We know how stressful wedding planning is, so we have provided some pertinent information that will hopefully help with organising your special day and the best entertainment for you and your guests! Main points:
Music between breaks
Acoustic – Ceremony
1. Firstly - IS THERE ACCESS TO POWER???
Although non-amplified or acoustic seems like an option we guarantee from all our experience that this is NOT recommended and that amplification be provided in any ceremony situation. You will need to be able to hear the music for your big entrance! Trust us on this one. SO make sure to check for power in this instance. If there is none, we have a battery speaker we can hire to you at a small additional charge. Please note this on our form as you fill it out.
2. Ceremony Run Sheet
Your ceremony is likely to go for no more than half an hour in most cases but your guests will enter around half an hour before so our artist/s will be ready with both an iPod or their iPhone to play background music until enough guests arrive for them to start performing for around 15-20 minutes before kick off. They will liaise closely with the celebrant prior to the bridal entrance and have cues set along with your song request/s. About 5 minutes before the entrance the performer will stop playing music in order for the celebrant to introduce themselves and go through the formalities of the ceremony with the guests.
You will be allowed up to 3 requests within a ceremony. We recommend using them for Processional (entrance), Signing of the Registry and Recessional (couple’s exit). A back-up tune for signing of the registry will also be ready chosen by the artist but this rarely comes to fruition and it is more likely the artist’s will elongate the chosen song for the Signing.
A few other tips to note:
It is recommended that only one song be chosen for the entrance. Sometimes couple's choose 2 because they are worried 1 song won’t go long enough. This has never ever been the case and no matter how long the entrance and the amount of people in the entrance party it always goes quicker than you think. One thing we can guarantee is that all our artists have done this plenty of times before and so they have an acute awareness of timing in this case. They will elongate the introduction to the song or play instrumental parts or repeat a chorus if needs be as having one song with a nice easy flow is better than cutting to another song. In 95% of cases the artist/s will round the song off half way through as the entrance will generally take less time than the full song even with 5 people in the entrance. Again trust us on this!
You have chosen an artist for a reason so please do consider their song list for at least the signing and maybe the exit song too. They will have plenty of appropriate songs. We are willing to go away and learn your requests but do remember that these songs are more background songs to create ambience and the exit song is really a 30 second celebration of the two of you exiting before a group photo is generally taken. The entrance is obviously the important song and can literally create the greatest moment of your life so by all means choose the song that resonates with you the most and we will nail our version of that and even send you a clip via voice memo if you so desire.
3. Canapés/Cocktail Hour
Although some cocktail hours can actually be just a term used rather than a strict time frame some can go for up to 90 minutes or in rare cases 2 hours. We would therefore quote by the hour on the extra time at the regular hourly rate. Ceremony will be as explained above and then the artist will either continue to play in the same location if that is where the cocktail hour is being held or close enough to or transition to a second location where they will have set up another speaker in most cases.
The artist will need 10-15 minutes to quickly plug their remaining equipment such as effects pedals, guitar/other instruments and microphone in but will switch to their iPhone for background music from Spotify or the likes so there is always background music playing. Again you may send requests from the artist’s songlist for this section. However, we recommend not choosing all the songs for this as the artist knows what vibe to create given the setting and mood at the time so give them artistic flexibility to do their thing! It’s also likely you will be away doing photos and may not hear much of this performance section. The artists are the professionals at the end of the day and you just need to worry about your guests being comfortable and enjoying themselves.
Ceremony and Canapés will be run as explained above flowing into a separate set up for reception generally indoors unless the event is completely outdoors. This will often require a 3rd set up location. Ours artists will leave at least 2 hours and arrive accordingly for set up in this case. Please try to be mindful of this and make it as easy as you can for artists to set up rather than having them lug equipment everywhere around the venue or between venues. We do have enough equipment for 2 locations but often not 3 so just be patient with this process and try to leave a 15-20 minute gap for them to make transitions so all the formalities are seamless. We can certainly transfer the iPhone from one location to the next within a couple of minutes to make sure music is always playing in the background but we may take 15-20 minutes to go between locations set up wise.
The reception is usually an extra 5 hour package you have booked and, if the artist/s or band is performing throughout this 5 hours the hourly rate will apply. We understand there are speeches and other formalities involved but given the artist is already present we still need to charge the hourly rate. So what we are suggesting is utilise us! We’re already there so we’re happy to play background sets during entrée and main course or just man a Spotify playlist if that’s your preference.
One thing we would suggest is that you bridal waltz is super early and you wedding has very few formalities allow for the bridal waltz to lead into a quick upbeat set to get everyone on the dance floor. However people at 7-8pm will only get up briefly with other formalities and possibly food courses to go so be prepared for us to pull tings back tempo wise a bit. We guarantee to get things going again later on for the last couple of hours of the night. If this is later on in the night though we will likely keep the tempo up to keep everyone on the dance floor. The other reason we say this is that 5 sets of upbeat ‘bangers’ is not really humanly possible to sustain. Not even you or your guests will have that kind of energy in them so just be mindful of this and somewhat patient! We’ll get people up and dancing don’t worry… It’s our job!
Combined acoustic/DJ packages
In all these cases our transition from acoustic to DJ will be seamless. The acoustic artists and DJs within our artist collective are familiar with each other and have worked together in some capacity. They will either have a completely separate set up depending on location where the DJ will have set up beforehand to switch straight from the acoustic artist or in some cases one or the other will bring all the sound system requirements and the DJ will just need to switch to his mixing desk (10 second job) to continue the music.
If the DJ is beginning proceedings for the reception we recommend you get the DJ to play the Bridal Party Entrance song. If the acoustic artist is playing part of the reception (the first set background or up until live performance of first dance they can play the Bridal Party Entrance song through their sound system. We do recommend an ipod/iPhone version for this as it needs to be faded in and out as the various partners enter. It has been done before live however and if this is your preference we can make it happen. This is just a recommendation based on our own experience.
Quite often if we have an acoustic DJ combination throughout the reception the last song for the acoustic artist/s will be the first dance. This is the 4th song and the limit we have for specific requests on songs that the artist may need to learn from scratch along with the 3 songs during ceremony. Again this is a very important moment and can well be a defining memory in your life so we are more than happy to learn this song from scratch given it is likely to be a very personal choice. We can however play it from the recorded version from the ipod but would recommend that if a DJ is following the acoustic artist or group that they play it for you through their system.
5. Music between sets A Spotify playlist or similar can either be chosen and prepared by you and sent to us, or we can use our generic playlists which all our artists have on hand. These will be used during breaks and at the very end of the night if required.
6. Meals & Drinks
If an artist is playing any part of the reception we would ask that a meal be provided for our artists at some point throughout the evening. We would recommend that they have this during speeches but usually the catering company and/or wedding planner will be all over this. You would just need to factor these meals in prior. IF there are any dietary requirements i(e. vegetarian, vegan, gluten free etc.) we will let you know as well.
If an artist is playing just the cocktail hour or playing the ceremony and cocktail hour we would just encourage you to prepare the catering staff to provide a little plate of the canapés for the artist. Again the wedding planner or catering staff will probably be all over this as you will be away for photos in most cases on the day but just to be mindful. It isn’t a prerequisite but an artist who is looked after and fed even a little will naturally have a better chance to look after you and perform better.
Drinks. At the end of the day we want our artists to perform as professionally as possible and drinking on the job is not encouraged at all, especially as artists will be driving to and from the event in 99% of cases. However 1 or 2 standard drinks is fine if you feel that it would be beneficial in you making them feel included in your celebrations.
7. Post Event
We will always follow up with you after the event to check in and get any feedback from you to help us improve, which we are always striving to do :)
Above all have fun and let our performers do their thing wherever possible. We encourage you to trust us in this and allow the artist to do what it is they have spent years crafting and their experience with an audience and in turn they will be able to provide you with their best possible performance.
Thank you for choosing Unplugged Entertainment and do not hesitate to contact us if there are any more queries that have not been covered here. Not only will it help both parties to stay on top of everything and ensure your special occasion goes to plan but it will also allow us to add more points to this instruction tool kit for future clients.
Again thank you and we look forward to working with you!