A wedding reception is a party to celebrate the union of two special people. Most celebrations include music to express the joy everyone is feeling. What are your options when you’re on a budget? Varied!
Most people like to have a disc jockey at their reception – if only because they have a large selection of music available to please the various age groups you’ll have there. Disc jockeys are probably less expensive than bands, but they can be a bit pricey too. Consider, too that with a DJ, you’ll also have an emcee to move the reception along.
We suggest you shop around extensively when looking for a DJ. Consider calling a local college to see if they can recommend a talented TV/R major who might be willing to take the job.
When picking out music, make sure you take into consideration the guests. An all-rap repertoire probably isn’t appropriate, but all big band music isn’t either. Make sure there’s a mix of both to please both young and old.
To encourage guests to dance, assign each table a love song, when the band (or DJ) plays that song that table should get up to dance. You know likely know whether this would work or not with your crowd, but is a neat idea.
To be honest, really a very small percentage of the human race enjoys the Chicken Dance, Macarena, and Electric Slide. Know your guests, and if you know this will be uncomfortable for them, make sure your DJ does not include them. They can be embarrassing, but they can be great fun as well. It’s truly a matter of preference!
If your hearts are set on live music, look for bands that have day jobs and “jam” for fun. Don’t rule out high school-aged bands. Or hire a child violin virtuoso to perform for the ceremony — there won’t be a dry eye in the place.
Also, consider the time of your reception. My first wedding was held at 11:00 in the morning. The music at the reception was set to begin at 2:00 and we expected to be finished with the whole reception by 6:00. We had a favorite local band we loved and asked if they would cut their price for an afternoon “gig” since they would still be free to perform that evening. They were happy to and we got them for just $200. They got their regular bar rate that night and made a little extra on the side.
A rock-bottom budget option is to make your own tapes of your musical favorites. If you know of someone who has an awesome stereo system, see if they would be willing to loan it to you for the day and have people volunteer to man it to make sure you don’t have any silent times.
The good part about mix CD’s is that if you take some time, you can put it together so that it plays straight through and no one will have to switch discs. You can mix it up with an equal balance of fast and slow songs and add in all your favorites as well.
Another fun option for music is to have a karaoke set-up. You can maximize on the talents of some of your guests and laugh at the not-so-great talents of others. Some people really come to life with karaoke, you may as well maximize on that!
If you don’t own a karaoke machine or know someone who does, look into renting one. You can download karaoke songs (music without the lyrics) online to make your own karaoke CD’s. Go to lyrics.com to get the words and arrange it all in a simple 3-ring binder for your guests to refer to.
There are a lot of other miscellaneous ways to save money on your wedding. The next section covers some of these tips.