If you’ve ever seen any “dream wedding” shows, you know that their biggest surprise is usually finding the bride’s favorite celebrity to perform at their wedding. Disney Plus’ mini-series “Disney Fairytale Weddings” is a prime example.
If Disney’s party planners deem talent one of the most critical aspects of the big day, you know we agree. You don’t have to go on a reality show to find the right wedding entertainment, though.
Our event entertainment Chicago agency helps people find the right talent for their event without the Disney price tag. You can ask us for recommendations if needed, or read this guide to get started.
What’s the Vibe of Your Wedding?
What kind of energy or feel do you want your wedding to have? Is it glamourous and traditional? Boho and low-key? A booming party? Each of those vibes has a different entertainment style to match.
For example, if you’re having a very traditional wedding, you’ll likely want a band instead of a DJ at the reception, along with live music to walk you down the aisle. Harps, violins, or pianos are all classic choices for ceremony entertainment.
A bohemian-style wedding, however, is much different. They’re usually outside, have a smaller crowd, and have more of a guitar and ukulele feel than harps and violins.
On the other hand, parties either need a great, energetic wedding band or a top notch DJ who can keep everyone dancing all night. We need everyone, including grandma, to be on their feet!
What Kind of Live Music Do You Want at the Ceremony?
There are three types of music played during the ceremony. The first is the prelude music, or the wedding equivalent of elevator music. It gives guests something to listen to while getting seated and sets the tone for the event.
Next, there’s the processional, which plays as the groomsmen and bridal party come in. It starts slowly then builds to crescendo as the bride walks down the aisle.
The traditional processional is aptly named “The Wedding March,” but you’re not tied to that choice. A great pianist or violinist can adapt almost any romantic song to a processional to give you a personal touch walking down the aisle.
Finally, you have the recessional, or what the bridal party walks out to. It can be soft or celebratory, depending on what you envision. The entertainment will likely play a revision of the prelude music while guests are exiting the ceremony.
Types of ceremony entertainment include:
- A Pianist
- A jazz trio
- A harpist
- A violinist
- A guitar player
- A vocalist
Or any combination of the musicians above. It’s your day, so it’s up to you. Before hiring ceremony entertainment, be sure you aren’t roped into using people pre-chosen by the venue. Most Chicagoland venues are flexible and let you choose your musicians.
The Big Question in Wedding Entertainment: Band or DJ?
You may have thought that screaming “yes! I’ll marry you!” answered the biggest question about your wedding, but not quite. Most modern couples struggle to decide if they want a live band or a DJ at their reception. They both have pros and cons, so it comes down to preference.
Pros of a DJ:
- Access to more songs
- More personalization of setlist
- Cheaper (usually)
- Takes up less physical space
Cons of a DJ:
- Less traditional choice
- Older family members generally prefer a band
Pros of a Band:
- Personalized setlist within repertoire
Cons of a Band:
- Generally more expensive
- A smaller repertoire of songs
- Takes up more physical space
As you can see, the pros and cons to having a DJ vs. a band are pretty much equal. Each person will weigh different variables like budget, venue size, and song selection differently, so be sure to talk with your partner before making a decision.
No matter which you choose, you can book entertainment in Chicago with our large catalog of professional entertainers.
Choosing the Songs for Your Wedding
Once you know who is going to be performing at your wedding, it’s time to talk to them about the setlist. Wedding bands have an extensive catalog of songs they can perform, well over 100. For DJs, that limit is more in the thousands.
In terms of specifics, you’ll need to tell them your choice for:
- Entrance/announcement music
- First dance song
- Father/daughter dance song
- Songs you don’t want to hear
- Songs you really want to hear
You’ll also have to talk to your entertainment about how they’ll handle requests. Some guests may request songs that are on your do-not-play list. How do you want that handled?
Length of Entertainment
When you set up your wedding entertainment, you’ll need to give them the time frame for your event. Does your reception have an end time, or does it go until no one can dance any longer? If you know you want to have an all-night party but can only afford a band for so long, talk to booking agents for musicians in Chicago about getting a DJ for the rest of the night.
Our musicians want you to have the best day possible and will work out the details with you before the big day so that you can enjoy yourself.
Choosing Your Wedding Entertainment: What Talent Will You Choose?
Some brides go into their weddings already knowing exactly what type of talent they want to perform. Others never considered how many details go into planning a wedding until they said yes. That’s what wedding and event planners are for!
While we can’t plan all the details of your nuptials, our entertainment industry in Chicago can help you pick the perfect wedding entertainment. Browse your options here to make sure you have the best soundtrack to your big day.