Sex Marriage and Band Hire

Last Saturday night we played at a post wedding celebration for Daniel and Damon. There wedding was in New York, U.S.A. last year. Obviously, the wedding was wasn’t in Australia, because that can’t happen here, yet.

Same sex marriage after party

Damon (one of the grooms) is from America. Daniel (the other groom) is Australian. The party was at Icebergs at Bondi Beach. It was a cocktail styled function (a particular format of which I am a big fan). Cocktail style styled functions are wonderful because guests aren’t stuck sitting between two people for half the night. They are free to mingle and move around. The ambiance is far more relaxed. Also, generally people tend to dance more at this type of function.

Icebergs, Bondi Beach

While we have never played at a same sex “wedding“, we have played at three same sex “commitment ceremonies”. These have been exactly like weddings, except that Australian Law doesn’t recognise the marriage as being legal.

I am mostly extremely proud to be Australian, but I must admit a little embarrassment that Australia is so far behind so many other countries around the world when it comes to marriage equality. Hopefully, our country’s leaders with cease stalling on this matter.

In an era where marriage has moved away from the old notion of “until death do us part”, and become more like a “legal partnership”, the current government’s procrastination on this matter is antiquated to say the least.

For your information, here is a list of countries that recognise same sex marriages;

Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Uruguay

To read more about same sex marriages, you might like to click on these links;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage

http://www.freedomtomarry.org/landscape/entry/c/international

http://www.pinkfamilies.com/same-sex-marriage-how-many-countries-allow-gay-marriage/

And finally… here’s some footage from the night!

Jacqui & Kieran – Centennial Park Dining

Jacqui and Kieran –

Centennial Park Dining, 11th July, 2015

On Saturday, 11th July, 2015 we played at Jacqui and Kieran’s wedding reception at Centennial Park Dining. *(For more information on this venue, please refer to their website – http://www.cpdining.com.au/  )

Jacqui and Kieran are a great couple with heaps of friends and family members who love to dance.

Jacqui is a high school music teacher. One of her close friends is Natalie. She is also a high school music teacher. The two of them met while studying music at University of New South Wales. At the wedding, Natalie was one of Jacqui’s bridesmaids, and as a special treat, Natalie actually sang the song for the bridal dance. The song was “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, (originally recorded by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons). Here’s a short piece of footage of Natalie singing this song with the band, while Kieran and Jacqui dance their bridal dance.

 

I managed to get an awesome collection of photographs from the evening.

This is me and the groom, Kieran.

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

 

Here I am with the bride, Jacqui

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

 

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining Keiran and Jacqui at Centennial Park Dining

 

Three Things To Have After You Hire a Band

Three Things You Should Have After You Hire A Band

Three Things You Should To Have After You Hire a Band

If you’re stumbled on this article, chances are that you’ve been trolling the internet hoping to find a band to play at any of the following types of events;

  • Wedding
  • Birthday Party
  • Ball
  • Christmas Party
  • Fundraiser
  • Presentation Night
  • Celebratory Dinner
  • Party

So, how do you approach finding the right band for your event?

The secret is working backwards…

Think ahead to the day AFTER your event. How would you hope to feel? What MEMORIES would you hope to have? What contribution would you expect the band to have made to these memories?

Three Things You Should Hope To Have

Sore feet sounds more like something to avoid, but if you wake up with sore feet after your function, chances are that you were dancing your socks off the night before. So… you want a band that will get you and your guests up dancing –  even if these are people who wouldn’t normally dance.

Compliments sounds self indulgent, but it’s actually great feedback to the success of the event. If you are swamped with your guests telling you what an amazing time they had, you know you’ve done your job well.

A Big Smile on Your Face and memories that you’ll keep forever is what it’s all about, but you don’t get these from pleasing yourself. You get this from pleasing other people, namely your guests.

Ultimately (and this may sound crazy), your party isn’t about you. It’s about your friends and family who have taken the time out of their lives to be with you and share that time to celebrate with you, whatever the event should be.

Make the experience amazing for your guests and then you are assure that you will have an amazing time.

How do I know this?

I have played at over two thousand private events. Something I often hear myself say at the end of the night is, “I wish I got invited to (as a guest) the sort of parties that I play at”. The people who hire my band know the value we create… and I love what I do!

Three Things You Should Have After You Hire A Band
Dancing

 

 

How To Pick A Band For Your Wedding

How To Pick A Band For Your Wedding

We live in an era of short attention. Phone apps such a “Vine” work on the concept that the longest we can concentrate for is six seconds. Therefore, the app limits your video footage to a mere six seconds.

In regards to the music business, television shows such as “Idol” and “The Voice” condense performances to ninety seconds. We are getting more and more accustomed to these short performances, and we sit at home and judge a singer by what they can deliver over these ninety seconds.

The irony is that as singers on television are performing for shorter periods, wedding receptions seem to be getting longer. When I first started playing at weddings back in the 1990’s, all wedding receptions went for four hours. That was the standard. Nowadays, the average length of a wedding reception is five and a half hours, although we frequently get booked to play longer than this. A four hour wedding seems rare these days. So…when looking to book a band, the question you have ask is this –

Can they go the distance?

When I get inquiries, a typical question I get asked is, “Can I come and see you play somewhere?” My response to this is is that unless you actually see us play at a wedding, you will have no idea as to what we are like when we play at a wedding.

Watching a band play one set in a pub shows you little as to what they sound like four hours into your wedding, when it’s time to motivate your wedding guests to dance.

Another consideration is, are the band going to playing throughout dinner, or are they going to be spending this time hitting the bar and drinking up your bar tab. If they are going to play through dinner, will your guests be able to comfortably hold a conversation?

What about pre-dinner drinks? What vibe can the band generate when your guests are still sober and arriving at the reception? Can they play outside without electricity?

A singer with a great voice is one thing, but the ability to read the audience and connect with guests is far more important in the context of a wedding. Other factors that you need to consider are versatility and adaptability. Typically, guests at weddings have a broad range of ages, usually from 18 to 80 year olds. Can the band connect across these different generations? Many venues have idiosyncracies that the band has to deal with. Can they adapt to whatever arises without it affecting their performance?

So, how do you pick a band?

One word answer – references

Consider that you are hiring someone for a job (which is what you are actually doing).

Have you ever applied for a job?

Were you asked to provide references?

Did your employer check the references that you provided?

Unless the employer was desperate, of course s/he checked your references.

Therefore, when hiring a band for your wedding –

CHECK THE BAND’S REFERENCES

If the band is one the venue’s preferred supplier’s list, you need to find out if (A) they have paid money to be on this list, or (B) are they on this list purely on their merits.

If the band has testimonials, can you get in contact with the person who wrote it?

Photographers see a lot of bands. They will have an excellent idea as to what bands are best going around.

And, of course… word of mouth is unbeatable.

To see my band’s testimonials, please CLICK HERE

 

 

Weddings in Review

Weddings in Review

I thought I’d seen everything at a wedding.

I’ve seen the dresses, the cars, played at virtually every venue in this city, played at weddings of kids just out of high school, played at weddings for retirees, seen the different flowers and  room decorations, had brides and grooms sing with the band, or play instruments in the band, seen people dance, seen people fall over, seen the bar completely drunk dry, played at weddings that were completely dry (i.e. no alcohol), played at receptions for two men, played at receptions for two women, seen pet dogs as part of the bridal party, celebrity singers making guest appearances, firework displays  and the list goes on.

But, one thing I saw for the very first time last week was an aerobatic display during pre-dinner drinks.

The reception was at Jonahs, at Whale Beach. This venue is perched up on the top of the hill looking down at Whale Beach below. The view is breath taking. During the pre-dinner drinks, an aeroplane appeared and started a display of flying that made me feel giddy. Roll, loops, stalls, fly overs, upside down flying, you name it!It was totally mesmerising to watch as I sang songs through my megaphone and played my trumpet and trombone. Fortunately, everything I play is memorised, so I could watch the display as I played.

It turns out that the groom is into flying aerobatics in his spare time, and his flying instructors flew across and did the display as a wedding present.