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.

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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.