Music For Your Personal Party, Major Event, Or Wedding Ceremony

Organizing a marriage or private party and not sure what to do about the music? Here’s a few guidelines to get you pointed in the right path.

First, do you have a theme to your party? You know – high end, classic, bohemian, formal, preppy, Hawaiian shirts, etc. ? Contingent on what your theme is (if you have one), what type of music you program can go a long way to setting just the right tone for your major event. You should not for example, want to play the newest rap songs from Snoop Dogg at your upmarket, black-tie event. Perhaps you would if Snoop Dogg was there, but I am betting he’s likely not on your guest list.

What is your funds? Planning a party on a tight budget is difficult and although I suspect music is always much better than a DJ let’s face it, one DJ with a turntable or computer is much more affordable (usually) than a band. To me, a band actually makes a party but that could be a budget consideration for sure.

What time during the day is your event? Classical music might work at an earlier event while jazz might be a excellent choice for an evening party.

What are your preferred musical tastes? Really, this one should dictate what kind of music you would like played at your party. You are coughing up for it, right? Sure, you must consider dear old Aunt Lillian who hates anything after 1960 but come on, this is your party, not hers, so go with music that you like. If you are coordinating the party, then ask the bride-to-be and groom or take a survey of folks who might be attending your event what they might like to hear. Be prepared for answers like “Iron Maiden”.

Where is the party being held? Some venues have pretty strict rules about music like how loud it can be, what types of music are authorized, if there is space for a band, and so on. You should check-in with your location before booking any music to be certain you are aligned with their rules.

What’s the size of your event? Music for truly large parties needs sound reinforcement and typically bands or DJ’s are set to handle this but you may want to think twice about hiring a 10-piece rock orchestra to play a 20 person party in a little, intimate location.

Onstage music vs. DJ. As a musician who plays an instrument, I always side on the live band eventuality but again, budget, location, type of event and private musical tastes may point you toward a DJ. Most DJ’s can play a wide variety of styles and though some cover bands do the same, most live bands stay inside 2 specific genres like jazz, rock or classical. Go for the live band, I say. It's always possible to hear the radio in your vehicle.

Picking music for your party, marriage or significant event doesn’t have to be rocket science. Think about where you are having the party, what quantity of people are attending, what type of mood you would like to set, and your budget. This will actually help to define what you can do with the music.

Elias Haslanger plays jazz, teaches saxophone lessons, and hires Austin wedding bands for your special occasion.