Break the Rules for Wedding and Party Music

by Robbie Schlosser · 11 comments

Thanks in advance for reading this article. I appreciate your interest and hope you get a few good ideas. I'd love to hear what you liked. Please write me a little COMMENT below. Start a conversation. Tell me what you think, and I'll reply. Promise.

As far as I’m concerned, “Feel free to break the rules” is often the best advice.

For anything, including planning wedding and party music.

Its been said that rules are made to be broken, but of course, first you must learn the rules, so you can break them wisely.

Robbie Schlosser in Saratoga, 2012Here I am, playing at a recent wedding reception in Saratoga.  Thoughtful — wondering about the rules.  Thanks for the photo, Todd Rafalovich.

Today two random comments from friends got me thinking about people who break the rules.  First my sister Barbara mentioned that she was offended by all the nasty political comments she found on Pinterest.  She asked wasn’t this against the rules?

I replied that I thought Pinterest was originally intended for people to organize and share pictures of things they’re interested in.

But now, like it or not, imaginative people always seem to break the rules and devise other uses.  For everything imaginable.  In a real sense, this is how we progress.

The second comment was from a friend I knew way back in my days teaching in high school.  She posted a humorous list of “the way things used to be when we grew up in the good old days” and suggested that the country is going to Hell because we’re shackled with too many rules and regulations.  Shouldn’t we break the rules?

Thanks, Deb.  Maybe yes, maybe no.  The way we live nowadays is way too complex for any blanket conclusion.  Certainly many rules are trivial and ridiculous, but many others are crucially important.

Both comments got me thinking about people who break the rules.  I bet many historians have traced the growth of civilization mainly by highlighting pioneers who were willing to break the rules — or at least stretch them beyond what anyone expected.

I thought of Steve Jobs’ video, “Here’s to the Crazy Ones“, which introduced Apple’s “Think Different” campaign.  Watch it.

Can you see how all this “break the rules” business relates to planning music for a wedding or a party?

There’s the traditional repertoire of wedding music.  Wagner’s “Here Comes the Bride”, Pachelbel”s “Canon in D”, Bach’s “Ave Maria”, and all the rest.  But realize that once upon a time these tunes broke the current traditional rules and became popular to this day.

Many weddings still include “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”.  Nevertheless, nowadays many people like to personalize their choices of music.  They choose sentimental favorites or songs with their names in the title.  Especially for wedding ceremonies.

Recently a bride named Wendy asked us to play “Windy” for her processional.  (Remember the 1967 hit by “The Association”?  Oh well, ask your grandmother…)

Popular recessional tunes we play, like “All You Need Is Love”, “I Just Called to Say I Love You”, and “Happy Together” may become traditional in another generation.  And then you can bet some people will begin to break the rules and select some of today’s “rap” tunes.  Or worse…

We all break SOME rules.  How about YOU? How do you like to break the rules?


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Thanks for reading this article. I appreciate your interest and hope you get a few good ideas here. Got one or two? I'd love to hear what you liked. Please write me a little COMMENT below. Start a conversation -- I'll reply. Promise.

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Meanwhile, the Magnolia Jazz Band entertains at weddings and parties throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. If you are ever nearby, you’ll love catching us in action, seeing and hearing us create a great mood.

How can I help you? Call 408-245-9120 or use Planning a celebration? Ask about our availability.

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Andrea Feinberg

Thoughtful post, Robbie; I always thought breaking the rules is how we progress. As long as the rule breakers aren’t doing so to to harm anyone it seems that this is the soul of experimentation, technology innovation and, hopefully, improved human relations.

Robbie Schlosser

Thanks, Andrea. Yep! I’m inclined that way myself, but I recognize that we DO need to preserve some rules for safety and stability. Not to mention that most civilized societies have to create their own version of the “Golden Rule”, if they hope to survive. Balancing what rules to keep or break — that’s our perennial challenge.

Kama Frankling

I lovely gently breaking the “rules” finding the amusing side of a situation that has been taken too seriously. Noticing the usually unnoticed. Pointing out the obvious, in a respectful manner of course. I believe this kind of breaking the rules, or playing through life, creates awareness and is, as you have said, how we progress. The world would be a boring place if some of us didn’t break the rules.

Robbie Schlosser

Thanks, Kama. Great point about humor. Now that you mention it, whatever we find funny violates our intuition or our prediction. Why else do we laugh when some poor soul falls down or gets pie-faced? Good comedians constantly surprise us by playfully breaking the rules of what we expect. Do you suppose this sense of humor is universal and unique to humans?

Joyce Hansen

The minister who married us had known my husband from childhood.
He was sure surprised when we broke the rules with a wedding march played on an
early Moog synthesizer. The melody was there, but sound was not what everyone
expected. Still married to the same guy and we’re still breaking the rules.

Robbie Schlosser

Thanks, Joyce. Way to go! Sounds like you set the stage early. You must be getting lots of mileage from that off-the-wall story. I bet you tell it again and again whenever anyone mentions “wedding”.

Gordon Bryan

this post made me think of my bass guitar. Starting off as a drummer, I decided to learn some bass after friends told me it would be a good match. I enjoyed it, and got myself a purple acrylic see through bass because it made me smile and I liked the way it looks.
Then after I had mastered the basics, I decided that didn’t want to learn more detailed technique so wondered how my light entertainment background may help.
I put a load of sequins down 2 of the strings and now just use the other 2 to play. It gets smiles and attention, and again, makes me smile too – how’s that for breaking the rules!
Cheers, Gordon

Robbie Schlosser

Thanks, Gordon. NICE! Even before you begin playing that purple guitar with all the sequins, I’m sure you catch everyone’s attention and light up the room with smiles. What a conversation opener that must be! No one can accuse you of meekly following every rule.


beautifully said, Robbie. i believe respectfully questioning just about everything leads to great new discoveries.

Robbie Schlosser

Thanks, Katie. I’ve seen a George Carlin quote similar to this. He was recommending that parents who teach their kids to read ought to teach the kids to question everything they read. I’m sure he was concerned more about protecting the kids from random BS, rather than finding “great new discoveries”. Personally, I like both attitudes about equally.

Lynn White

Great article Robbie.  I love it when couples follow their rules and noone else’s.

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