Attempting to sift through thousands of songs for an event can be very intimidating but there are few things you can do to make a great music program with fewer headaches.
When setting up music for an event try to separate titles into four sections: processionals, preludes, dancing, and recessionals.
Processional music- This music accompanies people as they are making an entrance which may include husband and wife, speakers, owners, wedding parties, etc… You can generally use the same melody or song to introduce people all at once or at varying times throughout the night. Another idea is to make creative tunes fitted to each individual/group so that the entrances are more personalized. Be careful of this when introducing everyone at one time, if you switch between extremely contrasting songs it may sound disjointed and mislay the introductions flow. For a list of wedding entrance songs click HERE.
Prelude/Interlude music- Preludes are songs that create atmosphere and set the mood for your event. Usually prelude songs will be light and sultry creating great ambient sets to fill the background as people are seated, waiting, or during cocktail hours. You should start music (prelude) as soon as or before people arrive that way you avoid awkward silences and empty time. Use this type of music after main events too (postlude/interlude) it can be the same type of songs.
Dancing- Well this one is pretty self explanatory. Make it fun and keep the audience in mind, if you want to dance to it than other people probably want to dance to it too. Keep the mix diverse enough that everyone can enjoy the genre they like and try to stay away from songs that are too explicit or specialized.
Recessional- At the end of a ceremony but before the postlude you will want to have music complementing the exit of event persons. Recessional music is better when it is upbeat and lively helping create a dramatic exit for parties involved. If you would like a list of wedding recessional songs CLICK HERE.
Now that you have selected music for your event be sure to size up your venue. This is especially true if you are having a live band play. You will need to consider the space necessities for your band as space requirements will vary depending on the number of people and the types of instruments involved. If the event if for a larger crowd you will want to make sure you have sufficient amplification so that everyone can enjoy the music this may require having supplementary speakers set up. Additionally, take into account whether your event will be indoors or outdoors. If you are having an outdoor event there are a number of things to adjust, CLICK HERE for additional outdoor event entertainment.
Once music and band selections have been worked out try and create a timeline but remember that it should be fluid. It is almost guaranteed that portions of your event will take longer or end sooner than expected so be prepared to recuperate this time. Plan extra music just in case but do not try to cram it all in to its designated section of the night. For other event suggestions visit some of our other blogs: Music 101, Tips for Planning an Event.
--Nikole Higgins, Communication Director, Nikole@utahliveband.com