Cocktail Party or Wedding Reception: Get the Music Right

by Robbie Schlosser · 9 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.

Magnolia Jazz Band in San Francisco,  2012See us setting the perfect mood for a sophisticated cocktail party?

Like any cocktail party, the main point of this evening was to encourage guests to mingle and enjoy pleasant conversations.

Thanks to Vasna Wilson and Drew Altizer Photography for the wonderful photos.

So, how do we make the music perfect?  Easy!

Whenever people have us entertain at their weddings and parties, one of our first conversations usually begins this way:

“So, Robbie, you’re the expert.  How should I begin planning music for the big celebration.”

And I often reply with something like:

“Tell me about the mood you want.  Particularly, what do you want your party to sound like?”

Here’s a tip.  To start planning with a question like this seems like a no-brainier.  After all, people planning a party ought to consider how their guests enjoy how it sounds.

Occasionally, we hear about a party where the music didn’t fit somehow.  For example, how often do we hear  “The music was so loud, we could hardly talk there.”

Sometimes that’s the highest praise for a wonderful time.  Like at a lively graduation party or a festive birthday party.  Here everyone wants to dance like there’s no tomorrow, drowning in an ocean of music.

Sometimes it’s a bitter complaint.  Like at an elegant wedding reception or a sophisticated cocktail party.  Here everyone wants to enjoy satisfying conversations with important guests.

There are many kinds of celebrations.  Usually there are just a few ways to get the music right.  Always there are many ways to get it wrong.

The Magnolia Jazz Band entertains at all kinds of events.  My mission always is to get the music right.  Make it fit perfectly every time, whether at a baseball game for the San Francisco Giants or a sophisticated cocktail party for the San Francisco Junior League.

So here’s a tip:  Early on, I’ll ask the planner a few crucial questions to steer us in the right direction.  “What do you want your party to sound like?” is one such question.

CLICK here to tweet this post and join our Magnolia Jazz Band fans on Facebook.  You’ll receive daily tips for planning wedding and party music, and you’ll get reminders for our public events.

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.

By the way, does a friend need help selecting wedding or party music? Do them a favor: EMAIL this article, or SHARE it on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

And if you find my blog useful, please LIKE it, TWEET it, and SUBSCRIBE for more ideas. Use those cute little icons below.

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

Hi Robbie ~ Recently I hosted a surprise party for my mom’s birthday; we were going out to dinner but starting at home for cocktails. I wanted live music but my living room could only accommodate 1 added performer. So I hired a Sinatra impersonator who also brought his karaoke machine to set the mood. It created ‘big band’ sound for my ‘small performing stage. Thinking through logistics with my desired outcome helped me to get it done – well!

Robbie Schlosser

Thanks, Andrea,
Glad your party turned out so well.  Sounds like your little cocktail party/nightclub lounge gave the celebration a rousing start, conversation openers for the rest of the evening, and a memorable good time for all.  Congratulations!

Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A.

Another example that the environment is critical to set the mood.

Which is one reason why- as opposed to seemingly tons of others- I detest restaurants whose noise level makes me look for the nearest jackhammer (it’s quieter)!

Robbie Schlosser

Thanks, Roy.  No joke!  As I understand it, many restaurants and retail stores deliberately select their ambiance (music, lighting, decor, and all the rest) to attract their ideal clients and discourage the rest.  Savvy event planners plan with this in mind, too.  And on another note, I’ll assume you seldom attend rock concerts, right?


Great … Thanks for sharing

Robbie Schlosser

Thanks Lora,
Glad you enjoyed reading…

Robbie Schlosser recently posted..Customize Wedding Music for Gamble Garden, Palo AltoMy Profile


t’s time to face the music when it comes to choosing from this list of musical talent for big day. Whether you are looking for something unique — like Gospel — or traditional decade hits, Its important to choose best entertainers who will leave your guests dancing all night long!

Robbie Schlosser

Thanks Catherine,
Wonderful insight. Sounds like you’ve dealt with this situation before…
– Robbie
Robbie Schlosser recently posted..Selecting Garden Party MusicMy Profile

Alex H

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