Frequently Asked Wedding Questions

For more event info, please see Frequently Asked Event Questions!

 

What should a couple keep in mind when thinking about wedding music?

  • Definitely book early when it comes to music — a year or a year and a half in advance is best. Lock it in.
     

Any cost-saving suggestions for couples with budget concerns who still want the maximum entertainment?

  • If you don’t have your wedding on a prime-time date or day of the week, you can save money immediately.

  • The Kailua Swing quartet or quintet combination is great value for your investment. They are the core rhythm section of the big band, use the same top tier vocalist, Barron Steffen, and even add an ukulele for a vintage flavor on several tunes. Or go for the 7-piece band, Barron’s Little Big Band. They play off of the same charts and arrangements as the big band. The 10-piece big band isn’t always for everyone.

  • One popular and successful option is to start with the Acoustic Jazz Trio during cocktails, allowing guests a chance to connect, and then gradually intensify the excitement with the contrast of one of the larger bands into the finale. You get a significant uptick by adding just a little contrast, and it ends up sustaining the energy of your event. It also can be very cost-effective because most of those musicians are already onsite.  See also the comments below about DJ’s.

 

What are your thoughts on DJs?

  • Adding one after the live band is done playing can work well. It provides a nice option for couples who want to honor all the different ages and cultures present at their reception because everyone will get a chance to hear and dance to something they love.

  • We also offer a service for after the live band where our sound tech stays to run the equipment while your own special iPod Wedding Song Playlist plays on for you and your guests. The savings for most couples choosing between adding a DJ or having our sound tech manage their Wedding Song Playlist usually ends up being a real cost-saver. It also has an added charm since family and guests know they are dancing to songs that are meaningful to the happy couple.

  • As mentioned in the FAQ, after a certain point in the evening the big band, swing, jazz and blues genres may become tiring for audiences no matter how festive the celebration. So breaking up the evening into different pockets of entertainment allows a beneficial contrast and keeps the excitement and energy flowing and growing. After all, most guests actually do want to end up on the dance floor at some point in the finale. So, it helps to have an energetic arc to the event’s entertainment that culminates clearly and intentionally for all.

 

Can you also provide ceremony, cocktail, or even rehearsal dinner music?

  • Yes, we offer many different combinations of music including instrumental soloists such as a pianist or an acoustic guitarist, an Acoustic Jazz Trio, and classical and traditional instrumentations. Please ask us for more details.

  • The Cocktail Hour: Set the mood. If you’re surrounded by nature, consider an acoustic or classical guitar player. If you’re at a historical mansion or a classy venue, go for an acoustic jazz trio performing music from the ’20s and ‘30s.

  • The Reception: Give your band a clear idea of what you like. Everyone has his or her own opinion. As mentioned before, give us a list of favorites from our song list, and try and add contrast to longer events by having the band start out as a trio or quintet, and build the energy throughout the evening.

    • Your wedding reception is a lifetime memory and we know the music sets the tone. And it’s not JUST about the music. We, the musicians, know to create a sense of community and connection in the room, too. Then, the bride and groom can soak up the unforgettable experience that their night truly is, confident their family and guests are also having the time of their lives. Because it IS the night of a lifetime. It IS the memory of a lifetime.

 

What songs and styles are popular right now?
Sinatra’s still cool, right?

  • Everyone still loves him. The classics — they never get old. They make everyone smile and want to get up and dance. Those songs are timeless and can be appreciated by anyone, at any age, and from any culture.

  • We also recommend listening to songs from our list on iTunes that may not sound all that familiar to you at first. Often a favorite wedding song has been discovered in just that way, like Nat King Cole’s, Let There Be Love, which turned out to be such a consistent favorite that we ended up including it on our recent CD, Barron’s Big Band – LIVE.

 

Do you have a brief bio? 

  • Barron, a classically trained singer, grew up in Santa Monica, California, amidst the influences of his opera-singing mother and family friends such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra. His family was intimately connected to the heavyweights of the era. Barron’s godfather, Barron Hilton, got Sinatra to perform at JFK’s Democratic Convention in Beverly Hills.  Barron’s father, Geary Steffen, was married to Jane Powell who danced and sang in some of MGM’s top musicals such as Royal Wedding with Fred Astaire.

  • Barron’s own music career began in Italy, where his hit single “It’s Not Really Over” reached number 17 on the billboard charts. Back in the U.S., Barron’s band was recognized as one of L.A.’s top 10 unsigned. Barron’s Big Band returned him to his roots in the American standards, quickly establishing him as a top tier player with repeat performances at the Governor’s Ball of New Mexico, The Four Seasons Hotel, and frequent multi-national corporate events.

 

How many songs NOT on the song list can we request, and how long before our wedding day do we have to notify you of them?

  • You can request up to 3 songs not on our song list. There is a charge to have a new song chart created for the big band. No charge for the Kailua Swing quartet or quintet.

    • If you have selected the 7 or 10-piece big band, we give you a time frame by when you need to request it to have it in time for your event, usually a minimum of 3 months prior.  You send us the song, and our musical director does his research, and creates each part.
      Writing a musical arrangement for 7+ pieces is a service that normally has a beginning cost of about  $500 per song, but we offer it to our booked clients at half that amount.

    • The Kailua Swing quartet or quintet usually needs about 4-6 weeks in advance to research a new song and create the lead chart, and there is no charge for that.

  • To avoid confusion on the version of song and artist, occasionally we require that the client provide us an MP3 recording for the request, since there are usually several artists who performed that song.

 

Can we play a prerecorded version of our request?

  • Absolutely. We understand that sometimes the original song is preferred, so we don’t mind plugging in your MP3 payer to our sound system.

 

I have a family member/friend that is a professional musician/singer who would like to sing a song with the band. Is that ok?

  • We’re happy to accommodate your friends and family if they would like to perform with us, but let us know well ahead of time, and please do confirm a few things with them. They’ll need to perform the song in the same key and arrangement/version that the band normally uses.

  • If you do NOT want your family/ friends to join in with the band, please let us know beforehand, as well.

 

Do we pick a song for our introductions?

  • You are welcome to pick their introduction song, or you can leave it to us.

  • Please keep in mind that songs with lyrics will sound chaotic if you have a vocalist singing and another person trying to make announcements over it at the same time. In that case, we recommend the introduction take place just before the song begins.

 

When does the band set up the instruments and sound equipment?

  • The hour before the start of the performance is considered load-in, set-up, and sound check time onsite. Anything earlier than that will be billed at $25/hr. per person.

  • Please note that sometimes an event coordinator will wait until the last minute to tell the band and sound team that they need to be set up “x” number of hours before the actual performance time for any number of reasons. Keep in mind that some musicians may be traveling in from different areas in the state, and therefore need to know their on-call time well in advance to respect family or professional commitments. Please discuss this aspect with your event coordinator beforehand so that a contract can be finalized.

 

What are some common mistakes you see couples make?

  • It’s easy to want to orchestrate it all. But it’s most helpful for clients to give just their favorite songs to make sure we hit those. You’ll want the band to respond to your audience. We’re professionals and we want to keep the evening’s energy and dance floor going.  It’s impossible to say which songs the guests are going to respond to until you’re actually in the moment. That’s probably one of the biggest mistakes — to predetermine the order of the playlist without trusting the band’s expertise. Give us a list of your favorites from our song list and we’ll it build it around those. Stressing about the tiny details ultimately doesn’t help the party.

Any words of wisdom from someone behind the scenes?

  • I like to reassure my clients that nothing is unfixable, no matter how close we get. We have an answer for everything. You can’t plan for every incident. If it’s Friday and there’s a storm warning for the weekend, we’re on the phone all day, coordinating plans B, C, and D with you. Our focus is to make sure everything goes smoothly. No problem is too big; no request is too large.