It’s hard to imagine a wedding celebration without all the emotion and fun that music brings. But with so many decisions to make, how does one start? Cellos for the ceremony? A live band to rock the reception? A dynamic DJ? A high-steppin’ second line send-off? The choices can be dizzying but one shining piece of advice can illuminate your path to the perfect decisions. Be true to yourself.
You can find infinite advice on the internet, and every friend and relative will surely have an opinion, but just as you knew he or she was “the one,” let your heart guide your decisions for music as well. Here are some tips to get you started.
For the Wedding Ceremony:
Consider the location. Will it be in a religious building that has restrictions? In many cases, places of worship offer options such as marching in to traditional organ fanfare or choosing a more contemporary style using live performers. Ask if they have a music coordinator to assist you with advice on musicians and set-ups that have worked best there in the past. Want to say your vows outdoors? If so, is electricity available to power a sound system for music from a mobile device or for amplifying instruments? If you choose acoustic instruments, power won’t be an issue.
Many reception venues also offer a ceremony site. Since the ceremony is typically removed from the reception area, you may need a separate speaker set-up for the officiant mic and music. If the venue doesn’t have in-house sound, ask if your band/DJ can cover additional ceremony needs.
Think about your song choices and musical style. You may have known long before you met your mate that your bridal party would pair up to “Wonderful World,” and you’d walk down the aisle to “The Bridal March.” But your style will dictate whether you want those original recordings played, solo musician acoustic versions or a live group performing them with a new twist. You have options and your taste, logistics and budget will affect your decision.
For the Reception:
Now for the fun part. What kind of party personifies your partner and you?
In other parts of the country the reception music decision may be as simple as DJ or band. And while ‘wedding singer’ may conjure up movie stereotypes, we are fortunate here with unique, quality options for bands and DJs.
A good DJ can provide a wide variety of music and allow you to pick songs or provide a crowd-pleasing playlist. They can act as MC, making your introductions and announcements throughout the night. Ask about their light show options. Many DJs also provide fun add-ons such as photo booths, karaoke, and video presentations. A DJ may be more economical than a band and logistically easier. Check their website for options, pricing and reviews as well as photos and videos of their work.
But your style may dictate a live band that will get guests on their feet. Whether New Orleans is home or a destination for the wedding, local music can add authentic flavor to your event. A small jazz group can offer a lively option for smaller budgets or venues. If crawfish and jambalaya are on the menu, consider completing the theme with the hot tunes of a Cajun or Zydeco ensemble. Want to go retro? Our area offers performers that play swing and jazz standards. How about a specialty band that dresses up, lights up and puts on a high-energy show? For a festive send off, a second line band adds a colorful, Mardi Gras mood as you march your hanky-waving guests out to your waiting chariot.
Many couples want some of all of the above to please various tastes and ages. Choose from many excellent area groups using the internet to compare styles, prices and line-ups. The band’s website should offer photos, audio/video clips, pricing and song lists. Look for groups with a proven track record and good reviews. Ask if the members represented will be those that will perform for you. Discuss band attire, volume levels, song selection and band breaks. Try to see the band live to determine if their look and sound are right for your once-in-a-lifetime event. Expect to put down a deposit to hold your date, and get a signed contract.
Before finalizing, ask your venue about rules or restrictions regarding both DJs and bands. Also, alert your DJ or band if your reception will be outside or to any other unusual circumstances.
This is the time of your life. Relax, breathe, have fun and remember – Be true to yourself.