Entire Productions founder Natasha Miller was interviewed by Bridal Bar mastermind and owner Harmony Walton in Los Angeles. You can listen to it here on demand/streaming, and it’s transcribed below with links to some of the things that were discussed.
Harmony Walton of The Bridal Bar
Harmony: Welcome everyone to Bridal Bar Radio. Thanks for tuning into the show. I’m your host, Harmony Walton, and today I’m joined in-studio by someone who’s pretty familiar with a radio studio, the lovely Natasha Miller, the founder of Entire Productions, an entertainment production company, who’s here today to talk about all kinds of creative, fun and unique ways to entertain your guests at your wedding. Natasha, thanks so much for joining us today.
Natasha: Thank you so much, and good morning.
Harmony: Good morning. I know, it’s a little early here in Los Angeles today, but we’re going to get through it. It’s going to be a great time. Now, Natasha, tell us a little bit about Entire Productions and kind of how you got started and maybe why you’ve been in a radio studio before.
Natasha: I started this business officially 15 years ago, but I’ve been doing what I do since I was 15. I’m a classically trained violinist and a jazz vocalist, which is why I’ve been in recording studios, and we were being booked, my group, the Sapphire String Quartet — that was really the name.
Harmony: That’s amazing.
Natasha: With two Ps and an H. It was something. Anyway, I was being booked, asked to perform, three to four to five times on the same date and time, even way back when I was in high school. I was definitely born an entrepreneur. So I started hiring my professors and violin teachers and sending them out with their own string quartets, and managing them.
Harmony: That’s amazing. So they gave you, I’m assuming, good grades, if you’re booking them on weekend gigs.
Natasha: They were excited about it. They felt a little one-upped, I think. That was in Des Moines, Iowa. I moved to San Francisco and did the same thing. Back then, magazine advertising really, really worked wonderfully for the string quartet. I had sometimes eight events in one day.
Harmony: Wow, and you were in high school at this time?
Natasha: I started it unofficially in high school and college, but I started this business, Entire Productions, 15 years ago, with a name and a period and I quit my job in advertising and just have been going on since.
Harmony: And now based in San Francisco but performing all over the world.
Natasha: Yes, we book talent all over the world in major markets, and our office is up in San Francisco. We have eight employees, and then we have one down here in L.A. as of January.
Harmony: Exciting stuff. Now, you don’t actually perform anymore, now you kind of oversee and handle all the puppet strings and make sure everyone’s where they need to be at the right time and place, right?
Natasha: For the most part. I moonlight here and there.
Harmony: Oh, good to know.
Natasha: I know, I just sang background and played the violin on one of my artist’s CD releases (Tim Hockenberry), which, by the way, is really difficult to do, singing background, when you’re used to singing the melody. But, anyway, I kind of put down my career of performing about a year and a half ago, and it might be for a while or it might be forever. But, I have recorded seven CDs and I think that’s enough for the last 15 years.
Harmony: That’s incredible. Well, I know I tried to get you to sing something here this morning, but you put down the mic and you dropped the mic and you’re leaving it at that. So, let’s get into some wedding ideas that are a little bit different. We’ll talk a little later about some sort of general music stuff, but first, one of the things that your company is known for is doing really creative, unique experiences for the people in the room, and I think so many times couples that are getting married think, okay, “Band or DJ?” and then that’s the question that they ask themselves, and often the answer is based on budget or the size of the room or the size of the guest count. You don’t want too big of a band for too small of a party because it’ll be overpowering, and they never really go beyond that. Well, that has started to shift. I know I have been going to parties lately where I get to do fun things that are not just dancing. Especially because I have absolutely no rhythm, whatsoever. So let’s just say that when the signs says “Alcohol says you’ve got great rhythm,” it takes me awhile to get there. So I love the idea of doing more experiential things at the wedding, and the cocktail hour as well and even the rehearsal dinner, and some ways to bond with the people around you without having to dance, necessarily. So break that down for us.
Natasha: I do think that, in the last five years, but really most recently, people are starting to consider, and I think their planners are starting to suggest, other interactive elements. So, for a cocktail hour, we’ve sent out great magician mentalists, which sounds a little on the cheesy side, but if you get a really great one, it can be just mesmerizing.
Harmony: And what do they do?
Natasha: They do hand and person-to-person magic. They’ll literally make this diamond ring on my finger disappear into their wallet and come out of your I-don’t-know-what. It’s pretty cool. I didn’t know how it would work, but when the client is calling me saying, “Oh my god, this magician was amazing, we need to keep him through dinner,” I find myself saying, “Okay, it’s a thing.”
David Gerard, Mentalist
Harmony: Wow, so they’ll book them for the cocktail hour and they haven’t gotten to everyone, and then the buzz starts to happen, and now they’ve got to stick around for the rest of the night.
Natasha: And I say this to my clients now, “Okay, you want them for an hour? That’s great. Everybody asks for them to stay at least another hour. I think it’s with the particular talent that we have.
Harmony: That’s such a neat idea. You don’t even know it’s entertainment until they come to you, I would think, or until the buzz starts and someone says, “Did you meet the magician?”
Natasha: Well, first of all, a couple of our magicians in San Francisco are beautiful. I hope they never hear this because I don’t want their ego to get any bigger, but they’re gorgeous people, they blend into the crowd. They look like a guest. Then, all of a sudden, one of them will say, “Let me show you something.” You almost think it’s a guest showing you a little magic trick.
Harmony: Like the kooky uncle of the bride.
Natasha: Yeah, but like your hot uncle.
Harmony: The college roommate. The one that got away. How fun. Do they continue to go around the during the dinner table portion?
Natasha: They have done that. By the time that people start putting food in their mouths is about the time that they would stop, but if dinner’s eaten quickly and it’s more of a casual atmosphere, they can continue.
Harmony: What I think is so great about this is, not everyone loves to dance, and there are more and more intimate weddings these days, and that’s kind of an awkward dance party, if you’ve got 10 or 20 people. The dance floor isn’t usually packed, and this kind of modern entertainment is the same way. We’re going to talk way more about this when we get back. More with Natasha from Entire Productions after this.
Harmony: We’re back on Bridal Bar Radio. Joining me in studio today is the talented Natasha Miller, founder of Entire Productions. Just before the break, we were talking a little bit about alternative entertainment for your cocktail hour, and how you can kind of engage your guests in unique and different ways, and “unique” and “different” I think are really the buzzwords here because everyone wants to wow your guests. We’ve heard for decades, the “Wow” factor in your wedding, and now that means it’s got to be something different. Something they haven’t seen before. So, any other creative ideas to wow your guests in ways they haven’t seen?
Natasha: Yes, one of my very favorites is this live on-demand poet who sets up this very beautiful sort of vintage typewriter. You go up to her, there’s usually a line. It’s crazy. Once one person gets their poem, then every woman — some men would like theirs too — but, she asks you just a few things about what you’d like the poem to be about, maybe three or four words, and then she takes a minute or two and types up this gorgeous poem on a little 4×5 piece of archival paper with this old typewriter, and it’s usually very poignant and beautiful.
Harmony: And does she sort of rap? I mean, does she perform it for you?
Natasha: No, she doesn’t perform it. She hands it to you.
Harmony: Good idea! Time to add that little service element in.
Natasha: I was going to say, spoken-word poetry should start happening in ceremonies, but, anyway.
Harmony: Today is the day the trend begins.
Natasha: You heard it here first.
Natasha: She puts it in a lovely envelope, and basically you adore it for the rest of your life.
Harmony: How neat.
Natasha: It’s beautiful. It’s very personal. It’s a piece of artwork.
Harmony: That is such a great idea, and weddings, you know, there’s a great line in a movie — I think it’s from “Eat, Pray, Love,” where it’s like, “The funny thing about weddings is it makes you think about your own life,” when you’re at someone else’s wedding. And I think that people get very emotional at weddings not only for their loved one who they’re seeing get married, but also for themselves, whether they’re happily married and they’re remembering their own wedding or they’re kind of wishing for that for their future, and that poem really gives them something that’s theirs to take away from the night. Very cool idea. Now, something that I’ve seen before at weddings, but I think is still very on-point in terms of an activity that people like to see but they don’t actually participate in, is the idea of another form of art, like a painting. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Natasha: Yes, I love this. We’re an entertainment-based company, and you wouldn’t really think of fine artists as entertainment, but if they’re doing it in public, it’s entertaining. So, we have fine art artists who will put up a canvas, varying sizes, you can tell them what you want them to paint specifically, or you can just say, “Paint whatever you see that is a beautiful thing.” So, during anything from the ceremony to the cocktail hour. The dance party part is actually fun to see because of that movement. But, all different kinds of media — oil, acrylic, watercolor — lots of different styles, and you really can choose. If you like modern art, or line art, you can have that, you can have an oil painting. It’s just a really neat thing that I’ve been seeing a lot of requests for, not just for weddings but for a lot of different social and corporate events, actually.
Live Event Artist
Harmony: And this is sort of like the poetry, where it’s the gift that keeps on giving. You’ve got this fine artist painting and creating right in front of your guests so you can go and check it out and kind of see what’s going on. But then, the couple gets to keep the painting, right?
Natasha: They do, they get to keep the painting, and the best thing ever would be to replicate that and use it as your thank-you card cover.
Harmony: Great idea.
Natasha: Yes, you can really use it for so many things post-wedding.
Harmony: And then you’ve got this beautiful canvas in your home of the two of you during your first dance or during your ceremony. I think that’s really special and different.
Natasha: Yes, this reminds me, years ago I had a client that had this really funny caricature artist, which sounds again really silly for a wedding. To make it even sillier, they’re called the butt-sketcher. Have you heard of this?
Harmony: Oh my gosh, I have seen this. Not at a party, but I was at a conference and they were doing this.
Natasha: It’s actually quite lovely.
Harmony: It’s so on-trend right now. All we care about is our derrières, right?
Natasha: It’s derrière and it’s couture. So, it’s whatever you’re wearing, and it really does kind of capture the essence of the couple or the people that they’re doing. Anyway, she had that replicated and used as their thank-you card.
Harmony: Their own butts from their wedding.
Natasha: It’s not just their butt, it’s basically just their backside from head to toe.
Harmony: Right, you do get some facial profiles in there.
Natasha: (laughs) Let’s not get the wrong idea.
Harmony: Right, it’s not just two circles on a card. It’s their personality, it’s still their full caricature essentially, but with the backside covered in it. I think that is so fun, that is a great idea for a thank-you note, and even maybe a fun save-the-date if they’re big into dancing, they could do that in advance and send that out. “It’s gonna be a party!” Kind of set the tone for a really fun, lively crowd.
Natasha: You could have an engagement session butt sketch artist.
Harmony: Oh, there you go. We’re going to come up with all kinds of creative ideas.
Natasha: We’re developing new ideas.
Harmony: Yes, this is a biz-dev session right here. Now, another thing that we’re seeing tons of couples doing, or, I should say, more women wearing, is a flower crown. Now, it used to be that the flower girl would wear a flower crown, and now the bridesmaids are wearing them, and even the bride is wearing a flower crown in lieu of a veil, in many cases. But, how can you make that a form of entertainment?
Natasha: Well, it’s quite beautiful and simple, actually. You allow the bridesmaids and the flower girl and the bride to wear their crown during the ceremony, and then perhaps during the cocktail hour or even in-between courses, we have had a flower crown station set up where you can come in and pick your own flowers and place them into a pre-made band so that you’re not really twisting wire on-site.
Flower Crown Station- Heather Cassady of Wish.
Harmony: Right, you’re not making jewelry at the wedding.
Natasha: But it’s quite lovely, especially if you just do two or three and have sort of a side headband crown, and then people just feel so beautiful and lovely and special, and it really just kind of ups the ante of the environment.
Harmony: I couldn’t agree more. I was just at a bridal fashion show and they gave every guest in attendance a flower crown. We didn’t actually make our own, but they gifted us one when we got to the door, and walking around, everyone was taking selfies. You felt like you were part of the bridal party a little bit and you were honored as that special guest even if you weren’t a bridesmaid or a groomsman.
Natasha: Yes, and wearing flowers in your hair and around your face is just so lovely. It softens everything, and it’s kind of like you could get away with no makeup if you have a flower crown. Have you seen the SnapChat flower crown from Hawaii?
Natasha: Oh, it’s so pretty. I’ll show you mine later.
Harmony: You know, I’m on SnapChat, guys, follow me at BridalBar, but I’m not very good at it. I prefer my Instagram still.
Natasha: Well, when you see yourself with a flower crown from Hawaii on SnapChat, you will probably change your mind. Great filters.
Harmony: Oh, this is one of the filters. You see, I’m getting to be too old. Where it’s got like the graphics over your face, okay. Only if there’s pink. If there’s pink, I’ll do it.
Natasha: It’s light. It’s pastel.
Harmony: Okay, I’ll do it. Well, and I think — not necessarily a form of entertainment — but if you’re going to do a flower crown for the women in attendance, I love it when a couple will give the males guests — not the groomsmen, but everyone else in attendance — a pared-down little boutonniere. And I’ve also seen it done where the women get a small nosegay or something instead so that everyone feels a part of the ceremony. Because it’s fun for the guys to get a little something-something too, and they’ve got their dates in these beautiful flower crowns, and then they get to rock a little, it could be a little burlap thing, it doesn’t even have to be fresh flowers, but some sort of ribbon or statement that says, “Hey, I’m part of this party.” I think that’s always a fun way to get people going right when the ceremony starts so everyone’s excited for what’s to come. Now, what else can you do in terms of the ceremony. You offer your couples a lot of different options. Ask and you shall receive. What are some unusual requests you’ve gotten for ceremony?
Natasha: This is strange, but cool. We’re based in San Francisco, and people are a little bit more whimsical, perhaps. We had a stilt-walker request. This family actually asked for a stilt-walker to walk their dog down the aisle. Again, it sounds a little weird, but it ended up being really beautiful.
Harmony: You keep saying that it sounds weird but it ended up being great, and I think that’s the cool thing about weddings.
Natasha: It’s the spontaneity and the authenticity.
Harmony: And if it’s unique to you or your location or your history, or just your pizzazz, that’s what people are going to remember. They’re not going to remember what they ate, necessarily, unless it’s specific to you.
Natasha: Unless it’s bananas flambe.
Harmony: There you go. Or unless you’re having that food-centric wedding because that’s so you, then they’re going to remember the food. But if you’re just having a traditional maybe hotel-plated meal, that’s not what’s going to stand out. It’s going to be these moments that they’re like, “What is going on here?”
Natasha: Well, let’s talk about moments. A few years ago, we did something at Kunde Winery and it was a celebrity wedding, and I just remember thinking how very specific the song choices were, and so I don’t usually perform at weddings, but one of these songs made it so that I had to be there with all these different musicians of every genre, and my daughter, to pull this one song off for the rabbi to walk down the aisle, and it was the theme to “The Muppets.”
Harmony: How fun.
Natasha: So the reason why I had to have this group of people is because it’s like this “a-da-da-da-dada-da,” and I had a Broadway singer there and I had someone else singing like Tom Waits singer-songwriter and then I had a Jazz pianist because this couple wanted all these different kinds of music, and I had to source all these different kinds of musicians. I couldn’t just get one guy to do all five very unique songs.
Harmony: “The Muppets,” and jazz, and dance music.
Natasha: So that was really fun.
Harmony: So that’s how you actually pull together your experiences for couples. You find out what it is they are feeling like hosting, or what kind of party they want, or what kind of budget they’re working with, and then you make recommendations and then you go create bands and different acts and experiences?
Natasha: So, I do that. We have thousands of acts, talent, to source from, and we go deeper by curating and creating something if it doesn’t exist already. So that’s how clients get the “never-seen-it-before, wow me.” Because there’s not much that hasn’t been done, but when you put things together to create something very specific to them, that’s where the wow and never-seen-that-before happens.
Harmony: And then behind-the-scenes, there are rehearsals and castings and things like that, I mean it’s a full production, right?
Natasha: It can be. Sometimes the talent that we’re pulling from are so great that having a conversation, sending them the chart, sending them the materials, having them rehearse and be prepared and then running through it before, and that’s what we did for “The Muppets” theme song.
Harmony: The sound check was pretty important?
Natasha: It was pretty funny. It was so much fun to hear that sort of wafting through the hills of that winery.
Harmony: That is so fun, I hope you have video from that wedding.
Natasha: Somebody does.
Harmony: Oh, it was a celebrity wedding, so you have nothing.
Natasha: I think I saw something, but it disappeared.
Harmony: Of course, it vanishes in thin air when the NDA gets enforced. So, any other great recommendations for ceremony? You mentioned “The Muppets” soundtrack. How do you put your own twist on maybe even ceremony music. We’ve obviously got the tradition songs that help get the bride or groom down the aisle.
Natasha: I think you just read my mind.
Harmony: Oh, good. We’re on the same wavelength.
Natasha: We had a client who had us bring in a string quartet, which is simple and normal. But this violinist was a Grammy Award-winning violinist and a composer, and this client, on their own, without my having to prompt them, said to me, “Can he compose a song for the recessional?” It was actually a trio. And I said “Yes.” And he did it, and it was so gorgeous. And, if I remember it correctly, it was a surprise to the bride, which can be tricky. (follow this link to listen to the song)
Harmony: Especially for the processional.
Natasha: But it worked out, and they have a beautiful studio recording of it. So, it’s their song, it’s a commissioned piece, and again, it’s art.
Harmony: That’s amazing. So they get to keep that. Will it be heard on the radio one day, or that’s there’s exclusively?
Natasha: It’s a classical piece, certainly it could be arranged for maybe a movie soundtrack or something, but I don’t think this particular one will ever be. And it’s on our blog somewhere, and I’ll pull it out and make mention of it somehow so listeners can hear that.
Harmony: Oh, how great, that’s a great idea. And I love it, too, when even just a quartet or a trio takes traditional songs that we know and changes them to the liking of the couple. I worked with one couple years ago, and I’ll never forget this, the groom had the quartet do an arrangement of “It’s a Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo, going down the aisle. And this was their personality, it wasn’t a bad thing, nobody gasped, it was just so perfect to them. They loved Oingo Boingo, I mean it was their thing.
Natasha: That was one of the first concerts I ever saw was Oingo Boingo and Hall & Oates. They played together.
Harmony: Oh, wow, I missed that episode, that tour. But they were great in concert, and that’s why I think I remember that because I remember loving going to their concerts. We’re going to take another quick break. We’ll be right back with more from Natasha from Entire Productions, and we’re going to talk about some fun ways to dazzle your guests at your reception.
Harmony: We’re back on Bridal Bar Radio. Joining me in-studio is Natasha Miller from Entire Productions, and we’ve been chatting today about unique ways to dazzle your wedding guests, and I want to get into the reception, because that’s when the real party begins, right? So tell us some creative ideas to get their jaws dropping at your wedding reception.
Natasha: Well, one way to do this is to bring in what some people might call dance motivators.
Harmony: Isn’t that called cocktails?
Natasha: For you it is.
Harmony: Very, very true.
Natasha: You can start a reception off or have them sort of inserted in the middle or during a break. One of the funnest things to do, which will make anybody, even if they don’t feel like dancing or feel self-conscious, bring in samba dancers with a drumline, it doesn’t even have to be specific to the style of dancing and music to your heritage or your party. It can just be this flash mob of wonderful. There’s this infectious rhythm that happens with those samba dancers, and they’re scantily clad in a very appropriate way, usually. It depends on your vantage point.
Harmony: But you know what, that brings up a good point. I would imagine, based on the type of wedding it is, that wardrobe comes into play as well, and you can dress them however the client needs.
Natasha: That’s right. Costuming is very, very important, and needs to be very specific. But, when you send these samba dancers in and everyone gets this feverish “I want to be part of it,” then you can start a conga line, and that’s where the fun starts.
Harmony: And then it sort of forces you out there.
Natasha: So then people like you can just grab onto somebody.
Harmony: And try to shake left and right while I walk. It’s just a fancy walk, so it’s not so scary.
Natasha: It’s a lot of fun, and we have a wedding coming up where I suggested this to them, maybe as a joke or as an aside, and the father of the bride was like, “Yes, I want that.”
Harmony: Oh, the father of the bride? So was the bride going, “Okay dad!” or were they all onboard?
Natasha: She said, “That’s so funny,” and they’re doing it.
Harmony: That’s great. I think that’s a great thing to do. Like you said. And that’s multi-generational. That gets grandma on the dance floor and that gets the flower girl on the dance floor and everyone in-between.
Natasha: And you can do it with anything. West-African drumming, and dancers. You can even do it, strangely enough, with a modern ballet. There’s so many different things you can do. It’s just the surprise element. It just pops up the energy, even if it’s up already.
Harmony: And it doesn’t have to go on all night. It can just be the first few songs, right?
Natasha: No, it’s better to get in and get out. They appear, and then they disappear.
Harmony: They’re gone. I like that. And then this flash mob idea, is this something that the bride and groom, or the groom and groom or bride and bride, can get involved in? Can they be part of the flash mob?
Natasha: Yes, we’ve had different clients want to participate in that kind of thing either by singing or dancing. We were talking earlier about ceremony special things, and once we had, I think it was an a cappella choir of like nine people sprinkled throughout the guests, and they stood up and sang a Beatles tune, one by one, it was just so beautiful.
Harmony: Sort of that “Love, Actually” scene?
Natasha: Yes! And then people joined in. We’ve had a sort of flash mob band come in to accompany the groom to perform for the bride, so so many things. We make whatever their dream is happen. And we help them, because a lot of times, they need help. It’s an idea, but the reality is sometimes a little more challenging.
Harmony: Right, the execution is different. And that brings up another good point. What if you’re a traditional couple but you want to impress your guests, you want to show them a good time, something they haven’t seen before, but Oingo Boingo isn’t your favorite band? What do you suggest couples do to discover what will be great for their own event? How do you work with couples to figure that out?
Natasha: I like to talk to them voice to voice, even if they’re working with a great planner, because sometimes it gets lost in translation, and a lot of times clients are saying one thing but they really mean something else and they just don’t know how to put it into words, so I’m kind of like an entertainment doctor. It literally sometimes takes the client seven to nine emails back and forth, and I’ll say, “Let me just talk to them,” and in five minutes, with get this, “Oh, that’s exactly what we want.” A lot of times it’s a personal thing, they’ll want something like Mumford & Sons, like that sound, but they want the dance band to play all-night top 40 and other songs too, so that’s kind of hard to get with one band, right?
Harmony: So what do you do? How do you solve that particular problem?
Natasha: So, if you have excellent musicians, they should be able to play any genre of music, so you start with excellent musicians. And sometimes the look and feel of that band might not match the Mumford & Sons look, but you can match the sound, and maybe bring in, which we have done, a banjo player to play a few songs, but he’s not playing the rest, he’s not playing “Brick House.” Although that would be cool.
Harmony: And then do you have specific questions you ask them to draw that out that helps you to figure out who they are? That they can ask themselves even to figure out before they come to you?
Natasha: Yes. I do. I say, “Who is the person that’s well-known that you want this sound to sound like.” Because sometimes they’ll say “I want gospel,” but they really mean classical, even though it’s something that everyone should know the difference between, because they’re quite different. I think breaking it down to the common denominator is the easiest way to go. And then educating the clients about what their dream is versus what the reality could be and then setting them up for, “Okay, you say you don’t want any top 40, you don’t want any dance music, you just want bluegrass. Okay, do you want your mom to dance? Do you want your grandmother to have that lovely dance with her grandson?” “Oh yeah, we do.” “Okay, well, then you can have this great bluegrass folk band, but then you’re probably going to need a deejay to spin sets in between or after, or maybe you need a band that can really do both.” And that’s probably one of the most common things that I hear from a bride is, “We absolutely don’t want your typical wedding music.” And they may not want it in their dream, but the reality is it’s expected of them a bit by the people who are paying for it. And, if you really want to treat your guests to such a great experience, you also have to give them what they’re expecting and what they want.
Harmony: Right, if the guests aren’t going to get on the dance floor with house music, then maybe save that for the after-party.
Natasha: There’s definitely enough time for all that.
Harmony: And that’s the thing now with pre-ceremony, ceremony, cocktail, reception, after-party, there really are, and now we’ve got rehearsal dinners and post-wedding brunches and bridesmaids luncheons, I mean there really are a million touch points to get in all the little things you love even if it’s not in your wedding reception, I would think.
Harmony: We’re going to take another quick break. We’ll be right back with more from Natasha Miller at Entire Productions, and I want to ask you about celebrities. Can you have celebrities at your wedding? That’s next. We’ll be right back.
Harmony: Welcome back to Bridal Bar Radio. I’m joined in-studio with Natasha Miller from Entire Productions, and we’ve been talking about all different ways to wow your guests, and I know one such way is through someone famous. You mentioned early, if someone comes in and says, “I love Mumford & Sons, and that’s the sound I want,” budget-permitting, can I have the Mumford & Sons?
Natasha: You can. You can with different caveats. Some of the artists will say, “We’ll do this sort of event, but absolutely no photography, absolutely no telling anyone in advance.” It’s usually shrouded in mystery.
Harmony: Which is part of the fun of it, right?
Natasha: It is, but people want to take their selfies, and they want to get their cell phones out. I had a celebrity perform and literally, in his rider, it was, you can take pictures for the first song. No cell phones whatsoever in the room, so it’s kind of difficult, and the bigger the celebrity, the more obstacles, and of course the more expensive. But if you get older celebrities; speaking of Hall & Oates from earlier, Hall & Oates probably doesn’t have that specific of a rider where you can’t really enjoy and show off your celebrity guest.
Harmony: And people don’t know why they’re checking their cell phones at the door for the ceremony. It’s because three hours from now there’s going to be one song by J.Lo and you won’t be able to use your phone during it. But if, budget-permitting, it can be kind of fun. I was at a wedding where Ne-Yo performed. And, of course, but this is also something that is important to reiterate earlier, is to know your audience.
Natasha: Ne-Yo may be unrecognizable by half of your guests.
Harmony: So that was the thing. Some people screamed and, “Ah, my gosh!” and you say, “That’s Ne-Yo,” but I don’t know what he looks like, and so I just think he’s the guy leading the band.
Natasha: Oh, I’ve had this situation happen. This was for a social event, but I brought Harry Connick Jr. in for a social event.
Harmony: How fun, see, I’d recognize him.
Natasha: Well, I walked him up to the stage because this was no cell phone, no photography, and people thought he was an impersonator for a little bit.
Harmony: Oh no, like you booked a celeb impersonator.
Natasha: Yes, that can happen. But after he speaks and such, and plays, you can tell it’s him.
Harmony: And I think that has to do with working with an agency like yourself that really knows how to produce an event. Because, and maybe this couple, the event that I went to with Ne-Yo, maybe they wanted something, maybe they wanted it to be mysterious, but had somebody come on and gotten the crowd started like, “All right, are you ready, everybody welcome, drum roll, it’s Ne-Yo!” Then people would’ve gone nuts and I would’ve been like “Oh my gosh, it’s Ne-Yo.” And instead I was like, “Who’s the guy in the hat? Why is everyone screaming?” And then once they start playing, like you said, more and more people catch onto it. But if you’re going to splurge and spend that kind of money, you really want it produced in a kind of way that everyone can appreciate it.
Natasha: And let me just say that you cannot get Ne-Yo or Bruno Mars or Harry Connick Jr. for your wedding for $15,000, just putting it out there. We can talk one on one but you have to have a lot of money.
Harmony: We’re talking, in many cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars just for that set.
Natasha: If you recognize the name, it’s at the very very bottom least $100,000, and that’s for someone who’s emerging.
Harmony: And that’s because you’re flying them in, and their crew, and their equipment and their hotels.
Natasha: That’s all extra.
Harmony: Yeah, that’s on top of that. 100 plus-plus. Well, we have listeners of all types and budgets and price ranges here on this show. So if you want to book Ne-Yo, now you know where to go. Now let’s talk about some of the highlights. You mentioned it works when it’s a surprise. We were talking off-air about pyrotechnics and streamers and things. Now, when would you incorporate than in, and what does that look like in a wedding?
Natasha: It just creates an incredible frenzy of emotion and adrenaline. On the dance floor, the confetti or streamers can happen during the first upbeat dance song, it could happen toward the end of the night, although I would say to do it earlier.
Harmony: So what does this mean, exactly? You’re sitting at dinner and cannons go off? Break it down for me.
Natasha: You should probably already be on the dance floor and there should probably already be music playing. It can be loud to have the cannons go off, so it’s better to have sort of high volume, high energy to start off with. Maybe on the first high-energy dance song, maybe five minutes into it. Dance songs are usually three to seven minutes. If everyone’s up dancing, the band will keep it going for 10 to 15 minutes if they have to, but sometimes people worry about slipping on the confetti, but it gets kicked out of the way. You have to be careful. But it’s so much fun, and it really just raises the bar on the energy in the room. Everyone benefits from it. It can come in every shape. They have shapes, hearts and whatever.
Harmony: Of course they do. Can you get your monogram, like your initials, dropping from the sky?
Natasha: You know, we haven’t done that.
Harmony: There you go, biz-dev session.
Natasha: It’s probably possible. I think the gold confetti is really pretty. We did that recently at the Fairmont in San Francisco. Make sure that you have enough, because a little blip of a cannon can seem awkward.
Harmony: Would you do it at the grand entrance when they announce the couple? I would think that that would be kind of fun.
Natasha: Yes, you could totally do that. I think that having more people be sort of involved in the energy is better, although you can do it whenever you want. Just make sure you have enough. For us, two cannons is kind of the minimum of what I would suggest. I’ve seen it recently at a big sporting event, when the team won, an unfortunate confetti cannon happened, and it was so —
Harmony: It didn’t go off?
Natasha: It went off, but it was like, “Blip.” We didn’t do that one, but I was there for it. I had a band on-stage, and I was like, “Oh my gosh.”
Harmony: It’s like, “You just won the Super Bowl, are you going to Disneyland, and there’s like a few drops of confetti. Oh, how said. So, the importance of working with a really credible, qualified company, for sure.
Natasha: And there’s the indoor pyro.
Harmony: What is indoor pyro? Fireworks at the reception?
Natasha: You can do it as the bride and groom enter for the announcement, you can do it for a photo-op.
Harmony: Is it like sparklers, or — ?
Natasha: No, sparklers are not something that we participate in, in any form. I don’t know the technical term for it, but I know that it’s very easy to permit. You can do it inside of a ballroom. You can literally put your hand through it, and everything’s fine.
Harmony: Is is the kind that kind of shoots up, they’re short, and it almost looks like a waterfall of sparkle?
Natasha: Yes, and there are different things. They can waterfall hang, they can shoot up. It’s really neat, and a lot of people who want fireworks after their wedding, fireworks are somewhat difficult to permit and very expensive, but these small indoor pyro, you can do it outdoors too for the ceremony and such.
Harmony: Very cool, like you would be at a rock concert and someone would have that on-stage, you could have that on your stage with your band.
Harmony: Now, let’s move into bands a little. We haven’t talked too much about music, but you mentioned there can be a banjo player for a different style or a very specific style of music. So does that play into also the wardrobe? I’m hearing things where now couples are booking bands specific to the band that they like. Like I’m obsessed with Salt N Pepa so I’m booking a diva-esque band, and things like that. Is there a trend that you’re seeing towards almost genre band that goes into like their childhood from head to toe in wardrobe and the lead singer looks like that crush you had when you were a kid, that kind of thing?
Natasha: I haven’t come into that as much recently. I know that I’ve had a couple requests for N*Sync.
Harmony: Yeah, boy bands, that’s what I’m getting, yeah.
Natasha: Boy bands. You can get them because they’re still available, they’re just not boys anymore. But I think that costuming is really important. I think a very sophisticated look or a really fun look and maybe some costume changes but, to me, I think the aesthetic, the way that the band looks, even the drummer who is unseen from the waist-down, should look just as tip-top as possible. You know, there are some fun dance bands that wear costumes like wigs and mustaches and sunglasses and that can be really fun, but you kind of have to carry that theme throughout the night and stick with it. I prefer just really well-appointed people that are comfortable but look beautiful on-stage with the great hair and makeup. I think the whole thing makes a difference.
Harmony: That’s something I didn’t think about before, the hair and makeup. This is a full production. They’re getting dressed for the part.
Natasha: They are getting dressed for the part. If you saw them load in, you know, they’re beautiful people. They go back and they take it seriously. They know that they have to look the part.
Harmony: So, in terms of shopping for a band, this is something that has come up over the years in the industry that I’ve experienced is that you see a video of a band and you’re like, “That’s the one I want,” and you see that beautiful hair and makeup singer, and she’s in a wig, or not, and she’s stunning and you love her voice and you love her look and all that, and then she’s not necessarily the gal that shows up on the day of. How do you combat that and what should couples expect?
Natasha: So, I like to be very up-front. Well, I am very up-front with the client, so there are a few bands in the Bay Area that I created to fill a niche of a higher-end experience. I pride myself in saying, “This is a fully committed band. They rehearse, and it’s the same people. If someone’s ill or out of the country for some reason, there is a rehearsed substitute.
Harmony: An understudy.
Natasha: It really is an understudy. It’s important to know, as a bride and groom or mother of the bride, whoever’s picking the band, to say, “Are those lead singers that I see the ones that will be at my wedding, and if they’re not, who will be, and when do we know that?”
Harmony: Right, because there are acts of God, thing happen. Someone does fall ill, they lose their voice.
Natasha: That actually just happened. A gal that is a beautiful singer has nodes, and she has to have surgery and I’m like “Oh my god, you’re killing me. Don’t speak!”
Harmony: Save your voice for your job and have nothing else in life, right? All right, we are almost out of time so I just want to ask one quick question: Best piece of advice when you’re planning your entertainment. Putting you on the spot there.
Natasha: Plan early. You don’t have to plan early specifically for ceremony necessarily, but if you want an incredible dance band or a really high-end deejay, six to 12 months out, at least.
Harmony: Good piece of advice. Well, that means we are out of time here on Bridal Bar Radio, which also means it’s time for a cocktail. We like to end every show here at Bridal Bar, of course, with a signature drink that is great for your wedding, so I ask each guest to bring one of their faves, and I understand you brought something to share with us.
Natasha: Yes, and I am going to drink it right now. I enjoy a classic, crisp Prosecco with just a dash of St. Germain. It makes it a little bit sweet, and it’s beautiful.
Harmony: That’s one of my favorites too. It’s light and it’s sweet and it’s celebratory. You’ve got the bubbles. You can’t have a wedding without some bubbles, right? Well thank you so much for coming on the show today, Natasha.
Natasha: Thank you, it was my pleasure.
Harmony: If you want to learn more about Entire Productions, you can simply visit EntireProductions.com. They’re based in San Francisco but they travel all over the world. And you can also follow them on Instagram and social media at…
Natasha: Entire Productions.
Harmony: All right, and do we see snippets of bands and things there?
Harmony: All right, I’m going to be checking that out and following you later today.
Harmony: And don’t forget, you can listen to all of our shows on demand anytime on iHeartRadio, or download the app for wedding planning on the go. Like our show and get updates to new episodes, and sign up for our daily post with a daily dose of bridal buzz to help you down the aisle. Until then, I’ll see you at the bridal bar.
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