Reception Music Options
Your reception music is the icing on the cake of your wedding day.
It’s your parting gift to your guests.
Will they go home with dancing feet or pained ears?
Will their lasting impression of your special day be one of joy or one of annoyance?
Like every aspect of your wedding day, your attention to detail begins with knowing the right questions to ask.
Here are some tips from an industry insider:
Firstly, you need to ask yourself what sort of atmosphere you want to create at your reception.
Do you want background cello music while everyone chats the night away, or do you want a thumping party?
Make sure you and your partner are on the same page in this regard,
and clearly articulate what you’d like your reception to look like.
Are there space limitations at your venue to consider?
If you want a 12 piece band – where will they perform?
Is there a dance floor at your venue? If not, what must be done to acquire one?
Be aware that holding your wedding ceremony very early in the afternoon makes
the whole day a lot longer for your guests, and you may find them flagging the party
and going home just when you’re ready to have some fun on the dance floor!
Ceremonies timed later in the day result in harder partying at reception!
(This is one reason to consider having your official portraits done before your ceremony
– click here for more thoughts on that
Getting both the quality and thevolume of the sound right, is vital to a successful evening.
Not everyone wants to be dancing all the time so if it’s too loud, your guests won’t be able to talk.
However, you want the volume loud enough on the dance floor so that people can enjoy
being a little lost in the music.
Do you also need a sound system for your ceremony?
If so, see what arrangements you can make with your reception band or DJ.
Choosing your reception entertainment is, of course, a personal choice.
Be aware of these pros and cons of the various options:
Some bands can be less than reliable.
If you’re booking a band for a gig one year from now,
you want to be confident that they’ll still be together come wedding day!
Bands need regular rest breaks during the evening. This can hamper the flow of the party.
Consider how you’ll handle this so that your guests don’t suddenly exit the building
the moment the muso’s have a drinks break.
Make sure your band has an appropriate mix of songs and styles for all your guests.
If they play only the music you like, all night, you may lose your audience quickly!
Ensure you see the band perform live, before booking them.
Consider how loud they are. Sometimes this can be an issue, not just for your guests,
but for the neighbours and the venues’ council requirements too.
Ipods and PA systems:
IPods tend to invite an opinion from every guest!
It can sometimes get messy as a host of people try to determine the dance list for you!
Not having a professional in charge very often leads to failed queuing and bad sound quality.
I’ve experienced many awkward moments where the first dance has been delayed
for over 10minutes while the somewhat tipsy best man tries to figure out how the
system works and finds the chosen song.
If you’re on a tight budget, this can be a good option.
There is normally a good range of music and your can create playlists to suit the flow and feel of your evening.
It’s a good idea to put someone in charge of the jukebox to ensure the music flows appropriately and without pauses.
It’s also a good idea to appoint an MC for this part of the evening,
to ensure your guests are at ease with everything that’s happening.
A DJ is a particularly good choice for weddings where you have guests covering a range of ages and eras,
as a DJ can cater for different styles of music.
DJ’s should be able to read the party and adjust the music to suit.
They should be flexible and versatile enough to play what is working for your audience.
A good DJ can act in an MC capacity once the party has started,
announcing your first dance, introducing special dances such as daddy-daughter, and so on.
Look for someone with a charismatic presence to bring energy to your event.
Look for someone who will blend well socially with your guests,
bringing the level of social decorum appropriate to your audience.
DJ’s don’t take breaks so there’s no interruption to your party.
A good DJ should be open to your feedback throughout the night with regards to style and volume,
and willingly make the necessary adjustments.
A good DJ is there to serve you and will work with your photographer, videographer,
caterers etc, to create a unified whole.
Depending on which of these four options you’re looking at, ask the relevant questions from this list:
Ask them to detail their experience.
How many wedding gigs have they worked, and over what period of time?
Have they hosted a wedding at the venue you’ll be using?
Can they offer any advice from that experience?
How many songs will they have with them at your reception, and can you arrange a playlist prior to the event?
Do you ‘click’ with the DJ you’re meeting with?
Are they, in fact, the person turning up on the night, or will they be sending another from their team?
If they’re sending someone else, ask to meet them and to see them in action, prior to booking.
What is their backup plan if, for some reason, they’re unable to make it on the night?
What sort of lighting do they have?
Do they have a microphone. Do they make announcements?
Ask them what sort of tricks they use to get people out of their chairs and onto the dance floor.
Do you have a do-NOT-play-list? If so, write it in your contract.
If the chicken dance or the Macarena are not something you want to hear at your once-in-a-life-time event,
be clear about it!
Make sure you see your band or DJ in action before booking them so you can experience their sound system,
see their lighting, hear their announcements, and get their vibe.