Congratulations on getting engaged and now the planning begins for your big day. So, before you put selecting your wedding music at the bottom of your list, let me share a few insights from an event planning perspective.
There are three things that people will go away from a wedding talking about … 1) The bride’s dress; 2) the food and 3) the music. Yes, you read right … the music. But what is it, after the dress and food, that brides typically fret about? Flowers, the cake, the venue and then the music becomes an afterthought, a footnote in the planning process.
For the wedding ceremony, choose music that really means something to you as a couple, whether you hire a singer or an instrumentalist. For the bride, that all important song that you walk down the aisle too will be the foundation of that amazing moment when the groom first sees his bride. The music leading up to the brides entrance whether it’s secular or religious is equally important because a tone is being set for your entire day. And don’t forget to have music planned for signing the registry. This can sometimes take up to 20 minutes so you’ll need about five songs ready for this (with a couple in reserve). I have sung at many wedding ceremonies and I have always had to pull on those reserve songs during the registry signing. These songs should also have personal meaning to the couple.
For the wedding breakfast there are a few routes you can go: 1) Playlist on a device; 2) solo performer (singer or instrumentalist); 3) Acoustic Duo or 4) Small band (3-5 pieces, with or without a singer). Having some sort of entertainment to occupy your guests during this time is crucial to keep the mood of your day festive. While the bridal party is occupied with taking photos, your guests are sort of hanging around. I suggest using the same Act for your drinks reception that you used for the ceremony (solo, duo or instrumental act). Another viable option is to have your reception band do the wedding breakfast. If you have a large band scheduled for the evening do, more than 5 pieces, then ask the band if they can perform as a trio or quartet for the breakfast. And, the couple will want to put their stamp on the music here too.
Last year my band, Move On Up, did a Disney themed wedding and the bride and groom handpicked the Disney songs they wanted included in the ceremony, breakfast and reception. Whenever we got to one of those songs, especially during the breakfast, I would catch a little reaction of delight from the bride or groom at hearing something that really meant something to them.
Then there’s the big event … the evening reception. This is where you pull out all the stops when it comes to entertainment, whether you decided to just have a DJ or to have both DJ and band. It’s important to get this bit absolutely spot on as far as what type of band you hire. Let’s say the groom is a fan of heavy metal? (I just booked a wedding where this was the case.) That’s great, and I appreciate all sorts of music, but hiring a heavy metal band for the wedding reception would not be the best idea. This is where the bride and groom have to consider who will be attending the evening do and what type of music would have the most appeal across the age groups who will make up your reception. Working with an entertainment agency or experience wedding band will help you get this right. You want to hire a band with a diverse repertoire of music covering many genres and eras.
I once attended a wedding reception where a Rock n Roll band had been hired for the occasion and the dance floor was pretty much empty throughout the night because the bands song selections didn’t have a broad appeal. As soon as a playlist was put on with songs that everybody knew and loved playing, the dance floor was full.
For the wedding that I just booked for the heavy metal lover, we are going to perform a mix of songs covering Motown, Soul, Pop, Blues, Disco and Classic Rock n Roll, for the groom. Basically, we are going to do floor fillers to ensure that each guests has the chance to shake their groove thing, if they so desire. We will send our set lists to the bride and groom for their approval a few weeks before their wedding to ensure they are happy with our choices.
If you’re using just a DJ for the reception, make sure he or she is prepared to interact with the guests and not just playing track after track. What’s exciting about having a live band is that interaction that naturally happens with a good band … they just know what to do to make sure your guests are engaged. Your DJ needs to have this same type of insight and be prepared to switch gears in their planned playlist if necessary to make sure the dance floor is full.
When you’re in the early stages of planning your wedding and setting the budget for this all important day, make sure you set a decent amount aside for your music. Many agencies and bands offer package deals to cover the ceremony through to the evening reception, which could save you some money. A DJ can also be included in a package deal. I suggest working with an agency for your wedding because they can do all the leg work to vet the entertainers and make sure you get exactly what you want. Many agencies also offer other services such as photo booths, LED flooring, table magic (another great option to have during the drinks reception) and toastmasters.
Please contact GME to book a free 30-minute phone consultation to discuss your wedding entertainment and to learn about the packages we offer. We would love to be a part of your special day. Just tell us what you want and let us handle the details!