Music & Entertainment

Wedding Music Tips from Colin Cowie

Getting the most out of your band or DJ

Get to know your band or DJ. Listen to a demo tape or go catch their act. Before making a final decision, meet them to make sure they're on board with your ideas.

Be clear on which band members will be playing at your wedding, and put this in your contract. Note: The size of band needed depends on your guest list (a six-piece band works best for 100 guests; a ten-piece band for 300 guests).

Give the band or DJ a list of your favorite and least-favorite songs. This way, you'll have more control over the party music—and no unpleasant surprises.

Ask the band or DJ what they plan to wear. With the band, you want a uniform look; black-tie for a formal event, or khaki suits for a casual wedding.

Pin down a time for your band or DJ to set up the equipment. You don't want the musicians trudging through your cocktail hour with heavy speakers and instruments.

Give your band or DJ a schedule of events. Your caterer should have a copy, too, so the event flows smoothly. Determine, also, when the band or DJ will take breaks. Make sure that when they're on break, there will be backup music.

Give your bandleader or DJ the correct pronunciation of your names and those giving toasts to avoid embarrassment.

Tell the band or DJ where they should have dinner. You don't want to find them eating at the bar or at your buffet.

Inform the entertainers whether it's okay to take requests. These can be fine within reason, but don't allow your guests to treat your band or DJ as a jukebox.

Tell the bandmembers or DJs not to bring their wives, kids, or others. You don't want an uninvited entourage hanging around during the reception.

Editor's Note: Before paying a deposit, ask for references and check with the Better Business Bureau ( to find out if there have been complaints about your band or DJ.

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