There are so many options when it comes to choosing wedding music and entertainment. Wedding planners and couples who invest time in finding suitable entertainers understand that music and entertainment are key to setting the tone for the entire event. As you plan, we encourage you to be mindful of your theme, add your personal touches but consider your guest list (what is appropriate for their age group or beliefs?), and keep your budget restraints at the forefront of your mind. Enjoy the process of finding the right entertainment options for your wedding, and check out some of the most popular wedding entertainment trends this year:
Hire the Right Musical Entertainment for your Wedding
It is important that you hire the right musical entertainment for your wedding. We recommend that you and your spouse sit down and talk about the overall vision of your wedding early on in the planning process. Since there are so many entertainment options available, you want to avoid being overwhelmed by narrowing down the options quickly. The best way to narrow the possibilities down is to think about what is truly important to you and your spouse. For starters, if you have special songs that must be played, write those down. If you have always envisioned your wedding to include a string ensemble playing as the wedding party enters the ceremony, keep that in mind.
A DJ is usually the first thought that comes to mind when couples think about musical entertainment for a wedding. DJs are versatile and can accommodate the varying needs of a wedding. The right DJ will have the ability to play music during the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception if planned right.
We’ve seen a new trend where DJs don’t just press play on the music and watch the crowd dance. Some DJs are now making a name for themselves by giving the crowd a show and being present on the dance floor with guests. If you desire to have a high-energy dance party or want to book a DJ with their own personality, do your research and find a professional agency that represents popular DJs. You will get the professionalism of a corporate agency and keep the excitement of a trendy DJ by going this route. Experienced DJs will know how to play the right music at the right time, are familiar with the expectations and nuances of a wedding, and have the intuition to know what to do if the wedding is falling behind schedule or the planner needs to make adjustments.
If you book a wedding DJ, please avoid making these mistakes:
- Not securing the DJ early enough
- Going the cheap route
- Hiring a DJ with a lack of experience
String & Jazz Ensembles
String and jazz ensembles are classy and chic additions to any wedding. Most couples use a small string or jazz ensemble to play selections as guests enter the wedding ceremony area or during the actual ceremony. The ensembles are often asked to play during the cocktail hour (between the ceremony and reception). Instead of hiring a large 10-piece group, you can save money by hiring a duo, trio, or quartet. A smaller group will also help with limited spacing. Find an ensemble that can play music that ranges from classical to current pop tunes. If you have any special song requests, you can share your list with the booking agent or lead musician to see if they can incorporate the songs into their set.
Live Bands or Solo Singers
A live band is on the wedding wishlist of so many couples, especially those who have been to other weddings and have experienced the energy and excitement of a live performance during one of their most memorable life moments. If your budget allows you to explore the option of hiring a live band, we highly recommend that you research and find an experienced band for your special day. The most popular and talented bands in any region have a diverse setlist that can appeal to different audiences. If you book early enough, you will also have the opportunity to share some of your favorite songs so the band can learn and perform them. A professional band will also have the ability to share song recommendations if you’re stumped on what to play during wedding party introductions or special dances.
If you cannot afford a live band, you can still bring a live experience to your wedding by hiring a solo singer to perform a particular song during the ceremony. If you are set on having a live singer during the reception, reach out to an agency to find a solo singer that uses instrumental tracks. We wouldn’t recommend this option for the entire night, but a solar song with instrumental accompaniment at a pivotal or emotional moment could be a nice touch.
If you opt to go with a party band, you can also use one of the musicians from the group to handle the ceremony or cocktail hour music. Many couples discuss this option with the band early in the planning process, which has some financial benefits! Since the musician would have been onsite close to the reception time, many booking agents will offer a performance by the solo musician at a discounted rate. Most couples hire a piano/keyboard player or guitarist but you can also mix it up and have the piano player at the ceremony and the guitarist during the cocktail hour.
Don’t forget about sound engineers
In all of these scenarios, you will need some type of sound set up, which in most cases, is separate from the fee you would pay for a musician or entertainer. Sound engineers provide large speakers and, in some cases, visual elements when couples need them (think of couples who want to share a photo slide presentation with music during the cocktail hour). There may be instances where your event requires additional sound equipment during the ceremony as well. Even if you opt just to use your own playlist during your wedding, you may need larger speakers so guests can hear the music or microphones for the officiant and special presentations or prayer.
If you have a smaller set up for the jazz ensemble or musician during the cocktail hour, you may only need a small speaker, but if you need sound and have a large room or hire a band or DJ, it is recommended that you ask the musician you book about sound add-on options. Most DJs bring their own sound setup and may have an assistant onsite to help with sound. Most bands have a traveling sound engineer, and their fee is included in the overall price of the band; however, just like the solo cocktail hour musician option, there is usually a discounted (yet additional) cost for a sound engineer who assists with providing sound at different times outside of the reception hours.
Additional Musical Entertainment Options
Outside of DJs, live bands, and add-on options like sound engineers, if you still need help with finding musical entertainment, you have the opportunity to create your own wedding playlist. Some couples are opting to create their own wedding playlists to ensure they get what they want out of the entertainment element of the wedding. While we don’t recommend using a playlist for the entire 4-6 hours of your event, there are times when you can incorporate a playlist into the wedding while still ensuring that the flow of the event is easy and organized. You can opt to play a curated playlist during the cocktail hour, a low-maintenance time of the event. You can also use a playlist at the night’s end when guests are leaving after the DJ or live band performs.
Share Your Wedding Music Playlist
Another benefit of using a playlist is that you can share the playlist with guests after the wedding is over. Your song list probably includes songs that guests may have never heard before, and thanks to apps like Shazam, they may have the thought to grab those songs and add them to their personal playlist during the wedding; however, in case they didn’t catch every song, sharing the playlist makes it easier for guests to sort through the playlist to find their favorite tunes. On the other hand, you may have played throwback songs that brought back memories for other guests, and it is a nice personal touch for them to have those songs in the palm of their hand when they leave – literally. Finally, if you have people who want to be at the wedding but could not make it, sending a note with a link to the playlist is a creative way to say “We missed you” or “Thank you.”
The Most Popular Wedding Music Trend
Regardless of what the experts and blogs say, the most important “trend” is authenticity and creating memorable moments that last for a lifetime. Keep your personal taste, lifetime dreams, and budget in mind and chase the desires of your heart – not what other people say. That’s trendy!