Music for the ceremony and reception is not usually the first thing couples decide on when planning a wedding. Although the kind of music the guests hear can determine the ambiance and feel of the entire wedding. From the sounds that play while people are being seated down to the background music during the best man’s speech at the reception, music matters and should not be a last minute decision.
For the ceremony, the venue can dictate what kind of music is accessible. This really isn’t an issue with indoor weddings. However, outdoor weddings can get complicated. The lack of electricity may require more planning and logistics. Decide early on what source of music you want, be it a string quartet or a DJ, and make sure it’s feasible for the venue.
As for the actual songs, choices are abundant. For a traditional feel, go with the classic wedding march or any of its slightly different variations. Don’t be afraid to try something a little different, if it fits. There are some great instrumental tracks out there that still have the feel of a traditional wedding, but aren’t exactly the same old song everyone has heard before. Choose your favorite, with or without the words. Regardless of how traditional or different the ceremony is, pick a song to walk down the aisle to that reflects the tone of the wedding.
The reception is an entirely different story. The main choice to make is whether to hire a band or a DJ.
“Make sure you listen to them ahead of time and talk to other people that have had them for weddings,” warns wedding planner Amy Otis.
While a band can be personal and special, they also come with artistic license. A band my not play your favorite song like you hear it on the radio. A band is typically more costly and you’ll need a little more room for them to spread out and set up. If using a band, book them early and give them plenty of time to learn any songs that must be played at the reception, like the first dance song.
While DJ’s are easily customizable to individual tastes, it’s important to get the right person for the job. If the DJ is supposed to emcee the reception as well as play the music, that person needs the personality to fit the bill. When looking for a DJ, be sure to give details on exactly what you want. If you want to make your own playlist, ask when you need to have the list finished. You will also need to make a decision about requests. With a DJ, guests will inevitably make requests for songs that you may not want played. Come to an agreement with the vendor about any songs or artists that shouldn’t be considered, and give the DJ a timeline for events like the first dance and the bouquet toss.