Music and Entertainment

Wedding music and entertainment

In this interview, Faye talks about music and entertainment at your wedding.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. Today I’m here with Faye Broderick, senior consultant at The Essex Room, a wedding venue on the north shore of Massachusetts. Today we’re here to talk about music for your wedding. Welcome, Faye.

Faye Broderick: Hi, John.

John: Faye, what do I look for in an entertainer for my wedding?

Faye: The first decision you’re going to want to make when you start thinking about entertainment for your wedding is whether you want a band or a disc jockey. There are advantages to the two, for sure. In general, a band might add a little more energy to your event. They’re in front of you. They might be dancing around. It’s live. It’s pulsing. It’s energy. It’s crazy madness.

John: There’s something about a live band that kind of gets you going.

Faye: Exactly. If you’re dance people, there’s also a little bit of that nightclub atmosphere that happens when you have a band at your reception that tends to get people a little more energetic and might get a few more people on the dance floor than normal. On the other hand, if you do decide to go with a DJ, the advantage is mostly they’re going to have access to music that a live band might not, especially in this day and age with technology. They’re all working with iPads and computers and wireless things. They can hop on the internet and download a song that you want to hear that, perhaps, isn’t in their library, and you still get exactly what it is you want.

John: Whereas with a live band they have a certain set list that they know. Maybe they could learn an extra song or two or something that you’ve requested, but you might be sort of limited in what you can ask them to do.

Faye: Exactly. That takes some notice and some time with a live band, so you do have to know exactly what it is you want to hear a good deal of time beforehand, especially if you’re looking for a good number of songs that the band doesn’t already know.

John: How do I tell my entertainer, whether it’s a DJ or a live band, what I do and do not want to hear?

Faye: The easiest way to do that is to start, I think, with a do not play list. Some people have songs that they can’t stand, do not want to hear for the life of them, under any circumstances, at any time, let alone on their wedding day.

John: Like no “YMCA” or, “Don’t play ‘Stairway to Heaven'” or something like that.

Faye: The biggest one I’ve heard is “Brick House.” I don’t know why, but one particular day that was the song. In that case, I would start with a do not play list, especially if you’re not a control freak. If you don’t want to set the set list for a disc jockey, start with a do not play list. Go with the things that, again, you absolutely can’t stand, you do not want to hear under any circumstances, and let the DJ take it from there.

John: What about a live band? Are you able to request a couple of additional songs because a live band has a set list that they come to the table with already.

Faye: Usually when you’re booking a live band so far out in advance you probably have a little more flexibility with a live band, especially if they’re a wedding band, than if you’re pulling a band in off the street. You want to get their set list as early as you can and see how that matches up with what it is you want to hear on your wedding day.

John: I think often with these bands you can go see them play somewhere else. If they’re playing at a club or something like that, you might be able to get a sense for their style and what they’re playing.

Faye: Absolutely, and especially in the case of a wedding band, you’re going to get word of mouth. You might run into someone that has attended a wedding that the band you’re looking at has played at. YouTube is also a great place to look. If the band is represented by an agency, in most cases that agency is going to have a video that they can email you or a DVD or something they can get to you so you can watch that band perform live.

John: What do I do in terms of finding recommendations for music for my formalities? These are the things like the first dance or the cake‑cutting music. Are there places where I can get recommendations for those?

Faye: All of your wedding magazines are going to have recommendations for those. Online, all of your bridal advice websites are going to have recommendations for those. Your entertainers themselves are going to have recommendations as are, most likely, your coordinators, your salesperson at the banquet facility.

We have our own favorites. My favorite for cake‑cutting is “Ice Cream” by Sarah Mclachlan or I like “Silly Love Songs” by Paul McCartney. One of my associates likes that song in “The Wedding Singer,” “I Want to Grow Old with You.” That’s her favorite for the cake cutting. Everybody has a favorite.

In terms of picking a first dance song, you want to pick something that’s meaningful to you, but you don’t want it to be too long. You don’t want to be on the center of the dance floor for seven minutes by yourself with everyone staring at you.

After the first minute and a half, they’ve really kind of lost interest. They want to move on to the rest of the party, especially because they’re getting hungry and they want their dinner. There are lots of places to look for recommendations of songs.

Ask your friends that have recently been married. Maybe ask your family. If you’re going to dance with your dad or the groom is going to dance with his mom, ask those people for input or maybe think back to your younger years, if there was a song that your mom or dad sang to you and you remember that. Use those songs for those occasions during the wedding, because they’ll have more meaning for everyone.

John: Right. I was at a wedding recently, and when they announced the bridal party they came in to some music. Honestly, I forget what the music was, but they came out and came out onto the dance floor.

Each one of the couples did like a little personal dance of their own. Is that the kind of thing that people are doing to kind of spice things up or make it a little more interesting rather than just kind of marching in?

Faye: Absolutely, we see that a lot, especially in younger couples. The older couples, not so much. They just want to get on to the party and have done with it. Having the DJ or the band play a different song for each couple in the wedding party is also a big thing.
Usually when you see those improvised dances, they’re totally spontaneous. I saw one a couple of weeks ago where the usher carried the bridesmaid on his back. It’s the spontaneity and the craziness that makes things like that so fun when the bridal party is being introduced.

John: Faye Broderick, thanks very much.

Faye: Thank you.

[closing music]

John: For more information and helpful tips on wedding planning, visit or call 978‑768‑7335.

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