We don’t have to tell you how important music is at a wedding.
It really ties everything together, from your ceremony all the way to your evening party. The music choices you make and the way you approach including music at your wedding literally sets the scene.
Here are some of the most common wedding music mistakes that couples make, and what you should do to avoid them!
1. Not Having a Live Band or DJ
This one might seem obvious, but couples often stick this lower on the priority list when it comes to wedding planning, or even choose not to have live music or a wedding DJ on their wedding night.
There’s nothing out there that says you have to have a DJ or band for your wedding but, most weddings do.
Because of this, your guests will be expecting to be able to dance and have fun during your wedding party.
Of course, you could just get the old aux cable out and let guests plug their phones into a Bluetooth speaker you borrowed off your neighbour the week before the big day… but why would you want to go down that route?
The evening party is such a huge moment where everyone finally gets to let their hair down and enjoy themselves with drink, music, and dancing. Whether you choose a DJ or band, it’s definitely an idea to have something to tie off your wedding day.
2. Choosing A Painfully Long First-Dance Song
Now you might think you’ve planned the most incredible first dance routine or picked the perfect the first dance to really heighten this special moment, but you really have to pay attention to the length of the song.
Listen to it and imagine you and your partner performing your first dance in front of all of your friends and family on the night (sorry if this gives you anxiety!).
At what point do you think people will get bored?
A full 4 or 5 minute track can feel like actual millennia when you are dancing with each other in front of everyone waiting for the party to start.
If you are choosing a full track, make it a shortish one. If your band is playing your first dance song live, ask them to cut it a little short so you can have your special moment without everyone switching off!
3. Not Allowing Enough Time For A Soundcheck
Professional party bands are used to having to set up and soundcheck on a tight schedule. Wedding venues in particular always throw up a variety of limitations such as stage space, access, electricity supply, and more.
This is why it’s important that in the running order of your day, you allow enough time for your wedding musicians to set up and perform a thorough soundcheck to eliminate any potential issues during the wedding party!
Ask your band or singer how long they need to set up and sound check properly. The soundcheck and setting up time for most bands for hire takes between 60 and 90 minutes depending on how easy access is to the performance area.
If there are any issues that may lengthen this setup and soundcheck time, let your band know before they arrive!
4. Micro-Managing The Set List
Being too hands-on about your music selection for your band or DJ can work against you more often than not.
You might have a ‘must play list’ or even a ‘do not play list’ to hand over to your wedding singer, but doing this without consulting with your wedding musicians first is not advised.
Your band will have played tonnes of weddings and events to hundreds of friends, cousins, siblings, aunties, uncles, grandmas… it goes on. Putting together a wedding playlist that keeps such a mixed bunch of people is truly an art form and one you really should trust the experts on.
One of the things about having a killer wedding reception is getting everyone involved. Your band will take this into account when choosing the songs to fill your dance floor, meaning they wont stick to one genre, won’t just play Lady Gaga and will have an awesome playlist of popular songs for all ages!
Yes, you can absolutely choose the odd song or two, or let your band know about your wedding music preferences, but leave the intricacies of the set list down to them. You won’t regret it.
5. Not Checking If The Venue Has A Sound Limiter
Sound limiters at wedding venues are becoming more and more commonplace in the UK.
Whilst there are a plethora of wedding bands that can work with sound limiters, it will affect your wedding reception whether you like it or not.
It can also affect your choice of wedding music or entertainment choices if your band has to work with a sound limiter.
Now, it’s one thing trying to get your entertainment to work with a sound limiter, but it can be done by the professionals.
It’s another thing hiring a group of musicians and not making them aware that the venue has a strict limit on noise at the reception. This can make things very tricky and you’re playing a dangerous game if you don’t ask your wedding venue before booking about sound limiters.
6. Not Having A Designated Dance Floor
Want to have everyone up and dancing all night long at your wedding?
Then give them somewhere to dance!
One of the worst wedding music mistakes we see is a bunch of tables and chairs still set up directly in front of the band or DJ whilst they are performing. Where is anyone supposed to dance?
If you can’t see a clear dance floor, ask your wedding venue manager how much space there will be for dancing after tables are cleared so you can plan in advance of your big day.
7. Forgetting About Daytime Music
When planning your wedding music, the obvious place to start is at the end of the night.
It makes complete sense and sorting this part of your special day should be high on your priority list.
But what about the rest of your wedding day?
So many couples forget about the inevitable lull after the ceremony and before the meal. Having live musicians such as acoustic singers or saxophonists are such a cool way to fill this gap and keep people entertained!
In fact, there are so many moments during a wedding apart from the evening that can be heightened with the addition of live music. Your wedding ceremony is another one of these moments.
We often advise that your wedding ceremony, drinks reception, wedding reception, and evening party are the moments to include some kind of entertainment or live music.
8. Choosing Bands That Don't Play Songs For Everyone
Before you hire a function band for your wedding, you should do a few things first.
- Watch their videos
- Read their reviews
- Look through their set list
These are some of the most important elements for understanding what your band can offer.
The video in particular gives you a really quick snapshot into how they interact with each other, how they look, how they sound and so much more.
A band can never fit their entire repertoire into one short video, which is why it’s a good idea to also take a peek at the reviews and their setlist.
Not only do reviews give you an idea of how much experience your entertainer has, it also gives you an insight into if they were able to keep most guests happy and older family members up on the dance floor!
Lastly, skim through their setlist. Remember, don’t be too picky have a look to see if they cover all bases and have songs in their list that most guests might want to hear.
9. Not Checking Your Ceremony Music Choices With Your Officiant
The last thing you want to do on your wedding day is accidentally offend someone.
Be mindful of what rules or regulations might be in place during your ceremony when it comes to music, or even other things you can and can’t do.
If you aren’t sure, speak to your officiant or celebrant. Civil ceremonies often don’t allow use of any religious music, so doublecheck your chosen songs beforehand!
The same goes for wedding ceremonies in a church. Some priests may not allow specific songs in a church so be sure before you settle on a song.
It also goes without saying but anything explicit or a raunchy song is probably best not played in a church!
10. Having The Bar In A Different Room To The DJ Or Band
One of the quickest ways to kill the vibe is to have all of your wedding guests crowded around the bar instead of the dance floor.
Drinking and dancing go hand in hand, but can sometimes work against each other depending on the setup of the venue.
If your bar is in a different room entirely to the dance floor or live DJ, it can be difficult for your entertainment to maintain a crowd. It’s too easy for people to go the bar and just stay there all night.
Having the bar in the same room means that guests can enjoy the music on your big day from the wings of the dance floor, or on it!
Talking of killing the vibe, here’s another wedding music mistake…
11. Starting The Party Too Early
Don’t be so keen to get the party started if it’s still early in the night.
It’s simple really. People just aren’t ready to let their hair down quite yet! 6 or 7pm is just a bit too early to kick things off. Guests are still settling in, or even just arriving!
The later in the night, the more of a buzz there is.
You should start your evening entertainment as late as you can. Ideally, the first set would start around 8:30-9pm to make sure that everyone is suitable ready and has had enough liquid courage to get up and dancing!
This kind of timing is perfect as it allows guests time to arrive and catch up with the newlyweds before the party kicks off.
12. Adding Inappropriate Songs To Your Wedding Playlist
You might think it’s funny to add a bunch of inappropriate wedding songs to your playlist for a laugh, but it doesn’t leave the best impression.
Inappropriate doesn’t have to mean rude or explicit. Yes, you might want a clean version of some specific songs but we’re not just talking about some bad swear words or themes.
Some songs are inappropriate for a wedding because they are just super boring. Be careful about your must play songs and do not play list when picking these songs, especially if they are first dance songs!
Your wedding day music should provide a mix of something that all your guests can enjoy.
13. Having Your Music Too Loud
Now this one is hard for us to write as music lovers, but there is such a thing as too much volume.
You don’t need to blow the speakers at your wedding and guests still need to be able to speak with each other!
If your DJ or musicians are too loud, it can make your evening uncomfortable and frustrating for your guests to enjoy.
This brings us back to your earlier point about allowing ample time for your act to sound check. This means they will have enough time to get the sound perfect, and that includes the volume. Avoid making this mistake or you’ll end up driving people away from the dance floor instead of enticing them onto it!
14. Waiting Too Long To Choose Your First Dance Song
If you want to hear your first dance song live, it’s best to make your live musicians aware of your song choice as soon as possible.
Any music provider will want to know about any special dances or requests you have well in advance.
This allows them the opportunity to learn it, rehearse it and perform it in such a way that does your request justice!
Leaving it too late means that your song might not be performed live. Asking your group to play a first dance song with only a week’s notice before the special day means that they won’t physically have the time to learn it for you!
15. Leaving It Too Late To Book Your Band or DJ
It breaks our heart every time a bride or groom leaves it that bit too late to book their ideal wedding entertainment.
Most couples are aware that the best acts in the UK are booked up fast. Often years in advance of the event.
If you’ve fallen in love with a band and they are available on your date, don’t hang around.
They can, and will get booked up by someone else!
Other top tips we see online about hiring wedding music is to go and see your musicians live before booking them. It’s great saying that but we have a huge problem with this advice.
Now you have to understand that seeing these performs live isn’t easy. In fact, it’s almost impossible unless you are crashing weddings or lucky enough to stumble across them.
The best function acts simply don’t play public events, or they may do once in a very blue moon.
We outlined some tips here on how to book a band you haven’t seen live before, but if you wait to see your act live before you hire them, you’ll always be a few steps behind.
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