Get Your Guests On The Dancefloor!

Get your guests on the dancefloor

STEVIE WONDER: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”

JAMIROQUAI: “Love Foolosophy”

ESTELLE: “American Boy”

MICHAEL JACKSON: “The Way You Make Me Feel”


STEVIE WONDER: “Superstitious”

THE BLACK EYED PEAS: “Let’s Get It Started”

BEYONCE: “Crazy In Love”


JAMIROQUAI: “Cosmic Girl”


LIONEL RICHIE: “All Night Long”

JACKSON 5: “I Want You Back”



Wedding of the Month: JULY 2010

Who: Melinda Hui and Jason Boon

Date: 3rd July, 2010

Photo Courtesy of Starr Photography


Venue: St Mark’s Anglican Church, Darling Point

No. in Bridal Party: 6 (including Bride and Groom)

Act: Centauri Strings

Song Requests:

Processional – ‘Canon in D’ Pachelbel

Signing of the Register – ‘Air on G string’ Bach

Recessional – ‘Flower Duet’ Delibes

Special Touch: Rector Boak Jobbins delivered a very personal, and highly entertaining sermon. He was clearly at ease in his role of directing the ceremony, and was obviously familiar with both Melinda and Jason , frequently adding humorous banter into his liturgy. This created a fantastic atmosphere, and made the service highly enjoyable for everyone involved.

The Reception

Venue: Catalina Restaurant, Rose Bay

No. of Guests: 150

Act: The Usual Suspects (6-piece)

Song Requests:

Bridal Party Entry – ‘Crazy in Love’ Beyonce

Cake Cutting – ‘Just for Me’ Al Green

Bridal Waltz – ‘Last Request’ Paolo Nutini

Bouquet Toss – ‘Single Ladies’ Beyonce

Last Song of Night – ‘All Night Long’ Lionel Ritchie

Special Touch: Melinda’s father, Geoff, concluded his speech by singing ‘My Girl’ by The Temptations, backed by The Usual Suspects.

What Are Your Wedding Ceremony Music Options?

Selecting the style of music you have performed at your wedding ceremony can seem like a daunting prospect. Searching online will reveal that there are a multitude of options to choose from, and when you aren’t quite sure what you want, it can be difficult to commit to anything.

So we have compiled an overview of your ceremony music options, including pros and cons of each, with the aim of making your decision a little less overwhelming:


String Quartet

Versatile and expressive, a string quartet (or trio) remains a popular choice for wedding ceremony music. Suitable for both religious and secular ceremonies, string quartets can perform from a large repertoire of classical and popular songs, and it is common for them to accept song requests (as long as they are given enough notice – leaving it until the day itself is a little late!). They also add a fantastic visual element to the occasion, and will stimulate an atmosphere of classic elegance.

String quartets can perform outdoors at garden ceremonies, although they will require cover or shade, as sunlight (or rain!) will damage their instruments.

Hiring a string quartet for your ceremony will cost around $600.

A good idea if you like: ‘Canon in D’ – Pachelbel, ‘Spring’ – Vivaldi, ‘All You Need Is Love’ – The Beatles, ‘Air on G’ – Bach.

Centauri Strings


Hiring a harpist for your wedding ceremony is another more traditional option, however like string quartets, they are suitable for both religious and secular ceremonies. If you have a romantic wedding in mind, a harpist will be ideal, as they exude romance both musically and visually.

The repertoire of a harpist is far more limited than other options, as they have a narrower range of sound and expression. They also have quite a soft dynamic, so are more suited to intimate ceremonies. If you are having an outdoor wedding, the harpist will require shade or cover to avoid damage to their instrument.

A harpist will generally cost around $350.

A good idea if you like: ‘Greensleeves’ – Traditional, ‘Raindrop Prelude’ – Chopin, ‘Moon River’ – Henry Mancini

Guitar (or Keyboard) and Vocal Duo

This option is most suitable for secular ceremonies, particularly if you want a relaxed vibe, and more contemporary songs to be performed. Duo’s can perform from a large repertoire of well-known pop, acoustic, groove, rock and even indie favourites. If your guests are on the younger side especially, this choice will be perfect as the audience will connect with and relate to the music.

If the duo is performing with electric guitar or keyboard, they will require a power source for their instruments, which can be problematic for some garden ceremonies.

As this duo will come with a vocalist, there are lyrics to consider as well as the music. Lyrics are a very powerful expressive tool, and can communicate to your guests how you and your partner feel about one another. Just make sure you consider the lyrics of your chosen music carefully – some songs don’t have the meaning that you initially expect them to!

A duo will range in price from around $500 to $900.

A good idea if you like: ‘I’m Yours’ – Jason Mraz,  ‘It’s Only Natural’ – Crowded House, ‘If I Ain’t Got You‘ – Alicia Keys, ‘Just The Two Of Us’ – Bill Withers, ‘Better Together’ – Jack Johnson

Jazz Band

Hiring a jazz band to perform at your ceremony will add a unique and sophisticated edge to the occasion. They can perform from an enormous instrumental repertoire, however a jazz band won’t be able to perform ‘conventional’ wedding songs that many of your guests will expect. Generally, a trio or quartet is best, and you have the option of selecting the instrumentation eg. saxophone, guitar and drums, or trumpet, guitar and bass.

If the jazz band is acoustic, there won’t be the issue of requiring power if the ceremony is outdoors. Also, a jazz band will also project sound further than most other groups (particularly if you choose to include a horn player) so your guests will be able to enjoy the music without struggling to hear it.

A jazz trio will generally cost around $900, and a quartet will start from $1200.

A good idea if you like: ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ – Frank Sinatra, ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ – Michael Buble, ‘So What’ – Miles Daves

Other Options (Covered in Part 2)

  • Organ Player
  • Wind Quartet (flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon)
  • A Capella Group
  • Church Choir

Wedding Band Vs. Wedding DJ

Planning a wedding is full of decision-making.
Religious or secular ceremony?
50 guests or 150?
Sit-down dinner or canapés?
Live band or DJ?

And it’s all up to two people who may have never planned an event in their lives.

Several factors will come in to play. For starters, sticking to the wedding budget is generally a primary concern, and even modest weddings come with hefty price tags. Couples also need to accommodate to the tastes of all their guests, from college friends to elderly great aunts. Most importantly, weddings are meant to reflect the bride and groom – it’s important that you like the venue, food, music etc. in the first place. After all, if you don’t have fun at your own wedding, what’s the point?

Lead Singer in The Usual Suspects

When it comes to deciding between a live band and a DJ for your wedding entertainment, here are some points that you may want to consider, hopefully making the whole process that little bit easier:

– PRICE – A DJ is undoubtedly cheaper than a band. For a four to six hour-long reception, a DJ will cost between $500 and $1000, depending on experience and equipment. A band however will generally be priced from around $1800 up to $4000, depending on size, quality and experience. If this is out of your price range, but you still want live music, a smaller act (solo to trio) will be more affordable, at around $600 to $1600.

A standard covers band will generally have between 100 and 300 songs under their belts, while a DJ, armed with all the memory of their MacBook, may have in excess of 10,000.

However, is this really a huge advantage? Generally, a DJ will pull out the same ‘party favourites’ that the band will, with the remaining 9,900 songs being obscure tracks that are rarely requested. While the repertoire of a band is more limited, an experienced group should come prepared with a well-balanced selection of popular songs to accommodate all tastes, from Motown standards, to top 40 favourites.

– VENUE – 
When choosing your entertainment, it’s important you consider your venue. How big is the room your reception is being held in?

DJ’s take up relatively little floor-space, so if your reception venue is on the smaller side, a DJ won’t cramp up the dance-floor. Duos and trios are also very compact, so if you are concerned about space, a smaller band is still an option. If you are using a large venue for your reception, a full band will look and sound fantastic. Not only will they produce enough sound to fill the entire room, but they will also add a visual element that will suit the larger space.

When it comes down to ‘wow’ factor, nothing beats a great live band. Not only are they visually spectacular, they also come with an infectious energy and emphasis on audience interaction, that is guaranteed to keep your guests entertained and on the dance floor.

A wedding DJ will not be able to pull off the ‘show’ element that comes with a band. As they are playing pre-recorded music, DJ’s aren’t able to generate the excitement that is generated from watching live performance.

The advantage of a DJ lies in their ability to play ‘nightclub’ favourites, which a live band can simply not pull off. Songs that rely heavily on electronic beats and computer-generated effects are generally not convincing when performed by a standard six-piece band.

Questions You Should Be Asking Your Wedding Band


So you have weighed up your options, and decided a live band is the way to go. Fantastic decision – great live music stimulates a festive atmosphere, provides the day with structure, highlights key moments and will help ensure that you and your guests can relax and simply enjoy the celebration.

However bad live music can result in your dream day turning into a nightmare.

Imagine your band showing up an hour late, and sound-checking as your guests are arriving, only to then perform a completely unheard of song for your bridal waltz. Or a covers band that seems to have a repertoire consisting only of Barry Manilow’s greatest hits, succeeding only in frightening you and your guests off the dance floor…

Sydney's premier funk-infused covers band
In order to avoid such catastrophes, it’s important you ask all the right questions! The following should ensure that you get the wedding music you want, exactly the way you want it:

1)   Can I see the musicians live, or hear a recording? You want to make sure you actually like the music in the first place! Any good group will have song samples or a demo CD to give interested brides and grooms, and most musicians will have public performances you can go and watch.

2)   Am I able to make song requests? You don’t want to book a band, only to find that they perform from a very limited song list. If you are set on having particular songs for your bridal waltz, bouquet toss etc., it’s important you let the musicians know in advance so they have time to prepare.

3)   Do you provide PA, and can I use it for speeches if need be? This should be expected of every band. Make sure PA is included in the initial quote, and not an ‘added extra’ you find out about a week before your wedding. Also, some venues don’t have an in-house PA system, meaning you will require the band PA for speeches. This should not cost any extra, and if it does, make sure you find out up-front. You don’t want to receive a bill for it when you get back from your honeymoon!

4)   How early will you be sound-checking? A good band will make sure to sound-check long before the start of your ceremony or reception. That way when you and your guests arrive, the band is set-up and ready to go.

5)   Are sound engineers included in the price? For larger bands in particular, the presence of a qualified sound engineer is essential. While a large band with a markedly cheap quote may seem appealing, they may be sacrificing the sound engineer to get the gig, meaning the sound quality will noticeably suffer.

6)   Will the band/agent liaise with your wedding venue? You don’t want the group to show up on the night, only to find your chosen venue is too small, or has noise restrictions.

7)   Does the band have flexible set times?At weddings, anything can happen, and a great band will be able to adjust accordingly and keep things on track. After all, they’re wedding professionals.

The iPod Wedding


Weddings are expensive affairs. After the initial engagement excitement, couples are suddenly faced with planning an event that involves venue hire, catering, entertainment, bridal wear, flower arrangements – all of them offering ‘bargains’ and ‘limited special offers’. Daunting at best, the combined costs of these wedding ‘necessities’ can be immensely challenging for an already stretched wedding budget.

So when confronted with the overwhelming costs of throwing a wedding, the do-it-yourself option can suddenly appear incredibly appealing.


One of the latest trends in the DIY wedding planning is the iPod wedding.
This involves couples choosing to skip the live band or the DJ altogether, instead opting to run the music themselves. It’s understandable – after all, your laptop isn’t going to demand money, and you’re guaranteed to hear all your favourite songs. Finally, if your guests have last-minute music requests, it’s as easy as clicking a button. Sounds like a win, right?

But before you jump onto the iPod bandwagon, it’s important you know what you’re up against.

To start with, how big are your computer speakers? Big enough to fill a room with over a hundred people? For the music to be at a reasonable level throughout the room, you’ll require at least two 400 watt speakers, paired with a mixer. Not only that, but microphones also come into the equation. After all, you’re going to want to make announcements and speeches and shouting on your wedding day doesn’t make for a great look.

Then come the playlists. Generally, wedding receptions last from four to seven hours, and music, even if it’s in the background, is hugely important in creating the right atmosphere. So to start with, you have to make sure you have enough music in your library to last for your entire reception.

Then factor in the type of music you want, and how it will change over the night. If you don’t want to be listening to the same three CD’s on repeat, you have to allocate several days to putting the playlists together, then listening to them to make sure they flow well. Consider the structure of your reception and what people will want. Do you want dancing after dinner? Specific songs for bridal party entry? Will the songs included appeal to the tastes of all your guests? And who will operate the music for your bridal waltz, and when you want it to pause for speeches?

The advantage of hiring a professional is that everything is taken care of for you. Experienced wedding bands will come with their own PA system, and hundreds of popular songs on their books. Many bands, such as The Usual Suspects, encourage brides and grooms to request songs, which they will learn specifically for their wedding day.

Professional wedding bands or DJ’s are also experts at ‘reading the room’ – after all, it’s their job! A live band can pick up on what your guests want to hear, and adjust their sets accordingly, as well as interact with the crowd to ensure everyone has a good time. They provide structure for the evening, performing laidback, background music earlier in the night, then performing dance-floor favourites later on to bring the celebration to a climax.

Going down the DIY route at weddings can be tempting – it certainly will save you money. Just make sure that you and your partner are properly prepared for it. You don’t want to get so wrapped up in sticking to budget that you forget to enjoy yourself!

Wedding Music: What, Where and When PART 2



Funkified Entertainment
Now for the fun part. At your reception, you can relax, kick up your heels, and simply focus on enjoying yourself. And what better way to create a fantastic atmosphere that having music to enhance the entire experience? With a glass of bubbly in hand, mingle with family and friends, some fabulous food, and finish up by dancing the night away.

PRE-DINNER – This is a similar mood to that of pre-ceremony. Music that is easy to listen to should be playing in the background, stimulating conversation and creating an atmosphere of sophistication and elegance. Live acts serve as entertainment for guests as they await the arrival of the bridal party, and for the evenings formalities to commence. Popular choices include an instrumental jazz trio, a string quartet, or a solo musician, such as a guitarist or pianist.

DINNER – It’s a great idea to have background music playing over dinner, to maintain the celebratory atmosphere.  We affectionately term the music played here as ‘Wallpaper music’; it won’t demand guest attention and interrupt conversation, but will provide a subtle musical backdrop and prevent any awkward silences at tables! You can have the ‘pre-dinner’ music continue over dinner, or a small to medium sized covers band perform lounge favourites such as Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, and Stevie Wonder.

DANCING – This is when music really becomes the focus of the night. Many couples opt for their reception to climax with dancing later in the night, full of popular and catchy songs that everyone can enjoy. A covers band is a great option here, as they ensure a fantastic party atmosphere, great crowd involvement and will get guests of all ages on the dance floor. Other popular choices also include latin or funk bands, or a DJ.

SONG REQUEST – Requesting songs for your reception is a hugely important part of the event. Songs serve as a reflection of you and your partner, can be used as a means of expression, and are very effective in highlighting key moments of the night.

BRIDAL ENTRY – The song you choose to signify your entry into your reception sets the tone for the entire evening. Do you want a party theme, or something more sentimental and expressive? It’s completely up to you! Regardless, the song you choose should be a reflection of your relationship, and the way you want your friends to remember your wedding. Popular choices include ‘Crazy in Love’ by Beyonce, ‘Let’s Stay Together’ by Al Green and ‘

CAKE CUTTING – Music can be very effective in highlighting this moment between you and partner. Many couples opt for something romantic, with popular choices. Eg. ‘Everything’ Michael Buble, ‘You Are The Sunshine Of My Life’ Stevie Wonder, ‘Have I Told You Lately’ Van Morrison.

BRIDAL WALTZ – An expression of how you and your partner feel about one another, this is one of the most important moments of the day. Choose a song that you love and that means something to both of you. Remember, all eyes will be on the pair of you, so make sure you practice dancing to it before the day! Examples include ‘At Last’ Etta James, ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ Alicia Keys, ….


Listen to the words! You don’t want to reach the 2nd verse of ‘I Will Always Love You’ only to realize it is about a break-up…

A fun part of the evening, and a chance for your friends to let fate decide who ties the knot next! Popular choices for Bouquet Toss are “Single Ladies” by Beyonce or ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ by Cyndi Lauper, and you can’t go past ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On’ for the Garter Toss.

tipThe garter toss is becoming less and less popular due to the slight ‘tacky’ element of the groom disappearing under the bride’s dress to remove clothing with his teeth. It’s still very possible to do it with class (we’ve seen it done!), just be sure to keep in mind that Grandparent’s have surprisingly good memories.

LAST SONG OF THE NIGHT – As the night draws to an end, you really want to make sure that you finish on a high. Choosing a fantastic song to close your wedding celebrations with will ensure that you leave your guests with an incredible last impression, not to mention wonderful lasting memories for you and your partner. When choosing your final song for the night, try and find something that is not only a great piece of music, but also means something to you and your guests. A party song that stimulates fond memories of when you and your new spouse first started dating is a great idea, and is guaranteed to get your friends rushing to the dancefloor.

Wedding Music: What, Where and When

Planning a wedding can be an overwhelming experience. Very overwhelming. For many couples, this is the first time they have ever planned an event; let alone one of this size and significance.

Venue selection, band hire, dress style, catering…it’s all up to the pair of you.

So when it comes to organizing the music for the day, will you know where to start?


Your choice of music will set the atmosphere for the day; it can be used to highlight certain key moments, to structure the day, to evoke emotion, to express how you feel. It is a crucial aspect of the occasion! Therefore, to get the most out of your day, it’s important that when it comes to planning the music you know exactly what you are doing.

So, we’ve put together a ‘cheat sheet’ you can use for getting an idea of when you will want music, as well as what you will want from it:


photo 1.1

PRE-CEREMONY – As your guests arrive before the ceremony commences, it’s a great idea to have non-intrusive music playing in the background. An atmosphere of romance and sophistication is created, and guests can relax and enjoy the music as they wait for the formalities to begin. Eg. Mozart Divertimento’s, Bach, Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis

PROCESSIONAL – Your bridal entrance. You want this moment to be graceful, romantic and exuding elegance. Music will play an important role in achieving this affect – it’s the soundtrack everyone will hear as you approach your husband-to-be. Find something you love; think majestic and elegant, with soaring melodies and beautiful harmonies. However, remember to keep tempo in mind; you don’t want to be running up that aisle! Eg. Pachelbel’s Canon, Bach Double Violin Concerto-Second Mvt., ‘Better Together’ – Jack Johnson, ‘At Last’ – Etta James

SIGNING OF THE REGISTER – As the pair of you are occupied signing the register together as a newly-weds, music can briefly become the focus. Expressive songs that are recognizable and easy to listen to, can be performed to emphasize the romantic setting, whilst allowing your family and friends the opportunity to enjoy your musical selections. Eg. ‘Air on G’ – Bach, ‘Ave Maria’ – Schubert, ‘What A Wonderful World’ – Louis Armstrong, ‘Flower Duet’ – Delibes, ‘God Only Know’ – The Beach Boys

RECESSIONAL – You and your partner are officially announced as husband and wife, and will walk out to meet your guests as a married couple. To enhance the moment, your music should be joyous, uplifting and celebratory – the formalities are over and now you can both relax and enjoy yourselves! Eg. ‘All You Need Is Love’ – The Beatles, ‘Wedding March’ – Mendelssohn, ‘Love Generation’ – Bob Sinclair

Why Have Live Music At Your Wedding?

YOUR WEDDING is a once in a lifetime event – a standout day that you will remember for the rest of your life. And when you look back on that day, what will you think of?

The dress? Probably.
Your great uncle’s speech? Possibly not.
How much you, your partner and your guests enjoyed yourselves? Absolutely.
So, how do you ensure that everyone, especially you and your partner, enjoy the celebration?

The answer is simple: LIVE MUSIC


Your wedding day is a celebration of you and your partner. An entire event organized for the pair of you. In order for your vision for the day to become a reality, your personal input is essential. And what better way is there than choosing your own music for the day?
From group style and band size, to song choices and set types, the music on the day is all about what you want. Whether your vision is for romantic, sophisticated or all-out party, a great live group can ignite the atmosphere you want, the way you want it.

The energy that live music brings to any celebration is infectious. It comes with a buzz, a special spark, which can transform any atmosphere into something special. Something memorable. So whether you employ the talents of an intimate jazz trio, or a horn-driven funk band, live music is guaranteed to make your wedding an event that will leave your guests awe-struck.

And there’s more.

Live music brings with it a visual element that is certain to leave an impact. Hiring a great band for your reception provides your guests with a spectacularly entertaining live show, a spectacle that is a feast both for the eyes and the ears. A fantastic band will strive for audio and visual perfection, through using a state-of-the-art PA system, fully equipped lighting rig, staging and trained sound engineers. Great live music ensures that your wedding is not just any event – it is something exceptional.

So if you want your wedding to be unforgettable – for all the right reasons – go with live music.