Matt Stedman is the leader of two different five-star GigMasters groups based in Chicago, IL. One is a World Music Band and the other a Classical String Quartet; both are perpetually booked for all types of events.
As the leader of one of our top wedding bands and top wedding string quartets, Matt has performed at hundreds of weddings. From his front row seat on the band stand Matt has seen just about everything that can happen at weddings. And everything does happen at weddings.
We asked Matt to share with us a few stories of the wildest things he has had to overcome at weddings gigs. Matt is just scratching the surface with these wedding reception stories:
A few years ago, a guest at a wedding we were performing at keeled over and fell to the floor. We immediately stopped performing, put on pleasant and soft iPod music (to avoid an awkward silence), and asked our client if we could do anything to help ease the situation as the family members were calling 911. We acted in the most appropriate manner we could at the time, but there is no official "protocol" for a situation like this. The moral of the story is (try to) maintain composure, because if we stay calm, everyone else will too.
We've also had, and continue to have, wedding guests who feel that they are qualified to lead my band after they've had a few drinks. During one of the first weddings I ever performed, I just couldn't get rid of a certain guest who was literally screaming at me at the top of his lungs me to let him sing with my band. He literally would not take "no" for an answer and I struggled throughout the night to ignore him, as he tried to talk to me as I was singing and in between our songs when I was counting tempos for the band. He was intoxicated, and he was just ridiculously focused on performing with us. It's difficult enough to be a performer and band leader, so I wasn't too thrilled about deflecting this gentlemen from bothering us throughout the night. Somehow I managed through it, but I vowed to never let something like this happen again.
As a result of the situation, I now have a stipulation in my contract that prohibits anyone that is not in my band to perform with me without my prior written consent, as this protects us and the bride and groom from unnecessary hassles. Now when these intoxicated or overzealous guests approach me to sit in with my band, all I have to say is 'at the request of the bride and groom, no one is allowed to perform except for us.' This ends the conversation immediately.
However, I will let professional musicians or talented musicians sit in with us with if the bride and groom approve and it is planned appropriately...months before the wedding.