Wedding Guide: How to Finance and Budget For Your Dream Day Chapter 6: 'If Music Be The Food Of Love, Play On' – Celebrate Without Spending A Fortune

Your wedding day is all about the music. It is not something that you want to mess up!. Personal Loans Now provides fantastic ways to save money on your wedding music without compromising on your wedding celebrations.

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Learning Highlights
  • Creating your own wedding playlist is the cheapest option
  • DJs are a more affordable option and can also act as your wedding MC.

Wedding Music Ideas

In this chapter, Personal Loans Now, offering best rate personal loans, will examine the question of whether to have live music at your wedding ceremony and/or reception. There will be handy tips on how to save on how much you pay for music. We will balance the pros and cons of live music vs a DJ and what pitfalls to avoid if you are planning to prepare your own personal wedding playlist.

Wedding Ceremony Music

Whether you are getting married in a civil or religious ceremony, most people would agree that wedding music is an integral part of the service and/or celebration, whatever your cultural background. All types of music can be played on the Big Day. It varies from the hymns and organist of a traditional church ceremony to the personal preferences of couples at the post-wedding party.

When deciding on music to be played at the wedding, there are 3 main choices: live bands or musicians, a DJ or to prepare your own playlist and have it played over the sound system. You might even choose to have a combination of these 3 at different parts of the day. Although doing this can work out as the most expensive option. There are, however, ways to save money on music. You might also want to consider a cheap wedding loan to help you pay for these vital expenses.

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Bands And Musicians

Some venues can provide you with a list of bands and musicians who they have worked with in the past to play your wedding music. Although this is a recommendation, it is worth checking them out first. You can do this on their website, social media or YouTube beforehand, attending one of their live performances (if possible). Alternatively, ask to speak to other couples who used them for their wedding.

The advantage of using a venue’s recommended list is that you know they have played in the venue before. Consequently, they are familiar with the technical difficulties of setting up their equipment. Also, they know that their ‘sound’ works with the acoustics of the reception room.

Musicians usually charge by the hour but before booking them, ask whether there is an additional cost to cover their travelling time and/or expenses.

If you are planning to hire your own band or musicians independently, you should be similarly meticulous in checking their credentials. You should also be aware of how much room your venue has for the performers. It is no good hiring a 6-piece band and then finding that there is no place on the stage or insufficient power for all their instruments.

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Ways To Save Money On Live Wedding Music

Some people automatically think of a stringed quartet when thinking of booking musicians for their wedding. If you have a smaller venue and a lower budget even with a personal loan, a trio or duo can sound equally impressive. It also reduces how much you pay. Some couples opt for a soloist, such as a harpist or a classical guitarist, who can give a fresh ‘sound’ to familiar tunes.

Another way to make savings if you have your heart set on live wedding music is to book the band directly through their website. Agencies usually charge extra if you book it from them. In this way, you can save hundreds of pounds.

Some wedding websites recommend reducing the price you pay for live music by booking an amateur band or music student. This is entirely possible but a word of caution. Your favourite amateur band might not have the necessary wedding repertoire to appeal to all your guests. What sounds great in the pub on a Saturday night may not be suitable for a mixed-age wedding reception!

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As for music students, before booking them, ask how much experience they have of performing live and whether they have done any weddings before. They may be more suitable for a few songs during the ceremony rather than counting on them for the entire evening ‘do’.


  • You can choose to have live wedding music, a DJ or prepare your own playlist as musical accompaniment during the ceremony and/or reception.
  • Before booking a band/musicians, consider the size/acoustics of the venue and how much room there is for them to set up.
  • Savings can be made by hiring fewer musicians (such as a duo or soloist), booking them directly rather than through an agency or using amateur musicians.

Hiring A DJ For The Wedding Reception

DJs are one of the most popular choices for an evening reception. One benefit of hiring a DJ is that they are often willing to double up as the MC. They can often co-ordinate any traditions you choose to include such as cutting the cake or the couple’s first dance. An experienced DJ will also be able to ‘read’ the wedding party. They can build the atmosphere and keep your guests on the dance floor by their choice of the songs which they play.

DJs are also familiar with the technical aspects of sound systems. They will be able to troubleshoot any problems as well as adjusting the volume according to the dimensions and acoustics of the venue.

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Like any wedding vendor, you should check their credentials and even ask for a ‘demo’ of any previous weddings they have done. The best DJ is one who consults with you as a couple before the wedding and asks for your personal musical preferences. You should prepare a playlist of songs that must &ndash, or must NOT – be played. When making the playlist, bear in mind that you should choose a variety of songs that will be enjoyed by all age groups. (At least in the initial part of the reception before older and very young guests start leaving.)

Band And DJ – Extra Savings

Some band members might be prepared to ‘double up’ as DJs for a relatively small extra payment. This means you will be able to afford both live music and a DJ for less than it would cost to hire them both separately. A flexible personal loan may help you pay for both the live music and DJ. As a professional musician, a band member would have the necessary knowledge of different music genres as well as be competent at detecting any technical problems with the sound system. Like any DJ, you would have to discuss a playlist with them to be sure of hearing the music that suits both you and your guests.

When booking musicians or a DJ, ask whether there is an extra charge after midnight. This will prevent any unpleasant shocks if you plan on dancing to the early hours of the morning!

FAQs on Wedding Music

How can I choose the right musicians for my wedding?
Ask for recommendations from the venue and also think about which part of the wedding day you require live music: the ceremony itself, during the wedding breakfast, the post-meal reception or all three?

How much does it cost to hire live musicians?
It really depends. Soloists would typically charge around £700 for 3 hours of live music. Bands vary in size so you should calculate on the basis of £150-£300 per member.

What happens if the band do not know our first dance song?
This is something that should be discussed before you book live music. Most professionals have quite an extensive repertoire. If you request it, they would be prepared to learn up to 4 new songs. If you have particular musical preferences, make sure you book the right band.

How soon should I book musicians or a DJ?
Ideally, you should think about your wedding music as soon as you have booked your venue. Agencies recommend booking at least 6 months in advance. However, if your wedding will take place during the busy summer months or you want a specific band/DJ, the answer is: the sooner, the better.

How can I make sure that bands or the DJ play the music I want?
As professionals, they will want to satisfy you as the client, so you should make a list of artists and songs you like (rather than just naming a musical genre like pop music.) The more specific you are, the more likely you are to hear the songs you like.

Music for Wedding Receptions; Live Music Or A DJ?

There is no definite answer as it really boils down to a question of personal taste. Some couples and their guests enjoy the energy of live performances. Sometimes the enthusiasm of the musicians can encourage even non-dancers to join in.

On the other hand, other people benefit from the polish of listening to the original performers and feel that a DJ is preferable as they can offer a greater variety of songs and musical styles. Also, DJs can react more quickly to the mood of the dancers and keep the party going by following on with similar tracks.

Another factor is that a DJ will be able to provide non-stop wedding music. When booking live music, do not forget that musicians are only human and allow breaks of 15-20 minutes between their sets. To avoid a sudden silence, arrange to have background music prepared for these interludes. Either the band can prepare them (if possible) or make your own playlist.

  • DJs are often hired for evening wedding receptions as they can ensure the ‘flow’ of the music, solve any sound/technical problems and can act as the MC.

  • Prepare a playlist for the DJ (allowing for the different generations at your reception), so you are guaranteed to hear the songs you like.
  • Some bands are prepared to act as DJs and this can save you a lot of money.
  • Whether to opt for a band or a DJ is purely a question of personal preferences since both have pros and cons.

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Making Your Own Wedding Reception Playlist

The cheapest way to have your own choice of wedding music at the reception is to prepare your own playlist. Alternatively, you can get your technically-minded friend, or relative do it on your behalf. According to Spotify, there are now 6.7 million wedding playlists around the world. This is unquestionably a popular choice. With iPods, MP3s and laptops, it has never been so easy or so cheap. There are also a number of applications that can allow you to download effortlessly and economically.

Preparing your playlist can take some time and forethought. However, this might not be a problem for you if you are a genuine music lover. Think about the different parts of your wedding day and what kind of music you would like to listen to. For the ceremony, you might want different pieces for the arrival of the bride or while you sign the wedding register. Slower ballads might be required for the first dances. After the wedding breakfast, you might prefer to up the tempo numbers to encourage your guests to dance.

For this reason, the best idea is to prepare different playlists and label them accordingly. Also, you should listen to the playlists a few times to make sure the music flows naturally. In compiling your songs, you could ask for input from your guests to be sent to you on the RSVP of the wedding invitation. You do not have to use their suggestions but it will give you an idea of your guests’ personal preferences, so your playlist is inclusive.

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Plan for Mishaps

To prevent unpleasant surprises which could potentially ruin your big day, the key is back up, backup, backup! Leave nothing to chance and back up your playlists on different devices. Also, do not forget to take a full complement of batteries, chargers, extension leads, etc. so you are prepared for every eventuality.

It is worth having a ‘practice run’ at the venue before the wedding, so you are prepared for the unexpected. This will also give you the opportunity to check the timings of the songs. Do you really want a song to finish suddenly at an awkward moment?

Another thing to bear in mind is that you might need someone to supervise and monitor the music on the day itself. This can prevent a well-intentioned guest ‘sabotaging’ your playlist and choosing their own personal favourite tracks.

FAQs on Wedding Music Practicalities

If we have our wedding in a village hall, where can I find a PA system?
There are many companies which hire PA systems for public events and weddings. You should expect to pay around £80-£120 depending on how big the hall is.

Can I have my wedding music played in a religious service?
This is something that you need to discuss with your minister. Usually, traditional pieces and hymns are played in church services. Perhaps you could save this piece of music for your reception.

Which is cheaper – a band or a DJ?
In general, a DJ is cheaper (£300-£800) compared to an average of £1,100 for a band. This price, however, can depend on the number of musicians in the band and when you hold your wedding.

Which is better – a band or a DJ?
This is a personal choice. Bands have the raw energy of the live performance. DJs can tailor their songs to reflect the guests’ reactions. DJs can also double up as the Master of Ceremonies and do not need breaks between sets like live musicians.

How can I choose songs for my wedding playlists?
Start with songs that mean something to you as a couple. Think about what kind of mood you would like to create in different parts of the day. There are recommendations on some websites; these should be taken as a starting point rather than copied in their entirety. Also, ask for song favourites from your guests.


  • Preparing your own playlist is a popular option especially for couples who have a limited wedding budget.
  • Prepare a playlist for the DJ (allowing for the different generations at your reception), so you are guaranteed to hear the songs you like.
  • Some bands are prepared to act as DJs and this can save you a lot of money.
  • Whether to opt for a band or a DJ is purely a question of personal preferences since both have pros and cons.

Try to have a trial at the venue beforehand to iron out any technical and/or acoustic problems. Also, make sure all playlists are backed up on different devices. Don’t’ forget it is important to budget. Only spend money on the wedding music you can afford. There are many wedding budgeting websites to help you.

wedding music- Personal Loans Now