Musical Chairs

How to choose the appropriate music for your wedding day
Photograph courtesy of Bluewater Kings Band

FROM THE CEREMONY to the dance floor, nothing impacts the vibe of your wedding like music. “Music is such an important aspect of your wedding,” says wedding and events planner Ann Travis, of Ann Travis Events. “It sets the tone for the entire event.” Oftentimes choosing the right type of musician for the most appropriate time of a wedding can be confusing. Here, industry experts offer insight on who to hire and when for musical entertainment at a wedding.


Why a band?
“There’s an indescribable feeling you get when you watch and listen to live music,” says Danny Kimosh with Bluewater Kings Band. “It’s just better and more energetic than playing a song off of a laptop or iPhone. A band with talented musicians with good music taste can read the room and get everybody dancing.”

What a band does best
“Smaller bands are great for your ceremony and cocktail hour,” Kimosh says. “We have string trios and jazz quartets for these purposes. However, where we really shine is at the reception. We are most well known for being extremely high energy and getting your guests on the dance floor.”

Keep in mind
“Experience is really important,” Kimosh says. “Weddings are complicated! Make sure you hire a band who is familiar with working in events. Setting up live music is involved and should be done by a professional.”

Photograph courtesy of White Pines Entertainment


Why a string quartet?
A string quartet consists of two violinists, one violist, and one cellist. “Live music is timeless, elegant, and versatile,” says Michelle Kulwicki, manager and cellist of White Pines Entertainment. “We work with our clients to perform their custom choices and make the day truly theirs.”

What a string quartet does best
Ceremonies and cocktail hours. “Live music is not only more immersive than a prerecorded playlist, it’s also far more flexible,” Kulwicki says. “Live musicians are able to customize the timing of all of your music selections — no waiting at the head of the aisle for a song to finish playing, or having the music run out while your bridesmaids are still processing.”

Keep in mind
“If there is no audio or video of the group, steer clear,” Kulwicki warns. “You should always be able to get an idea of what they might sound like live.”


Photograph courtesy of iStock/Travelarium

Why a DJ?
“A DJ can be the entertainment at literally any part of a wedding, from the ceremony to cocktail hour to, of course, the reception,” says Mary Ann Ross of Mary Ann Ross Productions.

What a DJ does best
Cocktail hours and receptions. “DJs can play any type of music you want, so it can feel more personalized,” Ross says.

Keep in mind
“Sure, a DJ can play music for a ceremony, but I always recommend couples seek out live music instead,” Ross says. “I can play a great string piece during a ceremony, but the presence of a live entertainer delivers an atmosphere punch that DJs can’t duplicate.”


Why an organist?
“If it’s a religious ceremony in a church, oftentimes they’ll have an organist who can play for your wedding as part of your church fee,” says wedding and event planner Travis. “It’s also an appropriate music choice for church weddings.”

What an organist does best
Ceremonies only — logistically, playing a cocktail hour or reception is impossible.

Keep in mind
Organs are very traditional, so if that’s not your wedding style, skip the organist.