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A wedding band can make or break your wedding reception. It’s very important to choose a wedding band that will play the music that you and your guests enjoy, and be able to keep the party going all night long. When searching for the right dance band for your wedding, keep these six tips in mind.

Match the Mood

If the wedding is formal and you’re dressed in tails, you’ll find a good match with jazz, swing, or even chamber music–but the “Electric Slide” might come off a little tacky. For any other kind of ceremony, the sky’s the limit–traditional dance/party bands, country bands, whatever you like. As a general rule, the less formal your wedding, the less formal your music can and should be.

The Value of booking a Cover Bands

Those of you who take your music seriously may never, ever consider employing a cover band for your wedding. But you should. Wedding receptions and rehearsal dinner parties are gatherings of your past, like family and high school reunions, as much as they’re celebrations of your future. Having familiar songs on the soundtrack while you and your bride dance the night away can bring out the memories and help to unite a very eclectic guest list (give me a little old lady and a limbo stick, and I will show you a very happy crowd). Plus, a wedding just isn’t a wedding unless you get a little bit louder now with “Shout!”

Good Dance Bands Know Weddings

“If I’m going to have all old songs playing,” you might think to yourself, “why not save some cash and pay someone to spin records?” The logic makes sense–but unless your DJ is extremely creative and well established, he won’t be able to bring the house down with the same energy as a live band. Plus, good dance bands who know weddings (see above) are fronted by engaging front men and women who keep the festivities on track between songs. DJ’s can also serve this role, but most of the time they’re not as capable to do so.

Weigh in on the Playlist

Most wedding bands make a living by knowing a wide array of “standards”–jazz and pop songs that are familiar and fun. So if you have any special requests that aren’t too idiosyncratic, you’ll want to quiz your potential dance band on them before you do any hiring. This is one thing we as booking agents can help with.

Leave the iPod at Home

The beauty of portable music players is that they can hold hours and hours of music that you have personally picked and organized. It’s so easy that you may think you can save yourself musical costs altogether and be your own DJ. We advise you to save your body-rockin’ for another occasion. For starters, you’ll be up the creek if your musical device goes on the fritz. But more importantly, this is just one more responsibility that you just don’t want to deal with on your wedding day. If you’re on a limited budget (and don’t plan to have a lot of dancing at your wedding) consider this option as a last resort. There is such a wide variety of dance bands out there for different prices, you would be better off booking or hiring a band. In the long run, you will not regret spending a little extra for a “Once in a Lifetime” event like your wedding.