Woody Allen once said that 90% of success was down to showing up. Being the sales guy who’s there to answer the calls in the office or the restaurant owner who’s there at the door to greet all their customers personally. But hey- what’s the point of a good adage if you can’t change it? Simply just turning up is fine if you’re off for a job interview or you need to show your face at an event but for a wedding we’ve learned that making a good impression is about turning up ‘on time’. Even better still, get there a little early.
Punctuality on a wedding day isn’t seen as a pleasantry. It is an absolute necessity. Whereas in a pub situation if a band turn up half an hour late, yes it is unprofessional, yes they could get their pay docked, but as long as they make haste, get set up and crack on with their barnstorming set all will be soon forgiven. Tardiness at a wedding however, no matter how much a musician could potentially redeem themselves with their skill and showmanship, is a big black mark against them in an industry which relies heavily upon word of mouth recommendations and reputation. For example a sound bite of “The band was great…but they cut it a bit fine” could obviously lose out to the next bands plaudit of “The band was great…they even got there in plenty of time”.
The sad truth is that rock bands have, over the years, earned themselves an almost lackadaisical reputation. This laid back attitude of mañana maybe acceptable, or even mandatory in the higher echelons of the music business. It is taken as red that diva strops will be thrown and concerts may start an hour late without barely a scratch on the reputation of said rock gods. For a rock band playing at a wedding, the mere idea of keeping a wedding couple and guests waiting is plain commercial suicide.
Playing acoustic guitar in Rock My Reception we recognised early on that punctuality was a vital key to success in the competitive wedding industry. It’s easy to see why; on a wedding day it is stress-central. More often than not the bride is stressed. The groom is stressed. The venue organisers are almost certainly stressed and even the vicars dog is in a corner saying it’s prayers. It quickly dawned on us; why should we add to this stress by being late? Infact, we soon adopted our own policy of arriving slightly early. Not so freakishly early that you arrive while everyone is still tucked up in bed firing off the zeds. Just early enough to size up the situation of where you’re meant to be setting up in the venue, are you blocking any fire exits and a general when and where the proceedings will be taking place.
There are also other benefits of arriving in good time. Not only do you get off on the right foot and score instant brownie points by looking efficient and eager to do the work you’re being payed to do, but you also get to chat and build a rapport with the venue organisers. The overall result being that you’ve established a working relationship whereby you can both add to the smooth running of the day.
Other advantages of arriving early are that you don’t look flustered, disheveled and disorientated which can be a natural pose after a 3 hour drive. You can set up before caterers come crashing through with cutlery and generally feel as though you’re not getting in people’s way. Everyone has a job to do so why not get in there first and do yours before everyone else? You may even buy yourself enough time to grab yourself a bite to eat at a local caf.
Being early may cost you a few extra minutes of being snug and warm in the sack but certainly pays dividends for the rest of the day and even for your reputation as being a reliable wedding rock band.