|Ken Arlen Evolution Orchestra Performing. Photo Credit: Kingensmith|
As a wedding professional with more than 20 years of experience, the first question I like to ask a bride and groom is “If we were sitting here a few weeks after your wedding celebration, what would you like to have seen happen?” The answers I get from my brides and grooms are very similar…. “We want all of our guests to have a great time and create an event that is memorable for all!”
Well, I am here to tell you that out of all the aspects of your wedding celebration, the music will have the biggest impact on achieving this result and ensure your vision is accomplished for your special day!
Here are a few ideas on how to find the best wedding music and incorporate some of the newest trends of 2015/16 for wedding entertainment:
MUSIC SETS THE TONE
Music serves two purposes at a wedding: For the wedding ceremony the music is profound, deep and spiritual. But for the wedding reception, music should pack the dance floor and let the spirits soar. To find out who is consistently delivering the best performances in your area read reviews and testimonials online, talk to your friends that have attended or had recent weddings, and ask other wedding professionals like venue catering managers and event photographers. These wedding professionals will always have the inside, unbiased scoop!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Make sure your musicians come from a solid organization with a great reputation for client service. You want your band to have established chemistry from performing together every weekend, not a group of pick-up musicians randomly assembled before your big day.
Recognize that band leading at a wedding is an art form. It involves the ability to read the audience and make creative decisions with the energy on your dance floor while coordinating with all of the other elements and timing of your wedding. Experience performing at weddings is crucial. I can tell you a thousand stories about how disaster is averted by experienced band leading and good pre-planning.
Make sure your band leader has a well-designed process for helping you plan your wedding music and determine how your event flows. You want your planning process to be fun and easy and you especially want to know that your special requests will be accommodated.
WHATS HOT FOR 2015/16
For wedding ceremonies there is a strong trend to incorporate classical-sounding instrumental arrangements of very contemporary music. For example, if a bride wants to walk down the aisle to a string quartet arrangement of Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” we can do it. You can also combine traditional classical music with contemporary music during the same processional for a unique and highly personalized ceremony experience.
Another developing trend is specialty entertainment for the dinner (entrée) portion of the evening. During the entrée course many clients want to keep a high-energy feeling going so they do not experience a drop in the excitement level when the main course is served. To maintain the energy we offer a menu of 20-minute dinner shows. Our Sirens rock violins are an excellent choice for this, incorporating great visuals, choreography and performing rock hits we all know and love.
BANQUET STYLE VS. BALLROOM STYLE
The last trend I want to share with all those prospective brides and grooms is the strong movement away from the “Banquet Style” flow and towards what I call the “Ballroom Style Flow” at a wedding reception. (Some people refer to the “Ballroom Style Flow” as the “East Coast Style.”)
With the “Banquet Style,” the emphasis during the reception is on food service and the dancing does not begin until dinner is completed. With the “Ballroom Style” we integrate dancing and excitement from the moment the doors open. When the bride and groom are introduced they come directly to the dance floor for their first dance often followed by a short, high-energy dance set to establish the tone for the evening. All the other key dances (father/daughter and mother/son) are programmed between courses. We also offer an elegant 20-minute dance set to fill the lull while salads are being cleared and the main course is served.
Properly designed, this style has a fun and elegant flow that really engages guests from beginning to end. Warning: Ballroom Style requires a band leader that has experience and sensitivity to volume and correct music selection.
LEAVE IT TO THE PROS
No bride or groom should have to worry about logistics at their own event. This is YOUR big day, you should enjoy it. Hire professionals you trust. Work with your entertainment to create a timeline for your evening and coordinate all aspects of flow with your other vendors. This is probably the most important ingredient of having a successful wedding celebration. All of your vendors have to work together and become a team! No two weddings are the same and yours should be completely customized to your wishes.
My last and most important recommendation is that at the end of the night the parents of the happy couple, family members, friends and especially the bride and groom, should walk away feeling like they were all guests at the most spectacular wedding of the year!
Thanks to Ken Arlen for his excellent advice! Arlen Music Productions has five wedding bands covering a wide spectrum of size and budget that specializes in fun, high energy music designed to pack your dance floor all night. They also offer a roster of ensembles dedicated to performing elegant and unique music at your ceremony. For more info, call 847-869-8826 or visit www.arlenmusic.com.