Whether you want to surprise your groom with his favorite song, thank your parents with a special performance of their favorite singer or just ensure that your guests will be entertained throughout the festivities, consider having your band or orchestra add in surprise songs, performers or acts to keep the party alive and interesting. Scott Hornak, co-founder and CEO of Craig Scott Entertainment in Rochelle Park, is an expert at knowing exactly the right sort of wedding music wow to add to your specific reception. Consult with him first about any special performers for whom you or your parents may have a soft spot. For example, if you’re huge Billy Joel fans, Hornak recommends hiring Matthew Friedman, who for three years played the lead role of the Piano Man in Billy Joel’s award-winning musical Movin’ Out. Whether accompanied by a band or performing solo, Friedman will play the baby grand piano just like Billy Joel himself to keep your guests engaged during the cocktail hour and dinner courses. According to Hornak, other brides and grooms prefer incorporating their love for Jersey legend Frank Sinatra as part of the musical performance. “Stan Gilbert is one of the better Sinatra singers in the area who will sing everything from “The Way You Look Tonight” to “Fly Me to the Moon,” Hornak says. “He blows people away and sets a really nice ambiance during the dinner,” he adds. While many people love a good sing-a-long, sometimes it can be a struggle getting your guests up and dancing. To help heighten the energy of the dance setting, all you may need is the right song or a few fancy props. Bandleaders from the Craig Scott Orchestra know how to get the crowd moving by simply adding a black fedora and a sparkly glove to the show. Playing along to songs like Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” the lead vocalist goes out to the middle of the dance floor wearing his hat and glove. He continues by gathering the guests to circle around the newlyweds and then encourages an interactive dance. “By the second verse of the song, he usually gets the bride and groom involved and even tries to get the groom to moonwalk,” Hornak explains. Simply adding a few props is a good way to keep your crowd moving. Event coordinator Brad Detrick of A Great Band in Chester is another entertainer who is accustomed to working with creative people with various requests. “We’ve done parties where people are looking for a combination of different styles of music,” he says. If you’re looking to mix it up and add some spice to your party, he suggests hiring a mariachi band. Generally consisting of about five musicians, a mariachi group is a fun yet unique style that will offer a more upbeat musical alternative to your celebration. Detrick says he has also worked with clients looking for western swing music, so the band added a pedal steel guitar and a jazzy violin player to the ensemble. “We’re really riding the energy of the people of the party,” he says. “When the people are enjoying themselves, we are enjoying ourselves as well.” Pleasing newlyweds and fulfilling their wishes is a philosophy shared by Mark Eliasof, president of Elegant Ensembles, an entertainment provider in Closter. Eliasof stresses the importance of establishing a trustworthy relationship between the newlyweds and the deejay or band. Often, guests will request certain songs without the permission of the bride or groom, Eliasof admits. He recalls an instance of a mother requesting he play Meat Loaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” during her daughter’s reception; however Eliasof knew ahead of time the bride strongly did not want it played. “We don’t like to surprise the brides or grooms without their permission,” he says. “What the client gives us is a game plan. If I erode my trust with bride, she’s not going to enjoy herself or trust me for the rest of the night,” Eliasof says. Thus, hiring an entertainment provider you can trust should be a priority in your wedding planning. But adding in these special surprise songs or performers can really create an experience that you and your guests will cherish and remember forever. Everyone loves a good party, so the idea is to create a fun-filled atmosphere that will have your guests talking about the event, long after the party has ended.