No matter how long you spend writing your wedding vows, your ceremony probably won't be the part of your wedding day that sticks with your guests. They are all waiting for you to kiss and say 'I do' so they can move on to the fun part—the reception!
It's up to you as a couple to throw them and a yourselves a party they won't forget. While good food and an open bar will definitely help with that, the right entertainment is what will take your reception to the next level. Whether you choose a band or DJ, you'll want to pick an act that will keep you and your guests on the dance floor all night long.
We talked to your favorite celebrity couple's picks for wedding entertainment to get the scoop on their big days and how you can make yours just as perfect. Here are the DJs and bands celebrities turn to for their weddings.
Kinfolk Brass Band
While some parts of Darren Criss and Mia Swier's wedding were untraditional, they went with a classic theme for their New Orleans wedding by having the Kinfolk Brass Band perform. After they said 'I do' the second line band joined them back down the aisle and led their guests to the cocktail reception, according to Vogue.
Kinfolk Brass Band is known for mixing traditional New Orleans jazz songs with pop/top 40 hits offering modern musical renditions for your big day. Some of their biggest crowd pleasers are "Hey Baby" by Bruce Channel, "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" by Whitney Houston, and "When the Saints Go Marching In" by Louis Armstrong, all of which should make your wedding playlist too. One pro tip from the group, is before you book your wedding entertainment ask your other vendors of their recommendations on who they like working with, and read online reviews before you book anything.
DJ Zen Freeman
For Malin Akerman's Wedding to Jack Donnelly, the guest list was obviously star-studded, but so were the performers. For their reception, they tapped international DJ Zen Freeman who clearly set the mood for a fun night. Akerman even changed into a short slip dress sho she could groove with her new hubby all night. "The reception was incredible," she told BRIDES. "Everyone was laughing, the place looked beautiful, we danced for hours, and it ended with everyone jumping in the pool. We finished the night happy and wet."
However, their wedding wasn't just one night. Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty performed at the welcome dinner, and Laura Pergolizzi—better known as LP—performed her song "Lost on You" for the couple's first dance.
When you're a music star yourself, having the right people help you out on your big day is a top priority. When Miguel married Nazanin Mandi after spending more than a decade together he had to get everything right. Their wedding day started on a very personal musical note as they created their own getting ready playlists, according to Rolling Stone. Miguel's playlist included artists such as Outkast, A$AP Ferg, and Major Lazer, while Mandi had Kanye West, Beyoncé and of course Miguel on hers.
For the actual ceremony the couple had a wedding band curated by Miguel’s cousin Mireya Ramos of the mariachi group Flor de Toloache. “Music is always going to be a part of everything we do, first and foremost,” Miguel told Rolling Stone at the time. “We really wanted the music to tell our story.”
For a backyard wedding, Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk had a pretty lavish affair—all the way down to the entertainment! The couple tapped Arman Naféei, AKA the celebrity wedding DJ. Not only did he play Paltrow's reception, but also Marc Jacobs's blowout of a wedding party. No matter the client though, Naféei always asks for a sample of what they are expecting, a great tip for when you'er booking your own vendor.
"I ask this of all my clients is to give me a little two, three track reference of what they are into and what they kind of expect and want to hear, because I’m not a big fan of just coming in and playing my sound especially at a wedding because its their precious, beautiful day that's all about the couple and not about the DJs preference or ego," Naféei told BRIDES.
Both of his celebrity clients excelled at this task. "Gwyneth it was very, very specific, actually the most the specific I’ve ever had, which was great," he said. "She knew what she wanted. It was meant to be an 80s party which is no problem for me but two weeks before I got a 200 track playlist that they wanted to hear."
Similarly Jacobs did the same and included songs they didn't want to hear, which is a great indicator for your band or DJ.
The Big Butter Jazz Band
In addition to Hillary Swank and Philip Schneider's choreographed tap dance and silent disco at their wedding, they also had The Big Butter Jazz Band perform! “Lead singer Chloe Feoranzo was sensational,” Swank told Vogue. “She sounded like she was channeling a singer from the jazz era. They were so good! Their essence helped create the perfect ambiance.”
Swank fell in love with the band after watching a video of their reed player play the 1951 jazz hit "I Get Ideas." "[She] fell in love with it so much that the wedding planner made it a point to tell us that Hilary had the video on repeat," Conrad Cayman, the bandleader, told BRIDES.
They played it for the couple after the toasts and Swank pulled her husband on to the dance floor. It's these sweet moments that all of The Big Butter Jazz Band clients get, not just the celebrities. "Celebrity wedding or not, we strive to provide special moments like that for the bride and groom," Cayman said. "With all that goes on during a reception, we were very happy that she was able to enjoy the song."
While just having a jazz band for the entire night might seem like a very specific tone to set for the night, if that's what you want, got for it! Cayman urges couples not to stray from what they want. "You don't have to pick a generic "wedding band,"he said. "Pick a band that you really enjoy the sound of, check out their social media (not necessarily for number of followers, but just their general public presence) and any reviews. Personally, I do love it when a client asks where they can see us play live. It's like doing a cake tasting. Let us show you what we can do in person."
When 2 Broke Girls Star Beth Behrs married Michael Gladis form Mad Men, Johnny Cash had to be involved. According to Martha Stewart Weddings, the couple loves singing Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash songs together, so they put in a special request with the PTO Bluegrass band.
"One special request we played after Beth and Michael's ceremony was “Jackson” by Johnny Cash, which is always fun as it’s about getting married ('we got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout')" the band told BRIDES.
They added that their sound "enhances the mountain feel" of a Jackson Hole wedding, which makes them popular among couples tying the knot there. If you have a destination wedding on the books, consider entertainment that ties in with your location seamlessly.
DJ Clark Kent
When a grammy nominated artist gets married, it's a given that the reception will have some pretty impressive entertainment. For Pusha T's wedding to Virginia Williams the musical part of their day actually started with Pharrell Williams as the best man. For the reception, the newlyweds entered to the groom's own song "Feel The Love." They danced their first dance as husband and wife to Curtis Mayfield’s “Makings of You.”
After that, the night was filled with surprise performances from not only the groom, but rapper Fabulous as well, and DJ Clark Kent kept the party going until 1am.
Big Fun DJs
Following Ashley Greene and Paul Khoury's wedding in the redwoods, they moved the party to a barn for their reception where the Big Fun DJs got the party started. According to them, Greene and Khoury's biggest request was that their reception be a time for all of their friends and families to enjoy themselves, and one genre of music in particular did the trick.
"While we played music from multiple decades, 90s hip hop was the genre that brought the most people to the dance floor—including “No Diggity” by BLACKstreet and “Poison” by Bell Biv DeVoe," Paul Burchfield, a DJ at Big Fun, told BRIDES.
The same tunes might not work for your own wedding, but according to Burchfield, Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “Crazy in Love” always pack a dance floor.
When planning your own big day Burchfield recommends adding wedding entertainment to the list of things not to cut corners on. "Since this is a wedding and not a random Friday night party, hire a professional wedding DJ or band," he says. "You wouldn’t have your cousin use her iPhone to photograph your wedding ceremony, would you? Similarly, don’t trust the audio equipment, announcements, and music to a family member or friend (unless your friend is Calvin Harris)."
DJ D Nice
Jazmyn Simon and Dulé Hill were lucky enough to have DJ D Nice fly out for their wedding in Antigua, Guatemala. DJ D Nice knows a thing or two about playing for the whose who of world. With former clients including Barack Obama—D Nice played the former President's 2012 Inaugural Ball—it's no wonder that he absolutely killed their reception.
"There was a full-fledged party before Dulé and I even got there," says the bride, with a laugh. In fact, the dancing kicked off before dinner—and they had to force people off the dance floor! "When the entrées were served, our wedding planner had to come get me off of the dance floor," says the bride. "It was the best wedding reception I’ve ever been to!”