Moikka folks! Today we have the huge pleasure of interviewing The Stonewalls, who will be giving us tips on how to choose the perfect wedding band for your wedding in Finland. 🙂 Enjoy the tips and sharing!~
TH: Moikka The Stonewalls! Can you tell us more about your band?
The Stonewalls: The Stonewalls is a wedding and party band based in Rauma, Finland. We have four instrument players and three singers (one at a time on the gigs of course). We play around 50 to 60 gigs each year and around half of them are weddings.
[Members: Anni Suoramaa, Singer/ Saara Saarivuori, Singer/ Venla Ruoppila, Singer/ Karoliina Stenvall, Bass + Backround singer/ Jarno Stenvall, Guitar + Backround singer/ Tommi Stenvall, Keyboard + Backround singer/ Ilari Saarivirta, Drums]
As you can guess, the name of the band comes from those three Stenvall siblings. Stenvall is Swedish and means ”Stonewall”.
We play all kind of music depending of the event. In weddings, we usually play three sets:
- The first set includes old fashioned dancing music for the elder guests;
- The second set includes new and old classic songs and hits from Finland and all over the world; and
- The last set is the one with modern party songs, high tempo classics and todays best hits.
Do visit our website The Stonewalls to find out more information about us! 🙂
TH: Any tips for wedding couples when choosing a wedding entertainment / live band company?
The Stonewalls: This is kind of obvious but the best way to make sure that your band is valid and plays well is to see and hear them by yourself. But in many cases there isn’t any possibility to hear the band live because most of the wedding bands are making only private gigs.
Of course, if you have guts you can go and crash some other couples weddings where your band candidate is performing. If not, here are some easier tips how to choose your wedding band:
This refers to how your band candidate shows itself online, Facebook, via marketing etc. For example, check if:
- they have professionally-made websites with good information and quality photos;
- they are active on Facebook and other social media;
- they are advertising the band and keeping all the information up to date.
The above tells a lot about how much the wedding band is putting effort for the business.
This includes also their activities:
- Are they answering to your email straight away?
- Are they answering to your call if you are trying to reach them?
If they are taking the business seriously, they are available for the customers.
– Recorded music or live videos available on the website or Facebook: This is maybe the most important one because the actual music is what you’re going to listen all the way through your magical wedding night. So: listen the videos or recorded songs carefully and imagine it to your wedding: Are they sounding the way you like? Are these guys performing well? Are they playing well together?
In this case, our opinion is that videos are much better than recorded music because you can see the whole band live in front of your eyes. Recorded music can be mixed to sound better. The said band could have played the same song many times and subsequently choose only the best take.
– Experience, past and upcoming gigs:
- Have the musicians studied music and their own instrument or are they self-taught?
- When you are asking advice or opinion about your wedding music and program plan, are they able to answer and counsel you?
- Have they faced these kind of situations before?
This gives you an answer for the question if they have been performing in many other weddings or party gigs. You should also be able to find some of the bands past gigs online if you use some good of fashioned google and check their youtube channel. Upcoming gigs you can see usually from their website: if the band is good and experienced they should have upcoming gigs on their calendar.
– Recommendations: If the band is great, people usually talk about it and give feedback for the band too. So ask your friends if they have heard any good wedding bands and check if your band candidate has positive recommendations on their website or social media.
– Price: Like in the most of the cases if you will take the cheapest one it usually is the worst. Regular full-sized wedding band (around 4-7 members) costs between 1000-2000€. Your neighbours garage band or your uncle’s friends could come to play to your wedding with 400-600€ but is it worth the saved amount of money?
Music and the band is what usually fills most of the wedding nights schedule so it’s something that you should invest in.
TH: How do couples decide on the kind of entertainment appropriate for their wedding?
The Stonewalls: This is something that depends so much of the couple.
Some of them fill their schedule up with games and tasks such as wedding bingo, participating activities, quizzes about the couple, videos and presentations about their love story, maid-of-honour or best-men shows, for instance.
Some of the couples spend a lot of money for example, stand-up comedians, magicians, bands and other kind of professional entertainers.
Usually the wedding day is a mixture of traditional games and shows with some good professional entertainment.
TH: What is the price range for the wedding band category in Finland?
This depends a lot about your needs. If you have a small wedding and all you need is a troubadour with guitar to play there, you can have a skilled and experienced one with around 300-500€.
Experienced DJs cost around 500-1000€ and usually they will bring some extra lights, smoke machines etc. with them.
Of course, most of the couples still want to have live music and full-sized party band to their wedding. Like said before, the usual price range for experienced wedding band is between 1000-2000€ depending how many people are playing in the band and how far away they are coming from.
If you really, really want to invest in your band and want to have some group or artist that is known in whole Finland and they have some of their own popular songs also, the price can be anything between 2000-15000€.
TH: How can a couple best work with a wedding band?
The Stonewalls: Usually booking the band happens as follows:
– You’ll find the perfect band and you contact them by email or phone.
– They will send you in writing (usually by email) more information about how they work, what they will offer to you and communicate their needs. Usually it’s nothing much though–They only want to have enough space where to play and some food at your wedding because their day is really long (usually around 12-18 hours).
– At the end of the email ,they will give you their price offer that includes all their expenses. Some of the bands have also booking fees but that’s very rare. Usually the whole wage is given after the wedding.
– If you are happy with their offer you close the deal. Usually they will contact you again when the wedding day is coming closer and they want more information about exact schedules, your wish songs etc. But also remember that you can always call or email to the band when ever you feel like it. For example, if you need to ask questions or if you need some guidance.
And always remember to tell them your needs and wishes because it is going to be your special day. At the same time however, do rely on their experience. Even though you might have a perfect vision in your head about how your wedding night is going to be, remember that these guys have seen tens or hundreds of weddings and this is the first and only time that you are getting married (hopefully). They usually know what works and what doesn’t.
This is also something very important to keep in mind: If something happens (your wedding day is canceled for some reason or you want to change to DJ or to some other band etc.) always remember to tell to your wedding band straight away. They will not bite you or be mad about it. This gives them a chance to clear that day from their calendar and they have a better chance to close some other gig deal for that day.
TH: Is there anything the couple should not request from a wedding band?
The Stonewalls: Remember that you can always ask and propose anything you want. Don’t be shy about it. It’s only the bands responsibility to tell if your request is something good that will work or if it’s absolutely lunatic.
And like said before, trust the band. They have done this multiple times.
TH: What are some common mistakes couples make while choosing a wedding band?
The Stonewalls: There are some mistakes that couples might do, but here are some common examples:
– They are old so they must be good musicians. This is not often true. Young bands are usually more educated with music. Old guys might have travelled the wedding places for tens of years but so have their playlists. They might know the old fashioned songs but nothing about modern music and parties. Also their appearance and stage show might not be up to date. But this is something that you should find out from the bands live videos.
– You take the cheapest one. This is very common and understandable. And sometimes you might even get lucky and find a very good band. But like it usually is, with investment comes the quality.
– You take someone who only plays their own music. In your wedding you most likely have people from all the age categories: Grandparents, uncles, your parents, friends of your age, their kids and so on. You are kind of in the situation where you need to satisfy all of your guests musical needs. That includes old fashioned dancing music for the elder people, some of the best 70’s – 90’s classics for the middle aged people and for you and your friends modern party beats, songs and hit’s or whatever you prefer.
– You choose a band just because you know some of the members personally. If they are good and you like their music, it’s the best solution for you. But if you only take them because they are begging to play at your wedding and you want to be a good friend, don’t do it. This is your special day. And if you explain it to your friends kindly, they will understand.
TH: What are common misconceptions couples may have about wedding bands?
The Stonewalls: These are a few common misconceptions that couples may have about their wedding day and/or wedding band:
– Too optimistic time schedule: Your schedule is planned minute by minute and you want every second to count. This is very understandable but doesn’t work in practice. There are always some delays: People will take more time eating than you have expected, stand-up comedian has a good show so he will keep up performing, your bride-maids have planned some surprise program numbers and so on. So always remember to have some free time between your schedule. Also for the reason because people want to be relaxed and talk with each other (there might be example relatives or friends that haven’t seen each other for years).
– We are going to party until the morning hours. This is the most common mistake and will give headache to the band. Your guests have most likely come from far away and have spent all the day at your wedding. Usually most of them will leave before the midnight and only the younger ones stay and party on the last music set. Even the younger ones are quite tired around 1am and they want to go to sleep. So don’t ask the band to plan their music until 3-4pm if you don’t have a truck full of red bull at your wedding.
– Couple wants to decide all the songs that are played at the wedding. Most of the bands have their songlist on their website but that doesn’t mean that all the songs fit in the same set. You might think that you only need party music and rock’n’roll from 7pm to 1am but that usually never works. Do trust the band’s experience in this case. Of course you can ask some of your favourite songs to be played but let the band decide when they are played.
-Sometimes, the couple thinks that wedding bands only work when they play! Actually, this is not true, because we usually work for 12-18 hours. We leave around 11am to the wedding venue and arrive there 1-3 hours after depending on how far is it. We build up all the stuff and have a sound check before the guests arrive. Then we wait until 7-8 pm and we start our first set. The last set finishes at around 1am and then we need to pack up all the stuff and drive back to Rauma. It can sometimes be quite tedious!
TH: Can you give us an example of a most unforgettable experience you have as a wedding band?
The Stonewalls: There are so many unforgettable experiences! Here are a couple of them:
– At the end of the last set, when we finished our last song (it was a slow one and very emotional) the bride came to us crying with her just-married husband by her side. They said that they don’t have any words on how they can thank our band enough for the evening. It was so moving to see that this last emotional song also touched the rest of the audience because many of the guests were crying too.
– Usually our last set goes well enough that people clap to have an encore song. That feels so good every time because then you know you did good and people enjoyed themselves. One time it was funny when we played the encore song and suddenly all the people just formed kind of a train with hands on top of each others shoulders. Then they jumped and danced around the whole wedding place in that train. At some point, the end of the train was next to the dance floor and the other end was in the party place’s kitchen. That was funny!
– We were once in an old-fashioned party place in the countryside where the dining room and kitchen was downstairs and dancing area upstairs. The dancing area was kind of like an attic: Made of wood and with some old decoration. We don’t know what those guys had for food or what were put on their liqueur glasses but they were partying so hard that we honestly thought that the floor is going to collapse. One point there was dust and smoke dropping from the ceiling and we remembered the scared look on our bass player’s face. But the floor was hard wood and it lasted the whole evening.
TH: Any examples of how you helped to solve a couple’s problems, be it something last minute or something unexpected?
The Stonewalls: Usually in every wedding there comes something that the couple needs help with: someone forgot the background music, they need help with some technology, they want to have some kind of surprise number etc.
Here are again just a few of them:
There was once when the couple planned to have a good old fashion chair game among the guests but they were missing a good funny music for it. They came to ask us to play and we went to the stage straight away. We played some some circus music to add some fun, some fast music to add tempo to the game and some point we also used James Bond theme to add some intensity and excitement. They thought it could have not gone any better!
At one other wedding, there were a lot of kids so the couple wanted to entertain them also. They came to ask if we have any kids songs. Sadly, there is none in our song list but we quickly checked two famous children’s songs online at the backstage and went to play them without any practise. We made couple of small mistakes but the children were dancing along and they had so much fun!
At one wedding venue there wasn’t any own sound system for the rest of the night (after the band stops playing) so we lent ours for the couple to continue the party. We returned to pick the stuff the next day.
This one is something that happens in many weddings: Someone from the crowd wants to sing with the band. But one time, there was the bride who wanted to sing! She checked a song from our song-list and we went on stage with her. She sang actually very well and all the guests we really surprised!
TH: These tips are really useful! Thank you for your time today, The Stonewalls!
The Stonewalls: Thank you for having us! 🙂
We hope you have found this interview useful!♡ This interview is part of our Suomi Wedding Guidebook series~