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.

How To Partner with Your Wedding Band to Make Sure the Dance Floor is Packed All Night Long

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

We know a thing or two about Colorado wedding receptions! We have worked with over 400 brides in 10 years, helping each one pull off an amazing wedding reception.  In that time we have learned the secret of how to pack a dance floor:  Play GREAT music that everyone knows and likes.

You may find this very hard to believe:  there will be a lot of people attending your reception that don’t like the same music as you. If you tell the band to only play the kind of  music you like, the dance floor will be empty and your guests WILL leave early.  Nobody wants that.

I’m the one in the band who works very closely with the bride to help design the reception, especially the dancing part. We have one piece of advice we give ALL our brides:

Tell us the songs you like and don’t like.  Give us permission to read the dance floor and make changes we think we need to get your guests on the dance floor and keep them there.

Over the years, 95% of the brides we have worked with followed this advice.  The result? A fantastic time by all.  The reason?  Narrow Gauge puts together our play list based upon several factors:  the clients input and our experience.  During our actual performance, we use it as a guide.  If it’s working we keep it going and if the dance floor is not as packed as it should be, we change it up. It ALWAYS works.  We are very good at finding out what any group of people want to dance to on any given night.

Surprisingly, not every bride accepts our advice.  A handful of time in the past 10+ years we have worked with brides who insisted that we only play the songs they want, regardless of what their guest may want.  It has been a disaster every single time.

The Bride that Ruined Her Wedding Reception

“It’s my wedding and I don’t want any other style of music except country.”

Like every bride, she was so excited about the wedding.  She knew we had a great reputation as a dance band and she couldn’t wait to celebrate with her family and friends.  I encouraged her to give us the freedom to read the dance floor and play what the crowd wanted to dance to, just in case they were not all into county.

She insisted.

We did exactly what she wanted.

Very few people danced during our first 45 minute set. Continue reading

Save Money When You Book Narrow Gauge for ANY Event in March, April or May

Somebody_Getting_Married_Narrow Gauge is a Colorado Cover band that performs a great variety of country and rock dance hits.   We know how to pack the dance floor all night long!

Even though Narrow Gauge is a very affordable band, if your wedding or event is in March, April or May,  we have a deal for you!

For a limited time, Narrow Gauge will throw in our deluxe lighting package for your dance floor and stage, as well as our wireless microphone for toasts AND Master of Ceremony duties for free.  That is a savings of $200!

To get this deal, you have to go to our website at www.NarrowGaugeCountry.com and fill out our “Book Us form”.  In the notes section make sure you type in the words SPRING SPECIAL.

To get this deal, you have to contract with us by March 21st!

Here’s the fine print:  Not valid for contracts that have already been written.  Can not be combined with any other special pricing.

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

“You Guys Are Truly Great at Your Craft and it shows!”

Narrow Gauge Country Band of Colorado Jim bart PeacefulEveryone loves to hear praise and Narrow Gauge is no different. We recently received a nice card from Kerri and Spencer. We performed at their wedding in Vail in December and we thought we’d share it with you:

“Thank you, thank you, thank you! We always envisioned our wedding as a casual & fun meeting of loved ones featuring a live band. That wouldn’t have happened without Narrow Gauge. You guys are truly great at your craft and it shows. Jim, thank you for supporting me through all the decisions and easing my fears. We had a blast!!”    Kerri and Spencer, Vail Wedding December 2013

If you need an extremely talented and versatile country rock dance band for your wedding, corporate event or party, consider Narrow Gauge.  Visit our website at www.NarrowGaugeCountry.com to see video samples, play lists, client feedback or request a quote.

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.