Tips For Planning Wedding Music

Have you ever wonder how to organize your night with the band?  Please feel free to call us at any point as we love this stuff and we are more than happy to chat! The following questions are answered:  

1.       How long should I have the band play for?  

2.       What happens during the breaks between band sets?  

3.       How do I choose what music will be played by the band over the course of the night?  

4.       What is the best way to spread the music out throughout the night?  

5.       What further steps are involved in the band booking and organization?  

6.       Should I have the band play my special requests, or is an iPod better?  

8.       How much does this all cost me?  

  

How long should I have the band play for?  

Usually, we quote for a 3-5 hour event as this is the industry standard length but it can be lengthened with little cost. Naturally, the band cannot physically play continuously for this entire 5 hour period, and so you'll need to schedule the band to play at the most effective times. We often recommend 3-4 x 45min sets, but we will tailor a quote specifically for your event. With speeches and other formalities, you'll find that this is usually the perfect amount of time to have the band playing. See further below for our recommendations on how to get the most out of these sets. Also note that we are always very flexible to your needs, and anything can be customized to your plan and this is all just a recommendation. Talk to us about your ideas and dreams! We'll do our best to accommodate (within reason!!)  

What happens during the breaks between band sets?  

As a free service to you, we always bring basic DJ equipment so that the room is still buzzing when the band is not playing. If you like, you can bring your own iPod for these breaks, or just leave it up to us. If you prefer we always carry a selection of appropriate background and dance floor music. By the time you get to the main course, you'll find that the room is too noisy for a background band anyway, so we recommend quiet iPod background music during this time. If you are looking for specific songs to be played at these times, we strongly recommend bringing an iPod, which we will happily manage for you, free of charge. Alternatively, just leave it up to us.  

How do I choose what music will be played by the band over the course of the night?  

This can be tricky! You must find a balance between 2 things:  

         Good lead singers pride themselves on knowing what songs to play and when. They have years of hands-on experience, and they will adapt their set every minute to make the best of the night. Sometimes this will include giving your guests a break from the high-energy stuff, and giving the couples or your older guests a chance to join them on the dance floor. And sometimes, the moment will be right just to rock it hard! It is an art that lead singers devote a lot of thought to. On the other hand, it is YOUR party!! We'd hate to find ourselves playing a song that you have a pet hate for, or playing music that is inappropriate for the atmosphere you are aiming to create.  

So, here is what we recommend, a compromise. Give the lead singer plenty of room to decide what is right for that moment. But give us a good indication of the kind of music that you love and hate. A great way to do this is to look at our songlist on the website (LINK HERE). Tell us 5 songs that you love, and 5 that you hate. This will enable the lead singer to customize the night for your personal tastes. Alternatively, just tell us a few sentences about your musical tastes, for example:  

        I love Swing, 50s/60s Rock n Roll and funk. I don't like Celine Dion and Mariah Carey. I love the 80s classics. I  love Jamiroquai. I don't mind a little bit of classic Rock, for the boys, but not until the last hour of the night, when people have loosened up a bit! I love anything by Frank Sinatra, but nothing too slow. Whatever you do, do not play anything by Bruce Springsteen - my friends will get too rowdy.  

We'll try our best to accommodate specific song requests wherever possible, but a more general description like this is usually the best way to help us tailor the music for your night.  

What is the best way to spread the music throughout the night?  

Often the best way to spread out the music is to divide the band time into 3 or 4 sets. We will make a recommendation and quote depending on your event requirements.  

         The first set would be early in the evening, often just as your guests are walking into the main dining room (6-7pm usually?). This would be very relaxed music, maybe some tasteful jazz, or even some acoustic Jack Johnson/Ben Harper type stuff, depending on your tastes. At this stage the band will really restrain the noise, people will be talking, eating entrees, and mingling, but it is probably too early for them to dance. Part of this set might include your entrance music, where you are introduced into the room by the MC.  
         After about 30-45mins, the room will be warmed up, and it will be too noisy for the band. At this stage the band would usually take a break, and we'll put on some iPod background music, just to keep the mood right. You'll serve your guests the Main Course, and often have speeches. This would usually be the only long break for the band about 45-75mins. During this time, the band would often eat dinner and get warmed up for the main dance sets.  
         After main course/speeches, it'll be time for the band to do their main job filling the dance floor!! This would hopefully be 2-3 x 45min sets, with 10-15min breaks between to get a glass of water. The breaks are especially important if you have brass players, where they physically must make sure that they don't play hard for too long of a stretch!!  
         During the breaks, the band will organize background music. Usually it is a good idea to have relaxed music during the breaks, to give people a rest, and a drink, but if you prefer you can provide us with your own mix of electronic/hip-hop/house music instead, and get a bit more of a night club vibe happening! From experience we would recommend against this though ;-)  

What steps are involved in the band booking / organization process?  

Here are the usual steps involved in booking a band for a private event:  

1.       Decide on a band.  

Decide on the band you want and remember, professional bands will always have demo CDs, videos, and showcases. Never book a band that does not as it is a risky thing!!  

2.       Quote  

Give as much detail about your event as you can so that we can give you an accurate quote. Maybe your plans are still in an early stage still, but that's OK just do your best. We pride ourselves on NEVER throwing in hidden extras, and we regard our quote as a promise to not change the price. Our prices include tax, insurance, all sound equipment, band lighting, etc. Of course, if there are very large changes to your plan after your quote, it may involve an extra cost to you. We will do our best to not change the price, unless really necessary. Examples of an important change would be:  

         Changing the venue from the center of town to more than 1 hour out of town.  

         Extending the time of the event eg. changing an 11pm finish to a 12pm finish.  

         Changing the band set up time significantly earlier.  

         Changing a daytime wedding to a night-time wedding.  

         Deciding that you'd like us to play music for your ceremony. This is no problem at all just give us a bit of notice also it will probably involve an extra cost.  

It is always OK to change things, but remember to give us at least a few weeks notice, and talk it through with us as we may have some great ideas to help.  

3.       Deposit  

Once you are happy with the quote, you can make a 50% payment to reserve that night for you, and initiate the pre-event band logistics. This can be done via bank transfer, direct deposit, or credit card (3% fee applies). We will send you bank details. Remember to include a clear reference, so that we know the payment has come from you, with the following bits of information:  

Your surname.  
 ALSO the date of your event.  
Your "reference code" - this will have been sent with your quote and might look something like: "BBBRM225C".  
Importantly, always send a short email to us after you've made a payment.  

4.       Details & Schedule  

Now that you have made your payment, we are all yours! We pride ourselves on our service, and we are available to chat during business hours, whenever you have an idea or concern. From this stage well start gathering some more details about your event, and this is often done via our internet form. This is a really simple webpage that we will send you a link to it will guide you through all of the information that we need to run the night smoothly, and so that we can liaise with your event manager/caterer etc. You can alter your event details via our website whenever you like, but like to have all your plans finalized by no later than 3 weeks before the date. If you have to make significant changes to the schedule less than 3 days before your date, make sure that you call us to talk it over.  

5.       Music Selection  

Try to have your song selection ideas finalized by 3 weeks beforehand. See the earlier section of this page for more information about how to select the music. Remember that a band is different to a DJ in that it takes a lot of time and effort to add good, new songs to our list, and no band can play every song ever written. We do however, have years of experience in packing out dancefloors, in a really broad range of gigs and audiences, so to some degree you'll have to trust our judgement - it is what we are best at!!  

6.       Confirmation of all details  

We will give you a call, usually 2 weeks before the date to confirm all of the details with you, and ensure that all schedules/musicians/finances are in order etc. If you have already locked in all of your details solidly before this date, feel free to call us to do this step earlier. We love it when people are really organized and get this stuff done earlier!  

7.       On the day  

The band will usually arrive at your venue 2 hours before the start time you give us. This will depend on the size of band you require for the night - very large bands may require 3-6 hours, especially if an industrial lighting rig or stadium sound is required. Please check to make sure that your venue is OK with the band arriving before your event starts.  

8.       On the night  

During the event, the band will continuously liaise with your function coordinator to ensure that the night runs smoothly. The schedule will usually stray somewhat over the night, and your function manager will keep us up to date. We do our best to help it run tight, but in general, the band takes orders from the function manager, and we rely on their judgement when they tell us to start or stop playing. When they tell us to do something, we usually assume that it is OK with you too. Wedding function managers are usually extremely good at their jobs, and we do not argue with them!  

9.       Payment  

Payment must STRICTLY be finalized no later than 7 days before the event, usually via bank transfer/direct deposit. The band will NOT be able to accept checks on the night, and besides, you'll be far too busy being social-butterflies on the night to talk to us :-) You must take care to ensure that payment is finalized at least a week beforehand, to allow it to go through. We wont take it personally if you don't have time to hang out with us on the night :-(  

Should I have the band play the music for my special requests, or is an iPod better?  

Most people prefer to have an iPod, since this is the exact version of their special song. However, we are happy to play the song for you. If you prefer, talk to us about how to select a good song for this part of the evening. It is important to get it right. It will probably be the song that kicks off the dance floor, and your bridal party and parents may also join you after a minute or two, so it'll need to be appropriate. If you have a choreographed dance, then we HIGHLY recommend using an iPod, since this way you can be assured of the speed and form it will be exactly the same as you have rehearsed. If you provide us with a recording, it must be on iPod/MP3 player - CDs are notoriously unreliable, and they can't be trusted for a first dance! If you supply your iPod/iPhone, remember to double check that it plays perfectly - listen the WHOLE way through the song before bringing leaving home! You should also write the track order on a separate sheet of paper. If possible, give the iPod to a trusted family member earlier in the day.  

How much will this all cost me?  

We bend over backwards to provide the absolute best service and musicianship at a sensible price. We also regard our quote as our promise to NOT throw in any hidden extras, as we view this as a very dishonest business practice. So, here it is, all laid out for you!  

1.       General Quote  

We will send you a formal individual quote if/when you decide to lock a date down. You can upgrade your band at any time, if you'd like to pull all the stops out at a later stage. The quote is usually for a minimum 4-5 hours period, and the band cannot play continuously without a break over this time. This price includes EVERYTHING you need to get the night up and running.  

2.       Tax  

Yes - all our quotes already have tax already included. If you are a non-profit/charity organization, please come and talk to us - we play a lot of gigs for good causes, and there are many ways to keep the costs down.  

3.       Sound System  

Yes - we bring our own top-grade sound system to every gig - this is supplied and operated free-of-charge, and it is suitable for small/medium-sized gigs. HOWEVER, for larger gigs/festivals etc. (i.e. more than 200-300 people up to 10,000 people, we recommend hiring a full sound rig. We are very experienced at organizing "Industrial Sound and Lighting" companies and we can do it for you - in fact we PREFER to do it for you - it is logistically easier. However these companies usually charge thousands depending on how elaborate a sound & lighting rig you'd like. In 99% of cases our sound rig is big enough to handle any situation.  

4.       Band Meals  

The band will need a basic meal at the venue. The musicians usually drive and set up for most of the afternoon, and it is unlikely that there will be time to grab a meal elsewhere. Almost every venue will expect to serve the band a meal, and some will actually insist on it - often they must serve every guest food because of various licensing requirements. They will probably also have a special staff rate for a meal. Some venues will charge you for this, while some will not - beware!! If possible, its nice to have the band at a table in the main room, but this is optional. It means that we can keep an eye on the proceedings, and also that we don't get lonely by ourselves in some dingey room behind the kitchen :-)  

5.       Extra Playing Time If Required  

It might get to the end of the scheduled time, but you can feel that the night is still going strong!! In this situation, you might want the band to keep playing, and this is sometimes a tricky moment for the band leader. In general, the band will be more than happy to keep playing - we love nothing more than a great party! HOWEVER, there are a few things to bear in mind. Firstly, you must clear it with the venue - some places will charge you an insane premium to keep going. Admit it or not, you may have had a few glasses of champagne, and so it may feel like a good idea at the time... We need to get "in-person" clearance from the venue manager to keep on playing. The musicians' pay rate is charged for each extra hour after the standard 5 hours, and they may need a 15 minute break before they start the extra set. This fee includes all band equipment, tax etc. Its usually preferable to pay them the extra in cash on the night, but it can be done via EFT afterwards. Bear in mind that there is a VERY small chance that all of the band may not be able to play longer. It is basically up to the lead singer to make the call, but he'll genuinely do everything in his power to make sure that your night is perfect. 

Contact us:  booking@mixtapeatl.com

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