Some Words on Weddings (followed by a few letters from satisfied clients):
We understand that you have a lot of questions. Let’s face it— most of you
have never planned a wedding before. We are pleased to share the benefits of
our experience with you. Here are answers to some FAQs. If you have more
questions, please contact us and we’ll be happy to answer them.
Q: Why does it say in your contract that the band will play the equivalent
of three sets of 60 minutes during the four-hour reception? Doesn’t that
mean that your breaks will be 30 minutes long? That sounds like a long time
for the band to be on break.
A: A wedding reception is an action-packed four hours. Most often the
bandleader (in this case, yours truly) will be working with either the maitre
d’, the head of catering, or an event planner to make sure that things flow
smoothly. We coordinate our musical sets with the service of the meal which,
of course, is of supreme importance. In my experience, having been the
bandleader at over 150 weddings in the last ten years, there usually isn’t
time to play more than three sets of one hour at a wedding reception.
Typically, we will start with a long, quieter first set while the guests are
finding their seats and chatting. A few intrepid guests will start to dance.
(Note: We love kids, and kids love to dance to our music. They usually
help break the ice on the dance floor). Then comes the bride and groom’s
first dance, followed by one or two more songs with more dancing, then
toasts. Before long the maitre d’ will be tugging on my arm saying something
to the effect of “Ask the guests to find their seats so we can take their
orders for the main course,” or “Take a break and announce that salads are
being served,” or “We need you to clear the dance floor and announce that
the buffet stations are open.” Around the time the main course is served (or
after the guests have gone through the buffet lines) the band will be given
their meal. We ALWAYS have a CD player running through our PA system,
playing background music while we are on break. We usually have no more than
10 or 15 minutes to eat before the maitre d’ will be back telling us that the
guests are ready to dance. Before we can play 30 minutes of our more
energetic dance set (I’d be willing to bet) there he or she will be again,
slicing at the air, signalling that it’s time to cut the cake. By this time,
it is usually about 2.5 hours into the 4-hour reception, and we really
haven’t played for that long. From here on out, the only remaining pause is
for the tossing of the bouquet and/or garter. The last hour of a wedding is
when everybody dances. Perhaps the guests have had a few drinks by then, the
early risers have gone home, and everyone is ready to party. We are ready to
The point of all this is to say that we enjoy playing music. We get paid for
our time, not for the amount we play. If we are there, we’d rather play
music than sit around. I just don’t like to promise more than can
realistically, from experience, be delivered at a wedding reception. Our
actual breaks will be very short, and will hardly be noticed by your guests.
There will be no “dead air” at a Full Swing wedding. We may end up playing
5 short sets, or 3 long ones, but I guarantee that we will provide as much
music as possible (and appropriate) at your wedding reception. Our goal is
to make it a party. We love to hear people say that we are the best band
they have ever heard at a wedding.
A note about continuous music. I am aware that some bands leave a member or
two on stage during their breaks, then have those members take breaks when
the band returns. I do not believe in diluting my band like that. Never
done it, never will. Never needed to.
A note about scheduling. I believe that your wedding should reflect your
personality. Stick with only those traditional elements that are meaningful
to you. Tailor your affair to suit you. Having said that, I must add that
it is useless to drive yourself crazy creating a down-to-the-minute itinerary
for your reception. Between the caterer, the venue staff and the bandleader
and photographers, you are dealing with people who have handled countless
receptions. These professionals know all the things that have to happen
during the four hours, have presumably been informed in advance of your
individual preferences, and will make sure that all the bases are covered.
In my experience, brides and grooms have plenty to think about without
worrying about what time the cake is cut, what time the first dance is, etc.
Leave that in the hands of the professionals, relax and enjoy yourselves.
The kitchen is the key. Everything is scheduled around the service of the
Q: What if the band is too loud? Do you have a huge, fancy sound system that
is going to blast us out of the room? What are your electrical needs?
A: The sound system we travel with fits in the trunk of a Honda Accord. It
is a modern, state-of-the-art system that we own and operate ourselves. Our
system does not require any special electrical considerations. Since we have
plenty of extension cords and power strips, two regular 110-volt outlets are
fine. We have used our PA at events with 30 guests, and at some with 300.
If you are expecting over 300 guests, we can arrange to rent a larger system.
We are very sensitive to the volume issue. The guests at a wedding must be
able to converse comfortably while the band is playing. In the event that
you feel we are too loud, feel free to approach any band member and say so.
We will turn down immediately, and cheerfully. HINT: I have found that it
is a good idea to seat elderly guests farther away from the band, whenever
Q: Can you provide musicians for our ceremony?
A: We have had great success with this in the past. When a couple is
undecided as to the type of music to have during the processional and
recessional, I recommend romantic jazz standards (i.e. Gershwin, Ellington,
Cole Porter) played by two musicians. We can combine guitar and sax, piano
and bass, or really anything you like. If you’re looking for classical
(unless it’s easy, like Pachelbel’s Canon in D) or religious music, you can
check with me, but in most cases I would recommend hiring outside musicians.
Hiring our musicians for the ceremony costs slightly extra— usually $100 to
$150 per musician.
It usually takes us less than 30 minutes to set up. I usually add an extra
hour onto travel time in case of traffic. My band hates this, but our
clients love it.
I will be happy to MC your event, but I will keep it to a minimum…
mostly announcing bouquet toss and such. I only say what needs to be said, which is
really very little. I’m sure you feel as I do that the world has seen enough
of the overzealous, obtrusive wedding MC.
We will learn your first dance selection if it’s not on our song list, and if
I feel it is within the scope of the styles of music at which we excel.
Above all, have fun. I don’t want you to have to worry about the music part
of your wedding. That’s my job. I know it seems complicated, but we’ve had
tons of experience. Leave it in our hands and ENJOY your wedding day. And
by all means, please call the people on our reference list and hear what they
have to say. That’s the best way to set your mind at ease.
Think you can’t afford us at your wedding? Think again. Here’s a special wedding tip that can save you thousands of dollars:
Instead of floral centerpieces, make fruit baskets. They are colorful, easy, original and inexpensive. And your guests can take the fruit home at the end of the wedding as a treat for the road. These are the baskets my wife and her bridesmaids made for their wedding in July of 2001.