A pro’s advice for choosing (and becoming) a live wedding band
Between mastering the choreographed steps that you and your fiancé have been practicing for your first dance and your fear that your great aunt might break a hip getting “a little bit softer now” in “Shout,” designing the sound for your big day can be a nerve-wracking experience. But if it’s done right, a good band or DJ can prove to be one of the most memorable parts of a wedding.
We caught up with John Shortridge of Nashville-based wedding band Live Revival on wedding-music dos, don’ts, and songs that are guaranteed to get everybody on the dance floor.
What would you say are the most important factors in choosing a wedding musician?
My advice to couples is to find a band that knows the ins and outs of a wedding reception and who will understand that even though they do this every weekend, for the bride and groom, this is their one big day coming from months of planning and headaches. Find a band that gets this and approaches their “weekend gig” with the same level of care that you put into your wedding day.
What advice would you give to musicians who are looking to book weddings?
You have to show clients that you are the real deal musically and a class act either through playing live or a good promo video. After you have that, you need to know that brides won’t book you unless they think you are genuine and not just there for the paycheck. Charge what your band is actually worth. So many bands will charge through the roof just because it’s a wedding and they know that people are generally prepared to spend a lot. Most of the time you won’t get booked, and if you do and don’t live up to the fortune that your client forked over, then you are likely to not get a good review.
What songs get requested the most for a couple’s first dance and the father-daughter dance?
“At Last” and “I Loved Her First.”
What song gets the most people out on the dance floor?
This is a tie between “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” They will never fail you!