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Reception Music and Entertainment:

The decision to tie the marital knot has been made and assuming you're in the mood for something more than a trip to the local courthouse, it's not too early to start planning your big event. You undoubtedly will have many questions to ask and decisions to make.

One question might be: "What kind of musical entertainment do I want for my wedding and how do I go about getting it?" Hopefully the following information, as seen through the eyes of one who has performed thousands of weddings and has been interviewed by thousands of brides and grooms, will answer most of your questions. There are usually two main events on a wedding day, a ceremony and a reception.

Both parts will convey a message that will come from you to your guests. Each part will be distinct while a smooth transition between them is made through the music your guests hear during each part. You are sharing your joy and commitment to each other with your family and friends. It is a time to celebrate. You've been to weddings and seen it all before, so how do you make yours different and special?

Each professional in the wedding business will add their own little twist to answering this question. First, you must choose the message and the atmosphere. It may be quiet and low-key, up-beat and festive, or somewhere in between. Technological advances have changed musical entertainment over the years. You will need to decide if you want live musicians or recorded music. A popular trend is to have live acoustic music for the ceremony and recorded music for the reception.

Acoustic music usually means unamplified or "unplugged". This could be a harp, piano, guitar, vocalist, or combination thereof. Recorded music usually means a mobile disc-jockey. DJ's are affordable and can play music that everybody knows. With the right experience, they can serve as a reception coordinator.

Dance bands are great if you can afford them and they play the music you like but they will probably take breaks and this may jeopardize the momentum of a good party. Whichever you choose, band or DJ, you will need to convey specific information such as what type of atmosphere you prefer, types of music you want to hear for background, types you want to hear for dancing. This will help assure your satisfaction. Make sure the professional you hire is willing to work with you to make your day what YOU want it to be.

One final detail may be your budget. Even though venders will have set package prices, many will work with you if you present a reasonable price range. You should never be afraid to make an offer, especially if you are happy with what you know about the vender. Music is most often one of the smallest costs of a wedding, yet it most likely will have the biggest effect on the overall enjoyment of your guests. You therefore must never set out to find the cheapest rate possible.

It not only sets you up for disappointment, but a well-established vender who takes pride in their work will be insulted and feel unappreciated. Know your determining factors, they may be personality, appearance, professionalism, or cooperation, and keep them in mind while you are shopping. Your best option on finding a musician or DJ to interview would be through personal experience, especially if you have hired or seen one before that you were happy with. Your second best option would be a referral from someone you trust. Bridal fairs are the next best source of all types of wedding information.

Here you will have much of the local talent right at your finger-tips. Yellow page directories are a good follow-up to all of the above. Make sure you check directories from surrounding communities; many venders are willing to travel. Finally, I would suggest surfing the Internet.

If you do not have a personal computer, ask a friend who has access to the Internet. By searching for key words, you will find many venders who are outside your area, but you may also find that they have posted some very pertinent information. The above guidelines should help you narrow down your options.

In conclusion, here is a list of general questions you might not want to overlook when choosing an entertainment vendor:

1. Are you available on my date and time?

2. What does the fee you quoted me include?

3. What if an emergency prevents you from performing?

4. Is your deposit refundable under any circumstances?

5. Can you send me a sample contract, literature, references, or other information outlining your experience?

6. Can I make requests from your music list and will you play requests during the function?

7. Can we audition you either by tape or in person?

8. Do you have some upcoming events that would be appropriate for audition purposes.

9. Do your policies allow me to meet with the DJ who will be in charge of my event, in person, in advance?

Written by Mike Nolasco (Creative Sound Recording Mobile DJ Service)

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