Our wedding is a Friday night in the summer and our cocktail hour is going to be outside at our venue, poolside. We're having trouble getting our original idea for cocktail hour music to pull through since it's a policy at this venue that nothing can be plugged in outside....making it tough for us to get a keyboard, or even a guitar amp or stereo outside. Is cocktail hour music really necessary? I know the weddings I've been too have all had it but I honestly never pay attention to it because I'm always talking to people and eating some food. I'm not sure what to do and was wondering if it even mattered if there was music or not. Let me know what your opinions are...thanks!

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Does it have to be electrified music to maintain your vision? Why not instruments that don't need to be plugged into anything. They would be a bit more traditional for cocktail hour and the type of music you want can still be played. All the music does is add ambiance there is no rule that it's required.
Well what our issue is, is that the one thing my fiance wanted was his jazz professor from college to play piano. The problem we had was getting a piano there for an hour...it's not only a hassle but it's very expensive to rent one. So we thought he could play keyboard but that's a no since we can't plug anything in. We're not really into string instruments or a harp so we were just considering not having background music for that hour....

Perhaps consider a battery operated keyboard.  I'm not a musician and don't know a lot about instruments, however, in my home, I have a large Casio keyboard which can be plugged in or battery operated on D batteries.  If I'm not mistaken, I believe it also has plug ins on the back for additional speakers (which would also need to be battery operated).  It's got built in speakers which are fairly loud though and can fill a pool area with music quite easily.  Just something additional to consider if you really want to have the keyboard music.  Just make sure to use fresh batteries and have extra available! :)




There are a lot of bands that play just on the streets, so plugging in might not be a problem

You have a lot of great options! You can book a flute, violin and cello to play either full out classical or even some great tangos, waltzes and even some big band pieces that have been arranged for trio. I even have a guitarist I book who has a battery powered amp for those type of situations. Solo guitar, flute, violin and guitar and flute and guitar are all great groups. Have you ever thought of Celtic music? We book Celtic trios too. These groups are tottally acoustic. If you have ever watched a movie before the music is added (as in some of the special features on the DVD ) you can hear how much atmosphere great music brings to the occassion. Live music has the added benefit of adding a wonderful sopfisticaed look to the event. Diane with Nashville Chamber Players
The thing about music, particularly background music, is that if it's good it just blends in with the rest of the event, but if it's bad, or non-existent THAT's when it's obvious and noticable.
There are definitely acoustic options that sound great for just about any type of music genre, including jazz.
I always think background music is nice, especially indoors because it keeps the room from sounding like a noisy cafeteria. But in your case since you'll be outdoors so I don't think you'll run into that issue. I was going to suggest hiring a string trio or some other ensemble but I see you're not into that idea. If you decided not to have any music I think it would be fine to skip it for the cocktial hour.

Soulful Engagements
The point of a cocktail hour is to stop, relax a little, and to socialize/mingle, and with that in mind, even though you may not like classical music, it does create a very relaxing and social atmosphere. Unless of course you are looking for more of a stand still concert type atmosphere...? The one other question that I have is... can nothing be plugged in by way of using their electricity? The reason I ask this, is because many times now working as a wedding photographer I have been known to bring along a generator to outdoor locations for photo shoots that require lighting or electrical equipment... so my question to you is this... could you question them on whether or not you could use a low noise generator so that you are not using their electricity, or is this too against their policy... just another idea to help you to start thinking outside the box and cutting corners, and hope that it helps. Good luck with everything.

Phillip Brunelle Photography
Massachusetts Wedding Photographer
MA Wedding Photographers
I just asked a venue nearby me if I could accept outdoor engagements there even though I use a small amp with my instrument. I was told yes. The amplification policy is meant to control loud bands. Talk to the catering manager, explain that this is for a solo pianist and ask if you can go ahead with the keyboard as long as it is no louder than an acoustic piano. The answer might surprize you.
I can not understand, why corrected such rigid? Really it is impossible to make exception?
You DJ should be able to help you with the scenario, and you could even work around this one yourself. There are dozens of really decent Battery-Powered PA speakers that you plug in and charge, and then use where there is no power.

Most all of these units have nice basic mixers built in as well, so you can also plug in a microphone for basic announcements along with your music.

As for music, this self/battery-powered speaker option will let you use an iPod (or heck, even a cell phone) to play your cocktail music. If more versatility is required in music, your DJ could plug in their laptop to run on battery power and mix as-usual.

If you aren't working with a DJ, or at least one who is knowledgeable about these types of options, consult a local Audio-Visual rental store to inquire about a day-long rental. It won't cost much to allow you to have music and even announcements in even the remotest locations.

wedding I think is the more simple the better


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