Timelines can be a great tool to help you remember all the details of organising your wedding. However, they can be a complete hindrance too and in some cases; work against you! Not every industry time-frame is the same, and neither should they be, but when it comes to organising a wedding entertainer there seems to be more confusion than the other services you require.
Most brides and grooms are led to believe that unless they follow a timeline, their wedding will be a disaster; which is simply not the case. Timelines can help you to remember to book your musician but they don't take into account some of the intricacies of the music industry.
Isn't this your wedding and isn't part of your wedding doing it your way?
If you have your heart set on a specific entertainer; book them! Don’t wait until an on-line directory or magazine article tells you “when”. If it’s 12 or 18 months out from your wedding date, call the entertainer and ask them to put the date on hold for you and pay a deposit. Then, you can check it off your list until you need to finalise any special song requests, venue details and the final payment.
Not as scary as others may suggest! And the problem is that there are many so-called experts in the wedding industry that are generalists and don’t have specialised skills in the various areas that make up a wedding.
Debugging entertainment time frame myths
I recently read articles that suggested (with all good intention) various time frames regarding wedding entertainment; quite simply if these were followed precisely they would cause problems and ultimately lead to unnecessary stress.
The Suggested Myths
Two weeks before your wedding you should “touch base with your band or DJ to finalise the playlist and confirm special request songs”.
Hmm… not the most helpful piece of advice there.
Most acts (whether it's a DJ or a band) need longer than two weeks to organise or learn any special requests. Remember entertainers have lives and families too, beyond your wedding, and may not have time for five rehearsals in two weeks to learn your special song.
"You should attend gigs of potential acts to see how they perform in front of audiences then reserve your favourite”.
Going to a live gig is great for one reason only: to enjoy yourself as a regular ‘punter’ with friends. Sure, you’ll get an idea of how they sound live but you need to take into account that they may not sound exactly the same in your wedding venue. Why? Because the acoustics of the rooms will be different for a start – vastly different!
Your venue might have a wall of windows or sliding doors which can literally make the sound bounce around the room. You’ll have decorations and tables and may have sheaths of luxurious fabric hanging from the ceiling. There’s likely to be a difference in ceiling heights and definitely in room sizes. All these things are likely to make the artist sound vastly different than at the live gig venue.
Also, at the live gig, a band will probably have a sound engineer and if you’re looking to keep costs down that is someone who won’t be at your wedding!
A band’s performance at a live gig is all about the band. They're there to provide maximum entertainment for the venue so they can get a repeat booking. You on the other hand, want to know how they’ll perform for you.
- Leave the song list entirely up to the band / DJ
It's never a good idea to leave the song choice entirely in the hands of a band or DJ. There are highly professional and talented musicians / DJ's who are incredible at creating the perfect wedding with song selections, but it is still a discussion you should undertake.
It is a good idea for you and your partner to think about the songs that mean the most to you and that reflect your love and personalities. A great place to start is by creating 3 lists:
- Must play songs
- Ok to play songs
- Never! play these songs
Whilst a professional band or DJ does not need to be 'micro-managed', providing them with these 3 short lists will help you both understand your needs more clearly and avoid any 'faux pas' from occurring.
Who to turn to
Whilst wedding resources may be giving advice with the best intent, if they are not experts in the field they won’t know the intricacies of an industry. They may have got it right, once, but they don’t have the knowledge that you may need to problem solve if things go wrong.
So when planning your wedding and looking for advice, go to experts in the field. Those of us passionate about our profession will be more than happy to provide advice and head you in the right direction, for free. Just as you wouldn't want me to design your food menu, you shouldn't want a chef or caterer (or generalist) giving advice on how and when to book an entertainer for your wedding. Essentially, it’s about understanding that all the external people who will help make your wedding an amazing event are usually amazing because they have busy careers. They've honed their skills and are in high demand.