Yes, the wedding is all about you and your new spouse-to-be, but one of your major responsibilities is to create a great party for all of your guests at your wedding reception. But when it comes to music at that great party, you have some big decisions on your hands. You must decide between hiring a DJ to provide your music or hiring a band to play tunes for your entertainment. Usually, the music you choose for your reception is the deciding factor for whether your guests have a good time or not. Chances are good that you want all of your guests to have the time of their lives. There are some important things to consider before you make any decision regarding your musical entertainment at the reception.[caption id="attachment_470" align="aligncenter" width="299"] Photo by Iain Buchanan (Flickr)[/caption]
Before You Decide
Before making a decision about music at your reception, sit down with your fiancand/or wedding planner and decide on the vibe you want at your reception. The music will set the tone and ambiance of the celebration, and you also want it to go along with your wedding theme. Consider your personality, your guests, and how wild you want your party to get. Discuss the variety that you want at the reception, as you don't want all county music if your theme is more rock and roll.
Determine your budget before shopping for your music. A DJ usually costs less than a huge band, but a smaller band may be less expensive than the most popular, sought-after DJ in town. The date and time can also determine the cost of your music. Consider the space that you'll have at the venue for a setup. If space is limited, you may need to go with a DJ. Sometimes, venues have limitations on the noise or power supply, so be sure to check with them before making any decisions.
Choosing the Right Band
If you decide to go with a wedding band, start by asking around. You may have friends who have gotten married recently who may have some suggestions for good wedding bands. Find out their likes and dislikes about who they hired. Go out and hear the bands play live. They may be great musicians but may not be all that great in person. Be sure to go over what music you do want played in addition to what you don't want played at the reception.
Check with your venue to make sure that they can handle the power and electrical needs for a band's performance. Discuss with potential bandleaders what your expectations are, and give them a timeline to see if they can accommodate your needs. Ask about their time restraints to be assured that they can provide music for the duration of your reception.
Things to avoid include hiring a band that can only provide one type of music. Try to stay with potential bands that provide lots of variety. Stick with wedding bands as opposed to a few guys you heard play once at a bar. An experienced wedding band knows the ins and outs of a reception and puts the bride and groom's desires first.
Choosing the Right DJ
When interviewing a potential DJ, find out whether or not it is a profession or a hobby. Be sure that they know their music and have the correct equipment to accommodate your reception. Ask them about their favorite songs to play at receptions. If they don't name any that you love, you may need to move on. Find out their experience with wedding receptions, as you may not want to hire a DJ that mostly does proms or kiddie parties.
Ask to see photos of their DJ setup. Sometimes DJ setups can be tacky, but you may be able to request something more tasteful. Find out about their dress, as it may be equally as tacky. Find out what happens if their equipment malfunctions. Do they have a backup plan? Be sure to find out how they handle guest requests, and make sure you give them your do-not-play list. Also be sure that they have the songs that you do want played.
Find out how they'll handle the introductions and what their style is. You don't want your reception to sound like a sporting event. Find out how they'll encourage guests to get up and dance, because this is essentially what you want them to do at your wedding reception.
Your wedding reception should be a great event, not a time when you should stress about music. Figure out what your needs and wants are before searching for the perfect band or DJ. Once you've found the right vendor for your music, everything else regarding your reception will fall into place.