Why We Didn’t Hire a Wedding Planner but Wish We Had!

dissapointed bride who didn't hire a wedding planner for her Colorado weddingI came across this great article “Why We Didn’t Hire a Wedding Planner… But Wish We Had”  and wanted to share it with all our Denver wedding band brides!  It is a different way of approaching the “Should we hire a planner?” debate and I think you may find it helpful.

Narrow Gauge has performed our country and classic rock hits at hundreds of weddings!  I have seen first hand, over and over again, how important a planner can be.  However, at my son’s wedding I saw it from a different perspective:  As the Father of the Groom!

My sons fiancé chose not to hire an event planner.  As the big day got closer, I could see how utterly stressed out she and her mom were over little things.  On the day of the wedding, her mom spent the whole reception supervising all the vendors and doing the work of a planner.  She missed the party!  Talking about the wedding a few weeks after that awesome day,  she told me “I wish I had hired a planner, I just thought I could do it all and save money.”

6 months later, at my daughters Colorado wedding, we hired a day of planner and it made all the difference in the world.  Even though the band performed at the wedding reception, I was able to enjoy everything and my wife and daughter were much less stressed!  The wedding coordinator was worth every penny and more!  Now, I help plan and pull off about 30 weddings every year, so I have a lot of experience doing this stuff.  You probably don’t have that same experience, so you have to weigh how much you think you can take on.  If your budget will allow you to hire a wedding and event planner for the whole time, my counsel is to do that.

Of course, when you hire Narrow Gauge to turn your wedding into the party of a lifetime, I am going to help oversee things at your reception.  I will work with your other vendors to help keep things on track so you can focus on being a bride and groom and enjoy the party!  But there will be a lot more moving pieces than just the party.

I hope the article is a helpful resource for you!

If you need any help with anything, reach out to me via email

Jim

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3 Proven Tips to Help You Plan an Amazing Wedding Reception

Narrow Gauge Colorado Wedding and Party band

“That was the most amazing wedding reception I have ever been to!”

Our clients hear that.  A lot!

I have emceed and performed at over 300 Colorado weddings and I have learned a LOT about what it takes to have an amazing wedding party.  Narrow Gauge has been honored to be a part of so many unforgettable celebrations.  Recently, at a Denver wedding the entire dance floor of 200+ people danced and sang along to every single word of “Sweet Child O Mine”.  The friends of the bride and groom lifted them over their heads and crowd surfed them over the whole dance floor.  It was an amazing sight and an incredible party. Afterwords, this is what the bride said in a Wedding Wire review:

“The music was AMAZING. Every dang song was completely dance worthy. and the dance floor was packed with people every minute of the evening, even when the band took their breaks and played DJ music. If I did it over again, they’d be the first step in my planning process, and I’d hire them repeatedly any chance I got. Dozens of people told me our wedding was the best wedding they’d ever been too, and I’m quite certain it’s because we had Narrow Gauge!”

This bride and groom implemented the three tips I am about to share with you.   But I have also seen some weddings that failed to reach that “wedding party of the year” status that so many wedding couples hope to achieve.  Every single one of those weddings failed to do the things that dramatically increase the odds for a fantastic wedding party.

Chances are good that you are looking for some advice for your own wedding. That is why you are here. You have come to the right place!  I am going to share these three key tips I have learned over the years that are absolutely critical to having an amazing, unforgettable wedding reception.  So if you  want to have the most amazing party at your wedding, continue reading.

Let me list my top three tips here:

Serve Alcohol.

Have amazing entertainment.

Have the party at night.

Everything else is secondary.

If you get these three things right, chances are much higher that you will have a great party.  The food you serve is important, but not more important that these three things.  The decorations are important, but not as important.  Why is that?

Tip #1: Serve Alcohol:   First of all, if you don’t serve alcohol, people won’t dance.   If people don’t get into the dancing part of the night, they leave early.  If they leave early, the party is over.  Very few people leave great parties early!  I have seen this over and over and over again.  So it you want to have a memorable party, it is important to make sure alcohol is available. Open bars work best, but as long as there is a bar of some kind, you will be fine.  This is such a key component to an amazing wedding party that Narrow Gauge won’t perform at weddings if alcohol is not served.

Tip #2:  Hire Amazing Entertainment:  Now you need to add good entertainment to get them out on the dance floor.  It could be a great DJ or a proven wedding band like Narrow Gauge, as long as it is one of those, people will have a great time.  As a rule, proven entertainment will be more expensive than mediocre entertainment. The adage “You get what you pay for” really does seem to apply here. A good rule to follow is that you should be willing to spend 10% of your wedding budget on entertainment. Sure, you can spend less than that on a Craiglist DJ or a bar band.  Chances are that they won’t have the experience needed to read a crowd and make the party.  You won’t be able to fire them in the middle of the reception and bring in a better entertainer.  You don’t get a second chance here.

What I am trying to say is that if you want your guests to have an incredibly fun, unforgettable experience at your wedding, AND you don’t have an unlimited budget, make sure you budget for the things that really matter. Spend a little less in the other areas so you can get the alcohol / entertainment component right. If you get these two right, the chances for a unforgettable party sky rocket!  But there is a third tip…

Tip #3:  Have the Reception at Night!  For some reason, people don’t get wild and crazy at daytime wedding receptions.  You can have a great band, serve the best free alcohol and the vast majority of your guests  still won’t cut loose like they will at an evening reception.  This seems to be one of those  unchangeable rules, at least in our experience.  Because of that, Narrow Gauge no longer performs at daytime wedding receptions. We do perform at corporate events and concerts /festivals that are held in the daytime, but that is about it.

So there you have it, our top three tips for having an amazing wedding reception:  Have the reception at night, serve alcohol and have great entertainment.  If you do these three things, the odds of your wedding reception being the party of the year will dramatically improve.

jimbo

Jim is the lead guitar player and manager of Narrow Gauge, the Denver Colorado based country and classic rock wedding band.  He is also the owner of Narrow Gauge Sound, a sound system and lighting rental company that focuses on weddings. He has helped plan and emcee over 300 weddings in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, South Dakota and Texas.

 

Get Jim’s Proven Wedding Reception Planner download free.  Get the Planner!

If you are looking for an award winning Denver wedding band to perform at your wedding reception, find out more about Narrow Gauge at NarrowGaugeCountry.com.

This Denver Wedding Band will Ignite Your Party!

Denver Wedding BandsAre you ready for the party of a lifetime?

Your wedding is a unique, once in a lifetime event!  There are no chances to do it over again so if you do want to have the party of a lifetime at your wedding, you must hire a proven band that knows how to ignite the party and pack the dance floor. Being one of the top award winning Denver wedding bands, Narrow Gauge is a proven band that has been fortunate to provide the party for hundreds of couples.  We would be honored to help you celebrate the biggest day of your life.

We are a Denver Country and Classic Rock Wedding Band

Narrow Gauge is Colorado’s top award winning country & classic rock band.  We specialize in transforming ordinary events into parties of a lifetime.  We do that by performing a popular mix of country and rock dance hits from artists like:    Chris Stapleton, Brooks & Dunn, Lynryd Skynrd, AC/DC, Darius Rucker, Guns N Roses, The Eagles, Jason Aldean, Dwight Yoakam, Led Zeppelin, the Zac Brown Band, Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, Blake Sheldon, Brad Paisley, George Strait and countless others!

We are a proven Colorado wedding band
We have been performing as a Denver wedding band and corporate party band for 15+ years.  We have performed on national television, at Invesco Field, and for President George W. Bush. In 2018, we opened for Kenny Loggins.  Narrow Gauge has performed at over 300 Colorado weddings and we have the experience it takes to guarantee your wedding reception is a once in a lifetime celebration.

Awards:  Winners of the WeddingWire Couples choice Award for 2017 and 2018 and the Gigmasters “Best of” award 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017

Reviews:  We have over 70+ 5 star independent online at Gigmasters, WeddingWire and TheKnot

We know that things can get a bit overwhelming for you when you are planning a wedding. We can assure you that with Narrow Gauge, things will go perfectly!  We understand how important every detail is and we’ll provide you with a customized experience to turn your dream wedding into reality.

We would be honored to share your special day with you and help make your wedding reception even more amazing!  Find out if we are available for your wedding party in 5 minutes or less.  

Should I Hire a Live Band or a DJ for My Wedding?

DJ or a Band?You’ve set the date, and now you have to choose the  vendors who will make or break your wedding day.  One of the hardest choices you face is what kind of reception entertainment your going to have.  It is an age old question:  DJ or Live Band?

But here’s a something to consider:  Why choose between a Band or DJ when you can have both?

Hiring a DJ is always an option, but nothing compares to the energy a great live band can bring to your event.  Narrow Gauge is a Colorado Cover Band that comes with a DJ set up.  When we go on break, we have DJ music that you have helped put together.  So you get the best of best worlds:  Live music AND a DJ.  All for about the same cost as a good DJ.

Narrow Gauge is an award winning cover dance band that specializes in country rock dance hits.  We’ve been performing at weddings, corporate parties, conventions, county fairs, festivals, private parties and other events throughout Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Nebraska, and South Dakota since 2001.  We play a variety of great country and classic rock dance songs from AC/DC to Zac Brown, Allan Jackson to ZZ Top, and everything in between.
Whether it is performing for President George W. Bush, or the owner of The National Hockey League Columbus Blue Jackets, a large corporation like Hewlett Packard or an intimate wedding, Narrow Gauge has the experience it takes to make your event a spectacular evening!  We have been performing in Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming, Nebraska and South Dakota since 2001.     Narrow Gauge is a Colorado Wedding band that specializes in Country and Rock dance hits.

Visit http://www.NarrowGaugeCountry.comto find out how Narrow Gauge can serve you.  You’ll find live demos, DJ play lists as well as band playlists, client reviews,  available packages and more.

Narrow Gauge: Colorado Wedding Band

How To Hire a Country Band for Your Denver Colorado Wedding

Denver Wedding BandsCongratulations! You have finally made the decision to go with a live band instead of a DJ for your Denver Colorado wedding reception. Now you face the daunting task of finding the right band. How do you find them? How much should you pay? How long should they play for? What things should I avoid, and what must I have? As a veteran of over 200 weddings, let me offer 5 simple ideas I have learned over the years.

1. Get a Detailed Quote I can’t stress how important this is. Sometimes a vague quote might be a great price, but does it include everything you need and want? Can you choose some of the songs? Will they learn your first dance song? How long will they play for that amount? How long are their breaks? What kind of PA will they use? Will they MC portions of the night? Will they bring dance lights and stage lights? Does the price include a microphone for your toasts and any speeches that might be given? If you don’t ask, and the band doesn’t offer a written detailed quote, you may be in for a big disappointment. So ask for the details.

2. Check The Band Out: It is always preferable if you can see the band perform live at a wedding reception. Most “real” bands have deals with every bride: “I can get you into this wedding to see the band, as long as when your wedding comes around, you let us bring another potential client to your wedding. Every bride I have ever worked with has been fine with that arrangement. (hint: just don’t drink their alcohol or eat the food)

Sometimes you can’t see the band live. I would say that more than 50% of our clients have NOT been able to see the band they hire in person. Don’t worry if you can’t. There are other ways. See if they have any LIVE videos. It is hard to fake a good performance on tape. Also, ask for references and call them. A good band should submit the references with their quote if they have nothing to hide. Ask your wedding planner, she knows who the good bands are.

3. Think About the Type of Music Your Guests Like: This is far more important that you might think at first. If you are hiring a band to get people dancing and keep them dancing, you have to hire a band that plays the kind of music the crowd wants to dance to. Two stories illustrate this truth well:

I will never forget the time Narrow Gauge showed up to perform at a wedding in Breckenridge Colorado. The bride only wanted country music. Her friends and family didn’t like country, and nobody was dancing. The bride was more than a little discouraged. But she wouldn’t let us change-up the music. The result: we played to an empty dance floor for two hours. When the bride left, we broke out into some classic rock and the dance floor immediately filled up for the rest of the night.

One time we got hired to play country music and when we showed up, everyone wanted 80’s heavy metal. The bride and groom hired us because we gave them a great deal. We did our best and pulled it off. It would have made a better party for everyone if they had hired an 80’s metal band that played a little country.

Ask yourself these questions: What kind of music do my parents like to dance to? My husband parents? How about my friends from college? Or my husbands friends. It really is that easy. Hire a band that can play those styles of music and you should have a great reception.

4. Get it In Writing: Yes, you need a contract! This makes everything so much easier. Remember, you will be planning a lot of things. You may hire the band 6 months before the wedding. You are also hiring a caterer, a venue, a minister, a photographer, a florist, ceremony music etc. If you don’t have the details written out in a contract, you will probably forget the details. This is also a recipe for disaster. Every good band will demand a contract, and they will write it up for both of you.

5. Start Your Search Early: If you are having a June or July wedding, you need to start looking for your band 9-12 months ahead of time. The good bands get hired early. If you are getting married in a slower time October-April, you can start your search 6 months before the wedding. Where do you look? There are several places you can look. One of them is Gigmasters. You can search their site for every type of band, and narrow it down to the city and state you are getting married in. You can also do a Google search, for example “Colorado Country Bands” if your wedding is in Colorado. A bunch of bands will show up. I would stay away from bar bands and here’s why: A bar band often plays for free drinks and likes to do their own thing. They play what they want to hear, not necessarily what your guests do. A good wedding band will play what your crowd wants to dance to, even if they don’t like the songs themselves. You’ll never know they don’t like it because they are professionals.

I hope these 5 thoughts help you as you search for the best band for your wedding!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at Colorado Wedding Bands.

Want Your Friends to Dance All Night at Your Wedding Reception? Try this…

Dance All Night at Your Wedding with Narrow Gauge, Colorado's Premier Party Band
Dance All Night at Your Wedding with Narrow Gauge, Colorado’s Premier Party Band

Narrow Gauge performs at about 30 weddings every year. We know how to pack a dance floor and keep it packed, but we’re always looking for ways to improve our ability to do this. Recently, while performing at a wedding for Steve and Meggan up in Estes Park, Colorado, we stumbled upon a great idea. So great, that we want to share it with all of our brides.  Here it is in a nutshell:

Get People Dancing During The Cocktail Hour

Rather than playing recorded music or quiet live music during the cocktail hour, Meggan and Steve wanted the band to  play rowdy dance music. We have performed at hundreds of cocktail hours in the past, and our initial thought was that it might not work. The band even had a plan B ready in case it didn’t work.  But it did work, and it worked very, very well.

We introduced Meggan and Steve, and they immediately went into their first dance.  Then we invited everyone to join them on the dance floor.  The wedding party knew all this ahead of time and raced to the dance floor.  The guests all joined them, and danced like crazy for about 30 minutes.

Dinner followed, and after dinner Meggan and Steve’s guests were ready to dance. They danced all night, and even wanted to hire us to keep going.  Unfortunately the noise ordinance at the venue prevented that from happening.

If you want your guests to dance all night, you may want to consider this option.  Keep in mind that Meggan and Steve had almost all their photo’s taken prior to the ceremony.  This allowed them to arrive at the cocktail hour about 30 minutes into it.

Contact Narrow Gauge if you are having a wedding in Colorado Springs, Denver or anywhere in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Nebraska or beyond.  We would love to help you celebrate!  Visit us online at www.NarrowGaugeCountry.com

If you are looking for a GREAT wedding planner, check out Sarah over at Ansley Event Design.  She and her team did a tremendous job, going above and beyond, to make the entire wedding a huge success.  We love working with professional wedding planners who know what they are doing and are committed to serving the bride and groom!  Thanks Sarah!

The Reviews Are In: Narrow Gauge Truly Is A Great Country Band for Weddings and Events

We know that hiring a band for your wedding or party can be a difficult task.  We have included several of our clients testimonials to help you evaluate Narrow Gauge.  Whether it is for your wedding, private party, corporate event, street dance, fundraiser or festival, Narrow Gauge has the talent and experience to make it a success!

“Thank You!  You guys are great!” Jenna Bush Hager (daughter of former President George W. Bush)

“Dustin and I want to extend our sincere gratitude to Narrow Gauge for making our wedding celebration the best event ever!! We were very impressed with the repertoire of music selection and were pleased that you guys took the time to learn and play ‘Look At You Girl’ by Chris LeDoux.

A huge thank you for making our wedding absolutely unforgettable and perfect! All of the music from dinner to the reception was incredible. You were an excellent ‘MC’ — you weren’t kidding when you said you know how to read the crowd and choose the right song based on the energy of the crowd! Your selection of songs, combined with the energy on stage, made for a fantastic party! You have a professional approach and I appreciated the time we spent communicating throughout the planning process.

I personally wanted to thank you and your band for an unforgettable performance.  It was the most amazing night and you made it as fun as it could possibly be.  Just wanted to thank you for everything and let you know that people are still asking me about you and your band and raving about how fabulous you all were.  A BIG thank you again for making our wedding the best and most fun night of our lives!!”

Dustin and Sarah, Crested Butte, CO

“This was our first experience with hiring a band for a social event – our daughter’s wedding. They helped walk me through the entire evening, kept our timeline going when I was too busy to notice, and absolutely “made” the evening with their GREAT music and the ability to work with the crowd. Our guests age’s were from 5 to 90 and everyone loved the band and had a great time. They accommodated our special requests in songs, learned 2 new ones for the wedding, and humored our guests that wanted to sing along! Many guests complimented us on our choice of band and told us it was the best wedding they’ve ever been to. We’ll definitely use them again.”

Karen D, Littleton, CO

Hi Jim!

Narrow Gauge is a fantastic band!  Your performance at my daughter’s wedding was a smash!  Everyone enjoyed listening and dancing to your music.  I had several guests come up to me asking who the band is and saying that they so enjoyed your music!

I want to thank you for the phone calls and emails in regard to scheduling, set-up and planning of the music from the cocktail hour through the very last song.  You really took the time to ensure that all the music was carefully selected — along with the music during the breaks.  The combination of country and rock was quite a hit.

Next, I would like to thank you for your professionalism.  It was quite evident during the set-up of the band equipment, the conversations with our family during the event to ensure that “all” was going as planned, and making sure that the the guests were engaged in the music and having a great time.

Most of all, we are most appreciative of the fact that all our guests had a wonderful time due to the atmosphere Narrow Gauge created.  I’ve never seen so many people dancing, laughing and enjoying themselves so much on the dance floor.  Many said that this was the best wedding they have ever attended!

I wish you continued success.

Thanks again Jim, for all you did for us,”

Ahna Steiner  Breckenridge

“We hired Narrow Gauge for our wedding. They showed up early even with a huge Colorado snowstorm. The music was excellent and all of the guests were very happy. They really helped make the night a memorable experience for everyone.”

Pamela D.Sapphire Celebrations Voted Denver’s Top Wedding Coordinator

Dear Jim,

We were very happy with your services.  You took care of all the set up and tear down as well as any issues during the night.  This goes for the cocktail/dinner music as well.  All of your musicians were really friendly and flexible ( i.e. having 6 girls up on stage to sing) and your fun attitude was much appreciated.  You also did an excellent job keeping the wedding on track (i.e. getting the dancing started) without pressuring us to follow a time line exactly.  Most importantly though, the music was great and there was never an empty dance floor….or even a sparsely populated one!  It was by far one of the best parties I’ve been to, and to have it be our wedding too was more that we could have asked for.”

Thanks,

Kyler and Emily Brown Alamosa

“The Kremmling Area Chamber of Commerce hosts several events every year including two Old Fashioned Country Dances for the community as fundraisers for the chamber.  This year we found Narrow Gauge online and were impressed with their vocal and musical talent from the very beginning.  Gene, Jim, Bart and Danny offer a high energy performance that will not disappoint.

Leslie; Kremmling Chamber Director was overheard complimenting Gene for his beautiful rendition of Bob Segar’s, Turn the Page.    We appreciate their timely arrival, professional attitudes and willingness to be flexible with the special requests from our guests.  If you are looking for a responsible multi-talented band for your next event, you won’t go wrong with hiring Narrow Gauge.  Thanks guys, you are always invited and welcome to play in Kremmling anytime.”

Kacey Beres,.  Event Director Member Relations,  Kremmling Area Chamber of Commerce

To Whom it May Concern:

On September 20 and 21 we hired a band of unknown, (to us), quality called Narrow Gauge, for a family get together at my J BAR M Ranch in Ridgway, Colorado. To say the least – they did a magnificent job for us.  Their music and songs gave us two days of enjoyment and friendship.  At one point, during the first evening, I turned to my cousin on my left ( a doctor and musician), and commented, “These guys are very good”.  His answer, “They are not good, they are great!”

That was the opinion of myself and all our guests.  “They were great!”

Sincereley,

John H. McConnel Owner of the Columbus Blue Jackets (A National League Hockey Team)

“Jim and the Band were perfect! Their attention to detail and their ability to work with us was great. This event was a huge success, the guys from Narrow Gauge are flawless and a joy to work with. I would recommend them to any and all!”

Gary M. Hewlett Packard

“Narrow Gauge was the perfect fit. We had looked all over and could not find a band that we thought would fit our guests. We love country music and so did many of our guests, but there were also people who liked a variety of different genres of music. Narrow Gauge played to the crowd and kept the dance floor packed all night. We had so much fun that we even hired them for an extra set! Narrow Gauge was easy to work with! Jim was so helpful in helping us plan our reception. We had all the details worked out weeks before the reception, so I could try to relax! He even MC’d the event for us. They let several of our guest sing on stage with them, and even let Steve, my new husband play bass on one song. He does not even know how to play bass, but somehow it sounded great. During their breaks they had DJ music pumping through the dance floor, so even when they weren’t playing, our guests kept dancing! It was truly a night to remember. Thank you Narrow Gauge for your professionalism and talent. You were so phenomenal! We couldn’t recommend you more highly!

Steve and Alyssa Colorado Springs, CO

‘Narrow Gauge was extremely professional. They worked well with our DJ to make the transition between the two smooth. The music and vocals were very impressive. When Narrow Gauge was finished, the removal and exit of their equipment was hardly noticed. We had several comments from guests wishing we had reserved the band to perform for a longer period of time. We would highly recommend the group. Thank you for a great performance! ”

–Berni S. Issacson Rossenbaum Law Firm Denver, CO

Needs more information?  Check out The Top 10 Reasons People Hire Narrow Gauge, Colorado’s Premier Country Band

Ready to get a detailed quote?  Fill out our Quote Me form