Archive for September 3rd, 2007

Sometimes, The “Best” Party Is No Party At All

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

A good friend of mine offered his daughter $10,000 to elope. When she demurred, he upped the ante, then raised it again, until finally she agreed. (She and hubby used the money as a downpayment on their first house.) It wasn’t that my friend is cheap or anti-social. Indeed, he is the soul of generosity and affability. But his is a “blended” family that has resolutely refused to truly blend. As such, there was a very real possibility that, sometime during the evening, an incident might occur which would mar or – in the worst case – ruin) what should have been a perfect night. Even if all the in-laws and outlaws turned out to be on “good behavior,” the bride would have had a miserable time, simply from worry over what might occur.

Friends, I am about to – metaphorically – cut my own throat. As a bandleader, my professional well-being depends on people celebrating their most special occasions with big parties. If the soiree business ever dries up, I’ll have to get a real job. Still, honesty compels me to admit that there are times when a gala event is a bad idea.

One such occasion was a wedding reception at a local country club this past year. Clue Number One that something was out of the ordinary: the parents of the groom hired my band. Clue Number Two: when the guests came into the ballroom, the groom’s friends and family sat next to one wall, while those associated with the bride took their seats by the opposite. The big, beautiful dance floor in the middle of the room was No Man’s Land – literally. Nobody danced. It turned out that the bride’s family – for religious reasons – doesn’t drink or dance. So the groom’s Dad picked up the tab for the bar and band, thinking his friends would expect them. The trouble was: no one wanted to offend the bride’s family. So there was a bar, and there was a band – but nobody drank or danced. This was definitely a night when the church fellowship hall would have been the best – and cheapest – solution.

So – think about whatever you are planning to celebrate, be it birthday, anniversary, reunion, or wedding. Next – give serious thought to exactly whom will be in attendance. Are these folks going to drink enough to justify hiring a bartender? Will they dance? (Even party animals tend to tone it down during daylight hours or when they will be going to work the next morning.) If – upon reflection – you decide that this is not going to be a bash, but rather a… low-key gathering, then save yourself a world of money and hassles.

And, because my kid is in college, I hope that soon you’ll take all that loot you saved, and hire my band for a P-A-R-T-A-Y!!!