In booking our venue, I knew there was one detail that was really what made me decide that it was THE ONE: The Dance Hall. It was built in 1928 and made completely of wood. There was a soda bar that was original to the building that could be used as our bar at the wedding. An attached general store filled with antiques. A covered porch in the front. The only word I could use to describe it other than AH-MAZING was PERFECT. There was, however, one important detail that definitely set my wedding planning in a direction I may not have previously gone: a stage. Looking at the stage, I knew one thing for certain—our wedding here would only work with a band. And not just any band, a COUNTRY band. OK, I know what you’re thinking—not everyone appreciates country music. (I will admit, you either love it or you don’t—there’s not a whole lot of in between.) But thankfully, the majority of our friends and family DO enjoy country. And even the few that fall into that other bracket are willing to admit that live country music can be fun. Once Mr. B agreed, the planning began.
The Stage in Bailey’s Dance Hall—try to look past the storage.
I came to the conclusion that there are caterers aplenty in Southern California, but GOOD country cover bands are not so easy to come by. So we agreed that would be one of our priorities in the planning process. Not really knowing where to start, I started feverishly researching where to book bands on the internet. (Seriously, I wonder how people did anything, let alone plan a wedding, before it existed.) I came across Gigmasters.com through one of my Google searches, and luckily it was the first and last booking website I would need. (Seriously, if you’re looking for a band, this website is AWESOME and super easy to navigate, get quotes, and book through.) After perusing the various bands in the region, I settled on three to get quotes from. Only one of them was from San Diego, and coincidentally they were my favorite. But Mr. B is one to appreciate many choices, so we began our quest to narrow down the options and find THE band for our wedding.
Once I had it narrowed down to three potential candidates (even though, in my head, I’d already decided), I approached Mr. B with all the details. One band, despite having good audio clips, played more Johnny Cash type, old school country music. Now, don’t get me wrong, we enjoy Johnny Cash and that era of music; HOWEVER, we knew sticking with ONLY that type of country was not the vibe we were going for when it comes to the wedding. So three became two, and we began to assess their differences.
The main difference ended up being the vocals. The band from Orange County had two female vocalists, a quality that the Local San Diego band did not have. Knowing the first show wasn’t for a couple weeks, I spent many days pondering this question: Was a female vocalist something that was important to me? And the answer, my friends, was no, it is not. I approached Mr. B with opinions. Basically what it boiled down to was this: When I picture the country songs that our friends would get up and dance to, I think more Toby Keith, Blake Shelton, and Garth Brooks, NOT Sara Evans and the Dixie Chicks. Yes, there are some great songs by female country artists, but what it came down to is there aren’t enough of them. And after watching the other band’s videos, it was clear that MOST of the songs they sang were by female vocalists. Which doesn’t really fit with the vision I have in my head of all our friends singing along (loudly) to the chorus of Garth Brook’s “Friends in Low Places” (which, I know, is probably not the MOST appropriate wedding song). Either way, I knew an entire set of female lead vocals was not what I wanted from a country band…at our wedding, at least.
Finally, the time came for the first show by the local band, who were the front-runners when it came to our choice (well, in my head we’d already picked them and paid the deposit, but I usually make decisions quicker than FI does). Now it came down to what our friends thought. So we headed to the first show. A couple of my BMs came along with one of Mr. B’s GM. The show was fun! Even Mr. B’s GM who’s not exactly a HUGE country fan enjoyed himself. (I even caught him singing along!) At that point, Mr. B was just as sold on the idea as I was! And a few short emails and a booking fee later, and they were booked! It was quick and simple, and thankfully not as difficult as expected (or so we thought…more to come in future posts).
Was there one task that you were most concerned with getting out of the way early? Did it turn out the way you expected?