You’re engaged! You’re probably feeling all kinds of emotions – excitement, nervous and overwhelmed by all the wedding planning. Who knew how much time and effort would go into planning your big day? Hiring your wedding entertainment doesn’t have to be that hard.

So before you pour yourself a glass of wine and contemplate eloping, check out our top 5 things to consider before you hire your wedding musicians:

Establish your wedding budget

If you aren’t sure how to get started, The Knot and Wedding Wire both have great resources for budgeting. As a rule of thumb, you want to spend about 8 – 10% of your wedding budget on musicians. This includes your ceremony music, cocktail hour music and reception music.

Accommodate for your wedding and reception venue(s)

Bride and Groom saying vows with wedding decor in foreground

Image courtesy of Manolo Doreste.

Every wedding is different. You may have your wedding and reception at the same venue, or you may not. Your wedding and/or reception may be outside or you could be celebrating in a small, intimate setting. All of these things impact how many musicians you will want to hire – too many and you could overwhelm your guests. Too few and the sound may come out hollow.

If you’re planning a religious ceremony, this may impact the type of ceremony musicians that you have, as your venue may have certain restrictions on the number of musicians or the types of instruments.

Make sure your wedding music fits with your theme

You may or may not have a structured wedding theme. But you at least have a feel for what kind of wedding you want. Is it a fast-paced, up-tempo wedding? Then a live wedding band might be your choice. Maybe you want something more low-key and romantic. In that case you may want to hire classical musicians or a jazz band.

Don’t forget about your ceremony music

String musician providing wedding entertainment by playing the violin during a ceremony

Usually when you think about wedding music or wedding bands, you immediately think of the reception. You start planning what songs you want to hear over cocktail hour, and what songs will get your guests on the dance floor during the reception. You also probably think about your first dance, the father/daughter dance and mother/son dance (if you choose to partake in those traditions).

But don’t forget about your ceremony music. Whether you choose a traditional processional or something out-of-the-box, you will either need to hire musicians or a DJ.

Don’t be afraid to break out of the box with your wedding entertainment

Weddings tend to carry a lot of traditions. But this is your day, and your wedding should reflect that. We’ve seen weddings where the bride and groom chose a fast song for their first dance, or invited their guests to join them on the dance floor. Some couples choose to celebrate their heritage by hiring a Samba band and Samba dancers, or a Cuban roots band and cigar rollers.

Remember, as long as your wedding entertainment makes you happy, that’s all that matters. Just because it’s not the traditional DJ or cover band doesn’t mean it’s not an option.

Bottom Line

Choosing your wedding entertainment takes time, but it’s not as intimidating as you think. Once you establish your budget and your theme, you’ll find that most of your wedding details will start to fall into place – including the entertainment.

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, consider working with an event entertainment production company like Al-Vento Entertainment. These types of businesses generally work with a variety of musicians and entertainers which means they’ve vetted these musicians for quality and professionalism.

Event entertainment production companies are also experts in working with different venues. They will work hand-in-hand with you to understand your vision and execute it flawlessly on your big day. With them working on the details, you have the time to relax and enjoy your day.

7 replies
  1. Megan
    Megan says:

    I like your suggestion about doing something less traditional for the wedding entertainment. We are planning my sister’s wedding right now. I am going to mention this to her. This way the reception will fit in with her and her husband’s personalities.

  2. Taylor Bishop
    Taylor Bishop says:

    Thanks for these tips for getting wedding entertainment. I’m glad that you explained that you should try to make sure that the entertainment can still be done well depending on the location of your reception. It sounds like you should know this in advance so that you are more aware of what the space will be like and can give that info to the entertainers.

  3. Callum Palmer
    Callum Palmer says:

    I do like that the article reminds readers that they shouldn’t forget about the actual ceremony music when they are choosing wedding music. After all, while it is important to have music at your reception you still need to have it for the main event. That means, if you’re planning to hire a live band, you need to make sure that they can play the music you want to play during your aisle march.

  4. Watson Williams
    Watson Williams says:

    My fiance and I would like to get live music for our wedding. I thought you had some really helpful tips in your article on how to ensure we get the best entertainment. I’ll make sure we choose someone that fits our wedding theme like you suggest.

  5. Tiffany Locke
    Tiffany Locke says:

    I’m glad that you mention how it’s important to consider the venue for your wedding and reception so that you know how many musicians to get in order to avoid overwhelming your guests. I also like your recommendation to consider the theme so that you can choose music that fits. Once you’ve done this, it would probably be a good idea to look online at the different bands and companies that specialize in wedding entertainment to find one that fits your requirements.

  6. Ellie Davis
    Ellie Davis says:

    Thank you for pointing out that you need to get music based on the feel you want your wedding to have. My fiance and I are wanting to get a DJ for our wedding and need to find the right one. Hopefully, we can do some research and find the best wedding DJ in our area.

  7. C,C. Hunt
    C,C. Hunt says:

    I think the best advice concerns, “Accommodate for your wedding and reception venue(s).” You don’t want wedding entertainment that is going to blow your guests’ plates off their tables because it’s too loud for the room. LOL. You really should get a good idea for the venue’s acoustics and talk to the people providing the entertainment to make sure everything meshes. Making sure your music fits your theme goes without saying, but let’s just say I’ve been to some weddings where it’s obvious the only thought put into the entertainment was how cheap it cost.


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