Expert Advice: How to Choose a Wedding Band or Deejay

How do you find the right entertainment for your reception? We spoke to two local experts to find out.

SoundConnection; photograph courtesy of Andy Kushner Entertainment.

Congrats! You’ve made some big decisions: the date, the venue, the caterer. You’ve even decided where you stand on the band/deejay question. But when it comes to booking the actual act, how do you know which is the right one for you?

“The entertainment is in a power position—they set the tone for the entire party,” says Andy Kushner, a local entertainment designer. As a result, Kushner says, there’s a lot to consider before signing the dotted line. “Regardless of how they sound, you want to be sure they have a nice, clean appearance and present themselves well,” he says. “Also it’s important to know that they have the ability to really engage your crowd.”

Here are some tips—courtesy of Kushner and local deejay Chris Laich—on how to ensure your dance floor is packed with shimmying guests all night long.

If You Want a Band:

— If you go to a band showcase, make sure the band members are enjoying themselves and connecting with the crowd. “This will indicate if they will be inviting to your guests during your event,” says Kushner. “Also, ask them to perform a popular song to ensure that they can do it well, as Top 40s songs are becoming more and more important at weddings.”

— If you watch a band’s video, make sure it sounds live as opposed to a slick studio production, which might cover problems, advises Kushner.

— If you watch a band at a friend’s wedding, pay attention to who is acting as the emcee. “Do they interact with the crowd? This is an indication of how they will handle announcements at your reception,” says Kushner.

— If you are invited by a band to watch them at an upcoming wedding, make sure it has been cleared with the couple and the venue.

If You Want a Deejay:

— Laich advises couples to check with other vendors they’ve hired to see whom they recommend: “They do this every weekend and can direct you to someone they have been consistently impressed with.”

— When talking to references, don’t be vague. “Just asking, ‘Did you like your deejay?’ won’t get you very far,” says Laich. “You should ask how he dressed, how helpful she was before the event, how the volume was balanced during dinner, etc. Also it’s important to know if all the guests danced, from the parents to the couple’s friends.”

— “Reviews can be misleading, as every bride thinks her deejay was the best ever,” says Laich. “Make sure you are using a list that doesn’t run paid advertisements.”

— Though cost can be a determining factor, Laich says you get what you pay for. “Talent and experience should determine price,” he says. “Saving money sounds like a great idea, but if someone doesn’t perform up to par, you can’t do your wedding over again next year. Make sure you do your research!”

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