Wedding Reception Music

Tips on choosing wedding musicians
By Betsy Greene
Ariel Entertainment

You've got the ring, your ceremony and reception sites are booked, and now your attention turns to the selection of entertainment for your wedding reception. Your decision will have a great impact on the outcome of your party. You know that music is a key ingredient in setting the mood for the affair.

Many factors will influence your choice of music for your reception. How large a group will you be entertaining? What size band will suit your room size and your budget? Most wedding audiences will include guests whose ages span from teenagers to grandparents. How can you be sure that your friends and your relatives will all rave to you about your band or DJ?

Begin shopping for bands 9 to 18 months in advance of your party, especially if your reception will be held on a Saturday night. Popular bands will often have their prime dates taken up to a year or more in advance, so get started early to ensure that you will have a good selection to choose from.

Look for a band or DJ that has substantial experience performing at weddings. Most seasoned professionals can provide you with a list of country clubs and caterers that recommend their services.

When interviewing a band or a DJ, ask for a list of the songs that they can play. Versatility is a key ingredient to your party's success! You should be able to create a list of the songs that you want to hear or to provide a list of "please do not plays"! "Make sure that you feel comfortable and can communicate easily with your bandleader", advises Betsy Greene of Ariel Entertainment. "He or she should be willing to learn your wedding song and to spend time helping to coordinate all the special touches at your celebration. You should be encouraged to express your preferences on all of the party's details, including the control of the band's volume."

Some questions that should be asked include:

  • How many breaks will be taken?
  • Will live music or taped music be provided during the breaks?
  • How long will the dance sets be?
  • Am I guaranteed to have the same musicians or DJ that I have seen on video or at a live showcase?
  • Does the company have liability insurance?
  • Should I plan to feed the entertainers?

If your budget is tight, or if you are looking to create the atmosphere of a night club at your party, choosing a DJ might be right for you. DJ companies offer services that range from a single DJ entertainer to an elaborate DJ package that includes a DJ, an MC-entertainer, costumed dancers and laser-like light shows.

Whether you choose an exciting dance band complete with male and female vocalists and a horn section, an elegant smaller band, or a DJ package, try to see the entertainers perform live at a showcase or other event. There is nothing like getting the real feel of a performance by previewing the entertainers in action. Most importantly, have fun shopping, and planning for the most significant and exciting day of your life!

By Betsy Greene
Ariel Entertainment

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