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[+] the wedding reception

- the wedding reception will be a blast

- a dry wedding

- choosing a wedding emcee

- what's the right order for wedding toasts?

- the garter toss

- grooms cakes

- wedding reception music

- the first dance (and learning to dance)

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wedding reception music [Page 2 of 2]

A great option is to combine DJs and live music. Many couples have opted for live musicians for the ceremony, cocktails and dinner, and then have a DJ in to finish off the night. This doesn't have to be a huge production or cost too much. The trend in DJ technology is toward lap-tops and sleek PA's that put out truly kicking sound and don't take much set-up.

How to make a sound decision on a live band

At the outset, be sure to procure music samples and song lists. A number of bands have dvds and video clips but these are almost always disappointing. If possible, try to see the band live, but remember, if they're playing a club, it might be a very different set list then what they would play at your wedding.

Jog your memory and consult your friends. You may remember a band that once played your coworker's wedding in Tahoe, or your niece's Bat Mitzvah. If you or someone whose taste you trust has seen and heard the band live and in action, this eliminates the guesswork.

Another option - stringed instruments

Harpists, violinists and other stringed instrument players abound. They add a touch of class to cocktails or the reception because they provide beautiful music that isn't overpowering. They can play a wide range of music and are much more cost-efficient than a full band. Check with your local symphony orchestra (if you have such a thing) or music studio for sources. A single harpist for 4 hours may be as inexpensive as $250, all told, but can be all that you'll need to fill the room.

How much is this going to cost?

There are many variables that go into wedding music planning that make it difficult to say. A quality band for the night (usually four hours) in New York City, can run you around $1000 per musician. It can be significantly more or less depending on your specific needs and circumstances and, above all, location, but cutting corners usually also cuts the quality as well. Price-wise, the difference between a mediocre band that has a chance to foul up the night and a great band that will blow the roof off is really only a couple hundred dollars. The savings are probably not worth it.

The important factor when considering cost is this: You are hiring these musicians for the night. The bulk of the cost comes not from the amount of time they play, but from their appearance alone. The more time you can book them for, the more cost effective the band/or dj will become. Any band worth its salt has soloists or can split into a small group for ceremony or cocktails or dinner.   You can save a lot of money, utilizing talented players that are already there, rather than hiring others. You have them for the long haul, so get as much mileage as you can out these great performers.

Also, make sure to contract the musicians for a long enough period of time, because overtime can get expensive fast. You are better off scheduling a band for slightly more time than you think they will actually play than letting things go into overtime. Don't get anxious; most musicians won't worry about a couple of minutes here or there, but come 15 or 20 minutes over and their rule is just like yours at the office...it's going to be time and a half, at least.

Armed with this information you should have no trouble putting together a phenomenal evening of music. Remember, the people at your wedding want to see you happy.   Do you want everyone to still be talking about the music from your wedding at your 50th anniversary? Then go with your instincts and play what you really love to hear.


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Mon, Apr.27th 2009
The kind of music you provide on your wedding day is about the kind of music you enjoy as a couple I am all for playing the music the couple like but if you spend $20K on a wedding reception and your guests leave early is it worth it? Work with your DJ and get a DJ from ADJA.org This is a good site for find quality DJ in your area. They have a list of ten questions to ask your DJ.
Scott M
Tue, Mar.10th 2009
You invite your guests to your reception to help celebrate your wedding. They bring you gifts and money. You MUST be considerate to them as far as the music is concerned. I've DJ'd hundreds of weddings in my 15+ years experience and nothing drives away your guests faster (other than no open bar) than the wrong music YOU chose because it's what YOU want. The best thing is to break the evening up into two halves. Keep it easy and conservative for the first hour or two after dinner (there's tons of oldies, easy top 40, etc. that everybody loves to dance to) and then crank it up later. The older crowd tends to leave after a couple hours, then the party takes on a nightclub atmosphere. NEVER disregard your guests and ask for YOUR hard rock or profanity-laced hip-hop right after dinner when your grandparents are still in attendance. Stick with a good, highly-recommended DJ. You never know what you're going to get with a live band. Sure live music is fun, but your song choices will be limited not to mention that I've heard some asolutely bhorrible bands at wedding receptions. Plus, you'll save some money in the process.
Mon, Jan.7th 2008
Sorry about the delay on your response - Jimi, my suggestion is to break the night into two pieces - Call one "The Reception" and the other "the After party". Take about 90 minutes (just after dinner) to have the big band play. Have them even play your first dance if you want. Then get the DJ for the "Afterparty" to rock with all the young people. Older people usually will clear before the end anyhow. Hope this helps... let me know if you have any other questions. J
Fri, Nov.30th 2007
jimi D You said it: "I want a big band to play." It's your wedding dude. And as for a DJ - get him to play some oldies mixed in with Kanye West.
jimi D
Sun, Nov.25th 2007
My family is really musical they all play some sort of instrument and he has many friends who can play. I want a big band to play. Now my dad would probably want to play along with my brother. Problem is they can't play all night because I want them to have a good time and i live in hickville usa so big band won't be the best for all night. I want to have a DJ afterwards to fix this problem but the older family members will ahte rap and other modern music. What do I do

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