On Monday, Ken Arlen of Arlen Music gave us the scoop on six helpful tips for hiring a wedding band. Today, he’s back for more to share seven good ideas and important qualities to look for when narrowing down your search. Following these guidelines will help you feel like a smart shopper and a confidant bride.
1. You want to have a good rapport with your prospective bandleader. He or she will be playing a very important role: the bandleader will not only be injecting personality into your event, but implementing your vision for the evening. My MC style is fun, warm and inviting. I do not like the stereotypical and artificial animated MC personality. I like to create a festive atmosphere where the musicians and guests are celebrating together, and I especially want our performance to be from the heart. This is what people respond to and what will connect with your guests!
2. When you meet with your prospective band leader ask him about the process he will take you through to plan your wedding. At Arlen Music, we want to work closely with our clients to customize the flow of the evening and to discuss the many specific details that will make your wedding unique. This involves a series of steps we will take you through as our client. We want the process to be enjoyable, easy and fun for you. We especially want you to sleep well the weeks before your wedding and feel confident that Arlen Bands will deliver the goods.
3. Your bandleader should be able to show you the personnel in the band. Beware of the “revolving door band.” Only well established bands who a hired for lots of work can demand an exclusive commitment from their musicians. At Arlen Music, we do not hire freelancers. All of our bands have set musicians and vocalists that have agreed to make your wedding date their top priority. When you hear the audio demo, make sure the musicians and vocalists you are hearing are what you are actually going to get at your party.
4. Check out how well the band performs contemporary dance music. It is much more challenging for a band to perform new music with an authentic sound than music that has been around for 20 to 30 years. Production values are much higher today than they were ten years ago. Also, beware of bands where the vocalists perform behind a music stand so they can look at lyrics. How can you connect to the audience as a vocalist while reading lyrics? Our guests often tell us that our Arlen Bands perform and sound like a live concert of the original artist. We deliver authentic vocal performances as well as instrumental arrangements.
5. Please do not expect to audition your band at someone else’s wedding. Imagine a dozen uninvited folks crashing your wedding to hear your band perform. To me, the bandleaders that invite you to hear them at someone else’s wedding are displaying poor judgment. At Arlen Music, we invite you to our conference room to meet in person, which allows us to direct our full attention on you and your wedding. We also have extensive materials to show you including current live performance video.
6. There is an old saying in the music business that “Frank Sinatra did not move pianos.” You want to make sure your bandleader has a solid support staff to free him up to perform at the highest level for your wedding. Take a look at both the front stage and the back stage of an organization. If the bandleader does not have a strong back stage, then rest assured his front stage is operating on thin ice. At Arlen Music, we have six full time office staff ready to take your call from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day, and multiple conference rooms all designed to support our wedding bands. In order to address new repertoire and our client’s musical requests, we have eight arrangers on staff to create multiple new musical arrangements on a weekly basis. Rest assured, any requests you have we can prepare for your wedding. In order to make the front stage performances sparkling, we also employ a choreographer and a wardrobe consultant to keep all of our musicians looking their best.
7. Sound reproduction is a huge component to the success of your wedding. So many bands play too loudly and the mix is poor, or you hear horrendous feedback when your father or the best man is giving his toast. At Arlen Music, each band has two full time sound engineers that know the band inside and out. At your wedding, one mans the controls at the back of the stage and one walks the room to ensure levels are set correctly. Our mandate is that during dinner, all guests must be able to talk comfortably across the table without leaning in. When our bands perform, it will sound like a well-mixed recording throughout your room.
I hope these ideas are helpful to you. As you are making your final decision, remember that wedding entertainment is an investment with a huge payoff. Every wedding has a budget, but a great orchestra is very much worth the extra dollars. Ten years from now your guests will remember the music because dancing to an awesome live performance is an incredibly powerful experience. But do not forget that you are the stars of the evening — not your band. This is your night! Mazel tov!
With over 25 years of experience and a stellar reputation with venues, wedding planners and past clients, Arlen Music has the knowledge, talent and resources to make your wedding reception one that you and your guests will never forget. The Arlen Music bands have ignited hundreds of wedding receptions with the unique Arlen Music style and contemporary music selection. Following the success of the Ken Arlen Orchestra, Arlen Music began offering additional bands in the KAO mold. Over the years, demand has led to more diverse offerings, ranging from traditional string quartets (perfect for ceremony music), and a variety of fabulous dinner entertainment such as a rock and roll violin show and Oh What A Night, a tribute to the hit Broadway musical Jersey Boys. Music plays a powerful role at your celebration. Make it memorable by contacting Arlen Music.