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.
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?