Written by The Belle Adventure, live Country Americana duo.
We all know the conundrum; do we have a live band or a DJ entertaining our guests at our wedding? The obvious, clichéd disaster stereotypes rear their ugly heads at once – the band won’t be as good as their flashy promo video, they’ll be too cheesy. The DJ will be like your Uncle Ken with his 80s mobile set up, rainbow flashing lights and all, playing Puppy Love for your first dance (OK, we stole that bit from Love Actually) or they’ll be achingly hip and edgy and will play Trance Electro that no one can dance to.
Funny as they sound, these are very real fears from wedding couples. That is why being utterly open and transparent is essential for any wedding entertainer. The bride and groom need to know exactly what they’re getting so the entertainment isn’t a worry on their big day.
The key to brilliant wedding entertainment is flow. Nobody wants to see the band setting up or sound checking. Nobody wants to have to pretend later on that they don’t see the band packing away and a DJ setting up. Behind the scenes, precision and seamless transitions make any aspect of a wedding day a success.
Throw out the rule book
The word we hear more than any other with regards to planning a wedding is ‘should.’ There is so much tradition and expectation wrapped up in weddings that couples feel like they can’t break the mould – especially in terms of entertainment. But who needs rules? Find an act that falls between those conventional wedding entertainment columns; a live act who can also DJ; an act who can play at your ceremony, then play at your drinks reception; those lovely acoustic tunes that float along the breeze whilst everyone snaffles canapés and juggles fizz glasses/handbags/small children, trying not to get too tipsy even though they haven’t eaten since breakfast and it’s now 3pm…
An act that will then disappear when your guests gratefully fill their bellies, then reappear as if by magic for your first dance. Not only can they do subtle romance, but they’re also able to make a hell of a racket when required, too. One or two live music sets to get everyone dancing, from your knee-sliding nephew to your Grandad on the dance floor, will precede the DJ set. All taken care of by – you guessed it – one act.
You may think this doesn’t exist, but you’d be wrong – we’re here.
No disco lights, we promise.
Shameless self-promotion aside – if you’re having both, get your band and your DJ to talk to one another before the day, so they can plan any handovers that may be necessary. You don’t have to take on everything, though it may feel like it. Delegate. Your chosen entertainers are the experts. Trust them. Trust comes more easily if you know them a bit. We always try to get to know our bride and groom a little ahead of their day. This can be quite easy for us, because music shows so much of your personality. We feel that being able to offer a DJ service as well as live music provides a very necessary consistency and flow to your wedding day. Also, no packing up of equipment during the party. We hate to leave a party, so to be the last ones standing suits us just fine. It’s also so much fun to curate a playlist for our couples, based on their tastes and requests from them and their guests (asking for song requests on RSVP cards always guarantees the dance floor is full).
The first time we offered our DJ set as an additional modular package was at Lusty Glaze. Our couple had been totally relaxed about the music we chose, on the understanding that their guests could come and request songs. We had so much fun, and it was a great way to get to know more of the guests. It keeps the personal connection going and keeps the guests engaged. With the backdrop of the beach, it’s easy to be the only ones left in the room, and that is every entertainer’s nightmare.
The bottom line is that you don’t have to choose between them. Look for acts that offer both. If you’d rather just plug in a phone and do it yourself, fair enough – but make very sure your venue has a really great sound system (as your band will have), or your party will go downhill very fast.
Whether you pick a DJ or a live band or duo – make sure you keep the lines of communication open in the run up to your wedding day. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Work with your entertainers to be assured that all your favourite music – be that individual tracks or a general theme/feel/genre – will be played. It’s your day, and every element should reflect you.
Finally, remember that no entertainer wants to feel like they aren’t entertaining their crowd! Trust that your band or DJ wants everything to be just as perfect as you do.