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Expert Forum: Which Band or Singer Would Play Your Wedding Reception?

When it comes to your wedding reception entertainment, decisions can be tough. You want to find a band or DJ that caters to your taste but can also entertain your diverse guests. Wouldn’t the decision be much easier if you could just pick your favorite band or singer to perform?

We pulled together a group of our favorite wedding experts to talk about this intriguing concept.

frank sinatra wearing hat

‘Ol Blue Eyes was a popular pick amongst our experts

If you could choose one band or singer (past or present) to play your wedding reception, who would it be and why?

Chris Easter (Co-Founder,
Twitter: @chriseaster

1 word: Psy.

Just kidding. As much as I’d love to see grandma trying to do the Gangnam Style dance moves, I think I’d have to go with something a little more sane. Frank Sinatra is an easy choice here, but I want to differentiate myself from the panel. To me, Bruno Mars is one of the top contemporary blends of great singer and performer. Hearing his take on some of our favorite songs would be fascinating and he’d definitely have no issue getting people out on the dance floor. The only rule is that he’d have to bring his killer backup band.

Anne Chertoff (Wedding Editor)
Twitter: @AnneChertoff

I think Frank Sinatra would be great at a wedding. He could totally MC the reception — conversing with the guests between songs. And who wouldn’t love a crooning Sinatra singing their first dance and parent dance songs.  For dancing, he may not have a lot of songs to get the party moving, but that’s what after parties are for!

Kara Horner (Blogger & Media Director,
Twitter: @TMR_Kara

There are so many amazing bands to choose from that it really depends on the couple’s favorite bands and the style of their wedding. For the cocktail hour or a more casual or boho-style wedding, I’d go with The Lumineers. The band offers a fun, folksy and romantic vibe that’s sure to entertain your guests, and songs like “Ho Hey” and “Stubborn Love” are great for weddings. For a band that’s sure to please crowds of all generations, it’s tough to beat The Rolling Stones. They offer a great mix of both slower and up-tempo music. A classic song such as “Wild Horses” is a great pick for the first dance and hits like “Sympathy for the Devil” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” will keep your guests on the dance floor all night long.

Brian Leahy (Author, The Groom Says)
Twitter: @TheGroomSays

No question — our choice entertainment would be the late and great Mr. James Joseph Brown. (I might have gone with the Parliament, but they’re generally too funkadelic for the old folks.) So what if James is a little out there and does PCP between sets? So what if he steals my mother-in-law’s shawl and wears it like a cape for the remainder of the evening? That’s what makes him James-effing-Brown. (“HA!”)

If the band or performer or DJ you’ve selected doesn’t have the energy to get butts on the dance floor, then that reception is a sinking ship that cannot be saved. But as soon as Mr. Brown jumps into “Get Up Offa That Thing,” even your rhythmless aunt with the bum knee is gonna shake a leg — her good leg, that is. And look, we’ll just all agree to turn away when James closes the evening with “Sex Machine”… and sings it directly to your grandmother.

Emma Arendoski (Founder, Emmaline Bride)
Twitter: @EmmalineBride

If I could choose one band or singer (past or present) to play my wedding reception, it would be Frank Sinatra.  At the risk of sounding cliché, it would be pretty amazing to hear Ol’ Blue Eyes himself crooning The Way You Look Tonight and It Had to Be You.  A style of music that encourages guests of all ages to get up and dance is always a plus… and classic, timeless tunes never go out of style.

Ian (Author, A Groom’s Diary)
Twitter: @agroomsdiary

The challenge of any band at a wedding is that it limits the genre of music that can be played. Even a great rock singers would have trouble doing a Michael Jackson cover. And it is for this reason that many couples end up hiring a DJ, so they can hear all of their favorite artists.  That balance is tough to replicate and tough to overcome…

With one exception.

The easy selection for my one artist for a wedding would be Bob Carlisle.

Many of you are probably saying, “Who is Bob Carlisle?” And the rest of you are probably saying, “Ian–are those your real calves?”  And to answer the second part first, yes, they are.  But while you may not know the name Bob Carlisle, you absolutely know his smash hit, Butterfly Kisses.

Much in the way that you should not be allowed to get married if you don’t break off in the middle of your first dance and start into a hilarious–and totally un-cliched–choreographed pop dance routine, no wedding should be deprived of this magical, and in no way creepy song.

It is the embodiment of a daughter’s love for his daughter, and we shouldn’t be turned off by the fact that it is completely uncomfortable and awful.  He loves his daughter.  I mean–it is really sweet!  “One part woman, the other part girl.” That’s totally what normal dads say!  And they always write songs about “sticking” things “all up in” their daughters!  Much in the way that this loving father, who is not allowed within 500 feet of an elementary school, “deserves” “a hug every morning and Butterfly Kisses at night”, your wedding deserves this amazing song to be played live!

Marta Block (Editorial Director,
Twitter: @Gigmasters

I’ve been vocally and publicly in love with David Bowie since I was thirteen years old, but I don’t think I’d want the Thin White Duke to play at my wedding. For one thing, it would be sort of awkward for my husband when I tried to leave the reception with the entertainment. Instead, I think I’d chose the Stray Cats! What? For starters, I was a teen in the 1980s, so their music is part of the soundtrack of my life. More importantly though, The Stray Cats is what any good wedding band is, they’re versatile. They can play any sort of music and make it their own. For me the most important things in wedding music are versatility, showmanship, and dancing. Stray Cats definitely fit the bill.

Now it’s your turn to answer the question. Take to the comment section and tell us your dream choice for wedding entertainment.

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One Response to “Expert Forum: Which Band or Singer Would Play Your Wedding Reception?”

  1. Sabrina Grampp Says:

    As a wedding planner I always suggest to get a DJ or a band that plays every kind of music if the bridal pair wants all the guests on the dancefloor! But logically the bridal pair should choose their favourite song for their official dance… But I even know bridal pairs who don’t want music on their marriage – strange but true!

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