There are two aspects of wedding music that need to be addressed when planning your big day. First, you may wish to select certain music or arrange for professional soloists or musicians to play during the actual wedding ceremony. But at the wedding reception, it’s pretty much anything goes when it comes to selecting wedding music, provided it’s tasteful.
Right away is the time to plan your wedding music. Good talent gets booked fast and you don’t want to end up having to select the brand new DJ with only a few weddings under his belt or something even worse. Booking your music a full year in advance is advisable but at a minimum, you should know who will be showing up and what he or she will be playing at least six months prior to the wedding date.
For most weddings, selecting the music for the wedding ceremony isn’t that complicated because most often, it’s controlled by the person in charge at the location where the ceremony will take place. When you’re researching your wedding ceremony options, be sure to inquire about any guidelines with respect to wedding ceremony music as these could possibly impact your decision. If the ceremony is being held outdoors, check for electrical hook-ups or book live musicians.
Wedding music during the ceremony is basically secondary to the ceremony itself so the music is really meant to sort of ‘fill in the gaps’ during the non-speaking periods such as while guests are being seated, during the procession, and while lighting the unity candles. Of course, it’s your wedding and it can be custom-designed.
The music that’s played at the reception, however, is going to mean the difference between a successful reception and one that’s ho-hum. This is where things can start to get complicated. When you begin searching for wedding reception music, you’ll realize rather quickly that you have a lot of options. You can book a live band, a professional DJ that’ll play pre-recorded music, or you can buy that CD full of top wedding songs and have someone act as the DJ. Most couples opt for a professional DJ as this person is able to keep the reception flowing and knows the ins and outs of making your reception amazing and memorable.
It’s important that you both agree on the type of wedding music you want played at your reception. There are ‘traditional’ songs that almost always are played at certain points during the reception such as the father/daughter dance, the cake cutting, the dollar dance and so on. Then there is all the music in between. Do you want jazz, country, R&B, new age, Italian, Latin, Jewish-inspired, or a little bit of everything? That’s an important decision to make because the musicians you select have to be able to deliver what you want or you won’t be happy.
Try to book experienced professionals for your wedding music. Always ask for and check references. Even contact the Better Business Bureau. If booking live talent, arrange to hear a live performance before booking. Scrutinize the contract before signing to make sure all parties agree on the number of hours music will be provided and that everything that has been agreed to is in writing. Find out the cancellation and refund policy, too.
Being disc jockeys, we get the opportunity to evaluate many reception facilities while having little or no bias to “sell” one location over another. Most brides and grooms know where they will be holding the ceremony before they decide where to have the reception, so we have compiled five observations that can help you when selecting your venue.
Distance – If people have to drive a long way to get from the ceremony to the reception, some will get distracted or decide to do something else. Try to keep the reception within a 15 to 30 minute drive of your ceremony. If it is not possible to get a reception hall close to your ceremony, make a caravan. Have the bride and groom lead the parade, and people will follow you to your reception.
Time – Time is just like the distance issue. If your reception is several hours after the ceremony, people will get busy doing other things and not show up for the reception. Try to start the reception within an hour or two of the ceremony. If you don’t want to start your wedding dance at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, plan a cocktail hour. Serve some drinks and get people to mingle. This will be one of the few times that both families will be together. Encourage family members to share stories about your childhoods.
Size – People like their personal space, and they have most likely spent an hour packed into a church for your ceremony. If you let them spread out, they will enjoy themselves more. Make sure your reception hall has plenty of room for your guests. The people renting the location might tell you it holds 200 people, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will hold 200 people comfortably! Make sure to visit the venue before booking.
Climate Control – Having a summer wedding? Is your reception hall air conditioned? If people sweat while just sitting, they won’t dance. On the flip side, if they are cold they won’t dance either (who wants to dance in a parka?). Also make sure you know who has control of the thermostat so the temperature can be adjusted if needed. Chances are your reception will be warm and stuffy while all the guest are there, but as they trickle out during the night the room will begin to cool down.
Smoking – This is a hot button issue, but if your reception hall is non-smoking, you can fully expect smokers to leave your reception for 15-30 minutes every hour. If enough of them leave the reception area, you may find a large percentage of your guest just hanging out in the smoking area. This can be a big problem if you have many smokers in your wedding party. You don’t have to allow smoking, but it is something you should consider, especially if anyone has any health problems like asthma or allergies that could be triggered by smoke. If you decide not to allow smoking in the reception area, how close is the nearest place for a smoker to go? Is it close enough that you will be able to get needed wedding party members during events like the bouquet toss or garter auction?
Facility coordinators will no doubt bring up several other factors for you to consider when you interview them for your booking, but these are often missed items, especially if they don’t favor the potential venue. If you keep the overall picture in mind and work with your wedding planner or event coordinator on the decorating ideas, you will no doubt have an enjoyable and memorable wedding reception.
There are a lot of things to consider when planning a wedding and feeding your guests will be one of the main ones. There will be concerns about the amount of food that will be needed and there will be nightmares featuring empty tables and lines of guests queuing up and there being nothing left.
Once you have decided how many friends and family you need to cater for there will be plenty of other things to be considered. What will you feed them and will it be a sit down meal where they are served by caterers or a buffet style were they will have to get their own? Both have their advantages as with the buffet they will be able to take as much of what they want as they want while the sit down variety will be easier for the guests but more expensive for you. Wedding DJ etiquette is also something to be considered.
The next thing to consider is whether or not to provide a meal for the DJ and the rest of the people who are helping out on the big day. They will be working a long day and if they were in an office or factory they would be entitled to breaks so why should this job be any different. The alternative to providing meal could be the DJ leaving the wedding for an hour and going to a fast food place to get a sandwich.
It does seem to be more and more popular to provide a meal for all the vendors you have hired and will be good wedding DJ etiquette. It may not be in the contract although there will be some who will bring up the subject while you are discussing the event. The problem can come when they have other people with them. If this is the case it may be the case that they will offer to pay for them to be able to eat as it would be unfair to expect an extra meal to be paid for.
The good news is that some caterers will include the cost of the DJs meal into the price they give and this will often be at a reduced rate as they will not get the same meal as the guests. It will also not come with alcohol as clearly the DJ will not be drinking while they are working. Having the wedding DJ eat dinner as a guest will not add a great deal to the overall bill.
Often the DJ will become a close friend so it would be nice to ask them to join the rest of the guests when the meal is being eaten, especially if it is a buffet. There is no reason why they cannot put together a track that will just play as background music and let them have a decent break and a nice meal. At least this way you can guarantee a happy DJ and well presented entertainment.
A wedding reception is the celebration after a marriage announcement. It is that time after the ceremony when the couple and guests relax, get to know each other and above all have fun. It just cannot be reception without a fun disc jockey and good music. No one would want a boring reception where people are just stuck and bored in their seats looking for the best chance to leave. A reception should have lots of music, drinks and fun. Getting a good DJ is one step to this achievement. Your guests should be able to dance and party all night and even get the chance to dance with bride.
Performances are a great way in which guests can be kept entertained. It just depends on how you want your reception to be. There are many live bands throughout Illinois and Iowa where you can find one to thrill the audience all night. Live entertainment is a great option. This way everyone will be dancing instead of sitting and listening to other people’s boring conversations. Another option is hiring wedding dancers to come and perform. Dancers can keep the audience lively.
Decor and Lighting
Your wedding décor and lighting is something that can bring enhancement and have everyone talking about it. There are options of placing colored lights in the room to create a great atmosphere. These colors can also be mixed and matched to create custom lighting for your wedding event. Décor is another way of spicing up your reception. Decorations can catch the guest’s eyes and you can nicely and colorfully decorate the tables with fine fabric. Getting an experienced wedding planner or designer is always a good way to achieve this.
Dance with the Bride
Gone are the money days where guests would line up with a dollar to give the bride and in return dance with her. It was a way of wishing the couple good fortune in the future, and it was a good way to getting guests off their seats. The dance also allowed the guests to dance with the groom as well. On wedding days the couple is always too busy to interact with the guests and this is a great way of doing it.
Get Everyone on to the Dance Floor
At every wedding there’s always a group of people that won’t get up and dance. A reception cannot be called a “reception” without everyone being on the dance floor. Get a good DJ who will interact with your guests and get everyone excited. Such a DJ will play fun and popular songs which most people love. Songs such as “Cha Cha Slide” and “The Cupid Shuffle” are currently very popular in weddings and are sure to get the whole audience on the dance floor. A good DJ will also mingle with the guests and get to hear what they want him to play.
Your chosen DJ will always play an important role in the success of your wedding reception.
Paying for a wedding can be an expensive thing to do and there will be times when the amount of money spent on certain things has to be considered. There are going to be lots of worries leading up to the big day and they will not stop once the ceremony is over and the couples are officially man and wife.
There will be lots of concerns about the reception and hoping that the people who are seated together will all get on and have a good day. Until the food has been served there will be no way to know if the correct menu was chosen and maybe more than anything there is the need to worry about the best mans speech. Often all these worries will fade into insignificance when trying to decide whether or not to have the wedding dollar dance. For some a wedding would not be the same without it and yet more recently it is being considered as something that will make some uncomfortable.
The decision to have a wedding dollar dance should be made totally by the bride and groom but it will be a good idea to put out a few feelers first to see if the guests think it is a good idea. If there has been a recent family wedding where this happened it should be easy to gauge how popular this was, but as long as it is purely voluntary no one needs to take part if they do not want to.
It will be best to let the DJ know you plan to have a wedding money dance so as they can announce it and the bridesmaid and ushers need to help set up the lines. The music chosen is going to be important and should be fun rather than romantic. Married life may not start off too well if either the bride or groom is dancing with an old flame to something like Barry White. There are plenty of songs that are about friends and the DJ is bound to know what normally works well on these occasions.
It is nice to have a minute or two to speak to guests and just say thank you for coming and ask how they are and are they enjoying themselves. Normally the guests only pay with a dollar bill although it can be more and there are ways to deal with this if the money is a sticking point. If it feels wrong to make money this way then arrange for it to be donated to charity, or if the whole idea of money is wrong make up fake dollar bills. This can be the outside of a dollar bill with a blank space in the middle where the guest can write a little message to be read at a later date.
As long as bride and groom are polite and friendly to everyone during the wedding dollar dance with there will not be a problem and if you are keeping the money then leave it until the next day to count it. If it is going to charity however it will be nice to announce it. Finally in case guests of one gender turn up to dance more than the other, have a couple of standbys who will agree to take a couple of turns.
The first dance is notably the start of your wedding reception and your new life as a couple. Carefully choose the right music for the first dance and make it as memorable as possible.
Below are some tips to help you make your wedding reception as memorable as possible.
- Look at the list of popular songs. A list of good popular first dance songs is always a good place to start. There are quite a few of these, but finding the right one shouldn’t be a problem. Search for one that satisfies your taste. You can use the web to make a small research on popular first dance songs.
- Decide on a song that you and your spouse love. If you have a special song in your mind, you can use that one. Such a song could be the one that played the day you two met or the one you used to play earlier on in your relationship.
- Choose a song with significant lyrics. A lot of songs have sexual innuendos and other love themes that may not be suitable for the audience. Choose a romantic one, listen to and analyze it making sure that the lyrics are relevant to your relationship.
- After picking your song let the DJ or band know, and find out if they’ll render it. Ensure that they don’t butcher it or play a different version of it. You can even have them play it briefly and change anything you don’t like in it.
- If the band isn’t familiar with the song, try and give them some recorded piece of the music and have them practice it before playing.
- Finally enjoy your dance. After all the frustration and confusion during the planning process, it’s time to forget about all the worries and just go along with the flow. Put everything behind you and lose yourself in your love world for you have waited for this day all your life.
Things to note:
- Note that with live bands, you can actually alter certain lyrics from the song and insert your names and or jokes so as to give it a twist.
- Certain songs are much better without vocals. Instrumental versions can be played in a nice way such that everyone will be attentive and go along with the flow.
- If you really want to wow your guests, you can take a couple of dance lessons before hand
- If the DJ is playing, make sure that they have done a thorough sound check and that the recording is in good condition. You wouldn’t want a track that will start repeating and squealing when in the middle of your dance. This can be so embarrassing. Also make sure that the sound system is in-check so that there aren’t any technical issues.
- Make your dance as original as possible and avoid cliché. This is your day and make sure you enjoy every bit of it.
Trying to get the best DJ, photographer and caterer is not easy and it may not seem possible that anyone who makes a living out of one of these professions can cause a problem for one of the others but it can happen. A photographer can over run and leave the caterers trying to keep the food warm, a caterer can be putting out the evening food when the DJ is trying to arrange the thank yous that you want to give to helpers such as bridesmaid and best man, while the DJ can have equipment that can make it difficult to take good photographs.
As with all people involved with the wedding it will be best to discuss with them what you want and make sure that they are going to be able to deliver on the day. Indoors at the reception there will be less chance for the photographer to be creative but by letting them know what the hall is like, or even taking them to visit it, will mean they can arrange the shots you want without a problem. Knowing where there are stages or steps will let them plan ahead and also decide if they need equipment of their own.
On the day they are going to be taking pictures of people they do not know and they certainly won’t know of any feuds or problems within a group. Having members of the bridal party helping out may be a good idea so as there is not half a dozen pictures of the bride with a guest who happens to be an old flame.
It is not only the daytime that will be photographed as there are going to be a lot of people at the evening reception who you will want to have photographs of. It is during the evening reception that there are issues about how well the photographer and DJ are going to be working together. To get ideal photographs the photographer will need to have a lot of say in how the room is lit as if there are flashing lights all around the pictures are not going to be clear and it may not even be possible to make out who some of the guests are.
Even if they pride themselves on the equipment they use a good DJ is going to agree not to start using the flashing lights until it seems that all the guests have arrived and there will not be anymore photographs taken. Even the best photographer cannot get excellent shots if the lighting is not right and it is important that the DJ will know this and agree to wait before taking over the reception with his equipment.
Sometimes the videographer will tape short messages from guests and again it is vital that the DJ knows and agrees to play quiet records for a certain period of time. A bad DJ will think the evening reception is all about them and if they do not cooperate you could find that your wedding DJ has ruined your photographers wedding pictures.