When you are planning your wedding reception, you need to give careful consideration to whether you would like any music, either playing in the background or as the main entertainment. Music can be a vital aid to help set the tone of your reception, and here are a few basic points you will need to think about.
1. Firstly think about the theme of your wedding. Are you having a very traditional, sit down affair? If so then it might be best if you choose more traditional wedding music, such as live string quartert playing gentle, classical pieces or a stylish jazz / swing band if you want something a little more vivid. If you are having a large family gathering then a DJ run disco might be more appropriate, which should provide a good range of music that all ages will enjoy.
2. Budget – hiring live musicians can be expensive, so you will need to set yourself a budget and stick to it. Generally, the larger the band is the more it will cost, and also the price could depend on how long you want the band to play for. Depending on the style of music you could have up to seven musicians, and this could cost anywhere between L750- L1500 for the night. Try and engage local bands, as if musicians have to travel a long distance they will most likely charge you a traveling fee as well.
3. Venue – There are some regulations in place regarding live music entertainment in public, so make sure you check the rules at your intended reception location before you book any bands. Pubs, hotels and halls must have the appropriate license if two or more musicians are performing live, so if your venue does not have this license you will be restricted to just solo or duo performers. Some venues also have curfews on live music, usually around 11pm, or in sound limiters that will prevent the music from being over a certain level. Also you will need to ensure that the venue is ready for live performances and has power sockets in the designated set up area, and plenty of parking so that the band can offload their equipment easily.
4. Recommendations – before you book a band or DJ, ask around to see if anyone you know has seen them perform, or ask the musicians themselves if they have a gig that you can go along and watch for yourself. This way you can judge whether they are capable and reliable, and if you meet them in person it will also give you a chance to discuss any special requests you might have. Most wedding bands make sure they have a wide repertoire of different music and are usually willing to accommodate most requests if forearned. Bridal shops and services should also be able to recommend good local bands or DJs, and also you can look in local papers, the telephone directory and also online for more information.
5. Music Programs – a good wedding band will be able to provide a tasteful, appropriate range of music for your wedding, but you may want to get more involved with choosing the music. Most couples request one or two favorite special songs, especially for the first dance, but you could also sketch out a program of music you would like played through the reception. Make sure you meet with the band to discuss whichever they can accommodate your requests, and give them plenty of time to rehearse and learn any new songs. Try and pick music appropriate to the style of band you have booked – there is no point engaging the services of a jazz band and then asking them to cover lots of modern pop music tunes.
6. Back up plan – It is important to have a back up plan, just in case your band can not make it at the last minute for some reason. If you are set on having a live band, make a list of 5 back up bands that you could call in an emergency situation. As it could be difficult arranging live performances at the last minute, check that your venue has own music system and pick out some suitable CDs – then at least you will have some background music if all else fails.