Being in a special event band gives us musicians a very special perspective on things that can make the difference between a successful event and one that is primarily remembered for Uncle Shemp dropping his pants and passing out in the middle of the dance floor. It’s a good thing all prospective brides, grooms and wedding reception guests on the dance floor, at the bar or in the buffet line can’t see what we see from atop our wedding band risers week in and week out….there might be a lot less comedy in the wedding world.
Don’t get me wrong, 99% of the weddings we perform at are gorgeous, classy affairs that are painstakingly planned. From the band perspective, all of us at JBP work very closely with clients, planners, venues and other vendors to make sure we guide the reception smoothly through its timeline. But the recurrence of a certain amusing–if not downright awkward–nuptial phenomenon never ceases to amaze…usually starting with the first dance.
The first rule of planning a wedding reception is that there are no rules; whatever the newlyweds like is what should happen. But it’s always been my understanding that the first dance should be one of the most romantic moments of the big day. A few minutes that not only christen the dance floor, but that also give a new husband and wife the chance to hold each other and reflect with one another on having just started this new part of their lives together – all while listening to one of their favorite songs. It’s almost a private moment really. The most moving and romantic first dances I’ve seen are usually handled this way. And then there are the others…
You know the ones: the dance school flunkies, who despite weeks of bargain wedding dance class lessons still look like they’re in a boxing match as opposed to a first dance. And why is it always the grooms with the absolute worst rhythm in the world who seem to be forced into this choreographic conundrum? It never fails that instead of a lump in my throat I have to fight the giggles at the look of absolute terror on his face and the look of sympathetic frustration on hers as she is relentlessly counting to four through pursed lips. Rather than a beautiful moment of wedded bliss, these fumblings resemble the awkward prep school dance classes we were forced into as kids.
On behalf of dance schools everywhere, dance classes are great things and fun to do together as a couple. But a first dance is not a variety show. You don’t have to entertain your guests – yet. Newlyweds, do yourself a favor. Just hold each other and thank your lucky stars you’ve just married this prince or princess of your dreams. You should remember this moment as one of joy and love in each others’ arms – not one in which you’d rather be anywhere else than having to remember which is your left foot and which is your right. The genuine look of being in love on both your faces will entertain the crowd way more than any spin or dip. And your future kids will never look through your wedding album asking why daddy was sweating and looked like he had to go potty.
At the time of this posting, Geoff was the Sales and Promotions Manager at Jerry Bruno Productions (now Cleveland Music Group) and the bandleader of The Avenue.