As a bandleader, I get questions like this posed to me on a daily basis. Who chooses the songs or music that is played at my wedding? How much input do I get? Do I have to choose all of the songs that my band plays?
The answer depends upon you and the bandleader. Every bride and groom has a different comfort level as far as input on this subject. Every bandleader has a different approach, as well.
Some bands are pretty set on the “usual” play list that they feel gets the job done. If that is your comfort level then, you have the right band(leader). On the other hand, if you prefer a more individual customized approach, you should discuss this with the bandleader BEFORE you book the band. Make sure he/she will genuinely welcome your input.
Make sure you speak directly to the bandleader and ask for his/her list of songs. If you don’t find most of the songs you would like played on the band’s list, you probably should not book that band. On the other hand, if the list contains most of your song ideas, you are on the right track.
After you have chosen your band, spend time going through the list and make notes of styles or genres that appeal to you. You can also be specific about artists, eras and individual songs. What I strongly recommend you DO NOT do is try to pick every song that is played. If you do, then the bandleader’s hands will be tied and cannot make changes on-the-fly that will make your wedding more successful.
YOUR GUEST LIST
When making your selections keep in mind the guests that will be attending your wedding. What will excite them to get up and dance? What are the songs that your friends absolutely go crazy for? What have you seen at other weddings that works? It also helps to make a list of songs you would NOT want to hear at your wedding. On your wedding day you don’t want to turn to someone and say; “I can’t believe they are playing this song at my wedding”.
by Bill Morgan Messinetti
bandleader for Central Park Orchestra