How to Choose Wedding Musicians and Entertainment
We recommend that if possible, both bride and groom will attend all interviews.
Always carry a note pad and pen to write down important information and questions that may arise during your interview.
In order to comparison shop and select wisely, interview at least 3 Music - Entertainment service providers.
Music is a very important aspect of your wedding. It walks with you down the aisle for the marriage ceremony, accompanies you when you leave the ceremony as husband and wife, entertains your guests while you are being photographed and throughout the reception.
Start your search for your wedding music providers as early as possible, but after having secured both your ceremony and reception sites. You'll need to follow the guidelines set by your wedding venue. Be aware of any requirements and rules pertaining to DJs and music performers. If there is a limit to the size of the band, the volume or any aspects of the performance, you must take it into consideration when choosing you DJs or musicians. Additionally, many religious institutions work only with an in-house approved list of performers.
Make your music and musician selection carefully. You want it to represent you, your taste and the atmosphere you want your wedding to have. This makes choosing the wedding music and the style of musicians or entertainers, a lot of fun.
Before you start looking, you should brainstorm. As you do, take to consideration
- Your budget—Quality should be your main concern. Budget enough so you do not risk the success of your wedding by cutting corners.
- Your wedding theme
- Your preference of music for ceremony
- Your preference of music for reception
- The mood and atmosphere you want at your wedding—Read tips below
- The location and size of your wedding—Check with your wedding reception venue if and what live music is permitted. Make sure that the room is large enough to accommodate your musicians.
- Your interests
- Your guests—Will they want to dance or will they prefer to listen to music and have conversations?
Since the music sets the tone of your wedding, consider carefully what will make yours a special, one-of-a-kind wedding event. You have several options in two categories that are live music or recorded music. If you opt for the recorded music, you'll need to hire a DJ. But if you choose live music, you are presented with having to choose a band, a soloist, instrumentalists or a combination.
Tips for choosing the wedding musicians for your ceremony
- For a formal atmosphere you may consider: a singer, a string quartet, a harp or an organ.
- For a dramatic atmosphere you may consider:a string quartet, bag pipes, a choir.
- For a traditional atmosphere you may consider: a singer, a string quartet, an organ or a classical guitar.
- For an enchanting atmosphere you may consider: a singer, a harp or a harp and a flute.
- For a light and up lifting atmosphere you may consider: a string quartet, guitar and flute, piano or piano and violin.
- For background music you may consider: a string quartet, piano, piano and violin, piano and saxophone or classical guitar.
Tips for choosing the wedding musicians for your reception
- For a formal atmosphere you may consider: a singer, a singing group, a string quartet, a jazz band, a classical ensemble, guitar(s) and - or a harp.
- For a fun and loud or just something different atmosphere you may consider: DJ entertainment groups, Rock or swing live bands, popular music bands, Latin, Klezmer, polka, Irish, or other ethnic bands or best yet, a world music ensemble or a barber shop quartet. This atmosphere is a natural for games, entertainment and contests.
- For a sophisticated atmosphere you may consider: a jazz band, a classical ensemble, a piano, a piano and a violin, a piano and a saxophone and - or a harp.
- Background music you may consider: a string quartet, a jazz band, a piano, a piano and a violin, a piano and a saxophone, a classical ensemble, a solo singer or a classical guitar.
How to Find Wedding Music Providers
Once you have chosen the type of wedding site you want for your wedding, do the following:
- Ask the director of your chosen wedding site for recommendations.
- If you have a caterer, ask for recommendations.
- Ask your family, friends and acquaintances for recommendations.
- Attend bridal shows.
- Search the yellow pages under the appropriate category.
- Call and request a brochure specific to weddings. Place the brochures in a folder until you are ready to choose a few favorites. You want only the best! Be selective!
- When calling, were you greeted cordially?
- Were you able to obtain the information you requested in a timely manner?
- Were the people you spoke with helpful? Too helpful and eager?
- Now, check the Internet for local wedding music providers and go to their web sites.
- Do you like the look and feel?
- Does it provide you with the information you are looking for?
- Does it show or tell about unique one-of-a-kind weddings they performed at? Can you find Free articles or Free information on the web site? Are they helpful? or are they over selling? Did you find a clearly posted name, address, phone and email contact?
- If not, skip it and go to another site that interest you and are agreeable.
There are a few elements you need to pay attention to if you want your association with the music - entertainment providers will be successful.
- Did they merit good references?
- Can they offer you what you want on your terms?
- Will they guarantee that once you reserve their service, you will have the specific performers you chose for your wedding?
- Are you happy with the customer service you receive?
- Are they courteous?
- Are they accommodating?
- Are they helpful?
- Visit THEIR facility and check it out. Are they a real company running a real business full time?
- Are their prices competitive?
- Do you feel comfortable working with them?
- Information on hand, check out their reputation by contacting others in the wedding industry and asking about it.
If you are satisfied, keep the information until you are ready to choose and commit.
Following is a list of Questions and ideas to get you started
- Do you want recorded or live music?
- Do you want the same musician(s) for both ceremony and reception?
- How large is your wedding?
- Will you have an indoor or an outdoor wedding?
- What time of day?
- What kind of meal?
- How formal or informal?
- Will there be dancing?
- Your music preference
- Your choice of musicians - DJ - band - soloist - instrumentalist - a combination?
- Should the musicians also be the Masters of Ceremony?
- Should the musicians provide additional entertainment? (games - jokes - dancing contests etc...)
- Have you prepared all the details for your wedding reception? that is: the names of the bridal party, times of scheduled events, type of music to play - when (First dance, mother and son - father and daughter dance - other special requests, etc...
You can probably come up with some more ideas.
The tips, questions and ideas you gathered, is actually a wonderful preparation for your interviews.
What to Expect of the Contact Person
- A business card of each person you will work with.
- Contact information including cell phone, email and web site address.
- A brochure that explains what is offered and any exclusions, rules, regulations and options.
- A sample of their work on video and - or CD.
Questions for the Contact Person
Please note that not all questions apply to all. Some questions are specific to DJs some to musicians and some to both.
- How many songs and musical pieces are in your library? (Should be at least 5,000-10,000)
- Can you provide music for both ceremony and reception?
- Will your repertoire be tailored to suit our wedding requirements?
- Will you provide us with a list of songs and music selections to choose from?
- Will you accommodate special requests for songs or musical pieces we would like played at our wedding?
- If so, how long in advance do we need to provide them?
- If we include children in the reception can you have music game or activities geared for them? What is the latest time frame for making changes?
- What are your hours - minimum - maximum?
- Will you be able to, and prepared with additional material, should we want you to stay longer than planned?
- What do you charge for overtime?
- What kind of equipment do you use? (The most common sound system for DJs is by-amping. In order to achieve clear and loud music, it separates the bass from the music amplifies it separately and then plays it through bass bins.)
- How long before the wedding reception will you set up? (Be assured that there will be ample time before the wedding reception to allow for set up and testing of the equipment, lighting and special effects if any.)
- Do you bring backup equipment with you?
- Is basic effects lighting included in the price?
- Do you provide an entertainment planner?
- Will you come to my home to go over the music and - or entertainment plans?
- How soon before the wedding will you go over the program with us?
- What will happen to us if for some reason you have to back out?
- How long have you been accommodating weddings?
- How many wedding clients have you served?
- Can you provide us with references?
- Can you provide us with a profile of the DJ / musicians that will be assigned to our wedding including: musical training and education, experience in performing at weddings and how long what size weddings, full or part time musicians (Professional or hobbyist)
- Do you also provide a cordless microphone and an Emcee or someone who will announce toasts, speeches, special dances, at the reception?
- What is your attire? Does it vary according to the wedding theme? (e.g. Western)
- Do you offer a variety of wedding musicians - entertainers to choose from?
- How many people will perform at our wedding?
- How often and for how long do they take a break?
- Will they require a meal?
- Do you offer a bridal package? More than one? What are your rates for the different packages and what are the options available?
Package ____________________ options _______________ price __________________ Package ____________________ options _______________ price __________________ Package ____________________ options _______________ price __________________
- Are gratuities included in the price?
- Are taxes included in the price?
- What additional expenses may be charged? (other than overtime)?
- Do you require a deposit?
- How much and by when will we need to put down the deposit?
- Do you offer any discounts?
- Do you accept checks and credit cards?
- How many consultations do you provide in your package prices?
- Do you offer any guarantees?
- Will you provide us with a written contract?
- Does the contract include a 3 day cancellation clause?
- What are your cancellation terms should we cancel after 3 days?
- Do you carry liability insurance?
- Are the musicians - DJ insured and bonded?
- Are you members of any professional organizations?
Once you made your choice, you need to receive a written contract signed by the person in charge, and dated. The contract must include all of your responsibilities and all of the responsibilities, warranties and guarantees offered by the Dj - Music Service Provider. Caveat Emptor - Buyer beware! Read each contract very carefully, on, under and above the line. Be sure that you understand it fully and agree with all the terms. If you have questions, concerns, or are uncertain, contact them for clarification.
In most parts of the USA you have 3 days to examine the contract and if you need to, cancel with no penalties.
Copyrights © 2004 All Rights Reserved Nily Glaser, A-wedding Day and Gan Publishing