A really good party flies by in a flash and that is our experience at most of the weddings we play. It’s over before we know it. At most weddings with a band, it works out to be about 60 songs over the course of the reception. If there are more toasts and formalities, you get fewer songs and it is very common for the band to not to get to every song they had hoped to play for the bride and groom.
Your cocktail hour is an opportunity to get 12 to 14 more songs in the mix and helps set the tone for the party to come. If the setting is an elegant downtown ballroom at night, everyone in tuxedos with lights of the city around them, cocktail jazz is a great way to go (a duo of sax and piano can be just the thing), but if your setting is by the ocean on the Cape or in Newport, nothing beats an acoustic guitar and mellow jams that everyone knows: Bob Marley, Van Morrison, Billy Joel, Tom Petty, Jason Mraz, James Taylor, etc. You could just throw on a Spotify playlist, but then you won’t have moments like this with the father of the bride and her brothers leading everyone in a sing along of “Take Me Home Country Roads” on the dock at Regatta Place in Newport on a beautiful June day.