Everything You Need to Know
Selecting the perfect wedding music is an essential part of planning your I-dos. With so many beautiful wedding dance songs, you’re sure to find the perfect one for your big day. Not only can the best wedding music or best wedding DJs help set the stage for an event full of dancing and fun, but it also can set the tone and vibe of your wedding itself. However, there are plenty of wedding music options, and it’s understandable if you are unsure where to begin with choosing the soundtrack to your big day.
Luckily, help is available. Our wedding music directory gives you access to hundreds of wedding musicians and wedding DJs who are able to provide your wedding day with beautiful wedding songs. In addition, you will be able to check out real weddings at your wedding venue, as well as find local ceremony musicians and wedding bands that past couples selected and loved.
Whether you are looking for an elegant band or contemporary, poppy wedding DJs, our directory can help you find the right wedding DJ or wedding band who will play your favorite wedding songs beautifully. We’re here to help you learn how to select the right vendor for your wedding music.
What should you know about choosing wedding musicians?
Want to learn more about how to pick the right musicians to play your favorite wedding songs? You’re in the right place. To begin, you and your partner will have to answer a few questions. Having the answers to these questions handy will help you determine the right wedding musician, wedding DJ, or wedding band for your special day.
First, you will want to consider what kind of wedding musician you want: are you gravitating towards an instrumentalist, a wedding DJ, or a live wedding band? Remember: you can have different music during different parts of the day. For instance, you might opt for a string quartet to play during your ceremony, but decide to go with a wedding band or wedding DJs for your reception. This will ensure that your entire event has the best wedding music. Make a note of what you and your partner are instinctively drawn to, and you can begin to sort through wedding musicians in your area who can offer the type of music you are seeking.
Another factor in who or what type of wedding music you choose is how much money you’ve allocated for your wedding music. In your line-item expenses, how does a wedding DJ compare to a live wedding band? What about wedding musicians for the ceremony itself? Do you need one wedding DJ, or multiple wedding DJs? Are you willing to pay for one of the best wedding DJs in the world? And how much does a wedding band cost compare when they perform for both your ceremony and reception vs. just your reception?
How much is a live band for a wedding if they have to travel? Will the band agree to play your wedding playlist, or is there any additional charge for custom wedding dance songs? What does a wedding DJ do, and how much is a wedding DJ? These are all questions that you will want to research in order to find the best match for your event. Once you’ve decided what type of wedding music you are seeking, beginning with your budget is wise in order to avoid being surprised when you find out how much your dream wedding band or wedding DJ is going to cost.
In addition, you will want to consider what portions of your wedding you would like to have wedding music playing. Between now and your wedding day, you’ll have to select songs to walk down the aisle to, wedding recessional music, first dance songs, family wedding dance songs, and a wedding playlist for an entertaining reception experience. That’s a lot of wedding songs to think about! Whether you hire a wedding DJ or a classic wedding band, there are some planning details to consider that prevent surprises later on.
Your venue and overall wedding vibe are also something to consider. If you are having a small, more intimate wedding, you might be unsure of what type of wedding music to choose. But it’s possible to have a wedding DJ who knows how to work with that setting. If you have any questions about how your wedding music can factor into the overall aesthetic and theme of your big day, your wedding planner is the best person to guide you. There is a lot to learn about wedding music and wedding musicians. If you are unsure of where to start, we are here to help.
How do you find wedding bands and wedding DJs?
There are several ways that you can tackle finding the right wedding musician for your big day. When thinking about who should play your wedding music, and what music to play, first think back to weddings you’ve attended. Was there any wedding music that stood out to you? Did the wedding band do an exceptional job keeping the party going with upbeat wedding dance songs? Was the wedding DJ willing to double as master of ceremonies? Did you have tears in your eyes when the ceremony wedding playlist included some of your favorites? Did the bride have one of the best wedding songs to walk down the aisle?
Most couples are happy to share information about the vendors they used for their big day. So it’s worth reaching out to the couple to learn more about the wedding musicians you remember loving from their Big Day. If the couple was happy with their wedding DJ, they may be willing to share his or her info, or at least the wedding playlist. First-hand recommendations are one of the best resources when you are looking for a DJ or band for a wedding.
If you are working with a wedding planner, they will also be able to provide helpful input on finding a fantastic wedding DJ, choosing wedding music and first dance songs. In addition, since your wedding planner has a thorough understanding of the industry and what makes a good wedding playlist, they’ll be able to help you ensure that you have a selection of songs that will get your guests dancing or set the tone for a more serious event, whichever you prefer. Your wedding venue may also be able to recommend wedding bands or wedding djs who have performed there in the past.
You can also search our directory of wedding vendors to find the best wedding music providers in your area whom other couples loved. Our directory includes both live wedding bands, ceremony instrumentalists and great wedding DJs in your area. Whether you’re looking for a band for your first dance song or a wedding DJ who can keep your guests dancing, you’ll be able to find the perfect wedding music vendor.
Whomever you choose, it’s important to note that experts suggest hiring a wedding band as much as 12 months before the ceremony? Because the most sought-after wedding music makers book up quickly, a year in advance is a good idea, if possible. Once you have your date and wedding venue confirmed, it’s time to reach out to your dream wedding DJ and other wedding musicians. The best live bands and wedding DJs might not be available if you delay reaching out.
Of course, after you book, you still have months to run through the details of your wedding music playlist and first dance songs. If you have any strong preferences, however, it’s good to mention them during your initial discussion with your wedding music vendor. However, keep in mind that the pros will have a flawless wedding playlist that you can customize as you wish. You’ll speak again with your wedding music provider around four or five months before the ceremony. At that time, you will have the opportunity to make any additional preferences known regarding wedding first dance songs and wedding music for the reception.
How do you choose the best wedding musicians?
The majority of wedding ceremony musicians have recordings of wedding music on their sites that you can listen to. This is helpful because you can make sure their wedding music style is what you have in mind before your initial consultation. It can be helpful to hear the exact wedding string quartet or wedding string trio you are thinking of bringing in as ceremony musicians playing the songs you’re thinking of choosing for your walk down the aisle. They may have snippets from their wedding music playlist on their website or youtube channel, so take a moment to do some research on each potential wedding musician first.
A live band or wedding DJ should also offer a sampling of the wedding music they typically like to play. Some will even provide you with a wedding playlist sampler. If you’d like a sample of your live band or wedding DJ’s playlist, you can usually find it on their website or ask for one at your initial meeting
Getting to know their style is a good way to decide if the wedding music vendors match your wedding theme and style. Does the repertoire include many of your favorite songs? For example, if the wedding DJ does not have the latest Top 40 songs, will that be okay with you? Conversely, if your taste in wedding music is closer to Louis Armstrong than Ed Sheeran, you may need to find a vendor who specializes in those tunes. Of course, if you have a vendor you want to work with, but their style is slightly different than yours, you can express your preferences and see if they’re willing to be flexible with wedding music.
If you are considering a live wedding band that not only plays wedding songs but also performs locally, go check them out if you can. Seeing them perform live will give you a more accurate understanding of their musical style, and how the crowd responds to them. After all, if the audience is dancing at the concert, your guests might also appreciate the wedding dance music they play. You might even hear some tunes you want to add to your wedding music playlist.
Most live musicians who play wedding music will be happy to learn a few new pieces of wedding music for your big day. Even if these wedding songs are not in their regular catalog, they typically accommodate special requests for first dance songs or wedding ceremony music. However, you should give your wedding musician ample time to learn the new piece, so ask far in advance. The same goes for the wedding DJ altering the wedding music playlist they typically use to include your wedding songs. Whether you’re looking for a wedding string quartet or a wedding DJ, you’ll find the right one if you communicate to them what you’re looking for.
How much do wedding bands and wedding DJs cost?
To start, it’s helpful to have an idea of what the average cost for a wedding is, which in 2020 came to $20,300. This figure fluctuates enormously depending on the details of your ceremony, reception, and wedding venue. However, no matter where you’re located, according to this study, the wedding band cost is the third most expensive line item after the wedding venue, wedding catering, and rings.
So, how much does a wedding band cost? The average expense for having one play wedding reception music is $3,263. A live wedding band or classical wedding ceremony musician will typically be more expensive than a wedding DJ playing recorded wedding dance songs. So how much does a wedding DJ cost? Experts estimate that you can expect the average cost of a wedding DJ to be anywhere from $300 and $1200. However, there are different factors that can affect that estimate. For example, if your wedding DJ plans to bring along dancers, your wedding reception music cost will increase. This is why you should check in with wedding DJs about all the elements of the wedding DJ cost upfront. Furthermore, wedding DJ prices depend on the duration of the event, how many wedding DJs will be attending, and if you are also paying for the equipment rental. Your venue location will also impact whether your final bill is above or below the average cost of a wedding DJ. Wedding DJ prices commonly fluctuate based on the wedding DJ’s experience and popularity. If you want a seasoned pro, you can expect to pay higher wedding DJ prices. Of course, if you have questions about how wedding DJ prices are determined, you should ask the potential wedding DJs you speak with for a breakdown of how they charge for their services. Generally there are several consistent elements that will affect your wedding music budget:
The wedding band cost depends in part on whether the musicians charge an hourly rate or a flat fee. If you want your wedding band to play both wedding ceremony music and wedding dance music, the wedding band cost will be higher than if they were to only play for the reception
Number of Wedding Musicians:
The larger the band, the higher the fee. This is true whether you’re looking for a classical music ensemble, jazz band, or any kind of specialized band for a wedding. Even a wedding DJ may bring along a group of dancers. On the other hand, if you select a soloist, such as a harpist or pianist, the cost will likely be lower.
Wedding Musicians' Experience:
If the wedding band you’ve selected to provide your wedding music is a local favorite that regularly wins awards and is in high demand, their prices are likely higher than the average wedding band cost. In addition, you may be booking them through a talent agent to source the best wedding music, which could mean an additional fee. Of course, it can be worth it in the end, as you will get a high-quality wedding music experience. One cost-effective option is to hire a variety band that can play classic wedding ceremony music, elegant cocktail hour music, and hip wedding dance songs all in one.
Most wedding musicians will need some sort of sound gear to ensure the music is heard throughout the space, and those costs vary from vendor to vendor. Some have their amplification and mic equipment included in the fee. Others will rent it locally and pass the cost on to you. This is the time to think through your generator needs for outdoor weddings and tented weddings too. You may also want to have a lavalier microphone (that attaches to the lapel) for your officiant as well as a handheld microphone for any speakers, both of which your wedding musicians can help you source.
If your wedding is in California, but you have your heart set on a country band based in Tennessee, it will come as no surprise that flying them in will lead to extra costs. Any time you choose not to go with local wedding ceremony musicians or wedding djs, you will have to pay for their meals, as well as travel and accommodation expenses.
When should wedding musicians perform during the wedding?
What parts of a wedding need music? You know you will need music to walk down the aisle as well as some great wedding dance songs for the reception, of course. But what other parts of the day should the wedding band play some light background music to set the scene? The formality of your ceremony and the venue dictate much of the need for a wedding playlist.
For most weddings, wedding ceremony music is a must. Plan for wedding ceremony music to include a prelude as your guests are getting seated, the processional of your wedding party and parents, the bride's grand entrance, and wedding recessional music as you and your partner leave. Some couples also choose to have musical interludes during specific parts of the ceremony.
You may also want to consider having wedding cocktail hour music for your guests to enjoy while they mingle and enjoy a light bite. Or, if you are moving from a religious ceremony venue to a reception space, your wedding band could begin playing once guests arrive for the wedding dinner. Generally having a light music playing in the background for most of the day’s events will make your day feel celebratory and elegant. Wedding musicians typically have a catalog of wedding cocktail hour music they play at this time.
Some of the most memorable wedding music you will hear is during the wedding reception. This includes the first dance songs and dances with any family members. If you plan to include these traditional wedding dances, your wedding musicians may have suggestions for what the best song options are. Once these special dances are completed, your wedding musician should transition to wedding dance songs that all your guests will enjoy. Then the wedding dance music continues for as long as you have agreed on with the wedding band or wedding DJ.
What are the different types of wedding music?
There are several different types of wedding music, so you can choose the one that fits the theme and aesthetic of your wedding the best. A beautiful wedding string trio or quartet are the most popular selections for wedding ceremony musicians. They play classical wedding songs during the ceremony that give the event an elegant atmosphere. The wedding music playlist for this portion of the day tends to consist of classical wedding music favorites. However, these days more and more couples are opting for a fun twist on the classical wedding music tradition, and having their wedding string quartet play pop music or rock songs to lighten the mood of their ceremony and make your guests smile hearing songs they know. In addition to playing the best songs to walk down the aisle, your ceremony musicians can entertain guests during a cocktail hour or dinner as well. For wedding reception music, live wedding music the most popular option is to hire a live wedding band to entertain your guests during dinner and for dancing. A live wedding band can interact with the guests, feed off of their energy, and come up with a wedding playlist on the spot that guests will be most excited by.
Alternatively, you can work with a DJ to play your chosen wedding playlist for the ceremony, dinner, and reception. The wedding DJ can also engage with the crowd to come up with the most entertaining wedding dance music as well.
Of course, the live wedding band cost is going to be more expensive than hiring a wedding DJ. However, guests won’t forget hearing a live performance of some of their favorite wedding songs.Whichever fits with your budget, theme, and wedding aesthetic is the best option. It’s up to you and your partner to decide.
What are the most popular wedding songs for wedding musicians to play?
Do you want to keep it traditional with songs to walk down the aisle? Which wedding songs are non-negotiable first dance music? Do your wedding ceremony musicians have a suggestion for a tune that will fit with your wedding theme? Do you want to choose some of the most popular wedding songs for your ceremony and first dance? Or would you prefer to make your day entirely unique, avoiding the most popular wedding songs in favor of untraditional options?
The best wedding music for the ceremony will be whatever is most meaningful to you and that creates the environment you’re going for the day. Your wedding ceremony music can be classical or unique, it is up to you. For example, you could choose the most traditional song for the bridal entrance, Wagner’s bridal chorus, better known as “Here Comes the Bride,” or Mozart’s “Pachelbel Canon,” which is another popular option. If your taste runs toward more contemporary songs to walk down the aisle, consider “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, “Glasgow Love Theme” from Love Actually, or “Marry Me” by Train. These are some of the best songs to walk down the aisle if you’re looking for contemporary music, but if there’s another song that is meaningful to you as a couple, you can work that in, too. You can also ask your wedding band or wedding musicians what songs they’ve performed for this portion of the ceremony in the past, and what worked well. When selecting wedding exit music, you might choose Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March,” which is the traditional wedding recessional music. A contemporary take on wedding exit music might include “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder and “Walking On Sunshine” by Katrina & The Waves. Whatever you like, just be sure to communicate your preferences with your wedding musician in advance—or even at your initial meeting.
You should also discuss what your plans are for first dance music with your wedding band. Will it just be the couple, or do you want to include the traditional bride and father of the bride dance, and groom and mother of the groom dance? If so, do you want to choose first dance music as well as special songs for the other dances? Popular wedding music selections for first dances and family dances are “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeren, “At Last” by Etta James, and “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray La Montagne. Slow wedding first dance songs for the couple are always romantic. One fan favorite is “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole. If your taste runs toward the contemporary, wedding first dance songs might be “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica or “Lovesong” by The Cure. Other popular wedding first dance songs include “We Have All the Time in the World” by Louis Armstrong and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John. If you choose to have a live wedding band, they may have some additional recommendations for the most successful first dance songs. And, if there are any songs you want to avoid, be sure to clearly express that to your wedding musicians as well. Of course, you can also work with your wedding ceremony musicians, live wedding band, or DJ to fully customize your wedding music playlist. In this scenario, songs to walk down the aisle could include “Moon River” by Frank Sinatra. Overall songs to walk down the aisle vary depending on the couple’s unique taste and their wedding theme, so your wedding musician can help you make this your own.
How Do You Choose First Dance Songs?
Now that you’ve learned more about some popular first dance music, you’ve got some decisions to make! How do you pick a favorite from all of these popular first dance songs? The first dance song is an important part of your wedding reception music selection because all eyes will be on you. With so many romantic options, it’s not an easy decision. However, consider your unique relationship. If you and your partner have a song that was special to you while you were dating, maybe it’s an easy decision. Another option is for your wedding musicians to play music from a concert you attended together. Or if you’re having trouble choosing, they could put together a medley of first dance songs you love. Some couples like to draw attention to specific messages. These are good choices not just for first dance songs but also for songs to walk down the aisle. Common themes are “forever” or “best friends.” Whatever you choose be sure to look for a wedding band that can do your first dance music justice.
If you need a bit of help coming up with first dance music, there are many online wedding music playlists that continuously update the rankings of wedding dance songs. You and your partner can try to create a shared wedding music playlist that consists of your favorite wedding reception music, wedding dance songs, and wedding ceremony music. You can then share the playlist with your wedding DJ or wedding band. If there’s a song that is tremendously meaningful to you and your partner but isn’t exactly the right first dance music, you can ask your wedding band or soloist to include it as wedding ceremony music. Instrumental wedding songs are meaningful, unique, and beautiful, so this could be an excellent option to infuse some personality into your big day.
How do you structure your wedding music?
You might be wondering, is there a certain structure to the wedding ceremony music and wedding reception music that is played during your big day? The answer is yes. While wedding ceremony musicians will focus on creating a playlist perfect for you to walk down the aisle, the wedding band or wedding DJ is tasked with creating the perfect playlist to get guests dancing. There are certain songs that are associated with being played right after the wedding first dance songs, and there are also certain tunes that typically are used to close the night.You can work with your wedding musician or wedding DJ to curate the music with guests in mind. The best wedding music has appeal to guests regardless of age and music taste. For that reason, classics are often a good choice. However, if you have an older crowd, you might ask your live wedding band to play a little wedding reception music that is from the 1960s. The best wedding music for a younger group might include contemporary wedding reception music that will get everyone dancing.
No matter what, your wedding band or DJ will decide how to structure your wedding music. For instance, they might decide to start the night off with slower wedding music, and after dinnertime, your wedding band or wedding DJ might begin playing more upbeat wedding reception music that will get your guests dancing. Trust that your wedding musicians know what the best wedding dance songs are, because they see how audiences react all the time! So even if you’re inclined to create a wedding playlist of your favorite wedding dance songs, it’s important to give your wedding band or wedding dj some freedom to get creative. You spent a significant amount of time selecting your wedding musicians, so trust that they are the experts!
How do you get in touch with wedding musicians?
Now that you are full of information regarding your wedding musician and how to select the best vendor to provide your wedding music, it’s time to book! Wedding musicians often book out months to even a year in advance. As soon as you have your venue location and the wedding date all set, start working to find the wedding band or wedding DJ you want for your big day. If you need help finding local wedding bands or wedding DJs, you can check out our vendor directory and search by location. Not only will our directory provide you with information regarding local wedding musicians and wedding DJs that you can hire for your big day, but you can also access their websites directly from ours. It’s never been easier to book the wedding band or wedding DJ of your dreams.