On your wedding day one of the most important things is that you just want everyone to have a good time, and a big part of that is getting the music right to keep the guests entertained. Whether it’s a DJ or live musicians the music can play such an important role, but hiring a DJ or a band aren’t always the only options… more and more couples are turning to their friends to help create playlists or even play their instruments live at their wedding. But is it best to hire a pro or is having your music organised by your friends a great idea? Time to step into the ring and present the arguments… oh, and before we accidentally upset any of our friends pro musician or otherwise just remember we’re here to present the strongest arguments we can for our allocated side so that you can make up your minds, but these our arguments don’t necessarily represent our own opinions… now where were we? Oh right… FIGHT!!
In the Red Corner, recommending bringing in the professionals, she used to sing in a jazz band herself and on one memorable occasion they decided to play a song in which the band hadn’t practiced the ending and she therefore ended up having to completely improvise one… it’s Dom “The Tog Bride”
In the Blue Corner, suggesting bringing some friends in for a jam, having been backstage during performances by well known pop artists and heard the non auto-tuned version of what they’re singing he’s come to the conclusion that not all pro-musicians quite live up to their pro status… it’s Matt “The Gormless Groom”
The Music: Friends Vs Pros
Dom: When you’re hiring a pro for any area of the wedding you’re in part paying for their reliability and experience. With the best will in the world friends will often say they can do something for you that they may actually struggle to deliver because they want to make you happy. With a professional you’re booking their services because you know they definitely can deliver.
Matt: But it’s so much more personal having your friends actively involved in your wedding and it can make it feel even more special. Even if it’s just asking them to come up with a playlist for your MP3 player you know they’re going to have put time and thought into the songs they choose and that they’ll be actively trying to find songs that they know you will like.
Dom: It’s a lot of pressure to put on your friends though and makes it very difficult for them to enjoy the day until their part is out of the way. If for example they’re playing live for your evening entertainment that can be really nerve-racking and if it’s well into the evening they might not take as much enjoyment from the day.
Matt: But if you keep things nice and relaxed then there’s no reason to worry about it, particularly in such a supportive environment as a wedding where, chances are, a lot of the guests will also be friends with whoever you’ve asked to play for you. Sometimes having guests taking part just makes for a much more relaxed evening in general because you feel like you can get up and join in and you actively want to support the band.
Dom: But sometimes it can just become too informal – if, for example, you have a band made up of your friends then they might want to keep stopping and join in with everyone else rather than do complete sets as a professional band would, which might mean they’re not actually providing the entertainment you were looking for.
Matt: Bands and DJ’s can be very expensive to hire whereas your friends may well be willing to do it for a few beers…
Dom: But pro bands and DJ’s do tend to have all their own equipment and PA systems etc. which your friends may not have (or if they do it may not really be up to professional standards and therefore not really be sufficient) so you may end up having to spend quite a bit on hiring equipment and a technician to set it up (unless you also happen to be friends with some sound techs!)
Matt: The equipment a lot of bands and DJ’s bring to weddings isn’t really sufficient either though and I would always argue that whether the band/DJ is pro or not you’re much better off hiring a professional sound and lighting company to set up and oversee that side of things to ensure that the equipment you have is specified and set up correctly for the type and size of venue that you’re in. DJ’s and bands will bring exactly the same setup for a tiny room or a huge hall and a lot of the time it doesn’t really do the job well enough.
Dom: Professionals tend to have the experience to make sure that they have backup options should anything go wrong – e.g. additional equipment, a second method of playing back songs etc. which your friends are less likely to have as it’s more expensive and time consuming to obtain.
Matt: Some of the most entertaining evenings we’ve had at weddings have been when the band has been made up of guests but where other guests were also encouraged to just come and join in and have a jam! It’s an amazing, inclusive (and often hilarious) environment and we’ve even had the bride herself singing along and grooms picking up instruments on a couple of occasions which is much more rare with professional bands.
So those are our points but where do you stand? Join the debate by leaving a comment or just place your vote below!
Photographs by York Place Studios