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Tim Correira

1.3.19

Expert Advice: Hitting the Right Notes

Your guests most likely won't remember your vows, or your signature cocktail, or even what kind of flowers you had at your wedding. But they will certainly remember the good times they had out on the dance floor. It's well-known that a good band that knows all the right moves is the key ingredient for keeping folks partying all night long. Joanne Cassidy, band owner and vocal headliner for The Vine Shakers, is here to help set the tempo for your big night.

How do you and the couple come up with the set list?

Since we have such a massive repertoire, we typically ask couples to choose between thirty and forty songs that they feel best represent their style. Their list should include songs they would love to hear as well as any songs they strongly oppose.

After that, part of our job as a band is to read the crowd and tailor the night accordingly. So while we may have a set list planned for the evening, we will ultimately tweak it on-site to make sure everyone is on the dance floor.

We've all been to a terrible wedding where everyone stays glued to their seats. What’s the best way to turn a dull reception into a killer party?

If the couple’s timeline allows, we find the special dances of the evening can make a nice transition from dinner to dancing. Halfway through the last special dance (usually either the mother-son or father-daughter dance), for instance, we often invite the rest of the guests to join them on the dance floor. It breaks the ice without anyone feeling that they have to be the first ones out there, and also involves the guests in that special moment. Once everyone is on their feet, we kick the dancing off with a song everyone is sure to love and the party is off – works every time!

Do you provide your own equipment?

Yes, we provide all of our own equipment. Occasionally for larger bands or for any gigs with extensive travel required, we may hire a company to supplement equipment or provide it for us.

How long does a wedding band normally play?

A typical reception includes four hours of music with two small breaks. We certainly can play longer if noise ordinances allow (on the Vineyard, amplified music often must stop at 10 p.m.). You can also choose to include ceremony, cocktail hour, or after-party music.

Audience requests: are they a good idea or bad?

We welcome suggestions and try to accommodate them if we know the songs and they are appropriate. The reaction we get from playing a song someone wants to hear is priceless. Occasionally brides and grooms ask us not to accept any requests, which we of course honor. Luckily, we have never had an issue either way. 

The Vine Shakers are based on Martha's Vineyard. For more information, go to thevineshakers.com. 

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