Looking for a wedding DJ or band to ensure the very best wedding entertainment for your wedding day? Look wisely and consider our expert tips for selecting the very best wedding music DJ’s or wedding bands to ensure your reception (and ceremony) are inspirational and bring life to the party!

1) Don’t Neglect the Wedding Ceremony Music

Auditioning wedding bands is fun. Planning dance floor playlists is fun. Practicing your first dance with your soon-to-be husband is (potentially) fun. Researching processionals and choral music is…important. But not necessarily fun. However, as excited as you may be about the reception, remember: the wedding is still the main event. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the structure (basically it goes Prelude, Procession, Ceremony, Recession, Postlude) and make considered choices about who you want to play, what they should play, and the speed they should play it. If you’re having a religious wedding, talk to your officiant and find out if they have any limitations on the type of music allowed – some don’t allow secular music, which means that your stroll down the aisle to “My Heart Will Go On” might be out. Perhaps you’re a fast walker, and trying to slow your pace to a stately, too-slow march down the aisle leaves you looking like a slightly intoxicated marionette. It’s not a problem, your musician can certainly increase the tempo to better suit your natural gait, but they’re all issues you want to deal with in advance. So take an afternoon, and really consider what you want your wedding to sound like. Those musicians you hired – they’re pros. They know how to play a wedding. Just make sure you give them enough guidance to play yours.

2) Choose the Right Musicians for the Space

Another major factor to consider is the size of the ceremonial orchestral group. If you’re having an intimate wedding in a small church, a string duo or single harpist may be perfect. Hire the same musicians for your 200+ beach wedding though, and you’ll have to excuse your guests if they mistake them for set pieces. Two violins will be barely audible over the ocean’s breeze, so you may want to consider a quartet that features one or two woodwinds, or at least some kind of amplification setup. Recorded music is, of course, perfectly acceptable, but there’s nothing like the real thing.

3) Know Your Musical Style

Are you a music junkie? Then you may not want to acquiesce to your future cousin-in-law’s demands that you allow her 19-year-old son to run the DJ booth. On the other hand, if your general approach to music is ‘whatever’s on the radio’, then DJ’ing the ceremony yourself via a preloaded iPod may be far more trouble for you than it’s worth. One good approach may be to scour your wedding party for a qualified bridesmaid or groomsman and assign them band/DJ research duties. They can narrow down the list and present you with the best options, and then you can make the final call. 

4) Wedding Band vs. DJ

When deciding between a live band and a DJ, there are a few initial considerations that can help you make your choice. First, take a look at the reception venue. Is there a stage? Or will cramming a band in eat up the entire dance floor? What about your budget? Weddings are expensive, and a DJ is usually going to be the most economical choice, so – unless you’ve got a specific live act in mind that you’re absolutely in love with – this may be a good opportunity to trim costs. Except…if there’s a theme. If you’ve gone with a Great Gatsby-style gathering, for example, the pumping bass line of “Drunk in Love” might contrast a bit too much with the black-tied waiters wandering through the crowd filling champagne glasses…

Or, it might be awesome. It’s all a matter of personal taste!

5) Consider the Fiddle

Ok, ok, you really really want a live band. We get it. There’s something special about live music, and this is your big day, after all. This suggestion may seem weirdly specific, but have you given any thought to a fiddle player? We’re serious. The fiddle is an amazingly adaptable instrument, capable of switching from a tear-jerking ballad as father and daughter sweep across the dance floor, to a raucous dance number in the blink of an eye. Honestly, fiddles can be amazing. As they say: there ain’t no party like a fiddlin’ party because a fiddlin’ party don’t…wait. That’s not right. Whatever. We’re pro-fiddle, is all.

6) iPods?

If you’ve decided to go with a DJ, your next question may be: Why not just DJ the wedding party ourselves? iPods are easy and awesome, and even have a built in cross-fade function. Plus, this way you can make absolutely sure that you’re going to hear only music you like, all night long.

We totally agree, under certain circumstances. For one, you must care about music, at least a little bit. If you can’t answer the question “who’s your favourite musician?” this may not be the best plan of action. Also, you absolutely must rent or otherwise acquire a suitable amplification setup. Nothing kills a party faster than inaudible music. And three, if you go with the iPod, you need to designate someone Guardian of the iPod. Otherwise, people will mess with it, skip songs, plug in their own iPod…

7) Take Your Audience Into Account

When you’re selecting your band/DJ/Guardian of the iPod, ask yourself: who’s going to be listening to this music? Are you having a small family wedding? Because Grandma’s probably not going to want to ‘get down’ to Biggie. Have tons of young, single friends? Very cool, but unless you met them in swing dance class, Big Band music is probably not the best way to keep the party going all night. You’re the bride, but you’re also the host. Play music you love, but consider your the interests of your guests as well.

Pro-tip: Take music requests via your wedding website or Facebook before the big day. It’s a fun way to get everyone involved, plus it gives you a chance to go through and veto in advance.

8) Curate. Curate. Curate.

Just because you want your guests to be comfortable and have a good time does not mean that you have to give total control of your party’s playlist over to them. With an iPod or band, most of the curation can be done in advance, but, if you hire a DJ, it is absolutely critical that you provide him or her with both a must-play list and a do-not-play list. You don’t want to be explaining to Great-Aunt Mary what that raunchy lyric means.

9) …But Don’t Be a Helicopter Bride

The DJ has the list, the Guardian has his instructions, and the band knows their business. You’ve planned ahead, everything is ready to go. Now go enjoy your party and let all the wedding planning pay off!


Photo credit: © Marianmocanu | Dreamstime.com