A wedding DJ/MC does a great deal more than play the music at your wedding. They are responsible for several important aspects of your ceremony and reception. They cue your ceremony music, announce your grand entrance (woohoo!), manage your timeline, and provide the sound equipment for your ceremony and rehearsal. And that's all before the dancing starts! This insider's guide to wedding entertainment will help you figure out your wedding entertainment needs, how to choose a band or DJ, and—most importantly—how to find the best DJ/entertainer for your event!
String Quartet, Band, or DJ?
These aren’t your only options but, as you start to define your wedding style, you'll want to choose which type of music will be the best fit. Remember: you don’t have to pick just one —something classic during cocktails and then something modern after dinner is a fine choice too.
Your guest list and the energy of your friends is something you’ll want to take into account – if you’re planning a smaller wedding with lots of little ones then a few hours of crowd-pleasing songs for young and old might be all you need. Alternatively, add a note on your invitations asking for a favorite song. When you get back the RSVPs, you might be swayed to choose a classic wedding band or pick a DJ who can cover more musical bases.
7 Critical Questions to Ask Your Wedding DJ or Band
We bet you remember those events or parties where the DJ played everything you wanted to hear, and everyone danced until they couldn’t boogie anymore! With the right wedding band or DJ, you too can have a night like this. So, when you ask the question about their announcement style, you’ll want to look for critical components such as smiling and happy, energetic, open to your style of music, and overall positive personality.
Are You Part of the Band?
Will You Be the DJ At Our Wedding?
You need to know if the person you’re communicating with is going to be the one entertaining your guests, or if they're just the coordinator.
How Do You Define Your ‘Style’ When Making Announcements?
The best announcements are correct and entertaining yet smooth and seamless. Remember, this is about you, so you can choose someone that reflects your style. Want an MC that's full of humor? Go for it! Someone more polished and classic? Awesome.
Do You Include Visual Effects?
Some bands or DJs bring equipment to help create a party atmosphere like disco balls, strobe lights, etc. This is an important question to ask if you’re looking to create a more personalized set or additional upgrade to your wedding décor.
Are You Familiar with the Reception Space?
If you’re not working with a Wedgewood Weddings preferred vendor for your venue, it’s vital that your DJ or band checks out the acoustics of your reception area, so the sound is crystal clear for every guest!
Make sure your DJ confirms they will check the acoustics, power and amplification requirements before your wedding day.
What Do You Typically Wear?
Most DJ professionals go for clean attire, proper shoes, a collared shirt, and dress pants. All-black shirts and dress pants are standard. A string quartet usually dresses more formally, while a rock band might have a totally different style. There's no right or wrong here, but feel free to take charge and tell your musical vendors what type of attire you'd prefer.
Are You Open to Playing Songs That Are Special to Us?
This is one of those things you can’t assume. Confirm they have everything you want to hear. Create a list of all the songs you MUST hear so they can prepare. Then, after you book, you can determine when you’d like these specific songs played, and how the wedding DJ or band can accommodate.
Make sure to check that they feel comfortable playing religious music, explicit lyrics or non-mainstream music to suit the vibe you want. It's your day so it should be your music!
Is There a Standard Set Duration?
Find out how many hours your band or DJ plans to perform during their services, that way everyone is on the same page. This will help you plan your timeline as well. Ask if they can extend their set, if they’ll require breaks, and if they can guarantee to stop before a noise ordinance kicks in. They’ll want to know your event schedule and confirm your music needs for the reception and ceremony. Later, once the time of service is confirmed, you’ll know how long you can boogie with Aunt Jane and Uncle Joe!
TIP: If you have a must-hear song, ask them to play it twice. Your guests probably won’t notice, but it means you have two chances to hear …even if you’re in the middle of photos the first time it’s played.
What To Expect From Your Wedding Entertainment
Firstly, no one is a mind reader. Set your wedding entertainers up for success and provide:
A day-of-event timeline so they can be ready when you are
A list of must-have songs
An announcement cheat sheet, so they don’t accidentally mistake Bill for Bob
A heads-up on whether you want them to take requests from enthusiastic guests
Great wedding entertainers know exactly how to energize a room—or calm it down if needed. And although we recommend that you provide a song list, it's important to give your wedding entertainer space to choose the timing of each piece so that it keeps the crowd buoyant and excited. Some songs which are incredibly emotional or exciting for you two might not have the same impact on your guests, so you want to strike the perfect balance.
Thoughts From Our Experts
“Your DJ can really make or break your wedding reception atmosphere. We see a lot of DJs come and go, and it's always your best bet to go with someone tried and true.”
Tori, Eagle Ridge by Wedgewood Weddings
“Vibe with your band or DJ! Some will provide you with videos of their work - watch them! If the crowd is having a blast you can bet your guests will too!”
Elle, Stallion Mountain by Wedgewood Weddings
“Guests really love two things about a wedding; the wedding ceremony and the entertainment! Talking to couples after their wedding, they’re always happy if they decided to go big with the entertainment.”
Tami, Director, Fresno Fields by Wedgewood Weddings