Skip to main content

Live Music At Your Wedding: 6 Reasons Why You’re Making the Right Decision

No doubt your wedding planning has been full of magical moments. There are also a fair amount of stress-inducing debates to be handled and among the most important is what to do about the music for your wedding ceremony and reception. Do you go with a DJ or should you have a live band? Do you go all out and have both, or have none and just let your karaoke-loving cousin serenade everyone?

You are going to see plenty of opinions about it on the internet (though across the board the karaoke cousin is a hard “nope”), and the debate may rage hot, causing you ever more confusion. Have no fear, we’re swooping in to save you from a relationship-crushing argument and sooth the stress of making the decision by giving you a firm answer. Yes, you should have a live band at your wedding. Here’s why it’s the right decision.

1. It sets the tone and the mood like nothing else

There is no denying that live music brings energy and emotion to a room that even DJs have admitted are beyond compare, whereas listening to canned DJ jams is little different than listening to the radio. If you want your wedding to have a certain feel to it, finding the right musicians can create the perfect atmosphere and truly be the so-to-speak cherry on top of your ceremony or celebration.

Live musicians can change to mood of a room as it is needed. They can bring a grand level of elegance and sophistication to your wedding, especially to the ceremony, cocktail hour, or during dinner. Depending on what you want, they can bring a little energy or a ton of energy to the dance floor at your reception, making even the wallflowery-est of the bunch tap their toes and get moving.

2. It’s an encompassing experience

Ragemas-2017

Why do people go to concerts instead of staying home and listening to the radio in their bathrobes? Performance. People not only love listening to live music but also seeing and feeling it. A band makes music come to life and turns it into an experience for many senses, not just your ears.

Even those that can’t dance (like your Aunt Martha who just celebrated her 100th birthday—you go Aunt Martha!) can enjoy the experience of listening to and watching live musicians. A DJ just does not have the same showmanship or entertainment value as a live band.

3. Live music is a uniting factor

San Francisco brass band

Live music can bridge gaps and unite generations of people. A DJ may play dance music that is currently popular, or a list of typical songs played at every reception across America. You’re always going to have one or more generations that aren’t into what’s being played (“not my jam”, “music in my day was actual music!”, etc.) But live music seems to get everyone past their biases, even if the song is particular to a certain generation. The fun of watching and listening to musicians surpasses all that.

4. Live music is always a unique experience

Leading a Second Line Wedding Parade

You are going to get one first dance with your new spouse; do you want it to be exactly the same as thousands of other couples who have listened to the same exact pre-recorded song played in the same exact way for everyone? Or would you rather be able to say that is was something unique played just for the two of you?

Musicians are living, breathing people so there is going to be subtle variations in the way they play their instruments every time they play a song—even if they’ve played it a thousand times. Each band also has its own unique style and flavor that they add to their music. These elements combined make any song that is played totally unique to your wedding.

Songs that a DJ would use have been recorded for posterity and it will always sound exactly the same no matter how many times it is played (it has no autonomy, so it has no choice). It will sound exactly the same to your ears as to every other couple who has played it. With musicians you have an option that you don’t with pre-recorded music—you can ask for variations of style or tempo in the song and a great band will be better able to accommodate that request.

5. It creates a memorable experience for you and your guests

Holiday Party

Why are you going through all that trouble of planning your wedding down to the last gorgeous detail if not to make it an incredibly memorable event for you and everyone you love? If you’re fretting about how many leaves you want each baby’s breath stem to contain, you’d want to put even more care into something as big as the music and entertainment for your wedding, wouldn’t you? That’s why having a live band is such a great decision.

Do you remember the name of the DJ who spun at the last wedding you attended? Neither do we. Even though there are some great DJs out there, for the most part, they all start to blend together. Live bands have a memorable uniqueness to each of them. They not only make a great topic for conversation among strangers who are eating dinner at the same table, but it’s also an element that creates special memories to talk about later on.

6. Live musicians have flexibility

Billy Jo -- 9.24.17-0726

As far as being able to make adjustments on the fly, stop and restart without problems, or being able to react in the moment to anything the room throws at them—live musicians have the advantage. For instance, your young ring bearer starts walking down the aisle, freaks out when all eyes are on him and makes a run for it. The last thing you want to be worried about AV problems with stopping and starting the music. A live band can pause and restart exactly where they left off without an issue, and they will be more inclined to spot problems and adjust as soon as they start.

What the critics say and why they got it wrong

There’s not enough variety with live bands: Not true. Yes, it is true that a DJ can download a song you request if they don’t have it (though experience has taught that not all of them will bother doing it even when you ask). Live musicians need a little more lead time to learn a song. But at the same time, professional bands who play many different events have tons of music in their repertoire. In fact, they can often play many different genres of music from classical, to rock, to pop, to Latin, to current dance songs and more. If a particular band can’t produce the sound that you want, just move on to the next one who can.

Live music is too loud, especially for my elegant ceremony: Unless you are planning on hiring the local garage band that has one volume—obnoxious—this is also just not true. Many professional musicians are quite flexible and adept at controlling the volume of their music to meet the mood of the room. Bands who are experienced at playing ceremony or background music know how to avoid overpowering a room, whereas amps set up around the room by a DJ can be grating on those who sit near them.

Bands have to take breaks. Yup, that’s true. They are human and are prone to human needs. But should this be a deal-breaking issue? Bands don’t want to break up the flow of dancing or celebrating anymore than a DJ does. Find a band who has the means and know-how to play some recorded songs (songs you can pick out) during their downtime. That means no real break in dancing and the party can go on.

Live bands are more expensive. Like anything you pay for, it depends. They can be more expensive than some DJs or less expensive than others. If you find a band whose sound you love but their price is out of range for you, the bandleader or manager is likely open to discussing how they can make it an affordable option for you (like reducing the number of musicians that play).

The music is not as good as recorded songs. Wow, the critics were really off base with this one. Now we’ve all heard a favorite musician, singer, or and on the radio, but when we saw them live in concert thought “is this actually the same person? It sounds nothing like what I’ve heard!”. It’s not the same when it comes most professional musicians who play weddings and other events. In fact, many of them have had years of practice with degrees in musical arts. Even the ones without degrees have a passion for what they do and are excited to do what they love for people who appreciate it.

If you’ve listened to audio or video recordings of a band that you are considering but still have doubts, find out if there is a way to get a live sample of their music or speak to others who have heard them in person. In any case, it’s always a good idea to get a well-rounded idea of what any live band can do and how they’ve interacted with their clients and guests.

The band will upstage the bride and groom. Ridiculous. Once the bride starts walking down the aisle no one is thinking, “man, this band is the most gorgeous and amazing thing I’ve seen today!” All attention is on her and the band is just background to lead her down the aisle.

Of course, as mentioned, a band will bring that special, memorable element to the wedding–something that most couples want. The band leaders are not looking to steal the thunder from anyone’s special day and clearly communicating what you want or don’t want beforehand will prevent any unnecessary hiccups or distractions.

Flexible, skilled, and guaranteed to give a one-of-a-kind performance, live bands can add elegance to your affair or rock the party (even doing both in the same evening). You and your guests get the benefit of a private concert, so to speak, and create long lasting memories for everyone in attendance. And that is why hiring a live band for your wedding is the right decision.

The Ultimate Timeline Guide for Planning Your Wedding

You just got engaged and you couldn’t be happier. It’s a thrilling time for couples but this period of wedding planning can also be super stressful. Whether you’ve decided on a low-key affair or you want to rival Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for “wedding of the century”, there is plenty to do to get ready for the big day.

Part of the stress can be trying to remember everything that needs to get done in preparation for the wedding and when is the appropriate time to do it. It would be a shame to miss out on a dream location or scoring the hottest live band because you didn’t act quickly enough. Let us help you take some of the stress out of planning with a guide to what you need to do and how long before your special day.

12 months or more

Outline a budget

It’s listed as number one because it is so very important. In fact, just about everything else you book, buy, or do hinges on this. Unless you are lucky enough to have an unlimited budget (and in that case congrats again and just move on to the next point), you need to know exactly what you have to spend and where you want to spend it. Keeping a spreadsheet will allow you to stay on budget and keep track of what you are spending. Keeping account of your budget also allows for you to make adjustments if something you must have exceeds what you’ve allowed for it, and you can see what other areas you can borrow from in order to make sure you stay on budget.

Pick a date(s)

Also super important because you can’t confidently book or plan anything else until you are absolutely sure which date it is happening on. You may want to choose a few suitable dates in case certain key aspects like the reception or ceremony site is booked on your first choice of dates. It’s also a good idea to check with important people (like parents, siblings, potential wedding party members, the officiant, or anyone else who you can’t do without on your wedding day) to make sure everyone is free to come and celebrate with you on the dates you choose.

Book your venue(s)

Another biggie, no wedding date is truly the date until you’ve actually booked your ceremony and reception venue(s). Whether you are doing the ceremony and reception at separate venues or they will be in the same place, you want to book as soon as possible. Venues can book up fast during popular “wedding season” months or if you are having a destination wedding during tourist or peak season times. Even if you are planning a wedding during a slow season (like winter), all too many have been lulled into a false sense of security that no one else would want their date. It would be tragic to lose out on celebrating your marriage at the perfect place because you waited too long.

Ask your wedding party

It’s a thrilling honor to be asked to stand up as a bridesmaid or groomsman for a loved one, and it can be just as fun to ask. Doing it in advance gives everyone enough notice to make sure they are available and can schedule time for wedding related events including dress/suit shopping.

Start your guest list

Even though the actual invites won’t go out for quite some time, making up a guest list can be a bit of a time-consuming process. You may also want to do this before you book a venue to get an idea of how many people you want to invite. This will ensure that you find a venue that can accommodate the number of guests you want, or you are not paying too much for an oversized venue (some venues have a minimum guest count so if your guest list is 100 and the venue minimum is 150, you’ll end up paying for 50 phantom guests).

10 months

Dress Shopping

A great time to share of few laughs, shed of few tears (of joy and perhaps frustration, too), and bond with the girls, shopping for your wedding dress can be a very enjoyable task. It can take some time to find THE dress, however. According to Weddingwire.com, the average bride tries on 4-7 dresses before they say I DO want this as my wedding dress. That can mean shopping at multiple stores, even over the course of more than one day. Once you do find the perfect dress, it can take months to come in from the time you order and then it will take more time to do fittings and alterations (plan on at least 2 fittings and one alteration sandwiched between). The sooner you can order your dress the more time you have to make any necessary adjustments.

Book your photographer and/or videographer

Of course, you’re going to want an expert who can curate the perfect pics and capture every special moment. Heck, you might even want your day to be filmed like a cinematic masterpiece to thrill your (future?) kids and grandkids. Before you commit to an artist, make sure that they can see and work with your vision and that their style will jive well with yours.

Florist

Florists can also get very busy during peak wedding months and may have limits on how many orders they can handle. Now, you might have surfed the internet and seen some beautiful DIY floral ideas and plan on doing your own—that’s great! But there is a warning there. Beware of falling into a Pinterest fantasy vortex, unaware of the reality of the time it will take to perfect the arrangements as you see them and the reality of your skill level in this area. Now there’s nothing wrong with this if you are on a strict budget and possess the time and craftiness to get it done the way you want. But for anyone else, finding a florist that will work with your style and budget is possible and can take some stress off of your “to do” list (remember that any arrangements with fresh flowers can only be done 1-3 days before the wedding). Include discussion for centerpieces, flower arrangements for other tables, flowers for the ceremony, bouquets, and boutonnieres.

Wedding insurance

This can help protect any of the deposits you’ve made. Up to this point, you’ve probably put larger sums down on some major things, so if you are planning on it, getting insurance now will give you peace of mind.

9 months

Music and Entertainment

Deciding whether to go with a DJ or a band can be a tough decision, but you know that entertaining your guests (so you can party til the break of dawn, of course) is an absolute must. DJs may be a bit easier to come by, but if there is a particular DJ you have in mind, you want to make sure he can book your date. Great live bands, on the other hand, tend to book up more quickly. In fact, some of the best are booked 12-18 months in advance. So even though we’ve put it in the 9-month timeframe, if you want a live band, start looking and booking as early as possible.

Not to be forgotten under the music category is music for the ceremony. Will you have a DJ or emcee who can reliably play the pre-recorded music of your choice? Will the romantic, magical music of live musicians accompany you down the aisle? If you do choose live music, will you have a soloist like a harpist or guitar player, or go with a band such as a string quartet or jazz band? Plenty to think about.

Register for gifts

Your bridal shower might not happen for several months, but there are many reasons why guests want to shop for presents early.

8 months

Wedding officiant

If you haven’t already done so, book a licensed and professional wedding officiant. Whether you are having a secular or religious ceremony, it pays to hire a professional. It might be fun to have a friend give your wedding speech (and some can get certified online to legally marry a couple), but a professional will ensure that all the formalities and legalities are taken care of (some couples have a loved one give the speech and then a legal officiant do the vows).

Your dress

If you still haven’t found your dress, get on that girl! You don’t want to cut your timeframe too close. That’s a real stressor!

Guest accommodations

Whether you are having a destination wedding or sticking close to home, chances are you’ll have out of town guests. Blocking out hotel rooms near the wedding site now will ensure the hotel can set aside the number of rooms you need.

Save the dates

The formal invites aren’t ready to go out yet, but you want to make sure your guests have ample time to pen your wedding into your schedule. This is particularly important if you are doing a destination wedding. You want your guests to have enough time to book their travel and accommodations, especially if it’s a busy/touristy time of year for that area.

7 months

Your cake

This might be the most fun part in our book—scheduling cake tastings. Meet with bakers to find out who can give you exactly what you want and meet your budget. Some bakeries can only do a certain amount of orders per week, so once you’ve found the right one you want to make they can fit you in.

Bridesmaid dresses

Some brides might choose to do this around the same time they shop for their own dress (it’s hard to get everyone in the same place on multiple dates), and the more time the better. Between ordering and alterations, bridesmaids dresses can also take months to be completely ready. They don’t take as long as a wedding dress, so if your girls haven’t ordered them yet, there’s no need to panic. Now is a great time to start.

Book your honeymoon

Whether you are making all the arrangements yourself or you are enlisting the help of a honeymoon travel agent (which can take some stress off your shoulders), there’s no time like the present to get everything booked and settled.

6 months

Order your invitations

Though it’s still not time to send them out, start selecting or customizing invitations that show off your personal style or your wedding theme. Order them now so you’ll have enough time to receive, assemble, and address them.

Make-up and hair trials

You don’t want any surprises when it comes to your wedding day look, so many brides choose to do makeup and hair trials with stylists to perfect their hair and makeup styles. It’s also a good time to schedule your stylist for the day of so they have plenty of time to spend with you.

Rentals

If your ceremony or reception venue isn’t all inclusive, you’ll need to find a rental company that can take care of details such as seats/chairs, tables, linens, china, stemware, and flatware. It’s also the right time to work out whether they deliver, set-up, and breakdown or if you need to make your own arrangements.

Passports

Nothing kills a honeymoon buzz like being stopped in your tracks at the airport. If your passport isn’t current or you don’t have one, send in your applications now. They can take a couple of months to process and receive.

5 months

Menswear

The guys might have it considerably easier when it comes to wedding day-wear, but there are still choices to be made. Tux or suit? Rent or buy? Tie or bow tie? Either way, allow enough time for orders and alterations.

Accessories

Many brides might buy their veil or headpiece around the same time they buy their dress (if not, it’s a good time to start looking), but few think of getting their undergarments and heels this far ahead. Importantly, you’ll need to wear these for your dress fittings so off to shop you go.

Transportation

Limos to and from the ceremony and reception and shuttle buses for guests are important considerations. Book a reputable company that will get everyone to their destinations safely and on time.

3 months

Favors

Whether you’re making your own or ordering personalized favors, allow time to get them done. Trust us, finishing your favors the morning of the wedding is one of the most stressful things you can put yourself through.

Rings

Shop for your wedding rings and allow enough time for orders, fitting, and engraving.

2 months

Mail out invitations

Make sure reply envelopes have the proper postage.

Vows

If you are writing your own, give them the time and effort they deserve.

Gifts

It’s traditional to buy gifts for parents, the bridal party and each other to show appreciation for their love and support.

1 month

Marriage license

A marriage license is a must-have to make it all legal, and processing times can vary by town. Check with the town bureau where the wedding is being held to find out what they require and how long it will take for them to issue the license.

Final dress fitting

We’re sure you look amazing! Take your maid of honor or bridesmaid along with you so they can be shown how to bustle your dress after the ceremony.

Last minute details

Check with all your vendors to make sure everyone is on the right page and smooth out any necessary details.

Bridesmaid dresses

Check to make sure everyone has their dresses, has been fitted, and alterations are done.

2 weeks

Final RSVPs

Chances are there will be stragglers who haven’t responded yet. Contact them to get a firm yes or no.

Final song list

Give your DJ or band leader a final song list including any special songs and DO NOT PLAY songs (a band especially may need a little time to learn any new songs). Also, decide whether you want them to take requests from guests.

Haircut & color

If you are going to get this done before your wedding, you want ample time to fix anything that you don’t like. No wedding day beauty surprises needed.

Finalize photographer/videographer details

If you haven’t already, but we’re sure you’re on top of it all!

1 week

Final headcount

Your venue or caterer needs this to know how many meals to prepare. Don’t forget to include the band/DJ, photographer, videographer, or any other vendor who requires a meal.

Seating chart

You know 2 of your cousins can’t be at the same table for 5 minutes without a squabble-fest breaking out. You may have your work cut out for you.

Table/Place cards

Once the seating chart is done.

Extra tables

Does the florist need extra space? Does the DJ need a table? Photo table? Gift table? Cake table? Check to make sure the venue or rental company knows exactly what you need, and that it will be there.

Confirm with all vendors

Mainly for your own peace of mind and sanity.

Delivery schedule

Let the ceremony and/or reception site managers know when vendors plan on delivering and planned set up times so the appropriate staff can be there.

Décor/favors

If you are doing your own centerpieces or other décor or haven’t finished putting together favors, its time to finish up. If you are decorating the venue(s) yourself, check with the managers to figure out when you can get in and give yourself enough time to set up.

Go Time

Bouquets and boutonnieres

Have someone pick them up if necessary but many florists will deliver.

Look fabulous and get married

Congrats!

5 Tips to Make Your Wedding Extra Classy

Marriage is an important commitment, and the wedding ceremony is a highly anticipated moment for many couples. While there are a wide array of wedding themes and styles most couples opt for a day graced with elegance and class. Here are five tips for making your wedding day extra classy:

Ride in Style

For many couples, transportation plays a huge role in carrying out the wedding vision. Classy transportation options include stretch limos, horse-drawn carriages, or a luxury car. Choosing one of these trendy options can create a more elegant ambiance that won’t go unnoticed.

Employ a Band

The music at a wedding ceremony sets the tone and mood for the event. A disc jockey, recorded playlist or cover band is a great option for many couples, but a more classy alternative is a brass band. A brass band is a musical ensemble comprised mostly of brass and percussion instruments. The combo makes for a unique and romantic evening.

Shorten Cocktail Hour

Alcohol can sometimes ruin a moment. People lose their inhibitions if they’re over-served or if they consume too much alcohol before eating. In an effort to keep things classy it’s in the best interest of the wedding party to keep the cocktail hour short and sweet followed by a formal meal. It’s also a good idea to think wisely about the types of alcohol that will be served. Sticking to beer and wine keeps things a little more manageable compared to serving more hard liquors.

Alcohol can sometimes ruin a moment. People lose their inhibitions if they’re over-served or if they consume too much alcohol before eating. In an effort to keep things classy, it’s important to check your bartender’s qualifications before hiring them in order to make sure they can keep cocktail hour short and in control. It’s also a good idea to think wisely about the types of alcohol that will be served. Sticking to beer and wine keeps things a little more manageable compared to serving more hard liquors

Consider Wedding Attire

Wedding apparel definitely makes a statement for any couple. For a more classy and elegant look, brides should opt for a modest, floor-length gown. Modest dresses exist, even if it seems at times like they don’t. The groom should engage a tux, or other fine suit and the bridal parties should opt for more formal attire. Of course, each couple can put their personal spin on their wedding day wear, but it’s a good idea to pick a more timeless ensemble.

Honor Family

Family is everything, and it’s completely appropriate to honor immediate family in the wedding ceremony. Consider a special entrance for parents, grandparents, and siblings. You might also consider allowing each of your family members to be included in the wedding pictures or asked to give a speech at the reception. Regardless, it’s important to honor family members present and past.

These are just a few of the many ways to add a little more class to your special day. No matter how you choose to celebrate, your wedding day will be one for the memory books! What have you seen done to make a wedding a classy affair?