Your choice of entertainment may be the most important decision you make while planning your wedding. The right music will keep your guests dancing and enjoying themselves long after the cake cutting. Here are some “insider” tips to assist you.
1. Know your style preferences
Before you start looking, know your music preferences and, more specifically, the type of entertainment that fits your needs. This will narrow the selection process and make it easier when you start to look.
2. Do your homework
Consult an entertainment agency or meet with the actual band or disc jockey that you are considering for your wedding. Get recommendations from friends. If you are using a wedding consultant, ask who they recommend that based on your needs.
3. Research what's appropriate
Perhaps you attended an evening wedding where there was a disco atmosphere, but will that be appropriate at your late morning beachfront reception? Jazz might be a better choice. Choose music you like as well as music which suits the atmosphere of your reception.
4. Consider your costs
Your budget will determine your options for a band or disc jockey. Typically disc jockeys are less expensive than a band. Some bands can perform as smaller configurations and may work well for your budget and still provide a wide variety of music.
5. Consider day and time
Planning your party in the morning, early afternoon or a Sunday evening may offer an opportunity for a discount on entertainment services. There may be an additional discount if the reception is early enough to allow the band or disc jockey to accept another booking following your party.
6. Get a good look
Even when a great band or disc jockey is recommended by a reliable source and they have an audio CD, you really need to see the band or disc jockey in a “studio or live performance” video to show how they perform and present themselves. Request a video which will give you a good idea of the entertainment that will potentially be a part of your wedding day.
7. Select a variety of music
Make sure the entertainment you select is willing and able to play a variety of music to satisfy all age groups. The goal is to get everyone out on the dance floor.
8. Book early
Once you have decided on a band or disc jockey that you like, book them before they accept another engagement. Great wedding bands and disc jockeys are hard to find and they book well in advance.
9. Study the contract
There are important details which should be a part of the contract. Before signing, make sure the exact entertainment you select is listed in the agreement, including time frames, attire and travel fees, if applicable. Most bands and disc jockeys require a meal, beverage and parking validation. A “green room” is recommended for band breaks, so they are separate from the wedding guests.
10. Develop a plan
Prior to the event, you and your entertainment provider should prepare a written timeline which involves all of your special events. You want the band leader or disc jockey to also emcee your party. The emcee will guide the guests as to what comes next. With careful planning, you can relax and enjoy the celebration.
Opening photograph by Elizabeth Solano