Top Tips for Great Jazz at Your Wedding Reception

Weddings are one of those most memorable days in your life so it’s important to get the details just right. Of course, to balance that you should set those details, appoint someone to follow through on your request for that day and then be able to focus on the fun with family and friends. So after the ring, the dresses, the shoes, the limos, ceremony, cake and many other items, it’s the music that will make your guest feel like dancing. Nothing beats a live band with a fabulous singer playing your favorite songs.

The swing and sophistication of jazz is what makes it so popular now-a-days. With that in mind, check out these ideas to make your party a hit:

Music Playing As Your Guests Arrive – The Style of music will absolutely set the tone for the evening’s parties. Jazz from the 1920s and 40s are often cross-generational, popular hits. Music made famous by great musicians such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, or Louis Armstrong and re-made popular today by Michael Buble, Diana Krall, and Harry Connick Jr. can make your party popular for the kids and grandma, and everyone in between. This genre, known as the “Great American Song Book,” will set the mood as your reception begins.

Plan for the Flow of the Party, plan (or How To Avoid The Low Points) – The best advice for avoiding low points is to plan ahead. Events such as toasts, bouquet and garter toss and of course the cake cutting should be listed on the timeline and the musicians’ breaks can be scheduled to coincide with all of this. Of course it’s should be a given that the band will be able to play background music during their intermission.

Don’t hire the band for too long (or short) of time. Most wedding receptions tend to last between three and four hours. Most musicians who are hired for a 4-hour gig think of it as a “half-day” rate. So whether it’s a trio or a 10 piece band with horns, you can expect to pay a “labor cost” on a per musician basis. For a good, live band with horns will require 5 to 8 musicians. Depending on the number of guests, size of venue, and how much dancing you anticipate for the evening, this can vary and be customized to your particular affair.

Picking the Playlist in Advance – Seasoned professional musicians can play hundreds of songs from memory, but a four hour event will usually mean about 50 songs. It’s a good idea to give the band a list of songs you like in advance (roughly 25 or so will usually do it) so they can get an idea of your taste and style. A list of songs you DON’T want played can also be helpful and help the band from making an unintentional faux-pas at your special occasion. Give this list to the band 4 to 6 weeks in advance in case they need to work up a special arrangement of a tune. That’s also the time to pick the song you want for your first dance or any other special dances in the evening.

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