No matter how long you spend writing your wedding vows, your ceremony probably won’t be the part of your wedding day that sticks with your guests. They are all waiting for you to kiss and say ‘I do’ so they can move on to the fun part—the reception, may it be held at home or in a hotel!
It’s up to you as a couple to throw them and yourselves a party they won’t forget. While good food and an open bar will definitely help with that, the right entertainment is what will take your reception to the next level.
Whether you choose a band or DJ, you’ll want to pick an activity that will keep you and your guests on the dance floor all night long.
Consider The Vibe
The type of music you pick can set the tone of your wedding and solidify a theme. And it’s the thing people most often remember. Think about what musical genre best reflects your personalities and inspires the ambience you want to create: ’70s disco or a romantic string quartet?
A throwback big band feel or kick-off-your-shoes rockabilly? The way the music is delivered—by live band or DJ—also affects the atmosphere. The type of music you want may also dictate your decision too—big band sounds are generally best live, for example.
Do Not Forget To Consider The Space
Have your heart set on an eight-piece band? You first need to check whether the reception site has any restrictions on the number of musicians and pieces of equipment you may bring in and whether there are any electrical power supply or noise limitations.
For example, a registered landmark may not allow you to use large speakers. Ask these questions before you start scouting.
How Much Is Your Budget?
In the price war, DJs generally cost less, and prices vary depending on equipment requests and whether it’s a weekday or weekend. A 12-piece band, for example, will generally be more expensive than a DJ, since there are more people to pay.
There are always exceptions; well-known DJs can be just as expensive as live bands. Band prices vary by the number of musicians, the amount of time you want them to play for, day of the week and what time of year it is.
Book Them Early
The earlier you book, the more options you will have. On high-demand dates like Saturdays in the summer, the best bands/musicians/DJs are fully booked months (even up to a year) in advance.
Hire A DJ Who Is Also Part Of The Band
A lot of couples want to have live music, but the cost doesn’t align with their budget. The solution is finding a company that has a solo musician performing live for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and special dances while serving as the DJ/MC for the rest of the evening.
Watch Them Live First
Ideally, you will want to see a DJ or band in action before you commit so you can gauge firsthand the way they dress, improvise and work for the crowd. Ask to see a taped public performance or attend a dress rehearsal, but never crash another couple’s reception.
If that’s not a possibility, ask for a playlist and look for songs you know and love. If a band sends you their songs or a link to a video, be sure the musicians you hear or see are the same musicians who will play at your reception.
Also, ask for referrals from the last few weddings the band or DJ played. Consider your first dance song a test. If the band doesn’t know it and is unwilling to learn it, or the DJ doesn’t own it and is unwilling to get it, move on.
Choose Your Own Music
Many companies let couples select every song down to the minute and second cue points. Some couples like to leave it up to the pros by providing genres and artists they like, and then they pick out specific songs for moments like the processional or the first dance.
Allow your personalities and style to shine through in your song selections, but once you open the dance floor, it’s not the time to showcase rare music or genres that aren’t easy to dance to. Trust your bandleader to read your crowd and get everyone on the dance floor.
Let Them Know Your Likes And Dislikes Before Signing Up
Know that all professionals should be open to your likes and dislikes. Give them your personal request list, songs they must play and, perhaps more importantly, a do-not-play list. Worried you’ll hear the “Macarena” at your once-in-a-lifetime event? Specifically, prohibit the playing of a song you feel strongly about in your contract.