Choosing the Best Wedding Music

It doesn't matter whether you'll have a live band, a DJ or are planning on using an MP3 player; the type of music you choose for your wedding and reception sets the tone for the entire day. Your choice of music should reflect both you and your partner's tastes and should also include songs that have an important meaning to you. So how do you make sure you make the right music choices?

Keep in Mind

You'll be picking music for your ceremony, your cocktail hour and your reception. The music you select for each should reflect that part of the wedding. Think of your wedding like a movie and you are picking the soundtrack.

When planning music for your ceremony, talk to your officiant. This is especially important if you are having a religious ceremony. There may be rules regarding what types of music can and can't be played in a place of worship.

If your wedding has a particular theme, your music should match.

When picking songs for your first dance together, for the father-daughter dance, ect, select songs that reflect the individuals. Carefully read all lyrics before making your decision.

Practice your first dance in advance to ease your nerves.

Before deciding on a DJ, live music or your MP3 player, consider the venue's acoustics.

Finally, if you are hiring a DJ or a band, make sure to provide clear instructions at least a week before the wedding so everyone is clear on when certain pieces should be played.

Hiring DJs and Bands

After carefully considering your budget, the type of music you like and your venue, you decide to hire a DJ or a live band. How do you know which would be the best one to hire? Follow these simple steps.

Seek referrals: Ask friends, family, your reception site and your wedding planner for recommendations on who to interview and who to avoid.

Interview: Meet the DJ or band face-to-face. Do you like a DJ's personality and voice? How many breaks will he take? As for a live band, will they play recorded music during breaks? What will they wear? For either one, how many hours will they play? Will there be extra fees for overtime?

Generally, for bands, a trio or quartet is appropriate for under 100 guests, a six-piece band works for more than 100 but fewer than 300 guests, and for over 300 guests, it's best to go with a 10-piece band.

Make a list: Make a list of your musical tastes. Give the DJ or band on idea of the types of music you'd like played. Conversely, also provide a list of songs you absolutely do not want to hear.

Sample: If you find a band through a music agency, ask for a demo tape. If you find a band independently, the same rules apply. Be sure to find out who is on the tape -- who is the singer and the number of musicians.

Contacts: Finally, get everything in writing. Your contract should include everything from fees to the time and date of your reception. It should also include a cancellations policy. For bands, it should include the names and contact information of the musicians and whether they carry liability insurance. Make sure to review all contracts before signing.

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