Dec 22, 2008 05:57 PM Back By A. Stan Wiest Music

Most traditional wedding receptions require a large venue and the music should match this magnitude. Certain instruments such as acoustic guitar, harp or solo violin get lost in a huge banquet hall. Make sure the instrumentation for a ceremony or cocktail hour matches your venue.

You want something that will totally knock out your guests. A full string orchestra can be available - up to 15 pieces. It may sound extravagant but it can definitely be affordable and it makes an incredible impression and presentation for a cocktail hour. The biggest and longest lasting impression is the first thing your guests see or hear at your wedding.

One of my clients had 300 guests traveling to their wedding from all over the world. They wanted entertainment that would transcend the cultural differences and provide something everyone would enjoy. After a 10 course dinner and an hour of dance music I provided a square dance/line dance caller to take over. For two hours everyone got involved. It did not matter if they had two left feet. Anyone can do square dance and line dance with the help of a caller.

If you have a large indoor-outdoor reception space, why not create different mingling areas, each with a specific mood? A tented lounge with sofas, personalized martinis and a solo singer, a piano bar area , a string quartet playing chamber music in a grassy nook or a Latin band heating up the dance floor.


One trend catching on is having Ballroom Dancers perform during dinner. This does not disturb the dinner conversation. It provides that something special that you guests will always remember. Two 15 minute performances with costume changes will enhance any dinner serving time.


An outdoor, laid back atmosphere can go from a Dixieland Banjo Band with or without sing alongs around a campfire to the wishes one of my clients had of a Jazz Band performing for a wedding in a barn on a farm in a country setting.

Consider the natural, calming sounds of a harp and flute duo for an afternoon picnic reception or 'unplugged sessions' where a band performs acoustic versions of classic rock or folk music. This adds a nostalgic sensibility to the modern day receptions.


One or two strolling violins to take requests. It is a nice touch you can add and it does not disturb the ambience of a cocktail hour or reception. A three to eight piece Mariachi Band can perform during the cocktail hour or during dinner.


For a relaxed piano bar effect-whether there's a built in piano or a keyboard has to be brought in-consider building a sitting area around the keyboard - the performer can take requests from the guests as well as interact with them.

A bossa nova or samba trio (traditional or new wave) is a cool option, not only for those with Brazilian roots, but for any couple who enjoys sultry rhythms.

An authentic jazz band may not sound unusual but if you find a truly great one, you and your guests will
'feel it'. There is an authenticity that can only happen when musicians play the type of music that is their passion and specialty.


There is nothing better than steel drums. Make sure these are the authentic performers from Trinidad and Jamaica dressed in Caribbean attire.

For fun and a theatrical welcome to guests consider a fanfare or trumpeters or lute players in medieval outfits.

For that extremely unique effect bring in a Sitar and Tabla performers (music from India). Seat them on a raised area covered with Indian rugs. The effect ie mesmerizing.

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