Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Hey Mr DJ: the minefield that is choosing your wedding music

One of the hardest {and in the end most fun} parts of planning our wedding was planning the reception music.

I've been to a lot of weddings and been the photographer at a lot more and there have been some *moments* that resembled the scene in Love Actually, you know the one...

So in terms of atmosphere the music that you choose is right up there; music can make or break a reception. One wedding I went to, the dance floor was so dead that the DJ jumped out from behind his own booth and started bad break dancing all on his own.

Don't even get me started on the phenomenon that is 'Oops Upside You Head'...

If you haven't gotten to this point in your wedding planning yet you'll probably think that this is no big deal and that you'll just play a bit of everything to please everyone, right? That's fine and it's a nice sentiment but {especially if you're trying to put together an ipod playlist} you'll soon discover that the Grease Megamix doesn't flow so well into Tony Christies Is This The Way To Amarillo.

The best receptions that I've seen have either had a band or stuck to a style of music, maybe that's Motown maybe it's Jazz maybe it's Rock or maybe it's pop; but it's always consistent. My all time favorite reception had a band booked by the groom while out one night after quite a few drinks, they looked like a cross between drunken pirates and Guns & Roses but they were brilliant!

I guarantee that there will be a lot of people who have an opinion on your choice of reception music, from family to friends you'll hear a lot of "but that's not very weddingy..." and "hmmm I'm not sure your Nana will like that very much..." But there is no faster way to clear a dance floor and kill an atmosphere than with a reckless mix of poorly chosen tracks.

So whats a girl to do? Well as I said music is really key to atmosphere and thus something I would advocate spending a little dosh on. Though there are some very easy ways to cut costs down, even on live music.
Firstly think about who is coming to your wedding and how your music could change throughout the reception, rather than from track to track, as guests will leave at different times.
Early on at mine we booked a classical group {Keylargo} which I knew would go down well with the older members of the family, plus they don't just play Mozart, they play Bowie!

After dinner we had a friends band play {The Wild Sons of Gentlemen} who I can only describe as a hell-raising-honky-tonk-peddling-bunch-of-hoedown-hillbillies who despite their slightly sinister lyrics play some damn good dancing tunes. Point being, a lot of the music they played was their own and people didn't know it but because of the style of the music you couldn't help but dance you arse off! This is why a Ceilidh works particularly well at a wedding.

We saved the music of our youth for later on in the night, figuring that popping out the 90's hard house wouldn't hurt past 11pm as Nana and Grandad had long left!

Top 5 tips for having great music, a great atmosphere & not breaking the bank: 
1. Always have music playing, never have silence, put together an appropriate playlist for different parts of your day, like when you're eating.
2. Go for a classical trio rather than a quartet, less people = less money
3. Find local bands, Colleges & Universities are the best places to look, there are some great College bands out there who will play for minimal fees (and a few beers)
4. If you're venue doesn't have a PA system rent one and plug in your ipod but always ask first as they may have one that they regularly borrow even if it isn't permanently installed
5. A DJ is generally cheaper than a band but be sure to agree the playlist before your wedding!

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