The life of a busy North West Wedding band is not easy... and before you start saying you are doing the thing you love as a job.. you are right! So perhaps my initial statement wasn't entirely accurate, but there are a lot of things that go in to making this Wedding band North West malarky successful.
Getting work is a constant affair, keeping on top of social media for one thing takes up a lot of time, I've lost count the amount of times I've been shouted at by my dearest for being on my phone when I should be paying attention (love you Gem x), its not just about the website, but visibility on social media is really important, and although some of our posts might be annoying to some, it definitely works and neglecting to use it, is your loss and another bands gain.
If you are lucky, like we are, to get the enquiries flowing in daily, you then have to deal and manage them quickly and professionally, I always pride myself on answering enquiries as soon as I see them, again big shout out to Gemma for her understanding! Nowadays, People want information so quickly, that you can't afford to let them wait, and, it makes you look more professional for getting back to them first. We have an online contract system which really helps keep everything in order, and makes the process for the client easier, nothing to print, nothing to post, its win-win all round.
I love meeting couples for the first time to discuss their wedding, they are really enthusiastic, they want their wedding to be the best day ever and that suits us perfectly. I usually discuss the whole wedding, not just music, and like to offer any help I can in recommending some of the brilliant friends we know who work in this industry, its great when we work together, and I know I can trust them all to do a great job (you know who you all are!).
As we get closer to the day, the finer details like timings and requests are sorted and then we get there!! the BIG day itself. For the band, from about March to December, we can have as many as 4 or 5 of these BIG days in one week, and sometimes due to our daytime options we have 2 different weddings in day, so we have to make sure we have everything organised ready, including the all important first dance(s) nailed.
The BIG Day Arriveth
So to the logistics of the day... Wedding Bands North West in general mostly have a big van which everyone travels in, we don't! We all usually drive separately in cars, which is not particularly great for the environment, but it suits us, I think with the volume of gigs we do, it is psychologically safer that we all have a bit of alone time before we perform!
Depending on where the Wedding is, we set off to get there for the agreed set up time, usually around 6.30pm. Our set up and soundcheck is rapid, and usually only takes about 30 mins, unless its a bigger venue and even then its only 40 mins.
First Dance Jitters
and then we wait... for the first dance. Its very rare these days that we get a 'Green Room', I've got changed in so many car parks and disabled toilets that my dignity went a long time ago, but to be honest, that is absolutely ok for us, we're not precious at all, and I wouldn't even say its necessary to get us a room and call it a 'Green Room', we're just happy to be there! You are out working with your mates, and you are about to perform together for a crowd of people - what more could you ask for?
We, as a band have always picked our set list, as we are going along on the night, it allows to you adapt to the crowd, in essence, allowing the crowd to pick the set list, however some couples want to have a say and thats fine as well, we work with what they want, after all, they know their family and friends better than us.
Two crazy, passionate, sweat drenched sets later and hopefully we've done our job, the crowd are screaming for more at the end and the bride and groom have big smiles on their faces. What you are looking for is their guests saying to them, 'where did you find this band'.. 'these guys are great' - that makes them feel brilliant because they know that people have loved their Wedding, and at the end of the day, that is exactly what they want, a perfect day to remember.
A Moment of Reflection
All joking aside, I always feel that I/ We are very lucky to do what we do, its not as easy as people may think, because there is a lot of work that goes in to it being a success, not just on the day itself, and not least from the boys who have been practicing and playing their instruments for years to get to the level that they are at ( as a singer, I still don't know what I'm doing most of the time!), but it is very rewarding in so many ways.
You would have to say that a Wedding is a major moment in a couples life, it will be remembered by them till the end, so to be there is quite an honour. I count myself and the band very fortunate to be in the position we are in, and I try not to take it for granted every week (Gemma certainly helps me with this!), not just because we get to meet great couples who are starting their lives together, but also because of the venues and brilliant people we get to work with all the time. I could definitely think of worse jobs!
Massive thank you to the talented Damian Brandon from DSB Creative for the use of these pictures www.dsbcreative.com