Picture the scene. It’s 9.47pm. The wedding dinner is done and dusted, the speeches are still echoing in your ears, the First Dance is receding into the corridors of history and now it’s time for you to kick back, relax and let your hair down. You look across at your amazingly beautiful new bride and you are seriously filled with pride. So you grab her by the arm, spin her around and head for the dance floor. It’s then that you notice there is no dance floor – just a pile of heaving, sweating bodies, arms in the air all doing their finest rendition of some rehashed 1970’s hit single. And just as you pick up a bit of steam to shove your way into the masses, here comes 88-year old Aunt Betty doing the Leeuloop. Just then, the beat changes to Kurt Darren’s ‘Loslappie’ and another 15 or so eager participants hit the already overloaded dance floor with a vengeance.
Right, back to reality. If you can achieve the above scenario at your wedding, you’ve succeeded in bringing together your closest family and friends for a party they’ll never forget. Of course, the reverse is also possible – with Boney M not succeeding in getting anyone onto the dance-floor, least of all Aunt Betty. The bottom line is that you actually need to think about the music at your reception quite carefully. You can go for the live band option, or the DJ route – or you can go for a mixture – the one-man band who does a bit of both!
What is of critical importance is that you understand the mood you want to set and that you understand your guests taste in music. It’s no use that you guys are into Deep Alternative Punk Disco Jam with a twist of Garage House and the rest of your guests are fairly keen on Metromotional Jazz Drum ‘n Base. The fact of the matter (as you clearly know) is that these two styles of music are fairly complex and don’t mix easily. So the objective is to therefore find a balance. And trust me here, that balance is generally straight-down-the-line Mainstream Pop (in English or Afrikaans my friends). Parents understand Mainstream Pop (and they actually dance to it relatively well), which is important. Grandparents don’t really give a damn – they’ll dance to anything you throw at them. Your friends (although they’ll tell you every day of the week how awful Mainstream Pop is) will give it there absolute all when Britney or Lady Gaga or Pink start revving it up. So yes, Mainstream Pop is safe for a BIG party.
Now let’s take a step back. You might not want a big party. You might want something a little more toned down. Fine, no prob – a live band or a good DJ will be versatile enough and have a range of music that will most certainly satisfy what you’re looking for. Bands and DJ’s that can play a wide selection of older music mixed with some newer stuff are always a popular choice. My suggestion, as always, is that you speak to the outfits you’re thinking of using as well as to friends. Get recommendations and do your homework carefully. You don’t want a DJ who drinks beer all night and then falls asleep behind the controls. Neither do you want a band that plays 12 songs before they start repeating song number 1 again. Both DJs and bands must be exciting – they must be motivated and want to really get things going in whatever way you’ve briefed them. So ask for playlists, or draw up your own playlists and find out if the people you’re thinking of hiring can play what you want them to play. Again, in the case of a live band, ask for a sample CD – you’re paying a lot of money here so you need to know exactly what you’re getting. I kid you not, at one wedding I shot about 5 years ago, the band arrived, played 2 songs, ate supper, played 2 songs, drank at the bar, played 3 songs, drank at the bar – and when the groom complained, they played another 2 songs then packed up and left. True story. Not cool. And yes, if they don’t give two hoots about you at your wedding, imagine what it’s going to be like trying to get a refund out of them them. So do your homework. If you do, you’ll go home very tired but very happy puppies at the end of your wedding day – and so too will your guests. Rock on…