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. And 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, or a 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. The later leaves little or no control and isn’t really suggested .
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. And 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 DJ you select has to be able to deliver what you want or you won’t be happy.
Try to book experienced professionals for your wedding music. 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.
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Neal McFarlane is a full-time Toronto Wedding DJ ,VJ and MC who enjoys sharing his decades of knowledge to elevate every single event he can.