No matter the size wedding you're having, the day is going to require some kind of music selection, whether that's just the ceremony or a ceremony and reception, no one wants to walk down the aisle in silence. On this week’s podcast, we were joined by the founders of Metropolitan Players, a youthful, energetic wedding band based in New York City. We chatted with them about how to choose the right music for your wedding day.
Bustld: How did you guys get started, how did this come about from your own wedding?
Metropolitan Players: Drew and I met in college and he was going to school for music business and I was going to school for theater and business and so, when we went to plan our own wedding, we were extremely careful and selective about the music. We were really, really excited to have the best band ever and have our guests dance all night since music was so important to us and as we were looking at options, we just couldn't find exactly what we wanted. And so, Drew was like, hey, what about starting our own band and doing the same thing for other couples? And I was like, sure, let's go for it. So, about a year and a half before our own wedding, we really dove in and started this band and built it around everything we wanted and wished we could have.
Bustld: Why specifically weddings?
Metropolitan Players: That's a really good question. I mean, we started it for our own wedding and as we went through doing different types of performances, we ended up coming back to weddings because they were the most meaningful for our staff, the most meaningful for our musicians and the most meaningful for us, as leaders because there's never a wedding we walk away from that we don't feel like we just thrust our efforts out and they weren't received by the people who were there and that people had a good time. Beyond those things, we also developed a real skill for doing them and doing them well.
Bustld: How long have you guys been in business and how many people do you guys have, how many different musicians?
Metropolitan Players: We have been in business seven years as of May 2020, so just over seven years. And we started with an eight-piece band then, over the years, have grown that into a larger collective, so we have about 50 musicians that are on our main roster with some more that do ceremonies, specifically, like harp, steel drums, strings, on top of that.
Bustld: When you first start working with a couple, what's the first thing you have them do?
Metropolitan Players: We send them what we call the "master wedding day sheet" and it's a fun worksheet that they fill out over the course of their planning process, it's due to us about two months before their wedding and that just gives all the information we need to know as the band to help guide through their day. So, that includes basic contact information and who's giving speeches and what announcements they want us to make throughout the night. And then there's also a page that they fill out where they can put all of their special requests.
Bustld: From your guys' perspective, are there specific events you absolutely need to pick a special song for? Or what if it's somebody who's just like, "I don't want to do all that"? How do you guys handle that situation? what's your recommendation to couples, should they pick their song, should you guys pick the songs, how does that work?
Metropolitan Players: We would always suggest an entrance song, an entrance into the reception, we're talking specifically about receptions here, an entrance song and then, songs for different special dances and if people don't necessarily have something that jumps to the top of their minds about those, we have a number of suggestions of things that are commonly picked or we walk them through, sort of digging into their past to find songs that would fit with their first dance, parent dances, if they even plan on having those, cake cutting, last song of the night, and then walk them through general requests as well.
Bustld: How do you help people to figure that out if they don't know? If they're not like, oh my gosh, I love this one song, what kind of questions do you suggest they ask themselves or do you ask them to get to that selection?
Metropolitan Players: First, we'll sort of start with if they have any artists at all that they love, if they have any particular songs that they remember. If they absolutely do not, one of the best ways is that we'll send, we put together these playlists on Spotify of some recommendations that we have for a special dance or a special part or tradition, whatever it is during the night that they might need a suggestion for and we ask that they go through those lists and give us some example of the preferences that they have. If there's anything that sort of stuck out to them or anything that they gravitated towards, we just have them send us that so that we start to get a better idea for the type of music they really like. And then we can curate a specific list of suggestions for them based around that, given what they like and what they want to hear.
Bustld: I'd love to know from your perspective, how important is that entrance of the couple to kick things off musically and everything?
Metropolitan Players: I mean, I would say very. I think that especially with what we do, and lot of bands do in general is like the live music aspect is supposed to be energetic, really exciting, it's supposed to be part of the day, like, if someone wants that element, it's important. And so, there's something that's really cool about starting the day off, or starting the reception off with that huge celebration, that introduction… I think it's just such an amazing start to the reception. It's always a little tricky when someone doesn't want it. We usually suggest that they add it, even if it's low-key, just because it's still a really, really beautiful moment.
Bustld: From a band's perspective, what is your opinion on a live song versus a recorded song, for some of those big moments? What is your recommendation on when to do which version?
Metropolitan Players: In our opinion and what we do with our band is that we prefer to play everything live. It definitely helps with the flow and it's just super special to hear it live the day of your wedding. I know that not every band will learn special requests, so if that's not a possibility, it just might not be a possibility, depending on what the band is doing. But, to us, it's very special.