Wedding Bands—The Music Kind

Since I always need some clarification on wedding bands the rings vs. wedding bands the musicians.

Were you ever just certain 100% about something when you got started with wedding planning? Like you knew you were going to do a first look or have your bridesmaids all in mismatched dresses?

Well, the Pyramids were no room for discussion, it’s definitely happening, dead-set on having a DJ.

When you’re staring down the big, long list of everything to pay for at the start of wedding planning, you have to establish some priorities. Venues and photography—definitely at the top of the list. What can be cut? Favors and live entertainment, in my book. In fact, I was even considering giving Sphinx the task of creating an iPod playlist of our favorite songs, since he’s got a couple hard drives full of music.

wedding dance

Plus, DJs usually come with cool light systems! / Photo from DJ Tyler T

And honestly, I just wouldn’t say that we’re “band” type people—we like them, sure, but not enough to have them be the center focus of our wedding day. (Uh, hey, that’s supposed to be us, right?) Plus, with a DJ you can have literally any song ever, and it’s no problem. I wouldn’t say that we have super special or unique taste in music, but there are just some random songs that I want to incorporate that most bands might not normally cover. “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats and “Africa” by Toto are some of my groom’s favorite jamz. And I kind of just like hearing the song in its natural state—recorded by the artist with or without gratuitous amounts of auto-tuning.

So that’s why we were 100% going to get a DJ or Ipod for our wedding reception!

Enter: everyone else’s opinions. (Are you sensing a theme here?)

Let’s just cut to the chase and say that a lot of people thought that OMG-a-band! was the better way to go because it’d be more fun and totally not lame like a DJ. I completely disagreed, I tried hard to fight my case (there were tears), but when dollar signs came out, I decided to just let it go. My Nanny offered to pay for our band, and I relented, with the condition that we get to pick out the exact one that we wanted.

So that’s how the Pyramids ended up with a reception band. Surprise!

I tried to make the best of the situation, so Sphinx and I spent a hilariously cheesy night visiting the website of every single band that Nanny had contacted and found available for our date. We scanned through the song lists, looked up reviews, and listened to their sample music. Some were awesome, some were good even though the audio quality was rough, and some were just bad. And can anybody explain to me why every band feels that “Brick House” is the best song to showcase their talents?

She’s a brick house. Awk. / Photo via Costume’s Luck

There were a few we were interested in hearing a bit more from, so we inquired as to whether they would be playing anywhere publicly soon. A couple were playing at weddings that weekend and told us when and where to come by. That’s right, we did the most awkward thing possible—we crashed three weddings in one day.

We made sure to show up well after the reception had started so that we weren’t in the head count, and at another we were able to tell someone who worked there what we were doing. (OK, so I freaked and started explaining myself at length to what I thought was someone who would charge the hosts for us walking in the door—turns out it was the coat check girl who DGAF.) It ended up not being too bad, we found ways to stay out of sight, but at one reception we kept getting offered cake as the servers were passing it around to mingling guests and I kept having to say no—highly unusual for me!

One reception had a brass band that was really good, but we decided that wasn’t our style. They could do a lot more songs than we thought, but all of them sounded sort of similar. Turns out, we didn’t end up picking any of the bands from our wedding crashing experience.

Right around this time, the New Orleans Fairgrounds Race Track was putting on their Friday night event series called Starlight Racing. They feature VIP tents, cocktails, go-go dancing jockey girls, a live band, and of course some horse races. One Friday night, the featured band was Groovy 7, who I had heard great things about but hadn’t been able to see in person.

Groovy 7 band photo / From the Groovy 7 Website

Well, in person they were great (even though the Fairgrounds doesn’t offer the best setup for acoustics); they played mostly newer Top 40s music, but that is typical for the event we were at. I actually ran into a classmate from college and his new wife there, and they raved about Groovy 7’s performance at their wedding reception a few months before. Groovy 7 did have one of the most impressive song lists, and they covered everything from oldies and New Orleans favorites to rap and pop. I loved that they have male and female vocalists, too. We’ve seen them a few times since, and it’s always very high energy and really fun!

I figured if we were going to go with a band, we should go for the best, and these guys seemed like the best!

A snippet of our band performing “Moves Like Jagger” from YouTube.

And this year, they’re opening for Carrie Underwood at one of the biggest Mardi Gras balls—the Endymion Extravaganza! That’s a really big deal!

So in the end, did I get what I wanted? No, I’m still not convinced that it’s our thing, but it is the best choice for our guests. And isn’t that really what the reception is for—showing your guests how thankful you are that they are there and throwing them a great party? And I’m certainly hoping that I feel like sticking my foot in my mouth after the wedding because the band was amazing—I definitely wouldn’t mind being wrong about (only) this!

And now to figure out how to ask this band if they’ll learn to play some Toto…

What’s you’re stance on band vs. DJ? Was there anything in wedding planning that you just let go of or did you stand your ground?


Mrs. Pyramid

New Orleans, LA
Wedding Date:
May 2014
Highway to Happiness: Rehearsal with a Chance of Rain
Love Is in the Air: The Days Leading up to the Day
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  1. mscamera Member
    mscamera 300 posts, Helper bee @ 10:54 am

    this is so awesome Miss P! So hilar that you crashed weddings – was Chazz Reinhold with you? I wish we could have had a band, and the Groovy 7 seems pretty groovy 😉 I bet they’re even groovy enough to play Toto.

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    BeeHelenistic, Guest @ 10:54 am

    I’ve seen them play at Rock n’ Bowl and they are pretty good, it’s all a question of can they play what you want. It’s your wedding not an audition for them, right? Also, if you could get them to play ToTo – Africa that would be pretty damn epic.

  3. milkcow Member
    Mrs. Milk Cow 215 posts, Helper bee @ 10:58 am

    I think having male and female vocalists is huge when it comes to have songs sound a little more like their original format, so hopefully that’ll help you out a little! I am finding more and more that I’m happy to let other people’s opinions win (even if I put my own spin on their idea) just to make them happy at the wedding – if it isn’t something I feel super strongly about, it is so much easier to stop arguing and just go with it!

  4. Member
    LAB 238 posts, Helper bee @ 11:04 am

    I think you will be so happy with your band!

    I’m in the opposite circumstance. One of my “non-negotiables” was that I HAD TO HAVE A BAND!!! But, everyone around me thinks it is crazy to spend money on a band, when we could just have a DJ.
    So far, I’ve managed to keep my band in the budget, but if we opt for a pricier venue, I might end up with a DJ…womp, womp.

  5. Member
    bribaby119 203 posts, Helper bee @ 11:47 am

    One of my best friends is a DJ so there was no doubt in our mind that we would be having one. It was non-negotiable. Thankfully nobody else felt strongly against it so we didn’t have anything to worry about.

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    ShannonC, Guest @ 12:23 pm

    It’s unusual that as a Nola bride you don’t want live music. I am having a reception band as well as a brass band for my second line from the church to the reception. I think most of your guests will appreciate the band anyway. In Nola it’s more or less expected. To me live entertainment is a big priority.

  7. roadtrip Member
    roadtrip 803 posts, Busy bee @ 12:25 pm

    Chances are your band will take a break or two during the night: why not have Sphinx put together some playlists for those times with the songs not already on the band’s list? That way you have non-stop music and you get the specific songs you want, the way you want them, and Nanny gets her band!

  8. parisian Member
    Miss Parisian 588 posts, Busy bee @ 12:42 pm

    I definitely think they’ll be able to play Toto! Also, boo for having to succomb to other people’s opinions, but I’m glad you’re feeling better about it. It should be awesome!

  9. pyramid Member
    Mrs. Pyramid 104 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:02 pm

    @Mrs. Camera: It was the most awkward thing EVER. And at one of the receptions, right as we walked in the band took a break for the cake cutting and other stuff so we were literally just trying to stay to the side and not get noticed.

    @BeeHelenistic: Oh they’re awesome! I’ve seen them play at R&B too!

    @Miss Milk Cow: I felt strongly about it, but I figured if that many people disagreed with me, so would my guests, so I just gave in.

    @LAB: I hope it works out and you can get your band! I am really excited for ours, and I know it’ll be a kickass party!

    @Bribaby119: That’s pretty cool, and you’re familiar with his work I assume. I know a lot of people are worried about the “sketchy DJ” possibility!

    @ShannonC: For us it wasn’t really a priority, just because of our personal tastes, but once we thought about the guests and the venue, we I know it will be the thing to make for a better party and more people dancing. I should have mentioned I’ve never actually been to a wedding WITH a band, so I had a hard time seeing the need for one, you know?

    @Mrs. Road Trip: That’s the plan exactly! We’ll sub in any must have songs during the band breaks!

    @Miss Parisian: I just wanted people to listen to my thoughts on it (and Sphinx was right on board with me), so that made me much more stubborn about it! It’ll be awesome though, I’ve heard SUCH great things about this band!

  10. msgoosebee Member
    Mrs. Goose 130 posts, Blushing bee @ 3:02 pm

    Gander wanted a band in the beginning, and was COMPLETELY against a DJ (mainly from only seeing cheesy Bar Mitzvah DJs) but he’s learned some DJs can be good. Your band looks awesome, though!

  11. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 6:52 pm

    omg that costume. I kind of love it.
    Your band sounds amazing, even if it wasn’t what you first expected or wanted!

  12. msllama Member
    Mrs. Llama 22 posts, Newbee @ 7:20 am

    Completely agree with @Mrs. Road Trip: Make a short list of the songs you absolutely want played in their original format during the band’s break. Bam! Best of both worlds!

  13. mswaterfall Member
    Mrs. Waterfall 1403 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:06 am

    “turns out it was the coat check girl who DGAF.” OMG DYING. Hahaha, that’s kind of awesome. We really didn’t even consider a band, and we loved our DJ, but this band sounds pretty epic.

  14. mspalmtree Member
    Mrs. Palm Tree 1122 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:57 pm

    Gah, I’m sorry that you had to let go of your ‘dream’, so to speak, on this one. I totally understand the frustration and hitting the point where you realize it just isn’t worth the battle any more. I have no doubt that this band will be great, even if it’s not what you had originally envisioned.

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