As you plan your vow renewal, figuring out how you are going to have great music always seems to be a challenge. Music is such an integral part of both the ceremony and reception; it’s really something that you cannot do without. It sets the mood and carries guests along on an emotional journey from the ceremony to cocktails to reception. The common allowance for music in a budget is 10%. Making decisions about the music should be done early on so that you have the best chance of getting exactly what you want.
If you are planning on having your vow renewal ceremony and reception at the same location, you may be able to optimize your budget by using the same selection for both. If you have your ceremony in a different location than the reception, you will need to plan on different music options for each. It’s not necessary to have live music for the entire event including ceremony, the cocktail hour and the reception. Some ceremony venues, such as your church or synagogue may require you to use their musicians for your ceremony or use recorded music. You might also see if a friend or family member could sing or play a piece for the ceremony. For the cocktail hour, consider playing a mix of the music you like from your iPod or CD.
The three main options for music are live musicians, a DJ, or iPod/digital. There are obviously pros and cons with each, so you will need to weigh your personal preferences with your budget. Keep in mind that with a live band or DJ, you will want to have a good understanding of what types of music they offer and plan on booking them early on in your planning process since popular ones may already be booked two to three years in advance.
- Live band – Since you will probably need to book them two years in advance, it’s important that you know the band and its reputation. You also need to make sure that they can perform all the songs you want and preferably hear them before the event. There is also always the risk that something might happen to a member or members of the band that could prevent them from being able to perform. If you personally know them and can get a good discount on their services, it might be a great option.
- DJs – DJs fall into two categories – companies and independent operators. An independent operator may be less expensive and willing to work with you to deliver exactly what you want, but a company can generally provide a wider equipment offering, and staff backup should your schedule DJ be unable to work your event. Either way, be sure to ask for references and meet the DJ in person that will be conducting your event for you. After all, they will also be responsible for emceeing the event which includes announcing the names of attendants in your vow renewal party, special dances, cutting the cake, when the food is ready to be served and keeping the party going.
- iPod/digital music – If your venue has a good sound system, you may be able to fill your iPod, MP3 player, laptop, or even CD player with your favorite music for the ceremony and/or reception. You will want to appoint someone to be in charge of making sure that it plays what you want, when you want and emceeing the event. You will also want to make sure to have a microphone for announcements of key events during the reception.
Ways to save:
- Plan your vow renewal for the off-season for wedding services which includes January, February, and March, or Sundays during the other months.
- Look to your local college or university music department for up and coming musicians who might be willing to perform for a smaller fee.
- Use the same musicians for your cocktail hour and reception or ceremony and cocktail hour. You can save quite a lot by having one group play longer versus having two groups.
- If you are planning on recorded music for your ceremony, pick up a bridal CD instead of trying to find the perfect selections on piles of classical CDs. Most bridal CDs contain all of the more popular selections.
Hot tips to make sure things go smoothly:
- If you’re hiring a live band or a DJ, make sure they can guarantee that backup equipment is readily available should something happen with the equipment during the event.
- If you’re using an iPod or CD player, make sure you have a backup of your own that is ready to go should something go wrong with the player. Don’t forget your power cord!
- Shop around and get references before you make a decision of which of these music ideas is the best option for your event.
- Read all contracts and make sure you understand them before signing or paying any deposits.