Choosing the right music for your wedding ceremony and wedding reception is essential to creating the right mood. Take your time considering the options and make choices that both of you are excited about. And, of course, remember these important things:
Wedding Ceremony Music
• Start choosing music selections early!
• Talk with your fiancé about the styles of music you like and what you want during different points of your wedding.
• Remember to choose music for all parts of the ceremony:
Prelude — while guests are being seated
Processional — when the bridal party and bride and groom enter.
Ceremony – selections chosen for the ceremony itself.
Recessional — as the bride and groom and bridal party leave the church.
• If you are asking friends or family to play or sing at your wedding, let them know right away and work with them to decide what songs will be best.
• If you are getting married in a religious venue, make sure to have your musical selections approved.
• If you are choosing classical artists, be considerate of their needs and requirements. Harpists, for example, will often require shade to play at outdoor weddings due to the expense of the instrument.
• Most importantly, be creative! Unless your venue has certain restrictions, you can choose any music you like, from classical to R&B.
Wedding Reception Music
Before you start the search:
• Set your budget.
• Discuss what style of music you would like for your reception. Since most couples choose a wedding band or a DJ, we’ll be focusing on those two options. But if you’re having a cocktail reception or a Sunday luncheon, you may prefer an instrumental quartet or an a cappella group.
Choosing the music:
• Create a list of potential bands or DJs.
• Ask friends, family, other wedding vendors, the manager of your venue, music colleges, music labels, music publications and night clubs.
• Request audio tracks/samples of any wedding bands you’re considering.
Interviewing a wedding band:
• Ask if the musicians you heard in the audio samples/tracks you received are the musicians that will be playing at your wedding.
• Ask if the sound was technically enhanced on the audio sample.
• Find out how many musicians, vocalists and instruments were involved in producing the sample.
• Ask if the band brings its own sound system. If so, how large of a room will the system accommodate?
• Find out who sets up the instruments and when they arrive.
• Ask if the band will provide continuous music throughout the night. There should be at least two band members on stage at all times, even during breaks.
• Ask what they will wear and if requesting formal dress costs more.
• Find out if someone in the band will act as master of ceremonies.
• Discuss overtime rates.
• If you have certain songs you want at your wedding, bring that list with you and discuss whether the band you’re interviewing can play your special requests.
• As if any members of the band would be willing to play some tasteful music before and during the reception dinner.
Interviewing a DJ:
• Have a list of songs you want at your wedding and make sure the DJ’s music collection includes them.
• Find out if the DJ will act as master of ceremonies and if that costs more.
• Ask what the DJ will wear and whether formal attire will cost more.
• Make sure the DJ will test his/her sound equipment at your wedding venue prior to the wedding, especially if they have never performed at that venue.
• Ask what the equipment looks like and if the DJ will need any draped tables or if he/she will allow you to decorate to coordinate with the reception.
• Find out what kind of lighting the DJ uses and discuss how it will look in your venue.
• Ask the DJ if he/she would be willing to play some tasteful selections before and during the reception dinner.
Most importantly, make your first dance memorable with the perfect song. Have plenty of people taking candid photos of you so you can save all of them in the Our Wedding Photo Album and other keepsake wedding albums.