Our guide on how to hire a wedding band or DJ.
SO I ALREADY KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING “HE’S JUST GOING TO PUSH BIG RAY AND THE KOOL KATS” AS A WEDDING BAND. NOPE, BUT LETS START FROM THE BEGINNING.
I believe the music and entertainment for your wedding is the #3 decision you need to make. Before food, before decor, before types of alcohol (or not), before flowers, etc.. Here’s are my top 3 decision points:
- Venue and planner: Although not always the same vendor, they often are and will drive a lot of decisions down the line together
- Photographer…when the entire event is over, only the photographer’s work lasts forever.
- Music: Here we go. Nothing sets the tone of your event more than the music. Style, flexibility, VOLUME, I call it executing your musical vision. There are 3 very important songs you should think about, you processional, your recessional, and your first dance.
Here are 3 things to think about when it’s time to talk about the party.
- Everybody is not your age. Often wedding guests span 3 generations, sometimes even 4. Be sure your bandleader/DJ understands this and is prepared to musically deal with it. Also, the point of the time in the reception should drive the songs being played; quieter earlier, more energetic later
- Nothing is more musically important than what I call the “specials”, your dance with your new spouse, father/daughter and mother/son dances, really anything family related. Your band MUST commit to playing these songs flawlessly (easier for a DJ of course).
- The song list itself. Give the bandleader/DJ SOME guidance here. I always ask for your 6 favorite songs and 6 you just really don’t want to hear, but let the professional you hired “read” the dance floor and make the selections that keep it full. It’s what we do.
And finally 3 more things to think about: (I like thinking in 3’s in case you haven’t noticed)
- Reviews: Ask for reviews and recommendations. But don’t let the artist “cherry pick” them. Tell him you want the last 5 or so chronologically. Wedding Wire and the Knot are a great place to find reviews and they are generally pretty forthright. We have no ability to change a review there or even remove it.
- Should I hire a wedding band or a DJ: If you don’t get anything else out of this post, remember this please: A really good DJ is almost always better than a mediocre band and about the same price. Nothing beats a great band with a lot of experience though.
- Price: Certainly this is the hard part. I’ve played intimate weddings for 24 and events in Palm Beach, Bellagio Las Vegas, even Cabo San Lucas where folks have flown my entire band to provide what I call “entertainment insurance”…a first class party every single time. Obviously the budgets were very different, but one thing remains in common: your guests might not remember the food, almost certainly not the flowers or linens, but they’ll remember mediocre entertainment and they’ll REALLY remember how much fun they had with great entertainment.
Thanks for reading my very first blogpost, feel free to reach out with questions and of course especially if you need “entertainment insurance” for your event.