My mom liked our wedding band. Seriously, how cute is this picture?
A band or DJ can absolutely make or break a wedding. I’m about the furthest thing from a “dancer” you’ll ever meet, but after a glass of bubbly or two, wedding dancing is just about the most fun there is.
My brides & grooms and I always about the importance of lining up reliable, fun entertainment. Because throw in all the pretty touches you want, if there’s appropriate, fun music and some cocktails, the rest will take care of itself. (;
Here’s a list of some of the things to remember as you hire and plan with the group behind the mic:
Try to see your band in action before you hire them. Ask where they’re performing next and take your fiance to check them out. They don’t have any gigs lined up or you’re not in the same city? Ask them to direct you to their YouTube page for videos or have them send you a DVD. Between these three options you should be able to get a little peek of how they sound and how they interact with the audience (and vice versa).
After you nail down who you’ll hire, review your wedding day timeline with them (planners come in handy here). Which party “milestones” – announcement, special dances, cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc. – will they need to be prepared for? Learn how many breaks they request and how long each will be (this information is typically in their contract, too).
Load your iPod with your favorite songs and give to the band beforehand. This way, they can pop that in to play during their breaks, instead of what can sometimes be pretty boring house music.
Will they be the ones to announce you as the new Mr. and Mrs.? If so, give them exact wording of what you’d like them to say. And always just spell your names like they sound (I usually don’t even worry about writing tricky names as they’re spelled. If you simply write them out phonetically, you can rest assured that they’ll get it right).
Give them the songs you’d like to use for first dance, father/daughter and mother/son dances, and be sure to give them the list early enough so they can practice if they’ll be learning and performing the songs themselves. If not, a simple iPod with attached directions works.
Make sure you request that the DJ or band begin playing music before the first guests arrive to ensure no guest walks into a quiet room. That’s the worst!
Provide them with a “Do Not Play” list. This is not necessary by any means, but if you have a song or two that you just can’t take, jot it down and let them know. They’re always happy to accommodate!
If you’re planning a seated, plated dinner, it’s always courteous to let the band or DJ know whether or not they should play during dinner. Also, let them know when and where they will eat to avoid any awkward feelings (or empty stomachs!) on their end. Remember, treating your vendors well is very important. The nicer you are to them, the more likely they are to go above and beyond for you.
In my experience, bands and DJs are usually agreeable and eager-to-please so do your homework to make sure their sound is a good fit for what you’re looking for, be nice and up-front and you’ll be good to go!