Happy #MusicMonday!! Today I want to talk about something that will literally set the tone of your wedding reception… the entertainment. There are a multitude of things to consider when thinking about your wedding reception entertainment. So, let’s get started.
Do You Want a Band, DJ, or Combination of Both?
There are pros and cons to each, so I’ll start by recommending what I think is your absolute best option. BOTH. Of course, having a band and a DJ is the most expensive option. If you don’t have the budget for hiring both, then you’ll have a decision to make. So, let’s talk about your options.
Live entertainment can really energize the crowd. I am often amazed at how pumped the guests at a wedding can get when the band leader strolls onto the dance floor and performs amongst the crowd. Also, a band can really complement a certain theme you are planning. Whether it be a Great Gatsby wedding with a swing band, or an Irish themed wedding with a Celtic band, live entertainment can really showcase your theme quite nicely.
A DJ has a wide variety of songs to chose from, all by the original artists that you know and love. A good DJ should also be able to keep the energy high with their beat matching and mixing skills. The energy may not be as high as live entertainment, but a good DJ/MC team should really be able to rock the party!
Cocktail Hour Entertainment
There are a variety of entertainment options available for your cocktail hour. You have to think about what type of music you would like, and who will provide it for you.
- You can use the musicians who performed at your ceremony. Solo piano or strings is a popular option.
- Let your reception band or DJ provide the cocktail hour music. You could have a simple setup where the DJ sets up one speaker and has a CD or laptop hooked up to play soft instrumentals or any type of music you choose. Or, your band can have a few members arrive early to provide more elaborate cocktail hour entertainment. A jazz trio or three piece ensemble is a popular option.
- Hire a completely different group or musician to play for your cocktail hour. You could do something uniquely different, or again select some sort of entertainment to match your theme. For example, this could be a salsa band, Sinatra impersonator, or reggae group.
Hiring Your Band/DJ
Now you are ready to start your shopping. I would advise that you start by asking family, friends, and co-workers for recommendations. Or, better yet, have you been to a wedding recently where the entertainment was outstanding? If you are considering hiring a wedding planner, or have already taken that big step, ask your planner for a referral because they are sure to know the best of the best in terms of entertainment companies. If none of these options are available to you, then prepare for a good old fashioned Google search and get ready for some serious researching.
- Set Your Budget: A rough estimate is to allocate 10% of your total budget towards your entertainment. This is a good place to start.
- Website, Website, Website: The quality of a prospective company’s website is important. Is it old, outdated, and unprofessional? Or, can you find what you need, such as packages, pricing, and video demos. Eliminate any entertainment company who fails to make a positive impression right away in this area.
- Make an Appointment With Band/DJ: Prior to setting an appointment, be sure to confirm availability. Ask any preliminary questions you may have on the telephone, and narrow down to your top three candidates.
- Meet With Your Top Three Entertainment Candidates: At this meeting, your goal is to dig deep. Ask lots of questions. Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks as we will have our guest entertainment expert talking more about this topic.
- Ask For References: Once you have decided on a potential Band/DJ, be sure to ask for references and do some internet research on that particular company to see if any red flags arise in terms of reviews.
That’s it for now. If you want to know more about unique wedding reception ideas, or how to personalize your first dance, be sure to check back often. Also, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter below, and receive a free E-book, 101 Ways to Personalize Your Wedding Ceremony. Happy Planning!!