Music is an important element at weddings, reunions, company parties and other events. Making just the right choice of whom to engage, however, may be more difficult than you anticipate. Should you choose a DJ, a string ensemble, a band, pianist, harpist, bag pipes or something else? Maybe you want to download your own playlist on a laptop or iPod.
Before deciding on music, first decide on the desired ambiance and your budget. If you are planning a formal dinner, live music playing in the background may be appropriate. If you want flexibility and someone to make announcements, a DJ may be a better choice.
Live music, perhaps a string trio or quartet, a harpist or pianist, is perfect for a wedding ceremony. To fully utilize the person or group’s time and talents, ask them to also play during a cocktail or transition time between ceremony and dinner.
If you choose to use a DJ or recorded music for your ceremony, be certain the person is familiar with the equipment and how to handle it appropriately. Music should be faded out, not abruptly stopped mid-song. The person operating the laptop or iPod should be familiar with the songs and when and how to play each. I have had weddings at which we had no music for the ceremony because the person didn’t know how to operate the equipment. I have also had weddings where the music blared, then abruptly stopped, only to blare again in a few minutes. At one wedding, “Here Comes the Bride” was on a loop and played every 10 minutes throughout the reception. Poorly executed music can ruin an otherwise lovely event.
If cost is a factor, hiring a live group or band will be the most expensive. Bands tend to be less flexible, requiring announcements and activities to occur during their breaks, and most don’t like to make announcements. A DJ can start and stop music as needed when speeches and other activities occur. A good DJ will also work with the event planner to make announcements to keep your guests informed.
Beware, however, of the DJ who likes to be the center of attention. He/she is your employee, hired to provide music, not to monopolize the dance floor, sing or otherwise take attention away from the guest or guests of honor.
Preparing your own music is the least expensive, but most time-consuming option. Be certain that whoever is asked to play the music is very familiar with the equipment and the order in which songs are to be played.
Music is an integral part of most events. Done well, it enhances the overall mood of the event. Done poorly, it can ruin an otherwise lovely event and embarrass the hosts. So, don’t be hasty in making decisions about this important element. Take time to make the best choice for your event.