Setting the Mood: How to Choose Wedding Music
March 29, 20140 comments
Planning a wedding involves a lot of decision-making. Nowhere is this more apparent than in choosing the music. Deciding between a DJ and a wedding band is the first decision- after that, it gets harder. If it will be a DJ, what songs should be included? If it is a band, what kind of band? Wedding music can make or break the event, but it is also an opportunity for the couple to have fun and express themselves.
If it is to be a DJ, the couple needs to know their audience. Generally, a good mix of contemporary dance-able pop, some older music that appeals to the crowd, and maybe some appropriate ethnic music is a good place to start. For example, a marriage of two Italians, where the guest list includes many people between the ages of 50 and 70, might include some slower pop hits for dancing, a selection of classic rock, and some well-known Italian artists.
A wedding band is generally a little more limited in the selection they can play, but they might be better at performing the wedding music than a DJ with a sound system. This is especially true for traditional weddings with a lot of either classical or ethnic music. Ethnic music tends to have fairly specific requirements in terms of instruments and band members, so one properly-equipped wedding band can spend all night playing songs from an ethnic genre.
The tricky part is to manage the different divides in the audience. The first divide is between the couple and the attendees. In many families, the couple will be younger than most of the guests, so their tastes will be different. The second divide is between the two families getting married, who will almost certainly have different tastes. The best thing to do is find as much overlap as possible- it is hard to find two groups that have no music at all in common. Don’t expect to match different favorites- find songs that different groups enjoy but are not necessarily their favorites. That should be a large enough possible list of songs to find overlaps but still be sure than everyone will have a good time.
The last major consideration is dancing. Every wedding will be different in terms of how much the guests will dance, so the couple needs to think about the families involved and decide how “dancey” to make the music based on that. The final decision will be a composite of compromises, but that’s a good thing- the goal is to make everyone happy, not make a few people happy and everyone else annoyed.
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