A disc jockey typically plays music throughout the reception. Most often, they’re a one-person set-up who emcees the event, plays the music, and keeps the pace of the party from the entrance announcements to the first dance to the cake cutting and more.
A DJ also works best in smaller venues. In a venue that accommodates less than 100 guests, an eight-piece band just realistically doesn’t fit very well.
Don’t forget a tip, which can range anywhere from $50 to $150, depending on how happy you are with the service.
Always be sure the DJ you meet with is the person who will be working your wedding. Many times during your consultation, you’ll meet a company representative, not the actual DJ who you are hiring to entertain your party.
You can search for an experienced DJ through professional organizations such as The American Disc Jockey Association (www.adja.org) or the National Association of Mobile Entertainers (www.djkj.com).
Once you find a DJ you like, book early to guarantee their services for your event. Get a written contract with all the details explained, including which specific DJ you’re hiring.
Give your DJ a play list of songs or artists you like, as well as a no-play list so they know the music you don’t want to hear during your reception.
There’s nothing like live music to keep your party moving. You can hire a band to play just about any kind of music from Sinatra to rock ‘n’ roll to ’60s classics to party anthems to jazz standards.
The bandleader typically hosts the wedding and makes sure the event stays on schedule. They’ll coordinate with the wedding planner and other vendors, such as the caterer and photographer, to choreograph the timeline for the reception.
However, bands can be limited by genres. For example, a 1980s cover band can play Air Supply and The Bangles, but they won’t work for playing Kanye West songs late into the reception. Consider whether these musical limitations are deal-breakers for you and your groom. .
While a large band can often be more expensive, they do have more flexibility for your event. A band with 10 performers, for example, will be able to offer you music from a variety of instruments such as piano, guitar, and saxophone, as well as many singers with different vocal ranges.
Review their sample audio and video and ask questions about how long they perform, how breaks are covered (will there be any music during the band’s breaks?), and interview a few of their previous clients to see what they liked about the band.
Be careful about the many amateur bands you’ll encounter during your search. These amateurs may have a cheaper price, but they’re often just starting out and don’t have the experience and professionalism that you’d expect from people performing at big events such as your wedding. Be wary of your favorite cover band from the local bar. They might be perfect for rousing the crowd of 20-somethings on a Friday night, but don’t know how to handle the pacing and etiquette of a wedding reception.
Ensure that you and your groom love your band choice and truly feel a personality connection with the band members, especially the bandleader, who will be the master of ceremonies for your reception. You need to get along well with these music professionals to guarantee they “get” your vision.