Hiring a Bluegrass Band for Your Wedding Reception

Why go with bluegrass? Maybe the question is why not get some fiddle, bass, guitar and banjo music when it comes to tying the knot?

Bluegrass music for a wedding or wedding reception might not be for everyone. But neither are Pachelbel’s Canon, Wagner’s Bridal Chorus, or Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (the latter of these sounds a little sexist anyway). Neither is pop, funk, or disco.

The facts are that couples are increasingly breaking from the staid and predictable, enjoying a freer interpretation of what a wedding and reception should be. Fewer couples are shackled by the idea of religion- or culture-dictated traditions, instead planning a ceremony and reception around their own interests, style, and preferred means of celebrating the great events of life.

Weddings are as likely held in a home, under a tent, in a garden, in an art gallery, or in a brewery, as they once were in a house of worship. And ditch the organ – stringed instruments of some kind, including guitars, a double bass, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, steel guitar, and Dobro – might set the right mood in these off-beat venues.

Throwing a wedding with a bluegrass wedding band will have friends and family, groomsmen and bridesmaids, and the bride and groom tapping their feet to such tunes as Cumberland Gap, the Mississippi Waltz, Down in the Willow Garden, Stay on My Shore, and It’s Grand to Have Someone to Love You.

What makes bluegrass so romantic? It starts with the acoustics. No amplification necessary, this is music where the harmonies are too sweet for a sound system. It has an intimacy that is just right for the ultimate celebration of love. Bluegrass tends to have slightly more complex (vs. folk) syncopated rhythms – perhaps not unlike the complicated meters of life and love. And while anyone who has ever attended a bluegrass festival knows, the energy and tempo of this style of music can be fast, feverish even, yet it’s not hard to slow it down for occasions that call for it.

Perhaps the best part of a wedding accompanied by a bluegrass band? A wedding reception with a bluegrass band, of course.

The ballads are great with dinner. And when it comes time to dance, get ready hoof it. If you have some guests who really know what they’re doing, they’ll shuffle-clog their way through the rhythms or maybe even stomp-clog it to the older tunes. If the bridal couple doesn’t yet know how to do it some clog dancing, lessons before the big day are recommended.

But the fast pace of the fiddle and banjo – think Rocky Top, Chip of a Star, Wagon Wheel, Nashville Cats, Callin’ Baton Rouge – can get even the most flat-footed uncle out there on the floor. If you’re going to hire a bluegrass band for your wedding, ask for a demo tape and see (listen) if they can deliver on songs like these.

Sure, bluegrass might not be for everyone. Just the people who know how to let loose before and after the I dos.


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