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Music Master: DJ, Band or DIY Playlists?

By Rebecca Padgett


There are few moments at a wedding more joyous than witnessing your family and friends smiling, laughing, singing and tearing up the dance floor. There are few moments more tear-jerking than the father of the bride and mother of the groom dance. There is no moment more defining than the walk down the aisle to the love of your life.

The vital factor that all of these moments have in common is music.

With music being such an influential aspect, it’s important to know what option is best for you — DJ, band or being your own music master. Each has its positives and aspects you should be aware of before making a decision that could affect the overall tone of your wedding day.

DJs are a widely chosen option as they are all-inclusive. Most offer a package deal including ceremony and reception music, emcee services and all technical equipment and lighting. In essence they are professional party starters that keep the mood and music pumping throughout the night. Some completely entrust their DJ with selecting the right tunes, but others opt to meet with their DJ beforehand to ensure their favorite songs are played and to see if they mesh well with the master of ceremonies.

To some, there is nothing like the sound and the feel of live music. A live band is entertaining and enjoyable, encouraging you to revel in the talent of the musicians while taking to the dance floor. Much like a DJ, a band can be emcees, provide all equipment, create a song list and create an interactive experience.

“A live band will present a more dramatic presentation that will leave a lasting impression on guests and make the bride and groom’s big day even more memorable,” said Jason Kellogg, vocalist of Top Shelf Band. “It can make the reception feel like an even larger event.”

Photo by Black and Hue Photography

Kellogg notes that it’s important to ensure the band meets your desired needs and atmosphere. He suggests watching the band perform live, if possible. This will help you assess how they interact with an audience.

“Live music is more emotional and passionate, and that is what the day is all about,” said Kellogg.

With the availability of apps that let you create and download your own playlist, many couples are opting to be their own DJs. This option is ideal for the creative couple, the couple that has a unique taste in music or simply wants to listen to what they want, when they want it. The DIY DJ is also the most cost-effective option.

The beauty is the freedom and flexibility, but there are some key things to consider. For any announcements or anecdotes, find a lively family member or friend who would do the honors. You will also need to check if your venue has a PA system available; if not, there are companies you can rent them from.

“An AV company that can provide a DIY DJ package would provide the specific speakers, stands, microphones, wiring and more,” said Jesse Deese, audio visual consultant with Emerald Coast Audio Visual Solutions. “Critical in this service is the setup and strike of the gear. Make sure these services are included in any DIY DJ package. I cannot recommend that a couple settle for anything less than hiring a professional Audio Visual company to be responsible for these critical responsibilities.”

Music is important, no matter who plays it and how it is played. It aids in creating moments and memories. It evokes feelings. It invites you to dance. Music is essential for not only creating wonderful wedding but also preserving one as well. Your first dance song will forever cause you to share a smile or shed a tear.

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