By Grant Olsen
Grant is a founding member of The Gatsbys, a wedding trio composed of himself and his bandmates, Micah and Cedric. The trio has been playing together since 2009. Grant let us in on a little fun fact about the band – “according to at least one newspaper article, we’re the world’s tallest wedding band. Cedric is 6’4″, Micah is 6’5″ and I’m 6’8″.” Here’s what he says are the top 5 questions to ask your wedding band before your big day!
Live music can be the perfect complement for life’s most meaningful moments. It’s authentic. It’s sincere. It’s vulnerable. And a keen musician can tailor the music to the event, giving it the perfect tone, timing and timbre.
Because weddings are packed full of thousands of indelible and unchoreographed moments, they’re especially primed for live music. According to one industry survey, the music from a wedding can be recalled by the majority of guests when they’re about it a month after the event. These guests then struggled to remember many of the other details from the same weddings. It would appear the guests melded the music to their favorite moments from the day, so it was fresh in their minds.
With such a special opportunity to make your wedding memorable, it’s important to choose the right band. Here are five questions that can help you narrow the field and find musicians that match your personality and style.
Can you send me a video of a live performance?
A band’s audio tracks are insufficient. First of all, while it’s easy to make music sound professional in a studio, those technological tricks won’t be available on your wedding day. Plus, you won’t even know for sure if the musicians on the musical track would be the same musicians performing at your wedding.
Secondly, being a great musician isn’t always synonymous with being a great performer. Are they comfortable onstage? Does the crowd feed off their energy?
How long have you been performing together as a band?
This may seem like a random question. After all, elite musicians usually sound great regardless of how many gigs they’ve played together. The thing is, weddings are unpredictable events and it’s important for the band to be flexible and adaptable. Schedules change. Electrical outlets fail. Unexpected weather hits. In these times, you’ll want experienced wedding musicians who can find solutions on the fly.
Will you learn requests?
The best bands are flexible, responsive and eager to make your wedding special. This includes a wide range of things, but can be boiled down to one simple qualifier: will they learn special requests for you? If they have the musical chops, it shouldn’t be difficult for them to learn a few new songs. And if they care about making it a customized experience for you, they’ll probably be happy to do it.
Can I talk to one of your past clients to ask about their experience?
This can reveal in an instant how professional and confident the band is. If they agree to provide a past client’s contact information, they are most likely the real deal. They have nothing to hide. On the other hand, if they drag their feet or flat out refuse, this could be a red flag.
Is your rate negotiable?
It never hurts to ask. Some wedding vendors include in their standard rates a small buffer for negotiating with clients.
And there you have it! While this list of questions is certainly not comprehensive, it provides a great place to start. Take a little extra time to learn about a prospective band’s competence and character, and you’ll definitely reap the rewards on your wedding day.