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Wedding Reception Entertainment: Tips And Options

Updated on November 20, 2014
Bride And Groom Dancing
Bride And Groom Dancing | Source

"Take my hand and dance with me, let's celebrate for the world to see. We'll have a lifetime to make our history, so c'mon baby and dance with me.Oh...we'll dance together. Oh...we're gonna dance forever."~T. Carter

Staying within your budget is often on your mind when planning your wedding. When it comes to selecting entertainment, the idea of hiring live musicians or a DJ seems almost out of reach and a luxury of sorts. A portable digital music player looks pretty good to you right about now. Don't fret! If you have your heart set on a live band, string quartet, harpist or pianist, there are ways to hire your entertainment while staying within your budget.

The entertainment selection for your wedding is an important decision. Choosing the appropriate entertainment is essential in creating the right atmosphere for your ceremony and especially at the reception. You want to keep your guests entertained and dancing all night long. Popular styles of music include jazz, pop, rock and roll, ballads, country, old style dance and dinner music.

Wedding Guests Dancing
Wedding Guests Dancing | Source
Wedding Reception Dancing
Wedding Reception Dancing | Source

Helpful Tips

Here are some helpful tips to help you achieve your entertainment goals:

-It's a good idea to review the type of entertainment or music that will suit your needs best. This will help you in your selection process and simplify the process a little more for you.

-Do some research online or talk to family and friends for recommendations. Once you have decided on some entertainment choices, i.e. band or DJ, contact them and setup an appointment to meet in person.

-Discuss the reception format and music and be sure to ask lots of questions. Experienced professionals should have answers.

-Find out what kind of deposit they will require.

-Ask about what type of cancellation policies they have.

-Once you have made a decision on a band or DJ, book them immediately before they commit to another engagement. Popular DJs and Bands book well in advance.

-Be sure to choose music you like and which will suit the atmosphere of the ceremony or reception.

-Choosing a band or DJ will depend on your budget. Generally, DJs are less expensive than live bands. If you want a band, seek out smaller ones, they are sometimes less expensive than bands with more members and instruments.

-Entertainment is less expensive if your affair will be held in the morning, early afternoon or on a Sunday.

-If you’re on a really tight budget, perhaps you have friends or family members that are musically inclined who might be happy to perform or DJ your special day. They may not be as polished as a professional, or able to provide a wide selection of music but they can certainly add a personal touch to your wedding.

-You don't need your musicians playing constantly throughout the evening. There are some musicians who are happy to charge a nominal fee for ‘waiting time’ between periods of playing. That way, you could hire a group to play for 3 hours, but with two half hour breaks built in – stretching the time to a 4 hour booking overall. This saves money and also means you can make the most of hiring live musicians.

-Unless you are familiar with their work, ask each prospective band or DJ for a video of their performance(s). You will want to see first hand what they are capable of.

-Be sure your entertainment choice is willing and able to play or perform a variety of music that will appeal to all age groups as well as meeting any cultural requirements as well.

-Less is more! Some couples feel it is necessary to hire several genres of entertainment for the reception. It really isn't necessary to hire a steel drum band, strolling violinist, mariachi band, belly dancers and a magician. Save money and have just one or two things going on at once so that your guests can fully appreciate and enjoy the entertainment. Remember it's a wedding, not a circus!

-Check with your venue to ensure that the location of where your band is to be positioned works. You will want them to be seen and heard. Having the band raised on a platform or small stage at one end of the room will always help the music to project more acoustically.

-Before the wedding day, make sure to provide your bandleader or DJ with a written. timeline of what you want them to do at your event. After all, they will emcee your party so they will need some direction, i.e. first dance, daughter/father song, toasts, etc.. They will be responsible not only for providing music but also for navigating your guests throughout the evening. If they are well prepared you can relax and enjoy yourself.

Wedding DJ
Wedding DJ | Source

Entertainment Contract

Prior to signing a contract, it is necessary to ensure that certain details are included. Before signing, ensure that the following points are included:

1) Make sure the exact entertainment you select is listed in the agreement.

2) Include all time frames.

3) Find out what type of attire they will be wearing and make sure it is indicated.

4) Indicate travel fees if applicable.

5) If you are booking a DJ, make sure that the actual name of the DJ is written down. You don't want someone else showing up.

6) Make sure that the amount of the deposit is indicated.

7) Ensure that the remaining balance is clearly listed as well as when it is due.

Bear in mind that most bands and disc jockeys usually receive a meal and beverage at the reception. Also, if there are parking fees at your venue, i.e. museum, they will require parking validation. Find out from your venue if they have a special room or location where the band can go to during breaks, separate from the wedding guests.

Live Wedding Band
Live Wedding Band | Source

Entertainment Choices

There are literally hundreds of different types of Wedding Entertainers to choose from. Remember that the entertainment you choose should be reflective of your wedding theme. Here are a few choices to consider for your ceremony or reception:

-Solo Vocalists
-Live Bands
-Scottish Pipers
-String Quartets
-Belly Dancers
-Hip Hop Dancers
-Ballroom Dancers
-Mariachi Band
-Steel Bands
-Jazz Trios
-Guitar Duos

Wedding String Quartet
Wedding String Quartet | Source
Wedding Accordionist
Wedding Accordionist | Source
Wedding Belly Dancer
Wedding Belly Dancer | Source
Wedding Pianist
Wedding Pianist | Source
Wedding Harpist
Wedding Harpist | Source
Wedding Steel Drum Band
Wedding Steel Drum Band | Source
Wedding Magician
Wedding Magician | Source
Wedding Bagpipe Player
Wedding Bagpipe Player | Source


It is important that regardless of whatever form of entertainment you choose, that you employ experienced personnel who fully understand your specific needs and are able to enhance your celebration. Just remember, the most important thing is to enjoy yourself and dance!


Do you prefer a DJ or Live Band as your main source of Wedding Entertainment?

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    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Thank you so much for stopping by Audrey. I really appreciate your kind words and support! As you must know, being in the industry, how important entertainment selection can be for a wedding or any function. It sets the mood for the event so couples really need to do their research first. Take care and have a wonderful day! -Rose

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      This is a complete and very good hub on wedding reception musicians. You've included it all. Great images too. I have spent my life as an entertainer and have done hundreds of weddings. You haven't missed a thing!

      Many folks will gain much information from this

      marvelous hub. Voted up and more and sharing. ~ Audrey

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Thank you for your visit justmesuzanne and for the vote up, I really appreciate it. Take care. -Rose

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

      Great practical advice for planning wedding entertainment! Voted up, useful and shared! :)

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Thank you so much for stopping by CraftytotheCore, I really appreciate it! I know what you mean. Unfortunately, some guests are placed too close to the DJ or Band. Also, when couples book their venue, they need to really study the layout and the acoustics of the room. Chances are if it is a small room, the music will be loud and bouncing off the walls and a large band would not be ideal in a small room either. I agree with you, piano music is elegant, soothing and enjoyable for most functions. Take care and have a wonderful evening. -Rose

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      I've been to several weddings recently where the DJs were so loud, we couldn't hear our own thoughts, never mind even have a conversation with anyone at the same table. The last wedding I went to though had a piano player at the beginning of the reception with open bar and a finger food buffet. The piano music was delightful.

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Thank you for stopping by Rajan and for your kind words and vote up. I really appreciate it! Take care and have a wonderful day. -Rose

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very detailed info, Rose! Thanks for sharing these useful tips and choices.

      Voted up and useful.

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Hello Jacky, thanks so much for stopping by. Money makes the world go round. It's true, if you have the budget and the location that allows it, fireworks combined with music would certainly be spectacular. Take care. -Rose

    • profile image

      Jacky 4 years ago

      How bout fireworks show w/ music? If you have the budget, you can pull off a show that will never be forgotten :D

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Thank you Pandula77. It's true, flash mobs are definitely gaining popularity.

    • pandula77 profile image

      pandula77 4 years ago from Norway

      Surprise dances in the form of 'flash mobs' seems to be the trend these days when it comes to even the weddings! A really good hub!