How to Choose Music for Your Wedding

Finding the right music for a wedding is not as simple as uploading your favourite playlist from your iPod. Here we look at the most important considerations in the lead up to the big day.

Music is an indispensable part of any wedding. In order for a wedding to really "click" and to help ensure your guests loosen up and have a great time, the music has to perfectly complement each part of the wedding, as well as cater to the tastes and preferences of the different people attending.

There are many decisions that need to be made in order to ensure you've got your needs covered. DJ and MC Jeremy Curran from Musical Functions fills us in on some of the most important considerations.

Band or DJ? Or both?

It's a question that requires some thought, as both options have their pros and cons. A band provides showmanship and a spectacle that simply can't be matched by a DJ. If a band is good and well prepared, they should be able to create the right atmosphere for each part of the wedding, and lure people to the dance floor at the reception.

A DJ is the safer option - even an average DJ will likely be able to do at least an okay job putting together a playlist and choosing the right songs at the appropriate times. He or she should also be able to give you useful insights on how to best arrange a playlist for an event, be able to feel the crowd and change the playlist on the go, as well as provide their own select playlist of songs that get people dancing.

If you have the budget, embracing both options might be your best choice - you can't beat having a band for the ceremony, as well as parts of the reception, and having a DJ when you want the entertainment to be more casual.

If your budget is tight, you could try and get through your wedding without a band or DJ all together, but try to weight up if it's really worth the saving. Perhaps it would be wiser to cut back on some other elements, because in the end, entertainment will probably be one of the most memorable parts of the wedding for your guests. You don't want them standing in the corners looking awkward when the music simply isn't engaging.

Timing

Now it's time to start thinking about the different parts of the wedding when you want music to be played. 

The obvious answers are
- the ceremony 
- the first dance 
- the reception

However it might be a bit more complicated, as you also need to decide when to incorporate live music versus a pre-defined list of songs.

During the reception, work out exactly when you want the band/DJ to start playing - there will be ceremonies, speeches, as well as dinner during the reception, so you should inform the performing artists when you expect them to play.

You could even ask them to change the mood depending on the moment. Whether you hire a band or a DJ, asking to play nice background music during dinner is a nice touch.

Type of music

This is obviously subjective as it largely depends on your personal tastes and preferences, but you should still compile a list of your preferred artists and styles of music.

While it is your wedding, the music choice is important for your guests as well, so consider what kind of music might be enjoyed by the people attending. The easiest way to do this is to simply ask the opinions of the people you are planning to invite and see what they suggest - it isn't hard to find a balance. You could also consult your band or DJ about what they think are good songs for getting people of all ages dancing - if they're experienced with playing at weddings, they'll have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn't.

First dance

For some, the answer might be easy - if there's a song that has a strong symbolic meaning, then it might be a good idea to simply choose it as the first dance song. There really aren't many rules to a first dance - it's your special moment, so if you find a song that you think would suit the occasion, then go for it!

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