Music is the pulse of your event; from the moment your guests arrive to the very last song, they will be guided through your wedding with the music of your choosing.
At the early stages of planning I was dead set on hiring a band, yet after I learned that the band I wanted was booked I began to get worried that I wouldn’t find a great group. From the beginning Tim and my family were determined to hire a DJ. Not willing to hire a mediocre band (which, let’s be honest, is terrible), I agreed and couldn’t be happier with our decision.
If you choose a band they will become part of your overall wedding aesthetic as they are perched at top of your dance floor. Make sure you get demo CD’s and watch them perform if you can (live is best but you can settle for an online video). This way you can see how the individual members of the band interact with each other and the crowd. The band can serve as a party motivator, getting the crowd involved and getting even the wallflowers onto the floor. Make sure you meet with the band prior to booking to them and get the low-down on what they can play- it’s your wedding day, you want to make sure all your favorites are available. If not, ask them their policy of learning new material. Martha Stewart has some more great tips on how to choose a band here.
If you go with a DJ you know that whatever music you desire is available. This, and the fact that you are hearing the music performed by the artist themselves, is why my family was so steadfast in choosing a DJ. Opting for a DJ can also cut costs on an hourly basis; you can either save this cost or use it towards something else in your wedding. They also take up less space inside your event area or tent and require less equipment. Do yourself a favor though, make sure they promise no 1. strobe lights, 2. fog machines, 3. or outrageous Jersey shore Style base. That is… unless you’re down for fist pumping.
No matter what you choose make sure you cover your bases: 1. Are they traveling, if so, what are the costs? 2. In a tent? What are their power requirements? 3. Do you want them to get on the microphone and act like an emcee? 4. What are the number of breaks the DJ or band members intend on taking? 5. Have the band members played with each other a number of times prior to your event?
Keep in mind that as a good host, you should feed your band or DJ, which will increase the cost of your catering. Some people opt to give their vendors menu options that aren’t as pricey as the meals your guests are receiving. If you can manage, I strongly disagree with this; treat them as you would one of your guest and you are sure to have an awesome dynamic with them that will result in a great party.
Think of your wedding music in three parts:
1. Ceremony: Most people opt for more classical live music at this time to set the tone of the serious point of the day. We chose a local string trio that played classical music both prior to the ceremony and during. Many bands have keyboardist or other members that can provide music for your ceremony and cocktail hour, if you desire. If you can, harps and pianos are also beautiful choices.
2. Cocktail Hour: Start to get a little spunkier, guests have been sitting for a half hour or more and ready to get mingling. A while back (I admit, prior to being engaged) I had the idea that I wanted “pop” music played on classic instruments during my cocktail hour. We attended an amazing wedding in Santa Barbara a year prior that did this and we LOVED it. Our string trio was more than helpful learning new songs that even included Britney Spears “Toxic.” Trust me- it sounds great on a violin! Other ideas are jazz bands, steel drum bands, or even mariachi!
3. Reception: A nice progression from more classic types of music during the meal that transitions into a full on dance party by the end of night. Let us not forget the ever important DO NOT playlist, make sure that is sent to your band or DJ well ahead of time.
Some people know whether they want a band or a DJ but recently it has been much more common to start off with a band and then kick it up a notch later in the evening with a great DJ. This is a great way to meld the two styles into a great traditional evening with a club like feel at the end. Whatever you choose, give it careful thought and dance the night away!
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Photo Credits: Eric Limon Photographyberkshire wedding, Berkshire Wedding vendors, music
Category: Planning Tools, The Hard Hat Bride, weddings