“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:
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.
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.