Music for Your Wedding Reception – DJ, Band or Both?


When selecting the music for your wedding reception, start by thinking about the wedding receptions you have been to – what was the music like was there a great DJ or great band? Was that the type of experience you want for you and your guests? Some people want to dance the night away, but maybe you would like the music to be a background to your reception – not every group of people are party people. Perhaps you love to get out onto the dance floor and throw a few ‘shapes’ or want to show off your Macarena skills. Think about the type of music you are looking for before investigating your DJ or Band choices.

Although not directly related to the musical choice for your reception, some venues have to use sound limiters or have restricted hours when music is allowed to be played to comply with license/planning permission requirements. Such restrictions may influence your musical choices – a loud rock band may not be able to perform in a venue with a sound limiter (sound limiters cut the electrical supply to equipment if the sound exceeds a certain level to prevent disturbance to neighbours) perhaps a pianist or jazz trio maybe a better option. If you can to party into the early hours choosing a venue where no amplified music after 9 pm is allowed is most probably the wrong choice for you.

Band, musician or DJ? Each have their pros and cons, many of which come down to personal taste and budget. If you want the sound of a wide variety of music just as it is played on the radio then a DJ may be a better choice. If you like the unique sound and atmosphere provided by live music then a band maybe for you. Bands will need to take breaks between typical 45-minute sets, will take up more room and usually cost more than a DJ. Perhaps you could hire a DJ and a band to get the best of both worlds, although your budget may take a bit of a hammering. Maybe an alternative is to hire a musician to ‘accompany’ the DJ playing your favourite tracks to give that live feel, maybe a guitarist or bongo player. Remember as well as being one of the most memorable parts of your day, the entertainment can also be a large part of your overall budget so be realistic about what you can afford.

Another item to consider is the size of your wedding reception party – a large band will overwhelm a small party but a pianist or organ player would be drowned out by 250 plus party revellers – the phrase horses for courses springs to mind.

Which ever ‘source’ of music you decide upon it is a good idea to book your band or Wedding DJ and Mobile Disco as soon as you have chosen your venue, popular entertainers are booked well in advance so book sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.

So you have decided what you would like so how do you find the right band or musician for you? If you have seen the band or DJ in action at a party and you like what you see ask for a card. Ask your friends or venue for recommendations. Search the internet and publications for adverts. Check to see that the entertainer can accommodate you needs including musical style, requests and available budget and work out a shortlist of possibilities. Ask for references from previous clients, and although you will probably only be given details of happy clients, it’s worthwhile to give them a call for any information they want to share with you.

Check the entertainers’ experience, have they performed at many weddings? Weddings are not the same as any other party, there is normally a wide age group and a variety of music will have to be played to keep them entertained, the party will ebb and flow and the entertainer will have to programme the music and read the dance floor to keep the party moving, and getting everyone to join in – Dave Double Decks from the pub is not the right person for you!

When you have your shortlist of names meet them, or at the very least give them a call to talk over your ideas, try and get a feel of what the entertainer is like, do you ‘click’ with them, can you see you guests having a great time with this entertainer? See if you can arrange to see the entertainer in action – it may not usually be possible to see them perform at somebody else’s wedding – you might not like uninvited guests at your wedding would you – but it may be possible to see them at less formal events.

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