The music that you play at your reception sets the tone for the evening (or day, if your wedding is early). Hip-hop, swing, country, and jazz all give off a different vibe, so it's important to go in knowing what kind of party you're trying to throw. Here are some considerations:
DJ vs. Band
Both options have advantages, so you can't go wrong. A band will give you the energy and sound of a live performance, but a DJ will have access to a wide range of songs and genres. As you make your decision, consider that bands often are a little bit more expensive since you're paying for multiple people, rather than just one DJ.
If you have a band, choosing a particular style will help you choose a vendor. Do you want a top 40s band? One that plays with some Latin flare? Oldies? It's up to you- look to your own musical tastes, locale, and the preferences of your guests for inspiration.
If you're going the DJ route, you'll still need to make a decision on style. Some DJs use turntables with actual records or CDs, while others use a range of digital files. If you don't have a preference either way, then this decision will be an easy one!
Are you looking for a band or DJ to just play music, or do you need someone who can really work the crowd and put on a show? This impacts the personality of the band or DJ that you choose. Regardless of your selection, make sure you set expectations clearly so that you get what you want.
Gigmasters.com is a great site to source quotes from a wide range of bands or DJs all in one place. Go in with a budget in mind, and once you've got a few quotes you can:
- Listen to music samples to get a sense of their overall style.
- See them perform. Many bands and DJs will have live performances in your area- check them out in person!
- Watch wedding performance. Youtube makes this easy.
- Ask about equipment and setup so that you know all the details.
- Confirm the reception plan. Will they provide an emcee? Do they take breaks? What will they wear?
- Sign a contract and send in your deposit!
We've chosen to hire a band for our September nuptials. I wish we could have David Grey perform live, but in lieu of that we will likely have our band learn one of my favorite songs: