By Megan Horst-Hatch
Are you planning a wedding? Whether you’re the mother of the bride or the happy couple, you’ll want to select a band that can get guests out on the dance floor and also a band that can play slow songs during dinner. It helps if the band also helps guests loosen up and have a good time. But finding just the right band is not without its perils. A band must strike the right balance and perform a song list that both grandma and the groom’s fraternity brothers will know. To get started in finding a band for your wedding, consider the following Chicagoland-based groups.
To get the party started, consider Wedding Banned. A Chicagoland area-based group, Wedding Banned plays a mix of favorites by artists like Britney Spears, Weezer, Bon Jovi, Beastie Boys and Sir Mix-a-Lot. While the band offers a rather bawdy performance at its club shows, it keeps it G-rated for weddings, corporate events and festivals. “We tone down the jokes for weddings, as we want everyone to be comfortable and not embarrass the bride’s grandma,” Chuck Tipton, Wedding Banned’s bass player explained. During a typical wedding reception, Wedding Banned will start off playing slower songs that older guests know. As guests loosen up, the band switches to rock-and-roll and will get the wedding party to lead everyone in line dances. Tipton explained his band’s appeal, saying, “You’re having a show for your wedding, and it’s not just background music.”
David Rothstein Music, Inc.
1948 W. Fletcher St.
Chicago, IL 60657
Established in 2000, David Rothstein Music, Inc. (DRM) is a Chicago-based band that features a song list of current hits and old favorites. The group is led by David Rothstein, a Chicago native who previously performed with the Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey Orchestras. Rothstein prides himself on the extra touches his band will include to create a memorable wedding. “We make the wedding unique and personal and we get to know the happy couple as we go through the planning process,” he explained. For example, DRM presents the happy couple with a gift that reflects their shared interests and may be signed by the guests. One couple received a Chicago Bears football from DRM that was signed by their wedding guests. DRM is an award-winning group and was recently named one of the top wedding bands in Chicago by theknot.com in 2013.
The Chris Sarlas Orchestra
With anywhere between eight and 17 performers ready to play at a wedding, the Chris Sarlas Orchestra is prepared to make a splash at the reception. Led by Chris Sarlas, a graduate of Chicago’s DePaul University, Sarlas and his band play a range of music. The orchestra’s song list includes hundreds of songs from a variety of genres, including current hits from Beyonce and Katy Perry, dance songs from the 1960s and up, Motown favorites and classics from the big band and swing eras as well as traditional polkas, waltzes and songs from Italy and Ireland. The group can even play Greek music if your wedding calls for it. “While we have played at many Greek weddings, we have also played for couples from other backgrounds as well,” Sarlas said. “We pay strict attention to detail and we won’t play songs the happy couple hates,” Sarlas explained. The orchestra also takes requests from wedding guests, as long as the songs are not the happy couple’s do-not-play list.
Bradley Young Entertainment
2822 W. Eastwood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625-3710
Bradley Young Entertainment, led by Northwestern University-trained Bradley Young, is a band that has performed at numerous weddings and events, both in Chicago and around the country. Bradley Young Entertainment has a list of more than 5,000 songs that it plays at weddings, with genres that include current hits, dance songs from the 1970s and later, disco, classic rock, swing, jazz and Latin, with the band’s most-requested songs available online. The band also performs traditional Jewish ceremony songs.
Whether you want to listen to the Four Tops classic “I Can’t Help Myself” or dance the night away to Kelly Clarkson’s latest hits, TVK Music has you covered. Led by Tom Vankanegan, the band’s song list, which includes approximately 300 songs, features music from today as well as waltzes and swing hits, ensuring everyone from your grandparents to your friends will be on their feet. TVK also offers traditional Irish, Italian, Jewish, Polish and Latin songs. TVK is an award-winning band and received the Bride’s Choice Award by WeddingWire in 2013.
Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I’m a Trader Joe’s Fan. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.