“Are you going to have a DJ or a band?” If you’ve been engaged for more than 5 minutes, you’ve probably heard this question more than a few times. I know the last thing you want is MORE decisions to make, but your wedding entertainment is important (and fun!), so we chatted with local singer and musician, Jayme D, to tackle it head-on. Specializing in customized music for small wedding receptions, ceremonies and cocktail hours, we asked her what to plan for when mapping our your music.
From Jayme D: First of all, “DJ or a band” is a BIG oversimplification of your available options. When it comes to planning a wedding, there are many voices and personalities to sort through. You have your own ideas of what your wedding should be, but you can also feel pressured to please family and friends who are involved in the planning, not to mention wanting to make sure that your guests enjoy themselves. While you may end up making some concessions regarding your entertainment, the wonderful thing about music is that there are a myriad of ways in which you can let your personalities shine, while making sure everyone ends up hearing something they like!
Here are some tips to help you dance your way through this musical decision-making process:
1. Your music sets the atmosphere for your big day. It establishes the tone and the energy of your event, and will tell your guests something about you and your fiancée. Whether it is a representation of your heritage or songs that represent special moments in your relationship, think about what you want your entertainment to say to your guests. What kind of mood do you want to set? What will make your wedding day unique and memorable in their eyes?
2. It’s not only about what you and your guests are experiencing in the moment; you are also creating memories, especially for yourself and your spouse. Everyone has songs that take them back to significant moments in their lives. These songs make up the soundtrack of our lives, and there are so many moments during your wedding where you have the opportunity to choose the songs for yours.
3. It is natural (and smart!) to ask your entertainment provider for recommendations. I can certainly tell my clients what is popular, or what might get people dancing, but I can’t guess what is going to be important to them. Be sure to choose songs that have a special place in your hearts so that when you hear them years later, you’ll be delightfully transported back to your wedding day.
5. Don’t leave your ceremony music as an afterthought. While it is important to make sure that the party is covered and that your guests will have a great time, the ceremony is for YOU. Many of the most important and memorable moments of your life will happen in that short period of time, and you want to make sure that they have the right accompaniment. Put at least as much thought and care into your ceremony music as you do into your reception.
4. The most important thing you can do is to make sure that the solo musician, ensemble, band, or DJ has a style & personality that matches the energy that you want for your big day. Find vendors who are flexible enough to create your vision, and excited to make your day YOURS.
As musicians ourselves, my husband and I had tons of fun planning our musical moments. We had planned a laid back brunch wedding where friends and family could mingle and enjoy themselves. Guests could be inside the reception hall or wander the grounds and play yard games–a traditional band or DJ just didn’t fit with our vision. Instead we wrote a song together that expressed our vows to one another and recorded it. That song played as I walked down the aisle, and we burned it onto CDs with hand-stamped labels and sleeves that became wedding favors for our guests. During the reception we had our favorite musician perform a mini-concert–playing many of our favorite songs of his, and ending his set with our first dance song. After that, my husband and his band played a dance set and I joined them to sing a few songs. Everyone loved all of the personal touches, and there was no doubt that our wedding was ours from start to finish!
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My sister would like to find musicians that can perform live music for weddings for her own wedding. Thanks for the tip to not leave the actual ceremony music as an afterthought. When finding musicians, we’ll be sure to find a band that matches my sister’s style.
It sure got my attention when you suggested communicating with the entertainment provider so that they can give recommendations about what they think will work best for the event. I think that’s a good thing because planning the entertainment is not really my forte. Everything that’s important for my sister’s wedding has already been arranged except for the entertainment part. It was a good thing that I came across this article. I learned so many important things. Thank you!
My fiance and I have some finishing touches that we are trying to piece together for our wedding. We want to make sure that we are picking an affordable wedding band. We will be sure to make sure that their personality matches our own.
I would agree that finding a band with the right energy is key. You want someone that matches your style and feel. This will make the event so much more relaxed and comfortable.
This is some really good information about DJs. It is good to know that you shouldn’t leak your music selection as an afterthought. That is a good thing to be aware of when planning a wedding. My sister is planning her wedding and I don’t think she has picked a DJ yet.
We had both a Dj and a band at our wedding and it was great it suited all the age groups invited. Also, the time between the band finishing and the DJ starting was about 5 mins, so no awkward milling about since people were dancing and a long time may have slowed down the night.
Thank you for mentioning discussing the songs to be played in the wedding with the DJ and how important it is to go for ones that have special places in our hearts. I know my future husband has a lot of songs that he considers special to him, we will just have to talk about it. It was good that I saw this article because music is very important to us, and we want to make that part memorable.
My best friend is getting married this year and I’m helping her to plan to reception. Right now we are planning out the music and hiring a DJ. There’s some great tips in this article about choosing music, especially about making sure to include some songs that are significant to you and your spouse.
My wedding is coming up in a few short months and I need to find a DJ. I really like your advice to find an entertainer who matches your personality and style. This is my big day and I want to make sure that the music is memorable.
I agree with you when you said that music is what sets the atmosphere of the day as well as tell the guests something about me and my hubby. Actually, just the idea that my hubby and I want a wedding DJ already says enough about us, but that is still not enough. We cannot proceed with the wedding without music and so we will be sure to prioritize that now. Thank you for the reminder.
In the past, I have found that the time between the wedding band finishing and the DJ starting is too long. If the crowd has been warmed up and out on the floor this time can be crucial to keep the action going. That said usual (depending on the music) the younger members of the crowd may now start.
My fiance and I want to get a good DJ for our wedding. I appreciate how you suggest we choose someone who matches our personalities for our big day. We’ll definitely take the time to interview potential candidates to ensure we hire someone who will be the best fit for our wedding night.
Getting a wedding band is becoming the bane of my life. If it’s not the availability it is the cost. I think its just because we want it all to be perfect but choosing a band that will get people u on the floor is a difficult task. Ah well, slog on.
Whether you want a DJ or a band, you need to create the atmosphere that is perfect for your wedding guests. You can’t please everyone, but you can create a mood that you know matches the spirit of your wedding. Personally, I prefer a band, but picking the right band requires extra preparation to ensure they are the right fit for your reception.
Getting a wedding band is becoming the bane of my life. If it’s not the availability it is the cost. Personally, I prefer a band, but picking the right band requires extra preparation to ensure they are the right fit for your reception. This is my big day and I want to make sure that the music is memorable.
We plan to have both a wedding band and a DJ at our wedding. I think when there is a possibility that the crowd may contain some younger family members and evening guests the DJ would play the music they may be more interested in. Thanks for the post Cara.
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