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Wedding Reception Music: Questions to Ask a Band

You know that special song you and your honey love? Make sure your musicians have heard of it and if not, are willing to learn it. Read this for other pointers to ensure your guests continue to dance into the night!

We all know music can make or break a party. If you are ready for some disco and Muzak starts filling the air, your guests will run, not walk, right off the dance floor. So finding the right musicians is key for a successful reception. Once you've zeroed in on some choice players, you'll need to talk about exactly what you want. Here's what to cover:

Vision


Explain what you're thinking about in terms of musical selections. See if they respond openly and get excited. If there's a song you really want to incorporate and they don't know it, they should be willing to learn from sheet music you provide them. If they're resistant to the idea, find out if it's because they think it won't work with the instrument (they are, after all, more in the know than you; ask them to come up with some doable alternatives of a similar style) or if it's a case of just because, this is the time to do the cha-cha out the door.

Schedule


Is the performer available on the day of your wedding? Will he or she commit to an early-morning ceremony or a midnight one? Most importantly, make sure your musicians are hip to the idea of showing up at least an hour in advance on the big day; be wary of people who tell you there's no need because they just need "a few minutes" to get ready. There are always last-minute glitches and you want your musicians to be good and ready long before the first guest arrives.

Price


Ceremony musicians can charge anywhere from $100 to $350 an hour, less if they're students. This typically is a per-performer fee, so the more elaborate you're going, the costlier. Make sure you're in the know about all extras; ask whether there's a two-hour minimum (not uncommon) and how much they'll charge you if you end up needing them to put in overtime. If you're having trouble finding what you want with what you have to spend, scale back your plans or enlist the help of musical friends and relatives in lieu of wedding gifts.

Photo: Innovative Photography

-- Hagar Scher

See More: Wedding Music + Dancing