The Night of Your Life – Shane McGrath (Creative Director and Front-Man with Harlequin)

Is there anything like the feeling of waiting for a good band to strike up the first notes? Your friends have just tied the knot, your belly is as content as it’s ever been. The vibe – nicely relaxed and you are in the party mood entirely, ‘thanks very much’. The people you know and love are smiling. Your favourite beverage just an arms reach away. No stress, no pressure – just good company and great chat with people you haven’t seen for an age. ‘THE UNWIND’, after a nice day of formal celebrations. Yes (you think to yourself), ‘I Gotta Feeling’ – tonight’s gonna be a good night! There a very live band are about to strike up at the end of the ballroom. You’ve seen them before… but where? The band, impeccably dressed in full-black-tie, are definitely eager to delight. It just looks right. This is a professional working band if you’ve ever seen one. Nothing is out of place.


The M.C. invites the entire room to the dance-floor to welcome the newlyweds into the room for their first dance. You’ve never seen this before – a frenzy of cheers and screams greets the new Mr. and Mrs. for their inaugural waltz to their favourite ditty. Everything’s cool. After the screams have calmed – the guy at the mic invites the groom to give his bride a real smooch for everybody to see. They love it – she loves it! We’re at a proper celebration – a proper party. The Bride’s Dad is welcomed to the floor as are the entire bridal party – one by one they get their own cheer. We’re off! The floor is full from the off – Lionel Ritchie, Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse are first out of the blocks – then Black-eyed Peas take over and you know, I mean it’s obvious, you’re going to need all your energy for this night… This ain’t no disco – no Karaoke show. This is a fully-live, plugged-in and switched-on night in the company of Harlequin.


If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times – the most nerve-wracking decision that you the Bride and Groom will have to make is your selection of band and entertainment for your celebration. The reason for this is simple – this is the only time in your lives it truly matters that your guests have a memorable night in your company. The celebration of your union is the whole reason for this event. If there isn’t a celebratory atmosphere lighting up your ballroom it kind of defeats the purpose of having entertainment at all.


The obvious chief criteria that engaged couples should consider when selecting ‘their’ entertainment include:


A. Professional Show and Presentation (Great Music, Elaborate Music Repertoire, Class Musicians, Quality Sound (not too loud), Lighting, Dress Code and Professional On-stage Attitude). You just know by looking at a group of musicians whether or not they’re suitable to be included on the list of special guests you would invite to your celebrations.


B. Professional Attitude – Are you totally confident that you can freely avail of their time should you have any, however small, query? Will the act (or their management) respond to your correspondence in a timely fashion? Some acts guarantee a response to all correspondence on the day of the enquiry (or next day if the enquiry is received late in the evening). Have you been treated in a courteous manner entirely during all correspondence? It is the artist’s responsibility to ensure the customer is at all times comfortable and up-to-date with all matters relating to your event.


Above-mentioned are only the basics of that which is required to make your event totally perfect. You may get away with an act that displays these qualities only but I’ve never met a bride and Groom yet who were happy just getting by on their wedding night. Top class artists get this stuff one hundred percent right – every time.


The guys at the top of their field go that extra mile to make certain your wedding celebration is memorable in every regard.


Qualities to look out for when trying to source one of these acts should include:


1. Totally Personalised Event – Are the band preparing a very specific event which accurately represents your individual personalities and the dancing and listening requirements of your guests. Truly, the band should come across as old friends, having taken enough time to research the event and guest details as no two weddings are the same. A personalised event is not a difficult thing to achieve. A good entertainer (usually the front-man in the band) will direct and guide the evening in a manner which is positive, celebration-orientated, complimentary and inclusive to all whilst keeping the Bride and Groom firmly at the centre of all happenings.


2. You can please all of the people all of the time – not a single guest should be uncomfortable by any aspect of the entertainment provided. It is possible to play all styles of music ranging from oldies to current pop songs without offending Aunty Margaret and Uncle John in the least. Similarly, one can play oldies that appeal to all ages. Entertainment style shouldn’t upset anyone either. It’s important to make people laugh – just not at the expense of any other guest.


3. Entertainment Versus Music – The more important element here is entertainment. Any ordinary band can play good music – but a well-planned wedding is not an ordinary event. It should be at the very least ‘extraordinary’. You often hear the term ‘typical wedding band’ mentioned. There is no such thing. In reality there are only bands who make an effort and those who don’t bother. The band for you is the one who strives to ensure they have a really good plan in advance of your celebration.


4. Entertainment Variety – Your entertainment doesn’t always have to be musical. Some nice theatrics can work very well for including the less motivated party-ers attending. It is very important to keep the night going so the stop-start approach doesn’t work either.


5. Flexibility – As no two events are the same the ability to improvise on the night is very important. Often special requirements crop up and the entertainer’s ability to take this in their stride and use it to positive effect can become very important.


6. Yes is the Answer – now what was the question? Good entertainers consider and deliver all of your requests without exception. Their eagerness to give you the night of your life should be apparent from first call to lights out. The top band leaders are very reasonable and will consider and deliver whatever your heart desires. If the answer is negative it might be an indication of a need to reconsider your options.


7. Enthusiasm – It should be very obvious that your entertainer or band is delighted to be asked and honoured to be included in your wedding celebration. If not, Move on immediately.


8. Money-Back Guarantee – How many suppliers will offer you this? Ask around. As with any consumer purchase in Ireland you are entitled to a refund if your supplier doesn’t provide what they have agreed to.


At Harlequin we strive and pride ourselves on setting a standard that other bands can aspire to. We don’t cart in tons of equipment, We don’t blind your guests with elaborate pyrotechnics. We delight whenever possible, which is usually all of the time. We love the work we do. For us, it is an honour to meet so many wonderful people in all corners of the country and continent. An old lady once told me this: “if you enjoy what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life”. She was right. Harlequin enjoy nothing more than lighting up people’s faces and sending them off to bed smiling, wrecked, content – BUZZING!


Contact Details for Harlequin: Entertainment for the Perfect Wedding


Address: Dublin
Phone: 059 9100178
Mobile: Shane 087 2139911; Paul 087 2833555
Email: [email protected]
Contact: Shane McGrath or Paul Howard