There are no rules about wedding reception music, and you can choose any band or DJ to add your own personality to the event. However, there are some guidelines that might help you and these dos and don’ts of wedding reception music are a great place to start.
Do – check out your wedding band or DJ live
They may give you a CD or video, but to get a real feel for how they work the crowd you’ll need to see your band or DJ in action for yourself. If you are relying on a demo CD, ensure the musicians on the recording are the same ones that will be providing music at your reception.
Don’t – leave the music until the last minute
As soon as you’ve provided the deposit for the venue, find what is possible and start your DJ search. Good quality wedding entertainers will get hired up around a year in advance, particularly during high wedding season.
Do – select specific songs for specific rituals
Ensure your band or DJ know about your selected tunes and ask them to announce the individual occasions. Going with a particular song for your cake cutting, and all of the significant dances like the first dance, the father daughter dance, and the mother son dance, will provide structure to your reception.
Don’t – hand your DJ a set in stone play list
Asking your DJ to stick to your play list will prevent him from using his imagination and will be a waste of your hard earned cash. You are booking him because he’s a great DJ and is capable of reading the crowd and ensuring the party is moving. That said, providing your DJ with a list of songs you’d love to hear, as well as the ones you don’t want to hear, is never a bad idea and will provide him with an idea of your musical tastes.
Do – find out about the acoustics at your venue
A solo jazz musician can create perfect backdrop to an intimate wedding breakfast, but will be difficult to hear at a large garden reception. Equally a band will sound good in a large venue, but may be too noisy in an intimate setting. The size and shape of your venue will add certain restrictions on the kind of music you can have.
Don’t – forget about noise restrictions at your venue
Having the hotel manager pull the plug in the middle of a fast disco track because other guests are hoping to sleep will be a real mood killer. You will wish to plan your reception music to grow in tempo at the start and then gradually slow down at the end.
Do – plan for breaks
You won’t wish your guests to be left in silence while the band has their breaks so find out whether you have to provide a compilation CD to cover breaks, or whether they will provide you with something suitable. Your DJ or band will have to take breaks during their sets, so ensure you find out how many they will have and for how long.
Don’t – expect your band to consent to overtime
Typically you can expect to book a band or DJ for a five hour set, but if you believe your reception will go on later, book them upfront for an extra hour.
Do – utilise music to alter the mood of your reception
Cheerful swing music for your drinks reception, followed by instrumental jazz or classical music or for the wedding breakfast, and ending up with full blown disco for the dancing, can be a great mix up. Feel free to change the music to speed up or slow down the proceedings at your reception.
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