Lively music at the reception helps build atmosphere and set the tone for the event. To make reception music stress-free, first start with your three basic options.

MP3 Player Reception:

The least expensive option, using an MP3 device allows the couple to build a large playlist (or several shorter ones) that are pumped through the venue’s speaker system. As long as the speakers are adequate, this can be a great option for saving money while ensuring that only your favorites are on the list. Consider breaking the playlists down into “cocktail hour” “during meal” and “dancing” categories, to make the music easy to operate. Assign a bridesmaid or groomsman to be in charge of operations for the evening, so you don’t have to keep bolting over to the dock.

DJ Reception:

The biggest benefit to a good DJ is that he or she is good at judging the mood of the crowd and selecting appropriate music. They are also usually willing to make crowd announcements during the wedding, such as alerting the crowd about the cake cutting, first dance, etc. When you are in the booking process, be sure to present the DJ with a list of “must play” songs, as well as (EQUALLY IMPORTANT) “do not play” songs. Let them know if there are any songs you want for specific moments, such as the bouquet toss, and be sure to confirm that they have the exact version that you want, as songs can have multiple remakes. As always, read online reviews at an independent site to make sure they meet your standards.

 Live Music Reception:

Hiring a band to play the reception gives you the great atmospheric advantage of live music. This can make the whole experience more exciting and memorable for guests, but does usually come at an increased price tag. If you really want a live band for dancing but don’t have an enormous budget, consider using an iPod or DJ option for the first half of the reception, then bringing the band on after dinner. Make sure you hear the band play live before hiring, as recordings can be somewhat deceiving. If you have a special song you want them to play, give them at least a month of leeway to learn the piece. Bear in mind that many bands have a finite repetoire and specialize in one kind of music, so be certain that you will enjoy several hours of their style before hiring them for an entire event.

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