Congratulations on your BIG DAY!
The Porch Turtles LOVE Weddings!
We’ve been privileged to witness some of the most glorious wedding celebrations imaginable. From the elaborate to the sublimely simple wedding reception, our hats are off to the wedding planners, brides and grooms who manage to keep it all together in the whirlwind of planning. A lot of velocity and expectation builds up around this Day of All Days. The event begins, unfolds, and acquires a life of its own — which you hope follows the script down to the last painstaking detail! As a band, we see it as our job to be one less thing to micro-manage. We love planning ahead with the couple and their team of pros, so that on their wedding day they can actually ENJOY being at the center of it all. Here are some of frequently asked questions:
Q: How long do you perform at a wedding reception, and how many songs can be played in that amount of time?
A: Our contract usually spans 3-4 hours. We typically play 45 minutes and then take a 15 minute break. As such, we target 12-15 songs per set and up to 60 songs per event.
Q: We need a song for our first dance. Any suggestions?
A: Absolutely! Just ask us. Our master song list may not include wedding song selections, but we know many that would be beautiful choices. If you need a song for a special dance with a parent, we can help with those ideas, too.
Q: We have a song that’s special to us that we want played at our reception. Can you learn it?
A: We love this! If it’s a song that falls into the country category we do best, send us a link to the song and we’ll let you know if we’ve got enough rehearsal time to learn it. 30 days’ notice or more is usually ample time. Obviously, some songs or genres may be harder for us to present live at an event as important as a wedding, so in that case we will download the song and broadcast the recorded version on our PA system. These moments are quite seamless, and the effect is equally special, whether the song is performed live or not.
Q: Should we plan to pick each of the songs you’ll play?
A: Depending on the couple, some enjoy being hands-on with the choice of music, while others are happy to be uninvolved. Either way, it’s important to be collaborative and to let your band handle the delicate task of programming the songs you’ve picked out. Remember, the right song played at the wrong time can kill momentum and send dancers to the powder room. We suggest looking over our entire song list and giving us your top must-have requests. That gives us a very helpful guide to work from. We then incorporate the songs the two of you love into a broader foundation of song choices we see work very well across the broader tastes and age range of your guests. That way there’s something for everybody, and we have the leeway to find the right moment in the set for requests that may be less danceable, or less well-known.
Q: What if there are songs in your repertoire we wouldn’t want played at our reception?
A: Set programming is a “feel” process, in which we sequence songs to build momentum and dynamics from the beginning of the party to the big finish. They can provide vital set transitions, or be a song your guests might love (even if you don’t). That’s what keeps your guests interested and entertained. Worried about breakup songs being in poor taste? You’re probably overthinking it. If it’s a hit, it’s a hit, and it’s fun to dance to even on a wedding day! That said, we are glad to honor a do-not-play request if, for personal reasons, a song or style truly would intrude on your bliss.
Q: My fiancé is a drummer! Can he sit in with the band during the reception?
A: Your guests would probably love this, so we say yes! Generally, as long as your intended, family member, or bridesmaid/groomsman is intrinsically comfortable in front of a crowd, it’s up to you and them. We are glad to create these kinds of moments at the couple’s request. They can send your party over the top and make it unique. Let us know ahead of time so that we can all plan.
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The Porch Turtles play Luckenbach, Texas.
Brass Tap - Round Rock
Guadalupe Brewing Co.
Houston Rodeo BBQ Cookoff
Hutto Hall of Fame
Leander PD Halloween
Oasis Texas Brewing Co.
Red Poppy Festival
Round Rock Market Days
Sertoma July Fourth
The Tavern on Cypress Creek
The Porch Turtles headline Georgetown's Christmas Stroll in December 2018.
The Porch Turtles love playing the all-time greats by the all-time greats and bringing classic country and western swing to audiences of all ages. From dancehall classics to ballads to fun party songs, The Porch Turtles put on a great show everywhere they go. Get off the porch and dance with the turtles!
See our planning guide below alongside some frequently asked questions to help you plan your special day. We want to make it extra special for you, your new spouse, and every one of your honored guests.
Good isn’t good enough. We want your wedding to be magical. Our secret? PLAN! PLAN! PLAN! Then, step back and let it happen – the best receptions have a life all their own, thanks to thoughtful planning and great guests!
Although weddings are definitely about the “wow” factor, there’s also a “magic” factor — the comfort level of your guests both physically and socially. Here are some observations we’ve made that help set the stage for some magic to happen.
1. WHO ARE YOU?
Give the band some details about you and your guests, their age range, and the story of what brought you together. The band will use that information to plan the right choice of songs for the occasion, and to create the atmosphere your guests will enjoy most.
2. IF THE HOUSE IS A-ROCKIN’…
Choose the right size space for your guest list. You can afford to err on the smaller side if you’ll have fewer than 150, because a compact, full house is much more fun than a huge, half-empty one. But if your space is large, no problem. Just cozy things up!
Lay out the room to create closeness — guests instinctively are more comfortable this way. Consider partitioning the room around the periphery to create a more intimate feel and emphasize the focal points of your design scheme. Lighting can also be a very effective way to emphasize the key area, or to make “dead” spaces disappear.
Locate the dance floor as close to the stage/performers as possible. We want to include your guests in the performance, and they will want to be part of it. Much easier to achieve if we’re all right there together.
If you are using multiple spaces for different activities, plan a transition to lure in that direction before the band begins. Have a bar set up, and great mood lighting for your “dance lounge.” A dessert station is fun, too. Cookies and milkshake shots on the dance floor, anyone?
Make the transition to dancing effortless for your guests: Set up a drink station close to the dance floor, rather than way across the room from it, where guests aren’t comfortable “closing the gap.” Ever wondered why people hovered around the bar but nobody was dancing? That long walk to the dance floor is probably the issue!
3. WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART!
The ballroom doors swing open for the big reveal, and there’s the band — playing full-volume to nobody, in an empty space (see above). Start the performance to a full room whenever possible – it builds energy and anticipation, and it lets your guests be part of the action rather than feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by it.
4. LET’S GET IT STARTED!
The first dance should be special. We can perform the first dance song live, or if the original recording artist holds a special place for you, let's play the recorded version for you!
5. DANCING IN THE DARK.
Don’t forget to dim the house lights. Don’t forget to dim the house lights. Don’t forget to dim the house lights…for some reason, lighting is everything. It sets the right mood.
6. PLEASE DON’T STOP THE MUSIC.
Sudden interruptions between songs can stall momentum and empty a dance floor mid-set. Schedule any speeches, prize or raffle drawings for break times, or during a seated dinner period. Ask a band member to make announcements for you from the stage, and they’ll keep it brief to keep things happening.
7. TIME, THE AVENGER.
We don’t really know why, but a great song that’s played at the wrong time can totally empty your dance floor. Set programming is partly science and partly intuition, and after years of experience your band will have a good feel for what works when. If you have a long list of requests, submit it early and give the band the leeway to work in your requests to optimum effect. On another note, if you have a special song you want played, for example a birthday tribute or other key moment, work with the band to plan it at a time in the set when you’ll get the optimal response and have your guests’ full attention.
8. PLEASE MISTER PLEASE, DON’T PLAY….
It’s time to re-think the concept of the “do not play” list. Bands (good ones, anyway) meticulously plan their sets to build momentum, anticipation and paydirt on the dance floor. Without knowing it, you could veto the songs that provide these vital transitions, or that might be proven to drive the crowd wild. Bands need the, well, bandwidth, to do the job you hired them for.
9. WILD, WILD HORSES…
Aerosmith’s manager compared the band to a racehorse – if you took good care of them, they’d run forever. Consider this when planning hospitality for the band. They may have traveled all day and will have to go well into the night. We typically play a 45 minute set and then take 15 minutes of break. During these breaks, we will play a playlist of recorded songs of any variety that you'd like. This may be a great opportunity to play songs that do not fit the style of the band. Since the band is country, get all your R&B, rap, and techno songs in now!
10. I HOPE YOU HAD THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE.
“You don’t have to go home, but …” Make your exit an event! The band is happy to play you out and make announcements. We can even keep the party going after you leave if you'd prefer.
The first thing you should discuss with a band’s representative during the booking process is the scope of your event and its production needs. Plan to incorporate these technical necessities into the floor plan of your event. Far from being an impediment to your design scheme, sound and lighting production are absolutely essential to the experience your guests will have. Poor sound quality can be an irritant to your guests, even at low volume, and good sound quality is all about detail and precision.
Make sure to plan the stage location adjacent to the power source in the room. Make sure the power source is not shared by any other equipment — a caterer plugging into the same power circuit, for example, will cause overload and shut down the circuit mid-performance.
Plan a 5′ x 6′ footprint for the PA’s mix console beside the stage.
NEVER place any fabric coverings or decorations on any PA components. These units have a safety feature that shuts them off automatically when they overheat.
Sometimes clients will ask us if it’s possible to share our equipment with other bands or with a DJ performing at the same event. It seems obvious that it would save time, money and hassle. After many experiences in this situation, we’ve decided to offer an overview of why many bands say no to this seemingly reasonable request. We also present some alternatives and solutions that we think create a better outcome for your event.
We hope we make it look easy, but performing is an expensive privilege. The typical musician has a small Fiat’s worth of expenses onstage in instruments and equipment costs. The guitar player’s gear is highly customized for their style of play, and it can be very finicky if it’s a rare or vintage piece (which is why it sounds so good). Same with the keyboard player, whose instrument includes a computer, pricey keyboard-sampler programs, and years of specific programming that could be accidentally deleted, or changed forever, with one wrong key press. As for the drummer, it gets worse. The luggage alone needed to protect and haul the drums and hardware can run into thousands of additional dollars.
Imagine someone asking you to share your Fiat with another driver. In order to drive it, they’ll have to change all of your customized control settings: navigation pre-sets, radio station pre-sets, seat adjustments, and hands-free commands. When you get the car back, you won’t have time to reset everything, and nothing will feel quite right even after trying. Plus, everyone will be honking incessantly at you to get moving. Oh, and if something went wrong while they drove it, you’d be completely stranded — and saddled with all repair costs.
If you’re planning to have more than one group entertain your guests, you could save yourself valuable time and hassle if you partner with an independent sound company. Multiple bands multiply the manpower, time, scheduling, and equipment required to do the job. It also requires more time for adequate, necessary sound checks for each group prior to the start of your event. Sound companies specialize in these issues and are fluent in the tech-speak that goes with them, and they can also help with scheduling and gear rentals.
1. Set up two stages and PA systems, so that bands can alternate sets without down time in between. This is a good plan for events when a client wants the music to be continuous without any break time.
2. Another option is hiring rented backline for a shared stage. In this case, musicians bring their own instruments, but they share a rented PA and rented heavy pieces like amplifiers and drum kits, which minimizes downtime between performances. Rented gear, while never the same as playing your own, can handle repeated use and abuse, kind of like a rental car. Ask the band for a gear list, and they will gladly let you know the exact specifications of the rental gear that will best fit their needs.
3. If you’ve hired a professional DJ to play during band breaks and/or before and after the band’s set, make sure that the DJ’s contract includes a separate PA system, which should be standard procedure. They have a different show-day schedule than the band does, so they must be prepared to handle their own technical needs. Refer the DJ to the band’s technical contact person if you are unsure about this. Again, don’t assume the band can let a DJ simply “plug in” to their sound system.
It bears repeating: If you hire a band that provides its own PA, and then, as an afterthought, ask them to run production for everyone else, this will likely result in no one being properly prepared for that scope of work. Communicating the scope of your event to your performers, and planning ahead, is absolutely essential.