Presentation is vital in any serious business venture. It marks the difference between, what could be perceived to have been a hobby or pastime, to a bona fide attempt to establish oneself as a credible contender in your given field. Music is a perfect example of this and it’s something in Rock My Reception we’ve been constantly honing, improving and changing.
10 years ago myself and Kieran were in our twenties and in a four-piece rock band. The initial goal was to attract the attention of a record company with the hope of signing that hallowed record deal. It wasn’t only the quality of songwriting, the constant rehearsing and fine tuning of the material, but the attention to style, fashion and trying to achieve a distinctive look that would set us aside from our contemporaries. With Kieran’s shaved-down-one-side mullet we certainly did attract attention!
Fast forward 10 years and the rough edges have been smoothed, the wacky haircuts have been somewhat tamed, but the whole ethos of presentation is still just as important. We have always been conscious of the fact that when you’re in a band, not only are you being listened to, but you’re also on display. Arguably, in some bands the image is of primary importance over the music. A wedding band, however needs a presentation that shows respect for the occasion. An outrageous sartorial presence is vital for a rock band who want to be noticed. At a wedding that attention belongs on the couple, particularly the bride. As a wedding band you almost need to blend in to your surroundings. It’s almost like people not realising you are there, but also noticing if you weren’t there.
When we first realised we were making more bookings I decided to invest in a long coat from Liverpool’s classic 60’s Beatwear shop. It is a black stylish coat ideal for providing a conservative, but classy edge to our image. I have favoured waistcoats and either dark maroon shirts and ties or more neutral colours. Kieran opted for lighter coloured blazers and bow ties. This contrast in our own personal styles is an important one as if we were to wear matching suits it would somewhat cheapen the image and, as a duo, make us look a little bit Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee.
Not only has our own personal appearance got to be of a high standard, but the equipment we use. Gone are the days of random stickers adorning our instruments and the ubiquitous beer stains dribbling down the speakers. Our guitars are well polished, all equipment as dent and scratch free as possible and not a day-glo sticker in sight. We have also recently invested in some high quality L. E.D. lights to embellish our presence for night functions- quickly realising it is our responsibility to do provide these as many venues do not not possess their own lights. No matter how great you may sound- lack of lighting can kill the atmosphere.
The final point to make regarding presentation is probably one that many people don’t get right and that is social etiquette. There are basically two categories of etiquette. Firstly, there are the common sense codes of behaviour- i.e. don’t swear, fart or belch. Don’t talk through the wedding speeches, don’t insult the wedding guests or certainly the couple. Tuck your shirt in and make sure you smell nice- no one wants to put up with a smelly, rancid, dog-breathed musician, no matter how charming the performer! The second category is the one that people often get wrong. It concerns the nuanced behavioural characteristics that are vital to providing a high quality service. For example, listening to the concerns of a couple is of paramount importance. One DJ recently lost out in work to a wedding couple as he was trying to enforce his own choice of music upon them. This kind of arrogance wont get you anywhere: it is the couples big day, they are paying and they’re always right. Don’t add any unnecessary stress to the couple or the venue. Everyone has their own job to do and it’s up to you to do yours as efficiently and slick as possible. Nothing is worse than some Prima Donna wedding musicians or wedding singers making demands, especially on a wedding day.
Lastly, always make a point of thanking the Bride and Groom at the end of the night. They may possibly be well inebriated at midnight, but that final pleasantry goes a long way and only takes 5 minutes. It is the perfect, book-ending touch to your service of professionalism.