Wedding & Party Ideas
There is a lot of chatter on the Internet about ideas for wedding receptions. This covers every subject Under the Sun, from table decorations to invitations, to getting married while skydiving with a skydiving vicar to having a wedding breakfast on top of Mount Everest. What I don't seem to find is any mention of Music and live music groups as ideas. I wonder why that is? A large percentage of weddings have some form of live music, whether it is a String Quartet for the wedding ceremony, a jazz band for the drinks reception and meal or a ceilidh or barn dance band for the evening reception, yet it's hardly mentioned in wedding ideas. So let me correct that now and I will ramble on for a bit in my normal flow of consciousness Style.
Small wedding reception ideas;
Let me tackle small wedding reception ideas first. There's a general concept that live music is expensive and not suitable for a small wedding reception. Although I've covered this to some extent in other parts of my ramblings, I think I should cover this again here. Although you can pay anywhere between £1,000 and £3,000 for a large covers band, other forms of live music can be only a fraction of this cost, as low as £150 even. Function bands and the pop type bands are always the most expensive, but a small jazz duo or a solo violinist with backing tracks doesn't cost much at all.
Of course if you're looking for ideas for a small wedding reception it may be small for two reasons, one that you are on low budget the two because you are wanting a small intimate affair without crowds of people. So budget may not be the criteria. I've personally played with my string quartet for a wedding where there was just the Bride, the groom and 3 security guards (The guards with square Hulk's muscles, with no neck and short cropped hair, you know the type. Earpiece in one ear, big bulge in suit jacket pocket. You've seen it on the James Bond films. And there I was with my string quartet. Weird. In fact it wasn't actually the wedding ceremony, it was the wedding celebration. They had got married in Russia, and popped over in his private jet for the wedding reception. Just the two of them in a massive stately home and we were playing for them. Something straight out of a James Bond movie. I really must contact the directors and suggest this as a theme. I don't think there's been a String Quartet on the James Bond films, which when you think of it is rather odd. He's always in the most upmarket places, and really upmarket places tend to have live music. At the very least a pianist playing in the corner. But more likely a lounge jazz band playing in the smoky atmosphere, or a string quartet during the banquet. So perhaps this rambling shouldn't be restricted to ideas for weddings but should be extended to ideas for James Bond films.
Anyway I digress. The important thing is that a small wedding and small wedding reception can benefit from live music and the cost the music group need not be prohibited if you keep away from pop bands and large jazz bands, keeping it small. So keep live music in mind when thinking of wedding ideas or party ideas.
The same applies to Kayleigh's and barn dances. Again reminiscing on my own personal experiences, the smallest Kaylee I have played for at a wedding had about a dozen guests. They all danced, which was important because you need all 12 for something like a six couple long set, but you can get away with only 8 dancers for a square set. So it all worked out fine. the main difficulty was that half of the Dancers didn't speak English, but another story.
Grand wedding reception ideas
If you are having a grand wedding reception in some magnificent stately home, perhaps still lived in the stately home or perhaps turned into a wedding venue, you probably won't be limiting your wedding reception ideas because of cost, (unless you have stretch yourself so much the cost of the venue as you have little left over for other things, which is always a possibility.)
But assuming that you have plenty of money spare, what you going to do with it. You could arrive from the church in horse and carriage drawn by four matching white horses. You comply your guests with the most expensive champagne and canapés. Don't just have a wedding photographer, have two plus a video team. You will have a children's entertainer to keep the little ones occupied while the grown-ups enjoy themselves without hindrance. If the weather is nice you can go outside the photographs in the grounds of the stately manner, so why not have a falconry display. Before the meal you could hire a magician to amaze people, and this magician could perform during the meal as well. The meal can have multiple courses with the finest of wines. Afterwards you could have a casino or perhaps have a murder mystery with the team actors. The possibilities are endless, this is just the start.
But isn't there something missing? These frantic goings-on in this huge and magnificent stately mansion, is it going to be a bit empty and soulless? What is in its missing? It is music of course! (I would say that wouldn't I.)
In the days when these magnificent piles were built and their owners had unlimited wealth, music played an important part in creating the atmosphere and impression of opulence. After all, stately homes weren't houses as we live in them today, they were the equivalent of high-rise glass clad corporate offices. They were designed to impress, to show the importance of the owners. To demonstrate their wealth and power and to persuade potential investors to part with their money, or do their owners bidding.
Stately homes well about advertising in persuasion, and just as the television adverts today, or corporate launches, the music plays an important part. Without the music these buildings become huge and empty and dead museums.
And whether you are looking at wedding reception ideas on a grand scale, or making the church ceremony beforehand something that everyone will remember for years to come, music plays its important part. The church is just as much about advertising and persuasion and convincing people as the stately home or modern day corporate headquarters. The larger churches are beautiful buildings, just as beautiful or in many cases more beautiful than the stately homes of their benefactors, and music has always been an important part of the church life. Certainly, in the singing of hymns and the things that are done by the congregation, it is about community and devotion, but there's the other side of it. The huge organ, the perfect voices of the choir, the height of the building and its wonderful acoustics are all there to impress and convince and for those who are believers, to do this all in the praise of God.
So if you want your wedding ceremony to be complete in every sense, you must have your string quartet or soprano, or both. And for your grand wedding reception, ideas include a jazz band on the lawns during photographs, a string quartet to greet you as you arrive in your horse-drawn carriage and play during the wedding breakfast. Ideas for the evening can range from a function band, to a large jazz band suitable for dancing to, at a ceilidh or barn dance which would involve all your guests on the evening of fun. Oh dear, I've missed out the fanfare trumpeters for your entrance to the wedding breakfast.
So there's no shortage of scoping what you can do if you want a grand wedding reception. Arrive to the civil ceremony being held on the lawns in front of the fountain, in your Cinderella carriage, but make sure that you have a string quartet playing as you step from the carriage. Make your entrance down the steps dressed as Darth Vader, but have a real band playing the Star Wars theme music, not a CD.