Sunday, January 26, 2014

Having the right music for your special day is almost as important as the venue itself. Sure, hiring a professional DJ or band can be a fun way to entertain your guests and make your wedding truly memorable. But these costs add up and sometimes it’s necessary to inject a little of the DIY spirit into your big day to save much needed cash.

One of the best ways to save money (and add more control) for your upcoming wedding is organising and playing your own music program. If you need a little help getting started, read on.

Here are 7 tips that can help make your wedding music a complete success.

1. Embrace variety

By all means, play the music you and your bride or groom enjoy during your wedding reception. However, just remember: not everyone will be a fan of your favourite artists and bands. To make sure everyone gets up to move and shake their thing on the dance floor, you’ll need to cover many musical bases. Including variety in your playlist will ensure appeal for guests in every age group and for every taste.

Professional DJs play songs ‘that people know’ and, yes, for better or worse, this includes drawing from the back-catalogue of the likes of Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson and Britney Spears. Embracing variety on your wedding day makes it fun for everyone, which is what makes a wedding reception memorable and successful.

2. Appoint a music master

One of the perks of hiring a professional DJ or band for your wedding reception is the added benefit of having an MC to take care of your musical program, as well as stop and start the music at key points during event. If you choose the DIY route for your wedding’s music, appoint someone reliable to take care of these important duties. Of course, playlists ‘play themselves’ and there’s not much more involved than pressing ‘play’ or ‘stop’ on an iPod or laptop.

So it’s wise to appoint someone from amongst friends and family to mind the music from start to finish. The job includes ensuring your playlist doesn’t mysteriously jump into shuffle-mode and interrupting play strategically, to make way for the occasional announcement. Acting as a cross between a laptop DJ and ‘bouncer’, your music operator must use diplomacy to protect your chosen playlists from outside interference, while ensuring the music flows effortlessly throughout the night’s different highlights.

3. Customise multiple playlists

Weddings are dynamic occasions of changing mood and pace over several hours. It takes multiple playlists to span the many layers that make up the overall event. From solemn commencement of your ceremony to the joyous farewell and beyond, you’ll need to compile your wedding music as a series of separate playlists suitable for each part of the day and night.

At various times during your reception different types of music will be required – starting with light and low-key cocktail music on arrival; romantic slow-dance tunes for the bridal ‘waltz’; then pumping dance music after the formal proceedings. At the farewell, special favourites playing in the background help create atmosphere and after that, the party might have time remaining to crank back up again after the newlyweds have left.

Take care to make sure you have enough songs and styles prepared in playlists to fill the required hours and various moods from day into night.

4. Make the music flow

It’s important that your music is uninterrupted, from one track to the next and during ‘mood’ changes. A ‘smooth set’ without jarring interruptions or overly long pauses sounds professional. A helpful tip is to cross-fade your tracks so that there’s an easy transition in between songs and beats. Most music players, such as iTunes, allow this option.

As well as smooth control between song changes, try to gradually build and dip momentum through your different playlists by ordering them for gently changing pace, rather than switching musical styles too suddenly.

5. Danceability counts

Before adding a song to your wedding playlist, consider its danceability.  If you’re like most couples, you’ll want the dance floor to be red hot during your wedding reception. Dancing translates into people having fun, and a fun wedding will be one to remember, for everyone who’s there.

The fact is, some songs are better sung or heard than expressed through dance. They just don’t translate well through physical movements. So unless you’re keener on hearing the music than seeing magic on the dance floor, make sure you only select songs for your reception playlists that get your feet tapping.

6. Use reliable hardware

You only get one shot for a perfect wedding reception, and you’ll want to ensure you have the appropriate high quality hardware ready to play your music for several hours without the slightest glitch. You’ll also want the music loud, with the volume spread evenly through the venue. After all, nobody’s going to dance if they cannot hear the music properly over talking or other ambient noise at the venue.

For great sound, the best solution is to hire top-quality PA speakers on stands (they usually cost around $300 for the night). Make sure your iPod (or iPad, or laptop) is bug-free and ready to play. An equipment rehearsal a few days ahead is a good idea, to catch any unforeseen problems and test your proposed systems. The last thing you’d want on the night is a software glitch, an iPod malfunction, or scratchy-sounding speakers.

7. Spontaneity matters too

Congratulations, you’ve put in a lot of hard work, planning and creating the perfect playlist for your wedding and testing out the right equipment. But during the night, be prepared to mix things up a bit. Be ready for song requests you just can’t deny, or for a quick change of plan if the party mood dips and you need music to get things going again. Have a well-orchestrated playlist but remain able to respond to your guests’ needs or the night’s unexpected twists.

Weddings involve so many expenses that doing anything you can to minimise costs will give you and your partner more funds for your new life together. With careful planning, do-it-yourself music programming is one way to save some money on your special day.

Credit: Impression DJs

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