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Reception Music Tips + Trends

K'Mich Weddings - wedding planning - reception planning - 9-golden-rules-for-a-great-wedding-reception

Reception Music: Bands vs. DJs

The right music can make (or break) your reception. Whether you hire a band or a DJ, music sets the mood, so choose carefully. The first decision is band vs. DJ, and that will largely be determined by your budget. 

Once you’ve settled that, get started on your search, as always, the best professionals get booked unbelievably early. 

To find reception bands or DJs, get referrals from local or national musicians’ unions or DJ associations before hiring.

In this post, you will get ideas on:

Expectation vs. Reality

1. What it Costs

For a four-piece ensemble, you’ll typically pay $1,000 to $4,000 for a four- or five-hour reception. Most DJs charge from $500 to $2,000 for that same amount of time. If you live in a large metropolitan area, expect a final price on the high side of the range - it could be much more.

2. Ways to Save

Opt for a DJ - they almost always cost less than a band. Stay away from Saturdays, since the best DJ, and bands are in the highest demand on Saturday nights - try Friday or Sunday for a slightly discounted rate. ( Friday/Sunday Planning )
Keep it small - a four- or five-piece group will cost less than a fourteen-member orchestra complete with vocalist (and if the band’s equipment is up-to-date, a smaller combo shouldn’t sound like it’s that much smaller).

3. Think of Your Guests

Maybe you love hip-hop, but what about Grandma and Grandpa? Be sure the band or DJ can play some Sinatra and Cole Porter standards, too.

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4. Size it Up

Consider the size of your reception room and your crowd. An intimate space is not going to fit Jerry Jones & His Orchestra. A three-piece combo may not cut if for a guest list of four hundred. A good rule of thumb: six pieces per hundred people.

5. MC for Me

If you want the bandleader or DJ to announce the wedding party and the events of the reception, be sure he or she has the necessary information (wedding timeline). Write down all names (with pronunciations), roles, and relation to you (mother, best friend, and so on). More important, if you don’t want the entertainment to announce when you want your guests to head to the buffet, but that can be done table by table by your banquet manager.) 8 Tips for a Great Buffet

6. Give ‘em a Break

Expect the entertainment to write breaks into their contract; there may even be union rules requiring that they take them. Have the bandleader or DJ arrange for recorded background music during intermissions.

7. Go for Five

If you think your reception is going to go long, consider hiring the band or DJ for five hours instead of the typical four. It’ll probably be cheaper than the overtime fees you’d incur if you decide on the spot to have them stay longer.

8. Beware the Pair

Some DJs work with a partner- one person spins the tunes and the other serves as MC and/or gets the crowd pumped (otherwise referred to as the ‘hypeman’). Make sure everyone you hire understands the style you're looking for, and make sure to meet the person who will MC.

9. How Special

Find out if your band or DJ use any special equipment (lasers or strobe lights, bubble machine, fog generator), and make it known if you don’t want certain kind of props used.

What's your choice for reception music? A band or DJ? Share below.
Read:  What your Wedding DJ Wants You To Know  

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