Monday, February 15, 2010

karaoke wedding reception?

Dear ESB,  

please weigh in! 

so we have many vocally talented friends, and a few that are professional musicians. while we're not too keen on picking any one (or set) of them to be our wedding band (we want them to be partying with us!) for our joshua tree outdoor campfire kinda reception-idea,  we thought getting a karaoke machine - with a long list of pre-selected songs - could be a really fun way to include everyone. i can also see how this could go possibly terribly wrong. . .   thoughts? 


-NorthEastside Bride


Mkay. In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I hate karaoke. I mean, I'm willing to go to a dive bar/bowling alley that features karaoke for, say, a bachelorette party, but a new year's eve party I attended this year was hampered, in my opinion, by a retarded match of Karaoke Revolution that required those of us in the other room to turn our music off.

Here's what I think. Karaoke could be really fun late night. But if you bring it out too soon there is a serious danger you will scare off the people who have a) no interest in singing and/or b) no interest in hearing the "vocally talented" people sing. (Also... Professional musicians might really rather bring along guitars or whatever than sing along with a fucking machine.)


p.s. You guys have sent me so many good questions, and I plan to answer them all, I swear. But feel free harass me if any of them are time sensitive.


  1. Yes. I think this is s true thing. And I like Karaoke (sort of. I like it in private booths in NYC with friends. I do not like it up on display)

  2. My husband is a musician and has played at friends weddings a few too many times. He finds it torturous and refuses to do it ever again. For our own wedding he also refused to let me float the idea of friends-as-wedding-musos.

    This was the one thing for wedding he said NO to.

    And I'm glad. Everyone partied, danced, hung out and no one was put to work (karaoke is work too).

    The closest thing we got to muso input was a few people decided to play with the ipod at times, almost like becoming dj's for short 30 minute sets. And they did that on the night with no pre-planning. And that's what made it special.

    (sorry for this long uninvited comment)

  3. i'm with esb on this one. bottom line, it's your wedding so really you should do whatever floats your boat. however, you should also keep in mind that there are people out there who HATE karaoke. i am one of those people. i pretty much hate it as much as the killing of cute baby kittens. there is really nothing that will make me exit a party faster than karaoke. think of your guests. might any of them fall into this category? that being said, if you could really give a rat's ass about your guests having a fun time at your wedding, then yes, karaoke the night away...

  4. I like the idea for later on in the reception when people are comfy/tipsy. However, if it may be possible that you will have a slightly loud and obnoxious uncle attending who likes attention BEWARE! He may like the kareoke a bit too much. If there will be no one fitting this description then I think it would be fun- we had some singing at my wedding from friends and family that was quite spontaneous and that was wonderful. Maybe instead of kareoke just encourage some singing.

  5. a close family friend of ours got married about 3 years ago. i would say that a good percentage of their friends are either professional musicians or had played in bands together (either in college or otherwise). instead of hiring a band, the bride + groom decided to just set up a drum kit, some guitars, amps, etc.... just in CASE anyone had the inclination to play. (they made an ipod playlist, just in case).

    come to find out, the entire night they had a rotation of random friends who got up and played together randomly. it. was. AWESOME. that way when the groom wasn't playing drums, he was out partying with the rest of us. and then someone else would step in.

    to this day, it is my favorite wedding i've ever been to. to me, that seems better than karaoke.

  6. Man if you have lots of musicians friends, you should totally organize a sort of open mic thing for later in the night--no karaoke machine necessary!

  7. i hope you are not agreeing with Sarah Palin in saying that using the word "retard" in satire is ok?
    it is offensive.

  8. enough karaoke talk. can we hear more about this joshua tree/campfire wedding please? please? where is it. i must know. and, and.

  9. A friend of mine did a "talent/no talent" show for his birthday, and it became this really phenomenal evening of people performing music/dance/etc. Luckily all his friends are very talented, and it became a really lovely evening celebrating him.

    This might be a more personal way of going about it, kind of like in that Alan Cumming movie, 'The Anniversary Party'?

  10. karaoke is only fun for people who like it. it is torture for those of us who do not. that said, it could be pretty hilarious for the last hour of the night?!!? though outdoors in joshua tree it might clash pretty hard. acoustic guitars would not clash.

  11. good point, MA.

    which is why i wanted calexico (WITH the mariachi band) to play our wedding.

    guess they didn't get the memo.

  12. yeah, I don't think Gram Parsons would approve of karaoke.

  13. i'm such an *ss. i just wanted to go right past the whole karaoke thing cause it didn't interest me and move on to the subject of joshua tree, and failed to see how they related.

    i think esb/ma/naurnie etc might be on to something. karaoke doesn't fit into the concept of a joshua tree/campfire wedding, but having a selection of instruments propped casually around the "campfire" could be pretty great??? no one would feel awkward if they were not into singing, as can happen at a k party, but those with talent can pick up the instruments and go for it and entertain everyone else? rad.

  14. (you know. like in the picture)

  15. We did a karaoke wedding at the beginning of the year. The bride and groom, family & friends were singers (theater people not musicians) and they wanted to intermix jamming out & dancing with performances. It was meant to be stress free and entirely up to the guests.

    What we found were an overwhelming response and so many requests that we couldn't accommodate them all throughout the night. For this group is was absolutely amazing and it worked out wonderfully. Would I advise it for everyone? Probably not. But it's your wedding. You know your family and friends better then anyone. At the end of the day do what you want is my credo.

  16. So I went to a wedding where the bride and groom had 4 or 5 of their friends and family perform at their wedding . . . a couple durring dinner, a couple right before the dj started and then I think one a little later . . . professional musicians as well . . . I thought it was a wonderful addition to the wedding!

  17. ah! so happy for the responses - forgot to check back in.

    we're getting married at Rimrock Ranch ( in September on a Saturday, throwing a party at the local honky-tonk Pappy & Harriet's ( Friday the night before. We've already got a band that are close friends of ours to play that venue, and for the reception a different friend's band. and, of course, we're already compiling the Itunes playlist of us-ishness. haven't planned on hiring a dj, though one of my bridesmaids was a dj in a past life - hoping she'll give council.

    ... It's funny because neither my fiance or i can sing (though we've certainly attacked a few drunken public duets) we just thought an [afterparty] karaoke jam might be a lot of fun and inclusive... or based on some responses, maybe not. i've floated the idea - our friends are already requesting songs (!) i'm not picturing much of family and extended folks to be around at that point, but also, i can't think of anything more endearing than my dad trying to sing.

    acoustic guitar-round-the-fire would be SUPER rad as well. i'm originally from Austin, and I immediately fell in love with Joshua Tree for its Austin-awesomeness. so many nights i've spent around a fire with someone strumming away at one instrument or another.... i bet i can manage a tambourine :)

    ps: super-heart gram parsons, don't want to cause any rolling about in his firey viking grave.


  18. The wedding I'm posting tomorrow was at rimrock. ;)