Planning the Party With Your Band or DJ
July 6, 2017
The catering, beverages, cake, flowers, dresses, suits, decor, invitations, and oh my, what about the entertainment?! All too often, couples will simply hire the first band or DJ they find that fits their budget and is available on their wedding date, but is that really the right approach? While it is absolutely important to keep your budget, there's more to consider to ensure you have the best possible entertainment, so we sat down with Boston Common Band to get the inside scoop on planning your party.

While few people will recognize a catering switch or if the flowers and linens aren't the exact shade of ivory you had envisioned, your band or DJ's success (or failure) will be one of the most memorable parts of your reception. Everyone will notice a corny band that only plays yesterday’s hits or a DJ that can’t manage his sound levels properly. Your guests will also remember the energy and event flow, which build the excitement of your party. You will find bands and DJs at many points on the pricing spectrum, but creatively mixed music (customized to specific tastes), polished and fluid announcements, and incredible customer service are truly invaluable in the quest of having a perfect wedding day! Consider the cost of all your items on a per-person type scale. An all-inclusive entertainment package with a few accessories (uplighting or a photo booth) will vary in price by region, but you can typically expect to pay $12-15 per person for a great DJ or $45-60 per person for a great band. Reallocating a few dollars to entertainment can mean the difference between an average reception and a “my feet hurt from dancing so much” party.

Understanding and evaluating your overall objectives for your reception and finding a band or DJ that understands and takes the time to plan and execute them is paramount. Resources like the Style Me Pretty Little Black Book are excellent places to find great band and DJ options. The Little Black Book includes curated vendors from different regions who are at the top of their game. After browsing the websites of several local bands and DJs, schedule a consult with your top three to get a gauge of their personalities and values. Take note of how passionate they are about their work in addition to how quickly they respond to your emails. If you’re worried about if the person is going to be DJ Cheeseball all over the mic, it’s completely fair to ask to see live video of them MC’ing the introductions, etc. Almost all great MCs will have footage of their style so you can evaluate their skill and choose your entertainment professional carefully.

Once you’ve found and booked your band or DJ, take the time to connect throughout the wedding planning process. If this were a football team, you and your wedding planner are the head coaches and your MC is the quarterback, tactfully navigating the game plan. Many high-end entertainment vendors have now perfected a means to help organize your wedding via comprehensive wedding planning systems. Having a centralized space online, where all team members share ideas, will maximize your "calls" well in advance! Try to schedule at least one, if not two, of your meetings with your entertainment professional together with your wedding planner so everyone stays in-sync. The first meeting with your band or DJ should be used to get some ideas jotted-down about the overall vibe you want for your event so you can get to know each other and share your taste and style. Then as your wedding date approaches, around three weeks in advance, you’ll want to have a final meeting with your band or DJ to confirm and lock those plans in. On your wedding day, your wedding entertainment professional will then be able to host your event to perfection.

That said, here are five of items which should be discussed and planned with your MC during your meetings:
Photography: Lauren Methia Photography

Vendor Coordination

This means the names and contact information of your planner, caterer, photographer, cinematographer, officiant, etc. so your band or DJ can plan together and synchronize with all vendors to avoid potential speed bumps at your reception. Bonus, they can tag each other on social media.
Photography: M.Studios

Grand Introductions

Provide the names of your friends and family in your bridal party as well as the phonetic spelling. There is nothing worse than a botched name! Also discuss details, such as: Will each pair have a certain song to walk into, or is there one song for the entire introduction? What style music do you want for cocktail hour: Jazz? Pop? R&B? A little of everything?
Photography: Kelly Lorenz Imagery

Speeches and Toasts

Who will speaking, and when will they be taking the mic? Will you as the Bride and Groom be giving a welcome or farewell speech? Will your parents want to speak at some point?
Photography: M.Studios

Special Dances and Events

There are several traditions which require a special song – your first dance, parents dances, the cake cutting, the bouquet toss etc. Will you be participating in each of these traditions or do you have any other special formalities like an anniversary dance or a cultural dance? What songs would you like played for each of these?
Photography: Mark Davidson Photographer

Music Requests and Do Not Plays

Just as important as communicating your favorite tunes, we want to know which songs you’re allergic to! You can be specific (a list of individual songs) or more broad (absolutely no nineties grunge).
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