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Bond With Your Guests With A Live Band

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Your wedding might be your big day, but you also want your guests to share your joy by having fun and enjoying themselves. There's no better way to celebrate such a joyous occasion than some good old-fashioned dancing and singing with an excellent live band. It's no wonder that this form of wedding entertainment is so popular among many couples, particularly those who have a great sense of fun.

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Type of Band

There are different kinds of live bands, and picking a particular genre can be confusing. But if you have something specific in mind, choosing a band shouldn't be problem. Here's a rundown on popular band options:

Jazz and Swing - This kind of band often consists of a piano player on a baby grand piano, a bass player with an upright bass, a drummer, and one or two horns, usually a saxophone or a trumpet. This may or may not include a vocalist. The 3 to 5-piece group would often play laid-back jazz, swing, some standards, and show tunes.

Big Band or Swing Orchestra - This is a popular variation of the jazz and swing band. This 12 to 20-piece group is often the band of choice for larger functions that require louder music.

Ethnic Band - Different ethnic groups have different kinds of music, so it's safe to say that there's a band for every ethnic wedding. A Jewish wedding would require a klezmer group. A mariachi group would be appropriate for a Mexican or Latin American wedding. The Italians, Irish, Scots, and many others also have their own unique bands.

General Band - This is by far the most flexible and versatile of all bands. Such a group would be able to play different styles of music ranging from Motown to rock 'n roll, country to Top 40, and ballads to the hottest new pop tunes.

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Choosing A Band

In order to choose a band, you have to consider your personal preferences as a couple, as well as your guests'. After all, you want everybody to enjoy your wedding, so you have to ensure that nobody gets left out.

Consider your guest list. If your guests are mostly middle-aged, tribute bands that can cover pop, soul, R&B, jive, Latin, and salsa will get them off their seats and into the dance floor. For more mature guests, ballads and swing tunes popular to their era will be more appropriate. For a younger audience, the latest dance and pop hits are sure to make waves. If your guest list is a mix of different ages, a show band that can cover various tunes from different eras is a safe bet.

Also consider your wedding theme. If you're having an old-fashioned wedding that follows your ethnicity's customs and traditions, the appropriate ethnic band should be your choice. If you are having a beach wedding, a reggae band is ideal. For a more formal reception, a string quartet or a jazz band can add to the sophisticated feel of the event.

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Finding A Band

Word of mouth is the best place to start to find a good live band. Ask for referrals from newly married relatives, friends, and acquaintances. They can always be counted on to give honest recommendations. You might have even seen the recommended live band in action if you attended their wedding.

Your wedding planner can also recommend a band or two. You have to consider, however, that a glowing review may be less than trustworthy because they are likely to get a commission if the band is hired. It's important to ask for references and contact 3 or 4 yourself. These references should also be fairly recent.

Your local yellow pages would have several listings for live bands. There are also many wedding websites that provide band recommendations and contact information. Once again, ask for references and speak to them yourself to get honest feedback. If the band has a website, take a look at the testimonials page. If a band has glowing reviews, you need not look any further.

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Hiring A Band

As soon as you've set a date and a wedding theme, you should already start looking for a live band. Good bands would require booking from 8 to 12 months in advance.

Before settling for a live band, you have to take a look at their repertoire or their list of songs. If there are certain songs that you want played in certain parts of your reception programme (e.g. first dance, cutting of the cake, bouquet and garter toss, etc.), you have to make sure that they can play it. It's also within your right to request for a sampling session. You might also want to make sure that they can accept requests from guests. More established bands do so because they already know what to expect, more often than not.

On average, a good live band will set you back between $1500 to $3000, depending on their specialty and their level of expertise. Bands with more members also cost more. It's important to be upfront about your budget. Though most of the established bands have fixed prices, some bands are open to negotiation, depending on your approach.

The fees should already include the band's instruments and sound equipment. This is part of their responsibility. Some bands also offer lighting packages, which you may or may not avail of. It's a plus if the band has played at the reception venue in the past. This way they already know the layout and acoustics of the place. If not, however, it's important for them to visit the venue days in advance to make sure that everything will work correctly.

Because the live band is providing you a service for hours on end, it's within your responsibility to provide food. You don't have to include them in your wedding budget. Rather, you can make arrangements with your caterer to prepare a separate, simpler meal for the band members. If you're having a buffet, you can also allow them to go through it once so as not to strain your food budget.

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Indeed, with the right live band playing the right music, you're sure to have a fun-filled wedding party. Not only will it be the happiest day of your life, it will also be a day (or night) of enjoyment for your beloved guests.

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