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Wedding FAQs and rants
an ever evolving page...featuring random questions of interest relative to wedding entertainment & possibly humorous rants about interesting things that we have seen at weddings for which we perform!

• John Parker Bands vs The John Parker Band? •
• What can your bands do for our wedding? •
• When do we need to "line up" our band? •

• Who do we speak & work with? •
• What's the difference between you guys and others? •
• How hard will you try to sell us? •
• Do you work with Party or Wedding Planners ? •
• Do you work with Entertainment Agencies? •
• Our Venue is "pushing" or has a "book" of vendors •
• We went to see one of your bands & they were playing some songs that we do not like ! •
• On the subject of band's song lists •
• Why don't you offer photographers ? •
• If our parents really like you guys, how could we? •
• How can we help make our reception great ? •
• How could we help mess up our reception ? •
• We don't really know why we're here, we want a DJ! •
& coming soon: • Where DID the Bride go? •


 

• what's John Parker Bands versus The John Parker Band? •
The John Parker Band® is the only band John Parker himself performs in.

"John Parker Bands" is the company owned by John Parker that produces & oversees other established bands, like Dreamscape, City Heat & others - all under John Parker's leadership & guidance, but which he does NOT appear in. But unlike agents or big companies - John works directly with you AND the bands - and can assure you your wedding will be just how you want it - because HE makes it happen for YOU!

John Parker Bands are NOT random bands of pickup musicians, but established bands you can COUNT on.

• What can our bands do for YOUR wedding? •
We make your wedding the best time for ALL of your guests by getting everyone up dancing & listening.

We only have established & permanent bands that do ONE event on any given day - & not NOT random musicians thrown together for your wedding that we keep sending out multiple times on the same night under the same band name.

Music is non stop at your wedding as we can always DJ on any very short break.

Introductions & emceeing are professional & eloquent - & all reviewed with you well before the wedding day.

Our unsurpassed reputation of customer service & time with you BEFORE your wedding day means that YOU don't have to worry about anything on the day of your wedding - it just happens

YOU get more compliments on your wedding & have more fun than you ever dreamed.

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• When do we need to "line up" our band? •
As soon as you feel comfortable with your decision - you should NOT wait a minute longer! - We've had instances where we were unable to accommodate requests for given wedding dates almost 2 years away! Though very generally speaking, most arrange their bands for their wedding between 8-14 months out, with the "one year" mark significant in terms of increasing Bride's & Groom's & their families focus on lining up wedding related venues & vendors. BUT... sometimes certain dates remain open, or people need to try to change dates, postpone, or have other circumstances that cause "closer in" dates to again become open... SO you never know!! ...THE BEST THING IS TO ASK!!

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• Who do we speak to & work with? •
When you work with us, you are speaking to people who have themselves personally performed for a LOT of weddings and WILL be doing so at the time of YOUR wedding - not a salesperson who may be gone by the time your wedding rolls around. You have direct access to John Parker and to the bandleader performing for your event who has been at hundreds of weddings including this week, last week & next week - & is up on what is happening - now - at weddings.
You are NOT "assigned" to a "salesperson", or "sales consultant" (salesperson) who likely hasn't been to a wedding in years.
And while a salesperson may be VERY good at selling you stuff, they might not be so "helpful" when it comes to advising you on details about what really counts - YOUR wedding - which we pride ourselves on!

With us, the person you are directly working with has personally been to & performed at HUNDREDS of DIFFERENT weddings in MANY cities with MANY different groups of people & varied settings. We KNOW WHAT TO DO BECAUSE WE PERSONALLY HAVE DONE IT - more than a few times. Having a salesperson sell you a car, for example, is one thing - but for your Wedding, that ONE day of your life.... that's a time when the trust you place in people working with you, and that person's integrity being beyond reproach, is critical. Our reputation speaks for itself. (But we have hundreds of testimonials from our previous brides, grooms & parents to speak about our service too ! :)


Having that kind of direct & knowledgeable communication means peace of mind, and an assurance that the information you are getting about your wedding is not only timely - but also completely unbiased, accurate and relevant.

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• What's the difference between you guys and others? •

NOT NIGHTCLUB BANDS: We SPECIALIZE in Weddings. We know how to make a wedding great & EXACTLY what to do - WHEN & HOW to do it!

( There are great nightclub bands out there, but most often they have limited songlists & wedding experience, are not able to switch gears musically if needed, and are used to taking LONG breaks. Not to mention will often "require" things like huge stages, massive power requirements, dinner with your guests, bar access, trips to the "van" on breaks, etc... These often are good bands - just not right for weddings! Not to mention, certain things that might be ok to say or do, or music to play at a club are often NOT good at your wedding - to say the least!!

ESTABLISHED STABLE PERMANENT BANDS: Our bands are set groups of people who always play together & only can play one job at one time. They have set members who are used to working together, are tight, well rehearsed, KNOW what to expect working together.. etc. You can COUNT on them!

NOT A "BRAND" OF BAND - like say we called ourselves "The Lads"- then sent random musicians out to be your "The Lads" band - some of these "Lads" that you might supposedly be able pick your favorite from a bunch of - then if they're still around (& not needed to make another bands called "the Lads" that same night) get sent out to be the band for your wedding. DOES THAT REALLY SEEM LIKE A GOOD IDEA? Rehearsed? Together? Organized? Chemistry? Set & Reliable Equipment? (No, No, No, No & NO) - Yum!

NOT AN "AGENT" we are the bands! We're a real company yet NOT a middleman.
Some companies that make these throw together bands say "save $$$ in agency fees" - then you send them $$$ to their office in another city... um... sorry, but - that's an AGENT!!

REPUTABLE, EXPERIENCED, 100% INTEGRITY; This has been our only business over 20 years, and will be here when you need us. We have very significant financial resources, and a depth of personnel & stability you can trust your wedding to. Yet, when you ask "can the band do ____ at our wedding? It's not a guess - WE KNOW - because WE are the ones who personally make it happen for you & your family !!!

WELL EDUCATED, TACTFUL, & WELL SPOKEN. (and friendly, too)
Doesn't matter? Then "How 'bout some props to R peeps da Bride-n-Groom up 'er. Y'all give 'em a shout out there!"
Seriously though - this might not seem a problem until your wedding day. Of course then it might be a tad embarrassing.
Mispronounced names, uninformed gaffes about family situations the emcee never took the time to learn about, tactless attempts at humor, ways of speaking that might be humorous otherwise - might not be so appropriate at the wedding.
Yinz homeys know what I mean? :)

You work directly with us - & Our focus is YOU
In the planning stages - you'll get intelligent, relevant & timely wedding advice that will make sense for you.
Compare us to other companies in terms of our conduct, professionalism, customer service, & experience;
We provide a balance of smart personal service and solid financial strength that is unsurpassed
ALL FROM RIGHT HERE IN PITTSBURGH !


YOUR band, not OUR SHOW! We're there so your guests have FUN - not impress you with our Riverdance
Seriously! So many bands you see on their video doing all this dancing & other fluffy stuff - then when they come to your event, it's all - well.. blah! ....Truly - It's NOT about US - it's ALL about YOUR GUESTS & YOUR EVENT!!

PLANNING HELP that's not just a one size fits all form
Event planning forms & song selections are all done with us in YOUR private client area.
Our business IS weddings & specifically your wedding. John Parker, as a 100% Full-time band entertainment professional, is not booking clowns or jugglers or DJ's for that matter. He gives his full attention only to a few select clients every week.


multiple PROFESSIONAL equipment setups to perfectly match YOUR venue
Our professional stereo sound systems are matched for your reception venue.

Music is NOT TOO LOUD - yet very full sounding.

We don't do bars, so there's no smoky smelling equipment

AND it arrives together in one setup vehicle & is moved in BEFORE your guests arrive!!

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• How hard will you sell us if we call you or email you for info? •
UGH. We are full time professionals who are fortunate enough to have plenty to do working with our existing clients, learning wedding related trends and music, improving our performance, etc... Our clients typically are quite busy people too.

There is NOTHING and we mean NOTHING more annoying in our opinion than some "salesey" pressure or tactic.
Maybe it works with a certain group of people, but we STILL refuse to do it! - It's rude!
Our service philosophy is "we're here anytime if you need us & and always happy to help you quickly"

We call ONCE in the beginning after you initially contact us to say hello, get to know you & give you information. (We do feel it is nice to know who you are working with & think that goes both ways) - BUT, until YOU invite us to work with you & become a client, we NEVER further call you unless YOU REQUEST our contact!

We respect your time & space exactly like we would prefer to be treated ourselves.

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• Do you work with Party or Wedding Planners ? •
ABSOLUTELY! - we work with a LOT of great planners in Pittsburgh that we can recommend if you wish!
But did you know - a LOT of Planners accept COMMISSIONS? (in other words, vendors pay them $) And, in a recent industry survey - MOST don't tell their clients this? Our problem with this is that then Planners are mostly recommending the people sending them $$ - and not the vendors who are best. So your wedding costs more - & is not as good... That's not ideal.

In our opinion, the best thing for you is to hire a Party Planner that works on a FLAT OR HOURLY RATE, and as such then gets the very best vendors for their clients, giving their clients a LOT of choices among several entertainment agencies, and direct vendors (like us) be it for bands,
photographers, cakes, caterers, etc...

A great Wedding Planner is not inexpensive (and shouldn't be!) but worth every penny in terms of their expertise.

There are several wonderful planners in the area whom we would be happy to refer you to.

Along the lines of commissions, some wedding planners will tell you they work for "free" or for a (too good to be true) low rate. This usually comes in conjunction with their recommending certain vendors - (certain entertainment agencies, caterers, videographers, etc..) When this is the case, you can almost be assured they are receiving consideration (a.k.a. $) from the vendors for their recommendation.

We suppose they could genuinely be working for free. Though as I tell anyone who will listen; "anything free is usually worth nothing".

Another variation of this is when the wedding planner gets you a "discount" with their "recommended wedding vendors". Think about it - do the very best vendors need to give discounts? This means they aren't including all the best vendors or often recommending what is best for YOU, and not providing you with several otherwise worthy choices, and in our opinion this is making them more like agents than providing the kind of unbiased advice you're hiring them for.

Again, there are many truly great planners who can make your wedding planning a effortless dream. But just be smart & consider how they are compensated, if it makes sense, & why they are making their recommendations to you.

Consider this quote from a very successful & respected planner in Philadelphia; "As a planner, I am appalled that someone would take money from a vendor for referring them to a couple! That is my JOB!. The couple is paying me to help them find reputable vendors that fit their needs, not to make more money off of them. I would never take money from any vendor. In fact, if someone wants to pay me for referring them, I have to say to myself "can't they get business without a hook?". It is shooting myself in the foot to take kickbacks. When the brides find out you do it, they run the other way. When I refer a vendor, my conscience is clear. I refer those I feel confident in, not those who are putting money in my pocket. Not all planners are created equal.." - Indeed!

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Do you work with Entertainment Agencies? •
In general we do not, we only offer our band services directly to our clients. This is the only way we feel we can maintain our level of direct communication & service to our brides, grooms & their families. There are a few well known entertainment agencies for wedding band entertainment in the area. We are not such an agency, but are happy to tell you who the agencies are so you can investigate what they have to offer. Some offer several dozens or even hundreds of band choices including national acts and even clowns and jugglers - many of them offering the very same choices as their competing agencies... In our opinion, by offering hundreds of "acts" which they do not in any way oversee or take any responsibility for, they are hard pressed to offer the same personalized level of service as we do... Nor do we feel, that the services of someone who is not personally running weddings for clients (as we are) could possibly be as relevant or on top of all the various aspects of successful receptions. But we encourage you to compare.

ON THAT SUBJECT: If another agency tells you one of our bands is "Already booked for your date, sorry" - or - "they can't play, sing, etc..." - or - They all have the Flu - or - "You don't want that band, they all have 2 green heads and are unreliable", - OK, we're being facetious here, but you get the idea... they probably have another band whom they would like you to consider. We would like you to consider ALL of your options, including bands from other agencies - THEN ASK OUR PAST WEDDING CLIENTS - about our bands, and our level of service that we provided to them.

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Our Venue is "pushing" vendors or has a "book" of vendors •
In our fantasy land, our hope would be that Venues offered you recommendations for all reputable wedding vendors - in every category (caterer, entertainment, flowers, photo/video, etc...) AND that their recommendations were because they thought those vendors would be GREAT choices for their clients weddings!

Sometimes there are certain practical considerations as to why they can't do this, such as the caterer owns the Venue, or the kitchen is Kosher, etc... BUT for entertainment, photography, & similar outside services, if the Venue is ONLY telling you to go to ONE wedding vendor, (or saying "we use the X agency") OR has a colorful book of vendor advertisements from the vendors they "recommend", you might consider it might not be because those vendors are the only "good" choice around!
(actually it's just as likely the vendors paid to create their "book")

We LOVE to get a recommendation from a Venue - but we will NEVER pay for one! Either through a "kickback",
OR by paying exorbitant fees to "advertise" in a venue's "preferred vendor publication" Yikes! :)

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We went to see one of your bands & they were playing some songs that we do not like ! •
It's tough to go to see bands at private functions, often the venues are exclusive private clubs, or the event rooms are hard to get into or watch from without being obtrusive. Most importantly, the event is NOT that of the people who are going to "see" the band! It's the Event of the people who's party they are "crashing" ! - and the band will be doing what THOSE people want - (which is what the SHOULD do!) not what the people crashing want :)

Nonetheless, we've had people come into the venues and proceed to come up and ask our bands to play songs for them! Wow, that's out! Even if we DO think the movie "Wedding Crashers" was funny, we think invading someone else's wedding or other event is rude & tacky! When we are at YOUR event, we will play the kinds of songs and specific songs that YOU request. BUT, conversely, if you see a band performing at another event, they likely are playing the songs another bride or groom (or their parents or grandparents) have requested the band to perform..

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• On the subject of band's song lists •
Many times brides and grooms look at a list of songs that has literally many HUNDREDS of choices, and proclaim - "we're not sure about this band - they play a lot of XXXX music (substitute "Country" or "Big Band" or "Oldies" or "70's" or "Jazz" for XXXX) Point being, even if there are 300 songs on a band's list, 100 songs the couple likes, because they see dozens they don't like, they won't consider the band... that seems crazy to us...

2 THOUGHTS: A band playing 4 minute songs can, at most, play 15 songs in an hour- and that's only if music is NON STOP! Also, there are usually people of ALL ages and musical tastes - and almost ALWAYS our brides and grooms are at least a little surprised by what kind of music their guests like and/or request or ultimately wind up dancing to. (and are happy that our bands can usually play it!)

Of course too few songs is not good either - if the band you're considering only has 80 songs
here's hoping you like most all those songs! :)

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Why don't you offer photographers (or videographers) ? •
We can tell you about a LOT of photographers or videographers which you can check out. FREE. You can see many of the photographers pictures on our site. We take ALL photographers submissions of weddings we have done and offer NO special consideration. The pictures are there & you decide if you like them. We don't "book" Photo or Video because we specialize in MUSIC for your wedding. Same reason we don't book Clowns, Hypnotists, or Barney. Moreover, in general the top photographers don't need an agency to book them... why would they want to forfeit as much as 40% of their fee to an agency who has no bearing on how good your pictures will be...?
Wouldn't you prefer your money going towards a better photographer, rather than a salesperson's commission?


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If our parents really like you guys, how could we? •
Well, either you have very cool parents.
OR: Your parents aren't as crazy as you thought, and they realize that most of our bands play a HUGE variety of music - meaning that quite likely EVERYONE at your wedding - of ALL ages - is going to have FUN!!!

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How can we help make our reception great that day? •
Want your guests to dance? - come out and dance yourself!
Having a bar? Have it in the same room as the band if at all possible to avoid "polarizing" your guests !
In general, RELAX - once you get to this point, you might as well sit back and enjoy it!

TRUST - if you've hired reputable, experienced and knowledgeable professionals,
they are going to simply "make it happen" for you, without your having to do or worry about a thing!!

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How could we, the bride & groom, really mess up our own reception? •
That question is just wrong! - in truth you probably can't do anything to change the joy people will have in sharing in the celebration of your marriage. BUT - there ARE a LOT of things you can do that are less than optimum to make your wedding awkward, clunky, or drag on.... We do have a somewhat facetiously titled page "how (not) to kill the party" which you might find helpful -ask us to see it!

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• We don't really know why we're on your website, we want a DJ! •

Maybe because ALL of our bands can DJ whatever you want (?) :)


A LOT of people who thought only a DJ could play the variety & authenticity of music we have to offer are very pleasantly surprised to learn that not only do we play the music they like, but bring to it a personality and sophistication and energy that you get ONLY with a live band!

Not to mention if you really need more club music than a certain band plays - or you MUST have that obscure song in Russian from the "Burnt Zucchini Orchestra" or the Trance version of Nine Inch Nails tune as covered by "Squished Lizard", we can ALWAYS play it on our rockin sound system for you!

EVERY SINGLE SONG A DJ CAN PLAY - WE CAN TOO!
Check out how a live band can be "all that" & so much more!

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•••• MORE ANSWERS (& more questions) COMING VERY SOON!!! ••••
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Our Mailing address:One Oxford Centre 301 Grant Street, Suite 4300 Pittsburgh, PA 15219 • specializing in great live bands for Pittsburgh Weddings for over 20 years

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