Most of us have seen these once or twice, or at least gawked in horror on Youtube at wedding fails. Don’t let it be you! Here’s how to avoid the most common wedding music mistakes:
The first thing that causes issues would be not doing your due diligence about your intended venue. What kind of reception do you want? If you want to be pumping dance floor until 3am, what are the sound laws in that area? If it’s a built up area, or a hotel with sleeping guests to think of, best to specifically check that it’s an appropriate match. The same applies to the acoustics, nothing worse than an insufficient tinny or crackly sound system or a quartet getting lost in a huge echo-ey ballroom! Ask a lot of questions to the venue manager and ensure that everything is in working order.
Choose your music provider carefully
The next thing is researching your chosen band or DJ properly, and having very clear communication about what you want and a clear program for the day. If you or your intended are super into the newest releases of a specific genre, getting your typical middle aged wedding DJ is bound to disappoint. If you guys are interested in other things and you have a lot of older family members or are on a strict budget – that guy might do very nicely. Generally, the more specific you are for a DJ, or how large or experienced a band is, will inform the cost. One thing to keep is mind is realistic expectations and fairness – musicians need breaks to eat and a reasonable ‘shift’. Mistakes here come from bad choices, poor communication, and unrealistic expectations. If you start the band at 12 pm, don’t expect them to still be bringing it at 12 am…
While hopefully if you’ve picked well, your chosen entertainment will have the brains to avoid these issues, but just in case make sure you don’t fall into the following traps:
1. Not having music when guests arrive. Given they often have to wait 20 minutes to an hour for the bride to arrive, give them a little somethin’ somethin’ in the background to add some vibe and aid in people feeling comfortable while they find their seats.
2. Choosing strange processional music. A lot of people these days prefer something different than the ol’ Wedding March, but this is not the time to get crazy. Choosing something too fast, too slow, or with little lyrical relevance can really make the main event seem disjointed or odd.
3. Being too loud. Or too quiet! Think how annoying it is when you’re at a restaurant and can barely hear your dining companions – no one wants to have to shout to make small talk with their tablemates. Make sure that the volume is tempered and correct throughout the event – during eating, speeches etc. Sometime after dessert, turn it up again to encourage dancing if that’s what you want.
4. Failing to discuss both a ‘must play’, and a ‘must NOT play’ set list. There isn’t a great deal to be gained from micromanaging to the degree you’re breathing over them and not properly being present on your day – but do be clear on the above lists in advance, and put it in writing! No one wants to hear the song they had with their ex, or have pissed off parents glaring and covering children’s ears. It’s also best to consider things like you shouldn’t play anything explicit in a church, and some civil Officiants are not comfortable with religious music. Lastly, you might love some banging techno but your dear old granny probably doesn’t. Know your audience, and ensure you’ve paced the energy of the music well – it is really uncool to drive out the oldies at 9 pm simply because you want to start thrashing around.
5. Having an overly long first dance song. This one is the worst! And pretty easy to do given the length of some songs. Thing is, time isn’t always linear or consistent and while your guests are duty bound to ooh and ahhh, don’t push them more than 3 minutes max. More than that feels like an eternity and people can lose interest or feel awkward…keep it short and sharp. If you are desperate for a particular song that is unfortunately 9 ½ minutes, cut it right down. RIGHT DOWN PLEASE.