Your Wedding Reception Music

The type of music you pick can set the tone of your wedding and solidify a theme. And it’s the thing people most often remember. Think about what musical genre best reflects your personalities and inspires the ambience you want to create: ’70s disco or a romantic string quartet? A throwback big band feel or kick-off-your-shoes rockabilly? The way the music is delivered—by live band or DJ—also affects the atmosphere. The type of music you want may also dictate your decision too—big band sounds are generally best live,

In the price war, DJs generally cost less, and prices vary depending on equipment requests and whether it’s a weekday or weekend. A 12-piece band, for example, will generally be more expensive than a DJ, since there are more people to pay. (There are always exceptions; well-known DJs can be just as expensive as live bands.) Band prices vary by the number of musicians, the amount of time you want them to play for, day of the week and what time of year it is.

Have your heart set on an eight-piece band? You first need to check whether the reception site has any restrictions on the number of musicians and pieces of equipment you may bring in, and whether there are any electrical power supply or noise limitations. For example, a registered landmark may not allow you to use large speakers. Ask these questions before you start scouting.

There’s nothing like a live wedding band to get a crowd excited and create a sense of sophistication. A good bandleader will play the master of ceremonies at your reception, interacting with folks on the dance floor, paying attention to the “feel” of the room and selecting music accordingly.

Live music is, well, live. You and your guests will experience the pleasure of a performance. Anything can happen to raise the excitement level, from an infectious horn section interlude to a moving solo.

Cons: Bands can be more expensive than DJs. Also, no matter how great the band, they can’t have the repertoire of a standard DJ, who can keep a huge variety of music on hand. And if you want to hear a song the exact way the original artist performed it, you may not get what you want.

Know that all professionals should be open to your likes and dislikes. Give them your personal request list, songs they must play and, perhaps more importantly, a do-not-play list. Worried you’ll hear the “Macarena” at your once-in-a-lifetime event? Specifically prohibit the playing of a song you feel strongly about in your contract.

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