Music

The Four Seasons

5 Golden Oldie Wedding Songs

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When you think about it, a wedding reception is kind of a strange animal. It’s a huge party with drinking and dancing–only your parents and close relatives are there. With the range of ages and personality types at a wedding, it can be tricky to include a little something for everyone. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the dance floor. While the millennials may be eager to dance to the latest from Pharrell or Meghan Trainor, the old folks will start to vacate the dance floor if they don’t hear something from their era every once in a while. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of songs that you parents and grandparents will like that are still seriously romantic and cool.

Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

This romantic tune feels as fresh today as it did in the 60’s, with its crooning verses and its big horn-section hit leading up to the climactic, “I love you baby!” in the middle section. It’s danceable, it’s sweet, and it shouldn’t make anyone under 40’s eyes roll.

Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers

Sure, you could go for the Elvis version, but this one’s the true classic. It’s a perfect slow-dance for old-timers and youngsters alike, with the quivering blue-eyed soul of the Righteous Brothers presaging the Ed Sheerans and Andrew McMahons of today. By the time they reach for the stratosphere in the final minute, you’re sure to be feeling the romance.

My Girl – The Temptations

As soon as you hear that bouncing bass line, you know you’re in for a treat. Sing it with me: “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day…” In addition to the absolutely adorable lyrics, this song has a nice mid-tempo beat, perfect for gentle dancing that won’t break any hips.

I Second That Emotion – The Miracles

Smokey Robinson might possibly be an alien from another galaxy. There’s no other voice on earth that can float around in the stratosphere and still sound as silky smooth as his does. But once you get past the considerable charm of his voice, you’ve still got great wall-of-sound production and clever lyrics to boot.

I Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe – Barry White

Ignore the fact that you quite possibly might have been conceived to the fervent basso profundo of Barry White. This song is delightful front-to-back, with a groove that’s almost like disco but is soulful enough to avoid getting lumped in with that unfortunate trend. It’s just a stone-cold delight front-to-back, perfect for putting a little romance into the evening.

We all know there’s nothing more adorable than seeing our parents and grandparents cut a rug on the dance floor. You can help make that happen by throwing in a few songs calculated to bring them back to their carefree, youthful days. Pick any of the above songs and you’ll get the old folks dancing without clearing the younger guests from the floor. If you do see a twenty-something sitting out the best that Motown had to offer, just keep telling yourself you still love them even if they do have appallingly bad taste in music.

Reception Music: Pros and Cons

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Reception MusicUnless you’re holding your reception in that town from Footloose, you’re probably planning on having music and dancing at the reception. These days, there are more options than ever for getting that dance floor jumping. But should you hire a full band, stick with a DJ, or do the DJing yourself? Here are some pros and cons for each reception music option.

Band

A wedding reception is one of the few times in your life you might be tempted to hire a band, unless you work at a concert venue for your day job. This option isn’t as popular as it used to be, but it’s worth considering.

  • Pros: There’s definitely a novelty component to a live band reception now. A good live band brings an energy you don’t get from a DJ or an MP3 player. They provide a whole show instead of just music coming through speakers.
  • Cons: This can be the most expensive option, depending on the band. You’ll need to audition a few bands to make sure they’re what you’re looking for. It’s the most unpredictable option, for sure–you could end up with an awesome show or an awesomely bad one.

DJ

A professional DJ is the other classic option for wedding music. They should roll up with their own P.A. and lighting system to bring the party all on their own.

  • Pros: A DJ’s job is to make sure the dance floor stays filled and the guests are having a good time, and a good DJ will have the job experience to make sure they can. They’ll know what music to play to get every demographic at your wedding dancing, and they’ll take care of technical issues with the sound system.
  • Cons: As with the band, hiring a DJ brings in an unpredictable human element. A *good* DJ keeps the party going, but a bad DJ can lead to an empty dance floor and an empty wallet. You also have to give specific instructions that might be ignored–at a recent wedding, a DJ ignored the bride’s request to keep the music family-friendly and blasted gangsta rap in front of the bride’s 80-year-old grandmother.

MP3s

The most common solution for modern couples is to simply hook up a smartphone or laptop to the sound system and play music from their own collection. You might even stream music from a cloud-based server or a service like Spotify or Pandora.

  • Pros: This is by far the cheapest of the options, especially if you already own most of the music you want to play. It also offers the most control over what you play and how it sounds.
  • Cons: There’s a reason to hire a professional to keep the party going–they know what to play to get people up and moving. You may have a solid playlist of your favorite songs, but are they danceable? Can you appeal to all the demographics on your guest list? Also, if the venue doesn’t have a good sound system, you’ll have to rent one yourself.

What kind of music you have at your reception depends on your taste, your budget, and what you think will appeal to your guests. You can choose to give up a little certainty and control in favor of letting a pro take over, or play it safe and get exactly what you want. Either way, make sure to encourage your guests to take to the dance floor.

How to Have a Beautiful Wedding on a Budget

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Wedding MusicWith the current state of the economy, the idea of spending thousands of dollars on a wedding ceremony might seem daunting. This is especially true now that the tradition of the bride’s family footing the bill is giving way to the couple financing the ceremony themselves. With a little creative thinking, a little bit of planning, and some elbow grease, it’s possible to have the perfect day you’ve always dreamed of without breaking the bank. Here are ways to save money with a frugal (but not cheap-feeling) wedding, enabling you to keep some money in your savings account for that first year of marriage.

Venue

Sure, that dedicated wedding venue, towering cathedral, or privately-owned mansion is gorgeous, but that beauty comes with a substantial price tag. What’s more, you may have to find a different location for the reception, meaning you’ll be paying to rent two facilities instead of one.

Instead, try an outdoor venue like a state or city park. You’ll pay a lower facility fee, and you can have your reception outdoors as well. For an indoor wedding, try a local fellowship hall or even a V.F.W. Any space can be decorated for a dream wedding, so those cheaper options can still be gorgeous.

Catering

Instead of using a dedicated wedding catering business, find a local family-owned restaurant you love and ask the owner personally about catering the wedding. You’ll get food you love at a much lower price than a professional catering outfit can provide. There’s also no shame in having family members or friends prepare the meal–provided there are enough volunteers and sufficient kitchen facilities to cook for a large number of people.

Another option most couples don’t even consider is a potluck wedding reception. It’s definitely unconventional, but in this writer’s experience, it makes for a wonderful dining experience. Each guest is encouraged to bring a dish to share and the couple provides a salad or a few main dish options. The end result is a table groaning with lovingly homemade food, with far more variety than a caterer or restaurant could provide. Even your gluten-free vegan cousin can find something to eat at a potluck.

Music

For chamber music during the ceremony, call up your local university’s music department and see if there are students who would be willing to perform at a wedding. The student will get valuable experience, and you’ll pay far less than you might for a professional musician.

For the reception, rather than hiring a DJ, put together a playlist of danceable songs on your MP3 player and hook it into the venue’s sound system (or rent just a couple of speakers for the dance floor).

Your best resource for planning a wedding on a budget may just be your friends and family. If you’ve got a friend who is an amateur photographer, help him or her build a portfolio by hiring them for the day (don’t ask them to donate their time, of course–but they may volunteer). Those friends who are always posting their homemade decoration ideas to Pinterest? Conscript them to help decorate the hall. Your friends and family will be happy to show their love and friendship by helping make your special day special without breaking the bank.