Here is a question from a host planning an anniversary party. Note: It has not yet been determined if this event will be in any way a “surprise party” so the name has been changed… because I love a secret!
I love your postings and I really do watch the videos and listen to your beautiful music!
Thank you for sharing them. I have a question.
I would love to have an elegant dinner/dance for our 25th Anniversary next year. I envision dancing to Sinatra/Michael Bublé, Dean Martin, maybe a little “Blame it on the Bossa Nova” thrown in for fun! Men in suit and tie, ladies in evening gowns, etc.
Honestly, my fear is that none of my guests will know how to dance and it won’t be any fun for them. It seems that the only dancing I see is kind of “free-form” and not really dancing. I don’t like that at all so if that kind of music is all people will ‘dance’ to, then what do we do?
Don’t get me wrong, I love all music.
What is your experience with this? Am I totally out-of-the-loop?
Thank you for your e-mail. Good question! And you’re right. The host wants their guests to have a good time.
“Dance music” for a “Dinner Formal” is kind of like “ballroom dance music” Latin, Waltz, Swing, etc. In designing an event these styles of music go well with men in suit and tie and women in evening gowns. (For a real “Formal” consider men in tuxedos.) “Standards” from “The Great American Song Book” made popular by Sinatra, Buble, Dean Martin and others work well for just about any occasion and can form the foundation of an elegant dinner dance. Though there are other styles of music I would suggest for later in the evening I think you are on the right track with your initial choice in music. I totally get the picture!
Planning the Successful Party
There is a purpose to every party and a host certainly chooses who will be attending. Some guests come to a party to dance and will dance no matter what. It may be that some guests who haven’t seen other guests in a long time would rather spend the evening catching up. To them it would be a perfect evening if they could just sit at their tables and engage in interesting conversation. In the planning process be mindful of this. It is totally okay to invite guests who are “not dancers”. They will still enjoy themselves. (Just please don’t seat those guests too close to dance floor, band or DJ.)
You have great ideas. I know this from past events. Before really talking about music I recommend we do a quick sketch to see where specific music may be needed during the course of the event.
Your party will be a wedding anniversary celebration (congratulations in advance!)
I recently performed as a Solo Pianist and DJ for a 50th anniversary party that was very successful. Key to the success of this event was my talking with the hosts. They had very good ideas. It was then my task to take their ideas and put them into an itinerary that would flow naturally from one activity to the next. At the party there were meaningful toasts and stories told from the heart that were naturally entertaining. There was a “cutting of the anniversary cake” and then an “anniversary dance” to which I invited all couples to the dance floor. Did everyone dance? No. But those engaging in conversation did stop to listen to the toasts and stories, enjoyed watching the dancers and then went back to their conversations. There was a slide show chronicling 50 years of marriage. (It was interesting to me seeing how hair and clothing styles changed over 50 years.) There was even a performance by members of the couple’s church choir!
There is a natural flow to a well planned evening. Before guests are invited (even before you book the location) I suggest working out an event itinerary SKETCH. Sometimes ideas come all at once and not necessarily in a logical order. The creative process is fluid and you certainly can change your mind. An itinerary sketch is a useful planning tool for organizing ideas. Having established your vision for the evening it is much easier to now see what you need to do to make it happen. This is like planning backwards from having established your ideal scene.
“Know your audience!”
I think this not only applies to a performer but I think this concept of knowing your audience also applies to a host putting together their guest list and yes, planning music for the party. As a performer I can’t always “choose my audience” but having the opportunity to talk with the host and working out the itinerary and music requests is a good start and this goes a long way toward my knowing that audience before I meet them.
Lots to talk about!
Getting back to the original premise “the host wants their guests to have a good time” it may be a good idea to develop a seating chart to help pair up guests based on their interests and demeanor for optimum interaction. It is all about creating the perfect environment for interaction.
I think planning music for an event is almost as much fun as performing for one. Call me. There is lots to talk about.
Sincerely, Eric Zimmermann DJ/Master of Ceremonies, Pianist and Bandleader. Elegant Music 626-797-1795.