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10 Tips for Wedding Day Music

Jul 22, 2021 | Weddings

Your choices for wedding day music will last a lifetime. From the processional to the first dance, to the last dance, this is a day made of memories woven with music. No pressure, right? Not to worry. We’ve got ten tips to make sure your wedding music is tuned in, and ready to rock.

1. Listen with Your Loved Ones

Ask your spouse to be, your friends, and your family to be involved with your music choices. Weddings are about you and your fiance, but they’re also about family and friends. There’s the father/daughter dance and the mother/son dance, as well as all the rest of the music to fill out. By checking in with everyone you’ll make sure you’ve got a mix that will delight all ages. Throwing in some flashbacks for grandma can not only bring her joy, but it can be a lot of fun for the younger crowd to hear older music. 

2. Consider Having a Live Band or DJ

Your Uncle Bob may have offered to do the music for you, but you might want to hire a professional to get the job done. It can be tempting to let a family member manage things, and you might ask them to be back up. But for something as important as a wedding you want to get it right the first time. A local Michigan band can add wonderful flavor and fun to your wedding. If you want something a little more traditional, a DJ can make sure you have exactly the songs you want as well as smooth introductions and a good flow for your reception. By hiring someone whose job it is to manage the music, you’ll create a space where everyone attending can focus on making memories. 

If you do decide to go with a band, don’t hire them without checking them out first. Do your due diligence and go listen to them beforehand. You’ll have a much better idea of their style and whether their stage performance will suit your wedding.

3. Make a Contract with your Talent

Whoever you decide to hire for your music on your wedding day, make sure you read and sign a contract that includes stipulations for:

  • timing
  • pricing
  • what equipment they will need
  • what equipment they’re providing
  • transportation costs
  • minimum deposit
  • duration of breaks 
  • any costs for overtime

Make sure to get the legal name of the band members or business, addresses, how many hours they’ve contracted for the wedding, and agree on a total price for the gig. 

4. Check the Accoustics and Equipment

Once you’ve booked the venue for your wedding and reception you’ll want to decide where the dance floor will be, where the band or DJ will be playing, if you’ll need a stage, speakers or other musical equipment. For a Michigan barn wedding, you may want a PA system with a cordless mic so that all the attendees will be able to hear the ceremony. 

5. Have a Do Play List

There are two parts to the “Do Play” list. First is the required songs that help create the mood for your wedding. These songs should reflect your unique identities as well as the theme of your wedding and can include:

  • Prelude
  • Bridal Processional
  • Reception Entrance
  • First Dance
  • Father/Daughter Dance
  • Mother/Son Dance
  • The Party-Starter
  • The Cake Cutting Song
  • The Throwing of the Boquet Song
  • The Last Song

The second part of the “Do Play” list is the songs that, in general, you’d like to hear played at the reception. Are you going to want to dance to the Electric Slide? Do you want to sway to some Whitney Houston? Keep this list to about 10-20 songs in order to allow your DJ or band some creativity and ability to respond to the mood of the event.

6. Also Have a Don’t Play List

What don’t you want to hear on your wedding day? What songs always make you roll your eyes at weddings? This is your day, and unless grandma is going to be heartbroken if you don’t play Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” you don’t have to play it! Again, don’t make this list too long. The more you micromanage the less your local talent will be able to have enough flexibility to create a great experience for you. Keep it to 5-10 songs that you absolutely don’t want to hear. 

7. Keep Your First Dance Songs on the Shorter Side

You have no idea how long 5 minutes can be until you have to dance the foxtrot for an eternity, while everyone gets more and more impatient for the fun to start.  Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” is just over 2 minutes which is just about right for any of the special dances. If you must use a song that is longer than four minutes, consider asking your DJ or band to shorten it for you. 

8. Plan to Have Music Before the Ceremony

This is a great touch to make the milling before the wedding much more pleasant. As guests find their way to the seats outside or in the barn, background music will keep everyone soothed and patient. It is also a great way to set the tone for the whole event. Classical music is elegant and refined, while country music will give a more relaxed and fun vibe. Consider your audience. What would your family like to hear? Making people comfortable at the beginning of the event will help set the tone for the rest of the day.

9. Have Multiple Copies of your Music

There is nothing worse than realizing the phone with the music on it has a low battery, or that someone forgot to download the processional so that it was available offline. The easiest way to avoid these mishaps is to have multiple copies of the music downloaded and available for offline use. If you’re working with a DJ ask them what format they’d prefer music in. It’s also worth it to have a backup even with a DJ. Better safe than sorry. This is a great job for Uncle Bob, the guy who had all the music ideas earlier. 

10. Do a Sound Check for the Music on Your Wedding Day

Before you go live, do a soundcheck. Speakers need to be plugged in, the mic needs to be on, and amps need to be ready to go. If you have hired a professional, double-check that they have everything they need to do their job. 

And a Bonus Tip: Keep the Song list PG-13

Some like it hot, but a wedding reception isn’t a dance party. Family, friends, and sometimes even co-workers and bosses are on the guest list, so keep the music in the barn PG-13. Now if you’re planning to keep the party swinging late into the night, you can switch it up for some. You can even indicate the time things get more adult on the invitation, indicating that the after-party for the wedding is only for guests over 18. Then you can get a little wild with some cocktails, music, and the hot tub. 

Ready to Book Your Dream Wedding? 

Country Barn Estates would love to host you and your guests for the wedding of your dreams. Contact us today and begin your new life together.