Hiring a Band or DJ…How to Manage Logistics

Everyone loves a good band or DJ at a wedding. When the music is produced well, that specific vendor can make the whole event top notch. Don’t imagine that they’ll show up and everything will run smoothly - be sure to check in with them about six key things prior to the wedding day.

First of all, discuss their microphones. Will they provide: cordless handheld mics, a lavalier mic, or microphone stands? Ceremony microphones WILL be photographed so be sure to discuss with the band manager or DJ to verify the microphones they have available so the desired look is achieved for the event. Consider wind or water background noise as a factor in your event and plan your microphone choice accordingly.

Second, a conversation between the DJ/band and the venue is essential. Many venues have restrictions such as noise ordinances beginning at a certain time of night or of a certain decibel limit if the venue is attached to a hotel. Music levels still need to be in compliance with local government and policies. This discussion should also include mention of power limitations. If the band is large there may be a need to rent a spider box for additional power in order to not trip the venue breakers. Some bands also require a certain amount of floor space to accommodate all of their band members and instruments. Be sure to verify the space requirements with the band prior to signing their contract and then check in with the venue to make sure the space is feasible with the planned guest count.

Third, there may be equipment needs that must be discussed. Some DJs will bring their own booth and lighting. Others may need additional banquet tables for various props and mixing gear. Make sure it’s crystal clear in the contract what they expect the venue or you, as the couple, to provide.

Fourth, when creating a layout at the venue, consider the spacing and arrangement of whatever music will be playing. Not only should you consider the amount of space needed for the vendor but also consider where they should be placed in proximity to outlets and their proximity to the dance floor.

Fifth, although it’s a bit of a no-brainer, be sure to have a meeting with your DJ or band prior to the event. This meeting will allow you to walk through the timeline and discuss when they need to arrive on the day-of for setup. Especially consider their needs if they need to have equipment ready to go in various areas of the venue (a ceremony setup, cocktail hour setup, and a reception setup). Go over the key moments of the wedding day and verify the songs they’ll play for the Grand Entrance, First Dance, Parent Dances, Cake Cutting, Processional, Recessional, etc. Don’t forget to have a further discussion of a ‘Do Not Play’ list. Include specific songs, artists, or genres.

Sixth, have a frank conversation, as well, about how long it’ll take for them to break down at the end of the night. If they need an hour and a half to break down their equipment and their stage but the venue needs to be locked by 11:30pm, you may need to cut your party a bit short to make sure they can leave the venue by the allotted time.

Addressing all of these logistical questions with the music maker of choice will help to create a smooth and seamless wedding day and create less confusion and anxiety for vendors. That way the only thing you’ll need to think about is partying the night away!

Sizzling Platters 2015