What do you need?
Think about important moments during your day. At the ceremony, do you want an organist/a string quartet/a choir? Do you want music while your guests are eating? And, if the wedding includes evening entertainment, will you need to book a band or a DJ, as well as other styles of entertainment such as magician or a caricature artist?
How can you set the right mood?
Choose the musical style according to the formality of the wedding. A grand venue and formal meal will be best accompanied by a live band. A funky DJ is more in keeping with a civil ceremony and coctails. If the rooms are large, remember to check whether speakers will be necessary – and if they are permitted.
How can all tastes be catered for?
Your guests are bound to be a mixture of ages and they won’t all share the same taste in music. You’ll find choosing a mixture of classics and modern songs will appeal to most people. If you want the dance floor heaving, 70s and 80s disco tunes are always popular.
What is your budget?
The more performers you have the greater the cost so, if your budget is limited, think about keeping things simple: have just an organist for the ceremony; compile a CD of your favourite background music to play during the meal; and then book a DJ for the evening.
Ask your friends for recommendations for musicians or entertainers they know so you can narrow down a shortlist. Once you’ve done that, it’s important that you hear them play, live if possible, and don’t rely on someone else’s opinion. You want to aim for music that will suit the taste of the majority of your guests so a middle-of-the-road route is usually your best option. There’s nothing worse than an empty dance floor or your older relatives wanting to leave early because they are being deafened by a rock band, and your younger friends won’t expect anything too cutting edge.
Check with the officiant and the venue about any restrictions on numbers and noise levels before you book anyone for the ceremony and the reception. Let performers know how many guests are coming and where and for how long you want them to play. Most wedding band and DJs have a play list so make sure you look through this and delete any songs you detest.
You may want to think about other ways to entertain your guests at the reception. There are lots of magicians, mime artists and caricaturists who can walk around entertaining each table. It all depends on the amount of entertainment you want to offer your guests and, of course, your budget.