You’ve got your dream venue locked down, the ‘save the date’ cards have been sent, and now you’re brainstorming unique details like flowers and décor. But decorations and locale shouldn’t be your primary consideration when it comes to setting the tone of the main event – now is the time to start planning for what can often be a wedding reception’s most memorable detail: the music.
Though choosing and securing music for an event can seem daunting, getting started shouldn’t be that difficult.
Decide On a Budget
Negotiation is common when booking music for an event. And entertainment costs fluctuate widely. According to Brides magazine (November 2014) the average couple spends £682 on music for their wedding; but the larger, most professional wedding bands can cost in the thousands of pounds, and many people prefer to free up a larger portion of their budget for the music.
Prefer a Live Band?
A fun way to land the perfect act is to experience them for yourself. Post on social media and ask your friends for their favorite local bands – after all, they are the ones who will be enjoying the music at your wedding. Hit up your local pubs and venues for live music that you and your partner enjoy. You’ll likely be pleasantly surprised at your options – for instance, there are some fantastic cover bands out there that are able to replicate hits from a certain decade, genre, or band.
If money is no object, you may even be able to hire a touring band you love to perform at your event – go to the band’s website and find out who their booking agency is, then email their agent to find out rates and availability. Local bands generally feature their booking contact on their website as well. When it comes to negotiating price, perhaps you can offer less money for a shorter set and supplement with a home-made playlist. Or maybe you can include a free hotel room for the night along with meals for all of the band members.
Be sure to let the band leader know of any special songs you’re hoping to hear at the event (and anything that you don’t want them to play). They may be able to learn the songs for the occasion, or alternatively you can provide them with an MP3 player to plug into the sound system from time to time. When you decide to book a band you’re ensuring that your guests will have a uniquely unforgettable experience – live bands never play the exact same show twice.
How About a DJ?
DJs can be a little more problematic to evaluate prior to the event. Many wedding and event DJs don’t play public events, though they’ll often post playlists on their websites. The best way to find someone is if you’ve encountered a certain DJ at a friend’s wedding or event that you particularly liked. If you don’t have a specific DJ in mind, glean suggestions from online wedding and event forums or Pinterest. Any reputable event DJs should have favorable Yelp reviews.
Wedding receptions are split pretty evenly down the middle when it comes to live music versus DJs. It’s increasingly popular to do a little bit of both, and there can be cost-effective solutions if that’s the route you want to take. For example you might have an acquaintance who can act as a DJ for a portion of the event, then you can hire a live band for the other part of the night, saving you money and giving you more flexibility.
If you have no idea what you’re looking for, try using an online resource or booking agency like www.alivenetwork.com or www.dgmusic.co.uk or www.earcandylive.co.uk. This might not save you money, but you’re likely to save time and have the peace of mind that comes with professionals taking care of details like contract and cost. You can peruse bands and DJs playing music of all types in various areas of the country, and check out their typical cost and their current availability. Or opt to go DIY- ask musician acquaintances to play a few songs; come up with your own Spotify or iTunes playlist; do something interactive like giving each guest a few dollars to plug into the venue’s jukebox.
Whichever route you go down, remember to check with your venue regarding equipment rules, noise level and time restrictions, and any other stipulations they might have with regards to entertainment.
And for DJs and bands alike, particularly if you’ve never seen them play, ask for references that you can contact to check that they did a good job.
Live or recorded, planned or spontaneous, music is crucial to a successful wedding. So think about it early in the planning process. Be inspired by the music you love and the events you’ve enjoyed. And don’t be afraid to get creative!
This post was brought to you by Earcandy Entertainment, a leading UK based entertainment agency.