Whether you’re a self-described muso or not, catering for the musical appetites of a roomful of wedding guests is an entirely different kettle of fish to creating a playlist for your friend’s house party. You’re in an unfamiliar territory with an unusually diverse range of people, so the rules are a little different. Avoid some of the worst wedding faux pas with this handy list of musical no-nos:
Don’t make a decision before researching it
You may be working on a tight budget, but don’t rule anything out before you’ve got the facts. If you’re planning a more traditional, classy wedding, you may think that a wedding DJ wouldn’t quite cut the mustard in terms of sophistication – but there are so many specialist DJs out there, you’ll have a strong chance of finding one that spins exactly the calibre of classical tracks you’ve been searching for, and at a fraction of the cost of a live string quartet. Equally, you might think your friends won’t mind where the party anthems are coming from as long as they have something to dance along to, but with a bit of shopping around you’ll discover many live acts who’ll bring a further level of fun and energy to the mix without breaking the bank. Get recommendations from friends, and be sure to compare packages and price ranges online before cementing your decision.
Don’t begin in silence
Your loved ones are going to be eager to show up well before the big moment, so bear this in mind when arranging what time would be best for your wedding entertainment to begin. If you’re expecting people to start showing up a good 30 minutes before the ceremony starts, make sure you’ve already created a nice atmosphere for them to enter into. This way, you can ask your entertainers to offer musical cues to your guests to let them know when things are about to start, such as cranking up the volume for a final pre-ceremony crescendo. You’ll also be setting a positive, exciting scene that will get your guests in the mood for the
Don’t play anything too offensive
There’s a chance you’ll be tying the knot in a church, a synagogue or another kind of religious institution. Try to avoid any tracks featuring profanity or violent content – and definitely veto anything with an anti-religious sentiment. When you’re in the house of God, be extra careful to stay on his good side. Certain institutions may prohibit certain secular songs, so if you are using a holy house for your wedding, make sure you check ahead of the date.
The other party you don’t want to offend is the one composed of your guests. Remember, you’re likely to have both very young and very elderly friends and relatives celebrating with you, so no swearing, nothing about guns and nothing too sexy! To avoid accidentally dropping an ‘F-bomb’ – or worse – it might be worth drawing up a ‘don’t play-list’ with your significant other, then forwarding a copy to your band or DJ. A couple of pointers herein, however: make sure you pass the list on plenty early, especially if it’s to a band and it could affect the songs they’re having to learn; and, make sure the list isn’t prohibitively long. After all, you are dealing with professional entertainers, so they’ll know to an extent what’s acceptable for a family-friendly event.
Don’t leave out the soundcheck
For the sake of comfort, it’s vital that you don’t skip this stage. Different venues have different acoustics, and as the whole point of booking wedding music is to entertain and delight your guests, you don’t want to make their ears ring. You also don’t want to drown out any conversations – weddings are such a wonderful opportunity for your friends and family to catch up, or even meet – so you can use the check to test to see if you can still hear the sound of your own voice. It’ll also stand your musicians or DJ in good stead, as they’ll know what they sound like and what they’re dealing with. Different venues also have different rules when it comes to the question of volume, so check with your venue owner in good time whether they impose a curfew or utilize sound limiters. You wouldn’t want to mar a happy occasion with a complaint from the neighbors, or with a forced power outage at a climactic moment.
Don’t bore your guests
Variety is the spice of life, so they say. You may well have planned a themed wedding, but spare a thought for those of your guests who are less fond of 1920s swing or 80s hair metal. Many wedding bands adopt a few surprise songs outside their general genre into their style to make it fun for people who are less familiar with what they’re doing – and you can clarify this with them beforehand. Who knows – you could end up with a string quartet playing Uptown Funk.
While we’re on this subject, as important as it is for your first dance song to truly reflect your union, try not to pick one that drags on. Spirits are going to be high, and patience may be running a little low when everyone else is waiting to get up and dance alongside you. Keep it short and sweet, and try to figure out the cues and suchlike so you can transition smoothly from your first dance to a floor full of merrymakers.