Celebrating in Style. Your Style. Choosing a Music Provider for Your Wedding Reception
The date is set, and you’ve booked the venue. Now it’s time to get busy planning every detail of your wedding.
One of the most important will be the atmosphere — the vibe — you choose for your reception, and the music you select will be a large part of it. Rock? Pop? R&B? Country? All of the above?
Once that’s done, you’ll have to decide who will provide the music and how. Here are some tips to help you through that process.
Live or Recorded?
Do you prefer live music from a band or soloist, or a DJ? Each has pros and cons.
Live music can add an entirely new level of intimacy to the music but can be much more expensive, especially if it’s a band with an array of musicians. It can also be challenging to find a band whose style of playing music fits your tastes.
DJs are guaranteed to give you the music just as you remember it but can lack the immediacy and connection a live band provides.
Whichever you choose, there are multiple factors to consider and steps you need to take.
Avoid This Temptation
It’s common today to have a friend or relative who either is a DJ or musician — or fancies themselves one. This is not the time for nepotism.
This is your special day, and the dancing and celebrating that wrap it up will be something everyone remembers as they leave, including you.
Make the choice of music provider based on quality, professionalism, presentation, and content, not to placate friends or family.
Ask the Venue
Venues that host weddings week in and week out see a lot of music come and go through their facilities. Talk with them about what you’re looking for and ask if they have any referrals for you. This can also help you avoid potential glitches since the venue and the band-or-DJ are accustomed to working with each other.
Do Your Research
While articles and websites are great starting points for locating reception entertainment, use them as starting points, not endpoints. Once you’ve narrowed available options down to a shortlist, you should personally attend performances by the candidates if at all possible. Reviews and recommendations by other brides and grooms are great, but this day is about you and no one else. Be sure you like what you see and hear for yourself.
Don’t Be Shy
Once you’ve narrowed the list of possibilities to a handful, talk to the candidates. Ask them about their library or repertoire. Be sure the band can play songs that are important to you or that the DJ has those songs in their library. Do they have a professional demeanor? Are their language skills fitting for your event? All of these things are important, and you’ll want to shore them up beforehand.
Many of today’s venues have premium sound-reinforcement systems in-house, which may or may not be available for DJs to use instead of their own equipment. (This is much less likely to be an option with live bands since their gear is usually tailored very specifically to their musicians and instruments.) Ask the venue operator about this, and discuss it with your candidates.
If the DJ or band will be bringing in their own equipment, be sure that gear is high quality from both sound and aesthetic perspectives. The last thing you want in your beautiful venue is equipment that sounds bad or looks bad.
If lighting is part of the package, be sure it’s compatible with the atmosphere you envision for the reception.
As with all other aspects of services and people you hire for your wedding, do not rely on verbal agreements, handshakes, or understandings. Rely on written contracts. Hopefully, everything will go perfectly, but if something does go askew, you want your position protected by a binding contract.
BONUS TIP: Since your DJ or bandleader also will be functioning as your emcee, be sure your entertainment candidates can properly pronounce all of the relevant names in the wedding party and guest list.
Let the party begin!
About the Author:
Roger Igo is the founder and CEO of special events venue, The Bell Tower on 34th, along with Excellent Events, and Venues in Houston. He is the author of “Keep On Going, The History of The Bell Tower on 34th,” a former radio host, a graduate of CEO Space International, and an alumnus of The Disney Institute.