Monday, December 14, 2015

Why We Had A Live Band Instead Of A DJ At Our Wedding

I had never been to a wedding with a band before ours. All the weddings I had been at, the couple booked a DJ and I figured I would do the same.

Not too long after Pete and I were officially dating, I was sitting in his parents' kitchen with his mom. He was in another room, taking a while to do whatever he was doing, and she pulled our Pete's sisters' wedding albums.

"I didn't get involved; I let them pick whatever they wanted," she said as she flipped pages. "The only thing I insisted on was a live band. Weddings are better with a live band."

It was just a comment in passing. She wasn't saying Pete and I had to have a live band. She wasn't even saying Pete and I had to get married. She was just making conversation as we went through photos.

Less than two months after that conversation, Pete's mom passed.

When we got engaged, I knew we had to have a band at our wedding. I wasn't sure, really at all, about how to find a band for a wedding or how much one cost. I just knew that Pete's mom wasn't able to suggest anything else for our wedding, and we had to honor her one request.

Why We Had A Live Band Instead Of A DJ At Our Wedding

Pete and I go out to see live bands a lot, probably every weekend. When we would go out, thinking that if I had loved one, I would talk to them about playing our wedding. But nothing grabbed me.

The December before our wedding, we were at a local bar for a Toys For Tots benefit. When we walked in, there was a guy singing, whose voice I really liked, but the songs were old, dull classic rock songs that I didn't like. "If he was singing in a pop band, I would ask them about playing our wedding," I thought to myself. As if my friend was a mind reader, he said to me, "You should have seen the band before this one. It was the same guy singing, but it was all Top 40 stuff."

Oh, really, I thought. I tried quick to find the name of that band, couldn't, and that was the end of that.

Three months later, we still didn't have a band to play our wedding. I had asked a florist for suggestions, but hers were so out of our budget. I was getting worried. "If we can't find one, we can just have a DJ," Pete said. But we both knew that no, a DJ wasn't really an option.

I went to a bridal expo with a friend who had recently gotten engaged and the first booth, before we actually even got inside, was manned by two members of the band Port City Shakedown. "How much do you charge?" I asked. The price was right in my budget. I wrote it down -- and had my friend as a witness -- and said I would check out the band and email the guy.

I got home, checked out the band on Facebook. Well, can you imagine my surprise when the lead singer turned out to be the guy I saw singing at the Toys For Tots benefit. And this band ... all Top 40 stuff.

Pete and I saw them play a month later and booked them right away.

From there, it was similar to working with a DJ. Just like you would work out a play list (and a do not play list) with your DJ, we did that with the band. We went through their set list and vetoed anything we wanted (I vetoed Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines; Tom Petty's Mary Jane's Last Dance ... songs based on sex and drugs that just weren't wedding appropriate in my mind). The band offered to learn two songs we wanted ... and we used that option to ask them if Pete could play with them.

I had mentioned it to the band previously (and Pete has mentioned it in his blog post here) and it just turned into one of my favorite moments from our wedding day. I mean, how many grooms actually just the chance to play at their own wedding? It was just magic and wouldn't have happened with a DJ.

And now, even eighteen months later, people still talk about our band. And we've actually been out to see them a few times too, including on our one-year anniversary. We couldn't have done that with a DJ. And, now that we've done it, I have to agree with Pete's mom: Weddings are better with a live band.

BRIDAL BABBLE: Are you planning on having a wedding band?

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