Wedding Reception Music Checklist: Things to Do

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Your reception music will carry your guests through from cocktail hour to the last song of the night, and will set the tone for the whole evening. A live band could add energy and entertainment to the day, while a DJ can spin your favorites from the classics to today’s top hits. Whichever direction you choose to go, here is your guide to plan the perfect reception music:

Things to do:

1. Interview bands or DJs

2. Arrange to hear them perform

3. Book band/DJ

4. Submit your signed contract and deposit

5. Select music for:

  • Cocktail hour
  • Interlude between cocktail hour and reception
  • Introductions of Wedding Party and the Bride & Groom
  • First dance
  • Father/daughter dance
  • Mother/son dance
  • Dinner
  • General dancing
  • Traditional/religious dances
  • Cake-cutting
  • Bouquet and/or garter toss
  • Bride and Groom’s exit
  • Last song of the night

6. Arrange for a venue walkthrough

7. Pass along any sheet music to the band for songs you want them to learn

8. Arrange for equipment required by band/DJ

9. Give band/DJ a “must play” and “do not play” list

10. Confirm all details and logistics (date, times, and location)

11. Give the band/DJ a complete timeline (include any announcements they should make)

12. Give any necessary music to DJ

13. Get contact numbers of the band/DJ for wedding day

Helpful Tips:

  • If possible, it is good to see a band or DJ perform live at another event to get a feel for their style and energy, as well as the quality of their performance.
  • When choosing your reception music, try to include a range and variety of songs so there is something for all your guests.
  • Determine the best location in the venue for the band or DJ, including the speakers, so that they are close to the dance floor but not too close to where the guests are seated.

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