Among the many decisions couples have to make when planning their weddings is whether or not to have live music at
their cocktail hour. Here are seven questions for you to answer to help you decide if you should hire living musicians for your cocktail hour or not.
Should we have live music at our cocktail hour?
Do you want to set a special ambiance for your cocktail hour (celebratory, intimate, romantic, elegant, fun, etc.)? If you’re looking to have a more high-end feel to your wedding, live music is one of those touches that can’t replicated with a DJ just playing recordings. Live musicians will bring a more personalized, intimate feel to the cocktail hour by playing soft background music that sets the mood for the hour.
Do your guests all pretty much know each other? If you have guests at the cocktail hour who don’t know each other, it can sometimes feel like a long time between the ceremony and dinner for guests who don’t know others there. Having live musicians creates a relaxing, pleasant focal point for guests to enjoy while waiting for you to return from taking pictures.
Do your guests get to hear live musicians often? Many people rarely get the opportunity to watch and listen to live, professional musicians in anything other than a large concert setting. They may hear hobbyists perform in the local coffee shop, but this is a very different experience from hearing professional musicians, so consider if you would like to treat your guests to the special, memorable experience of professional live music when they attend your wedding.
How will you keep your guests entertained for all of the wedding festivities? Between the ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner and reception, the whole event can be a long day for your guests. For this reason, it’s important to plan a variety of ways to entertain them. While your ceremony may be with live music, your cocktail hour could reflect this style or have more lively, jazzy music. Then the evening can get more energetic until it progresses to dancing to a DJ’s tunes.
Is your cocktail hour in the same location as your dinner and reception? If your cocktail hour is not in the same location as your dinner and reception, it may be difficult for your DJ to set up in multiple locations and it may cause a delay. If you have live musicians play for your cocktail hour, they can quickly move from the ceremony location to the cocktail hour location. This allows your DJ to set up and do sound checks in one location without having to set up twice.
Can you budget for live music for my cocktail hour? You may be surprised to learn that if you are already hiring musicians for your wedding ceremony, it is often quite reasonable in price to keep them on for the cocktail hour as well. Many musicians have a higher fee for the first hour and then reduced fees for subsequent hours. You can save money by hiring one ensemble for several hours rather than hiring different ensembles for each part of your wedding.
What are your priorities? The decision to have live music or not really boils down to what your priorities are. If you are on a tight budget and would rather spend your money on more booze, hiring live musicians for your cocktail hour doesn’t make sense. But, if music is important to you and you believe it will help create the romantic, elegant ambiance you’re looking for at your wedding, then there is no substitute for booking live musicians.