Question: Why hire a wedding band instead of my favorite local band?
Answer: They have different skills.
Art & Audience:
Wedding bands have skills exclusive to their craft. They do more than just play songs, wedding musicians customize and set the tone of the party. Most other types of bands are focused on their artistry, style, and image and tend to be focused on their craft instead of their audience. Artists generally don't cater to a crowd, especially not to demographics to which their music's artistic vision isn't marketed.
Many aspects of a wedding band's craft can be considered an art but their focus is on you, the client. While focusing on the uniqueness of each bride and groom's tastes is fundamental for a wedding band, the most significant reasons for hiring professional wedding musicians instead of any other type of band have more to do with aspects specific to weddings as a type of event.
Wedding Band Stigma:
The wedding band stigmas of old no longer apply. Hiring a wedding band or DJ used to come with the social norm that everyone would be expected to dance to corny music like The Hokey Pokey, Electric Slide, YMCA, and other songs that most audiences would rather no longer hear. Those days are over as most modern brides, grooms, friends and family helping them plan want to celebrate to music that has deeper personal meaning.
Song selections still reach back several decades into the big band era, Motown, and classic oldies, but they are usually songs from the Great American Song Book, staples and building blocks of American music that still inspire audiences of all ages. My Girl, Let's Stay Together, It Had To Be You, Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, and Footloose are excellent examples of older songs that all ages still appreciate and can still be performed in ways that still sound exciting and fresh when performed live.
A wedding band is experienced at following a schedule. Most bands are focused on pursuing creative artistic freedom and don't have as much concern for pleasing a crowd of diverse musical tastes.
Wedding professionals have lots of experience coordinating with other vendors including your venue and wedding planner. They know how to ask the right questions to make certain their performance is the best it can be. Their experience can likely be helpful as you plan other aspects of your wedding.
Wedding bands have to cater their music to the widest demographics of any type of performers. Grandma may prefer Barry Manilow and John Denver while your cousins prefer Bruno Mars and Katy Perry. Most bands specialize in a single style but wedding bands cover all popular party styles.
Wedding bands know how to perform a huge variety of music with great authenticity. Blending various styles into a single concert is its own skill.
Randomly grouping songs together can make for a messy, discombobulated show that could alienate an audience. Wedding bands know how to organize songs according to style, groove, artistry, dynamics, tessitura, key signatures, and tempos to make sure the party keeps flowing while offering something for everyone.
Performing at parties is different from playing bars and clubs. While many brides and grooms like to select much of the music their wedding band will play, wedding bands have another skill that garage bands lack. Wedding bands, when given the freedom, have the ability to read the audience and adapt their performance to keep the crowd engaged on the dance floor.
Repertoire & Versatility:
Most bars and clubs do not allow minors to attend concerts at their establishments because the environment is unsuitable for children. Bands that frequent those scenes likely play music that some audiences might find offensive. Wedding bands play music that is appropriate and fun for all ages.
There is also great convenience in hiring the same business to entertain at both your ceremony and reception, whether in the same or different locations. This makes for one fewer contract, fewer people to coordinate with, and the music company may offer a bundled discount for servicing both events.
If hiring the same company for the ceremony and reception make sure they have the versatility in their repertoire to provide all of the types of music you want. Modern wedding ceremonies commonly use traditional classical music as well as Disney songs, and contemporary Top 40. Wedding receptions often have jazz, folk, or classical music during cocktail hour, similar background music during dinner, and often cover several decades of dance styles during the dance portion from big band to Motown, and classic rock to hip hop. Few bar and club bands branch beyond a single style.
Wedding musicians develop skills for performing durations twice as long as most concerts last. Even operas and musicals rarely last as long a wedding reception, let alone the ceremony as well. When The Matt McCallie Orchestra provides music for both a wedding ceremony and a reception they are often performing a minimum of four hours and sometimes upwards of seven hours. Most bands will have fatigued within the first couple hours.
Imagine let's say, Britney Spears (or any other famous solo performer) as your wedding singer (no insult intended). She's about as famous and successful as any performer can become but would you trust that her skills will enable her to sing a 4 hour wedding reception covering everything from Frank Sinatra to Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin to Norah Jones, and Bon Jovi to Justin Timberlake?
How entertaining would her performance be without costume changes every couple songs, a huge lights show with dancers, no synthesizers to duplicate all of the sound effects, and just a guitar player, pianist, bass, and drums for backup? It's tough to imagine and there's good reason you don't see her touring without all of these accoutrements.
Wedding bands have flexible sound systems to accommodate all types of venues and audiences. And unlike most bands they usually provide their own sound system for each performance and operate it themselves, whereas clubs have someone providing and operating the equipment.
Wedding bands are also flexible in the number of musicians they can provide for each show so they are more experienced at customizing their music and going with the flow. In short, wedding bands are more adept and prepared for varied performance situations and are more inclined to be able to match your requests.
When hiring a professional wedding band you never have to worry about what you will get. Hiring professionals lifts a huge burden during your wedding planning.
- You can be confident that the band will wear proper attire and have decent manners around your guests.
- There will be no embarrassments or legal worries from musicians with substance abuse problems.
- Wedding professionals depend on their reputation and are eager to please you and your guests. They are glad to be there.
The Matt McCallie Orchestra has filled in many times when other "professional bands" have cancelled at the last minute. Having vendors cancel last minute is a tremendously stressful burden. You suddenly have to start over with all of the planning and coordinating that you, your wedding planner, and your other vendors have been arranging for months. Be wise and invest in vendors who's professionalism will never come into question.
Professional wedding vendors will provide you with a detailed contract to protect you both in case any questions arise, ensuring each party is committed to the agreement. Expect to pay a deposit to each business you hire to secure their services.
As the director of a wedding band I always recommend you hear the bands you are considering to hire live and in person if possible. Wedding bands tend to give only private performances so scheduling an opportunity to see them in person may be challenging. At the very least view their online videos and listen to their audio clips to make certain you and your guests will enjoy their sound. Watch their videos carefully as most do not use live audio in the videos.
Truly professional wedding bands will deliver you the highest caliber of service in all regards. Reading client reviews is a helpful tool in your selection process as not all wedding bands are equal.
We have had clients visit every local wedding band in St. Louis to compare their performance quality first hand. Clients who have taken the many months to complete this task have selected The Matt McCallie Orchestra claiming they preferred our superior sound quality and entertainment value.
There are unprofessional wedding bands suffering constant substance abuse problems amongst their members, affecting their band's every performance. It is unfortunate that there are many talented local musicians who cannot be hired due to their tendencies. There are also bands hiring unskilled amateur musicians, sometimes even children, and some bands that don't even pay their musicians. Be certain to do your homework as bands that showcase middle school students as their featured soloists can't be expected to have the experience or quality of a seasoned band full of musicians with college degrees in their field or years of experience performing for crowds of hundreds and the dynamic circumstances that come when performing with different musicians, instrumentations, acoustics, venues, and all of the fluid changes that can happen on the fly when providing live entertainment for clients.
The Matt McCallie Orchestra offers the highest caliber of service, musicianship, and entertainment available in and around St Louis, Missouri. Our musicians have won multiple music awards and have performed in several countries with degrees from the strongest music institutions and have dedicated decades to perfecting their craft and skills of entertaining an audience. When you want to guarantee the experience you and your audience will have this is the band that always exceeds expectations.