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Organising Your Live Wedding MusicOrganising your big day can be an exciting, but occasionally maddening process, with such an overwhelming number of choices to make at every turn it sometimes helps to do a little research beforehand. There are a number of different types of acts to choose from, whether that's a classical string quartet for the reception or lively swing band in the evening, knowing what goes where and how it all works is essential before you start your enquiries.
Organising your big day can be an exciting, but occasionally maddening process, with such an overwhelming number of choices to make at every turn it sometimes helps to do a little research beforehand. There are a number of different types of acts to choose from, whether that's a classical string quartet for the reception or lively swing band in the evening; knowing what goes where and how it all works is essential before you start your enquiries.
Live Ceremony music
With options ranging from solo guitarists and harpists to acoustic duos and string quartets there's certainly a lot of choice, however, budget will no doubt pay a huge role in the decision making and so it's vital to set aside an entertainment budget and allocate this to the most important aspects of your day. Is it your dream to have a string quartet during the procession or would you prefer to spend the bulk of your budget on the evening band for an unforgettable party? Different couples have different priorities so always weigh up your options carefully, perhaps your evening band can cover the daytime music as well to save you money in the long run.
As a guide you may like your ceremony music to cover about 15-20 minutes as guests arrive, a song for the procession, (as the bride enters), one or two songs during the signing of the register and one more for the recessional (wedding party exit). Most acts will be able to offer a quote to include all of the above and perhaps for a small extra fee can perform for an hour during the drinks reception as well.
Drinks / Champagne Reception Music
With the ceremony over it's now time for the champagne to be served and the conversation to flow. Instrumental music is always a winner but don't be scared to show of your personality with something a little lively at this point, whether that's a Mariachi band, steel drum band or 1920sa vintage jazz band you're bound to find something that really adds character to the day. Most function bands will offer approximately 2 x 45 minute sets during the daytime and this should cover the whole reception.
Wedding Breakfast Music
Something instrumental is usually a winner during the wedding breakfast, it's non-intrusive and allows guests to chat and mingle without the music being too over-bearing. Whether it's 1930s jazz or classical guitar, it all adds to the atmosphere and will no doubt be a talking point for friends and family afterwards.
Evening Wedding Band or DJ
It's the age old question, DJ or band? Whilst a good DJ will be sure to get your guests on the dance floor, nothing quite beats a live band to bring energy and excitement to your evening reception. If booking a band, there are some things to consider before making a booking, from set-up times to schedule it's best to have a plan – even if you don't stick to it!
Set-up: Many venues will have the meal, speeches and evening reception in the same room and so in this situation my advice would be for the band to hold off until the formalities are over and then set up discreetly as guests wonder off to the bar. Set-up time can be as little as an hour meaning your evening will be in full flow before you know it.
Don't be too eager to get the band on stage straight away, the band will most certainly include free playlists throughout the evening and so make the most of these by starting with some mid-level music and starting the band at 8:30pm/9pm when guests are ready to fill the dance floor.
Most bands will offer 2 x 60 minute sets and so as a rough guide you might want the band to play from 8:30pm – 9:30pm and 10pm – 11pm finishing the night with a banging playlist of your favourite tunes. You'll also be able to bring along your own playlist on an iPod which the band can then plug into their PA system instead of forking out for a separate DJ.
If you have a special song in mind it's always best to mention this when making your enquiries, whilst most wedding bands are happy to learn a first dance, not all songs are suitable for everyone so it's better to check to avoid disappointment.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg, every bride and groom have their own preferences and each situation is different; be sure to discuss the options with your wedding planner or book through a live music agency to avoid any surprises on the day.
Author: Adam Mezzatesta, Bands For Hire