Renting your wedding dress is a great solution to the dress of your dreams without the outrageous price tag. As renting may be nerve-wracking, there are a few tips to keep in mind to streamline the process.
Renting your wedding dress is a great money-saving option for your big day. Before renting, make sure you start your search early, stay realistic about your options, do plenty of research on the boutiques in your area, and read the rental contract in its entirety.
Many brides are becoming more inclined to rent their wedding dresses to save money. After all, wedding dresses are general single-use purchases, so renting is good for the environment and your wallet.
Read on for more tips to rent the perfect dress for your dream day.
One of the most (if not the most) compelling reason why brides rent is the price.
Renting a dress can cost anywhere from $150- $600. The same dresses would range from $800-5,000 if you were opting to purchase the dress.
Lea opted for a rental and she was very happy with her choice. I remember the day she told me about finding ‘the dress’ and she was over the moon. This gave us a sizeable increase to what was left in our wedding budget
The money that is not spent on your dress can go towards other wedding expenses such as more guests or a dream honeymoon.
If you are having a destination wedding, renting a dress makes it easier for you to travel. You will not have to transport the dress yourself and worry about how it should be packaged and carried.
Many destination wedding locations have great rental options available so you can rent and wear your dress without the worry of transportation.
Some wedding rentals have an
option to rent accessories as well. This is especially useful if the
accessories you would purchase for your wedding are for one-time wear. Choosing
to rent your accessories will save you time and money.
The day after your wedding, you will not have to worry about storing your dress and preserving the material. You simply have to return the dress, giving you one less thing to worry about before jetting off on your honeymoon.
Giving yourself enough time to find the perfect dress is essential when renting.
Renting is a less popular option than buying, so you may have a smaller assortment of dresses to choose from. A smaller selection means you might want to go to multiple boutiques before you find the dress you are really happy with.
You should start looking for
your wedding dress a year to eight months in advance of your wedding. If your
wedding is in a popular month to get married, such as May or June, consider
going even earlier to find your gown.
Renting a dress comes with many positives but also some downsides.
Be sure you have a realistic mindset going into wedding rentals. Weigh the pros and cons of renting and buying and be sure that renting is what you want to do.
no storage needed
no fitting appointments
more money for other things
limited to no alterations
not an heirloom
last minute availability
It is important to keep in mind
some disadvantages of renting before settling on this option. That way you are
prepared and not disappointed when it comes time to rent.
Rental shops will have a
smaller selection to choose from so keep in open mind. If there is a very
specific type of dress you are looking for you may not find what you want from
the rental selection.
Renting a dress means there is no possibility of alterations. Sometimes brides opt for purchasing a cheap wedding dress and then spending the money they saved on alterations.
If you are unconcerned with the dress being tailored to your body, then renting is a great option for you. The rental shop should have a variety of sizes available, so the likelihood of finding a dress that is close to a perfect fit is high.
When renting a dress, you must
be extremely careful with its maintenance when it is in your care. Deposits for
dresses can range from $300-$500. In order to get your deposit back, your dress
must return in mint condition.
Some brides wish to pass their wedding dress onto their children. If this is what you wish to do then you must purchase your dress.
Your rental dress will be available to you around 1-3 days before your wedding. If you are a bride that needs to have everything in order and certain days before your wedding then this may be too stressful for you to opt to rent.
Choose the Right Shop
Mistakes do happen and wedding dress rentals sometimes fall through. To minimize the possibility of your dress suddenly becoming unavailable, do your research before deciding on a store or boutique.
Ask friends or family who have rented before what their experience is. Look at Yelp and Google reviews and be sure to check out each shop’s website.
It is important to choose more
than one shop to visit. Three is a great number, but more is alright as well as
long as you don’t feel overwhelmed visiting more shops. You should feel
comfortable both with the dress you choose and the staff who you are working
Before saying yes to the dress
make sure to inspect the dress from top to bottom. Enlist your mom or best
friend to help you. Are there loose buttons or threads? Any stains? Be sure the
dress is perfect before you choose it.
Once you choose your shop and dress you should give them at least two follow up calls before your big day. This will give you peace of mind and ensure that nothing goes wrong before your wedding.
The shop will not mind your calls and they will be hard-pressed to make a goof if you have reminded them of your rental more than once.
Read Your Contract Thoroughly
Your contract should include the details of your dress (size, designer, color, etc.), the date it will arrive, and the dress deposit. Make sure to read your contract from top to bottom and ask a friend to double-check it after you are finished.
If you sign the paper and some information is incorrect it is your fault. If the rental accepts alterations, ensure that this is clearly listed in the contract along with the extra fees that are associated with alterations.
After you sign your contract
you will put down a deposit on your dress. Depending on the boutique the
deposit will be between fifty and sixty percent of the dress price. You will
pay the remaining balance when you receive the dress close to your wedding day.
Renting Your Dress Online
There are many reliable online
websites for wedding dress rentals. Online renting can be risky due to sizing
but will offer a wider variety of dress options.
Rent the Runway is a popular website for dress rentals that has been running for 11 years.
As the oldest company in the wedding rental industry, this reliable website has helped many satisfied brides. Rent the Runway allows you to choose two sizes to help you find the perfect fit.
You can rent your dress for 4-8 days depending on your needs, with the price increasing as the length of rental increases. For a full-length gown the average price ranges from $40-$800. Rent the Runway also offers jewelry and other bridal accessories from $5-$150.
Vow to Be Chic offers high-end dresses for reasonable prices. This website does not offer full-length gowns, so it is the perfect choice for a bride who wants a shorter dress. After submitting your measurements, a stylist will send two dresses in different sizes to you.
The average length of rental is 10 days, and dresses range from $50-$150. There is also a try-on period included in every rental at no extra cost. Conveniently, the site offers a three-day window of time after the wedding to return while most stores only accept a next-day return.
Lending Luxury has beautiful dresses for affordable prices. Once you create a free account you can easily save dresses to your favorites list to view later.
The site has dresses in many styles including floor-length, strapless, and ivory. You can refine your search based on price, designer, size, and color.
Lending Luxury dresses range from $50-$150 and offer overnight shipping. The rental time is 5 days, and the dress must be returned the day after your wedding. The site also offers an option to purchase the dress, so if you absolutely fall in love, you can make the decision to buy your gown.
Poshare offers a wide variety of dresses made by famous
designers. If you would like a designer dress without the price tag then
renting from Poshare is the way to go.
Poshare allows renters to pick
up their dress if they live close to a store location. If you do not live in
close proximity, they can also ship the dress to you. Poshare does not accept
refunds if the dress does not fit well but will exchange the dress for store
credit if you ship the dress back within 24 hours.
Dress rentals on Poshare range
from $60-$800. Rentals can be up to fourteen days and the bride does not need
to pay for return shipping.
If you are looking to save money on your big day, renting your wedding dress is a perfect solution to looking great without breaking your bank.
What To Wear To A Wedding Dress Fitting (Save Time & Money)
Having all of the necessary accessories and undergarments is essential to your first wedding dress fitting.
One of the bride’s most exciting and anticipated parts of wedding planning is shopping for the perfect wedding dress. Once you’ve found it, it’s important you are well prepared for your first fitting.
Before your first fitting, make sure you’ve shopped for all of your accessories. It is an absolute necessity to bring the shoes you’ll wear on your wedding day, along with the bra and underwear you are planning to wear. Your dress will fall differently on you if your shoes and undergarments change.
I can remember the very day that Lea came home and told me she’d found her dream dress. She was over the moon and extremely proud of herself because it had taken time and planning to get to this stage.
This article is a summary of everything she picked up along the way. So, continue reading for our complete guide of what to expect and what to wear during your wedding dress fitting.
The preparation phase
Before going to your fitting, you must decide what shoes you will be wearing for your wedding. If you haven’t decided which specific shoe yet, then wear a shoe that is the same heel height you plan on wearing.
Even more important than your shoes are your undergarments. Wear the undergarments you will wear during your wedding. This includes bra, underwear, and any shaping pieces you may be wearing.
The first pinning usually is when the hem of your dress is set. A different bra can throw off your hem by an inch or so, so it is imperative you know what you’ll be wearing under your dress.
Make sure that your undergarments are a discrete color. Wear a bra and underwear that match your skin tone and won’t be see-through under (or seen through) your dress. If you have any doubts, try on your lingerie at home with another white or light-colored dress and ask someone to double-check for you in the light.
If you know what accessories you’ll want to wear, bring them along to have a great picture of how you’ll look on your wedding day. Although this is not necessary, especially for the first fitting, it can be exciting to see your final look so soon.
If you’re wearing necklaces, it’ll also be nice to see where the neckline of your dress hits you. Another benefit of bringing your jewelry is if you decide a piece doesn’t look as nice with your dress as you originally thought, you’ll have plenty of time to switch up your accessories before the big day.
Hair & headpieces
If you have a veil or other headpiece bring it to the fitting as well. It is important that your hair is styled similarly as it will be on the big day if you are bringing your headpiece along. While it doesn’t have to be professionally done for your fitting, make sure the general look of the hair is the same i.e. low bun, half-up, down and curly, etc.
Wear an easy to take off dress or comfortable casual wear into your fitting. Many brides opt for a cute t-shirt dress or sundress to wear to their fittings. Wear comfortable clothes that won’t leave marks on your skin for optimal confidence when trying on your gown.
Who to take with you
It’s best not to go to your
fitting alone. It is always nice to have a second opinion from a close friend.
At the very least, take your maid of honor with you to your first fitting.
They’ll be able to give you advice on what looks good and what still needs an
It is also important that your maid of honor knows how to help you put on your dress on your wedding day. Whether it’s straps, buttons, clasps, securing the overskirt, or the bustle, if they’re at the fitting with you they’ll be confident and ready to help you on your big day.
What to expect at your fitting
Different fittings sessions
Your first wedding dress fitting occurs about 6-8 weeks before your wedding. This is the perfect amount of time for alternations to be completed before your big day.
The first fitting is called the pinning session. It is aptly named due to the fact that you’ll most likely need to make many adjustments for your dress to be perfect on your wedding day. Most likely you will have 2-3 more fittings after your first to ensure the alterations are going well.
Dealing with butterflies
You may have purchased your gown up to six months before your first fitting, and it is the first time you’ve tried it on since that moment. Many brides have the tendency to be anxious about their first fitting. If you are nervous know that this is a very common feeling.
Duration of fittings
Depending on the alterations that need to be done, your fitting may take anywhere from 45-90 minutes. If you are planning on losing or gaining weight before your big day, try to hit your goal and maintain that weight by the time you have your first fitting.
Each fitting after your first
will become less complicated. The first fitting is to tackle all big
adjustments. Make sure to pay attention to how your dress feels on your body
while your seamstress is pinning you. If something feels too tight or loose,
Be sure you are able to move comfortably in the dress after the pinning has been completed. If it is uncomfortable for you to move, then you’re going to have a miserable time during your wedding.
Make sure you can breathe, move your arms, and walk normally, basically anything you plan to do during the ceremony and reception.
Ask questions & make demands
You must be comfortable with asking your stylist questions and communicating your needs to him or her. If you want a specific look or for your dress to be tailored in a certain way, voice your wishes so they can accommodate you best.
If you are not completely happy with your dress during the fitting, you will not be pleased on your wedding day.
While it may seem obvious, make sure your dress is the right size, color, and design during the first fitting. Mix-ups are rare, but they do certainly happen.
Your seamstress will be looking at you from all angles to see what needs to be taken in, out, and hemmed. Ask questions about what she is doing if you are curious. A good seamstress will not mind answering your questions.
It’ll also give you a better understanding of what you may actually have been expecting from your dress.
While your seamstress is examining your dress, you should be too. It’s not a time for you to check out and relax. Think about how each part of your dress feels and if there’s any part of the dress that has wrinkled strangely due to the alterations.
Keep in mind your certain
needs. Some people have sensitive skin that can become irritated by beading
details on their dresses. Communicate this with your seamstress, and they will
be able to remove beads under arms or near the bodice to make you more
After your first fitting is done you will need to schedule a second and possibly third fitting. Your seamstress should be able to give you a good idea of how many more fittings you will need before the dress is to perfection.
The second dress fitting
You should be fitted a second time about 3 months before your wedding.
Bring all of the necessities to this fitting, such as your shoes, undergarments, and jewelry. If there are any new pieces of jewelry you would like to see with your dress bring them to this fitting.
This is an exciting fitting because you get to see how your new dress fits after it was hemmed specifically to your body. It is important to walk and move your arms up and down during this fitting.
Check for any tightness, looseness, or anything that is uncomfortable and don’t be afraid to speak up.
Make sure the length of your
dress is correct. If your dress is full length, it should brush the top of your
shoes without dragging on the ground. You don’t want to trip down the aisle!
Your third (and last!) fitting
Your last fitting will occur
around a month before your wedding. Don’t worry, if there are small alterations
that need to be made and you need to book another fitting before the big day
there is still plenty of time for your seamstress to make the proper corrections.
If your maid of honor was
unable to make it to your first and second fitting, they need to attend this
one. It is important that they learn about the intricacies of the dress before
being expected to help you into it on your wedding day.
This is also the fitting to learn how to care for your dress. You need to know how to get wrinkles out, the best way to hang it, and what to do in emergencies such as a spillage.
Picking Up Your Dress
The final time at your seamstress will be to collect your gown.
Gowns are usually collected around two weeks before the wedding. You will try on your dress one last time to make absolute certain that everything is perfect.
Make sure to have room to transport the dress nicely in your car and take good care of it until your big day.
Ultimate Guide To The Best Apps For Wedding Music In 2020
There are plenty of music streaming apps available so finding the best to use for your wedding can be a daunting task. Reading up on each app’s pros and cons is essential to finding the perfect fit for your big day.
Paid, subscription, and free music streaming apps for Android and IOS are plentiful. You will get the most bang for your buck by choosing a subscription app such as Spotify or Google Play Music. If your budget only allows for a free app, try out Jango for the least intrusive advertisements.
Although you may already have music arrangements in mind, there is a lot to think about. Even if you have a go-to app you use on a daily basis, it may not be ideal for a wedding.
So read on for a full rundown on the best music apps for your wedding currently on the market
While DJs and live bands are popular options for wedding entertainment, DJing your own wedding with a music streaming app is a great way to save money. Even if funds are not tight, creating your wedding playlist gives you much more freedom than the traditional DJ or band.
Many wedding bands and DJs have a set wedding playlist with not much room for variation or suggestion save for a couple of songs.
If you opt to use a music streaming app for your wedding you will have complete control over every song that is played. If you have a niche taste in music this is an especially great option for you.
also ask your close friends, family, and wedding party to each contribute one
song they would like to hear. Asking your friends and family for input is a
surefire way to get everyone moving on the dance floor and excited to hear the
song they chose.
Below is our list of 14 of the best apps for wedding music in 2020. While this list is not all-inclusive, it is an amalgam of the best paid, free, and subscription apps available for Android and IOS.
Spotify is one of the most popular apps for music streaming. Available on Android and IOS, the app features both a paid subscription and free use. Spotify Premium is available starting at $9.99/ month with family and student discounts.
If you are going to use Spotify to play your wedding music, I highly suggest buying Spotify Premium.
Premium offers ad-free listening, music downloads, playlist creation, and unlimited skips. While free Spotify gives the listener access to over 30 million songs, listening will be broken up with advertisements. At your wedding in particular, you don’t want to kill the dance floor vibes with frequent ad breaks.
Spotify offers both the ability to create a playlist and ready-made playlists. You can easily curate and name your wedding playlist with all of your favorite tunes.
It is easy to share playlists with others, and even if your friend doesn’t have a Spotify account, they will be able to add songs to the playlist if you send them the link.
Both the music sharing option and ease of saving songs will make creating your wedding playlist a breeze.
If you’re not one to create your own playlist there are pre-made playlists that are hours long. Simply type in “wedding playlist” in the search bar and multiple playlists of various artists and lengths will come up.
Spend some time listening to each playlist to decide which is best for you. If you like some but not all songs, you can easily pull music from the pre-made playlist to make a new playlist to fit your music taste.
Once you start listening to more music, Spotify will come up with a “discover weekly” every week for you. This is a playlist of songs the Spotify algorithm thinks you will like.
The music includes similar genres and artists of your most frequently listened to songs. If you have been solely listening to wedding music, then your discover weekly is a great place to go to for more wedding song suggestions.
Contrary to what the name suggests, Apple Music is available on IOS and Android. While Spotify wins the most popular streaming service globally, Apple Music wins the title for most popular in the US.
Apple music does not offer a free version and the paid subscription begins at $9.99/ month, but users receive a three-month free trial.
The lengthy free trial is a great perk if you want to use Apple Music for your wedding. You can create an account a couple of months before your wedding, get used to the application, and then cancel your subscription after your wedding before you are charged.
With the standard subscription, you can only listen to one device at a time. If you try to get multiple people logged on and listening at the same time you will get booted off your device.
Apple Music also is linked to Siri, so Siri can search for music in your Apple library at your request.
The Apple Music library is limited to 100,000 songs but it is more than plenty for an average wedding reception.
The app focuses on song discovery and asks you questions about your genres and bands you prefer when you set up the service. At any time, you can change the choices you picked as well as save songs you like to your library.
Apple Music creates playlists for you based on the music you have been listening to and enjoying. The more you use the service the better and more personalized your playlists will become.
Apple Music has a “New” section in the app that shows the viewer new tracks, top charts, and recommended music videos.
Due to its emphasis on curating a service that is tailored to each person, Apple Music is a great choice for wedding music for a couple who has music they enjoy but would like to expand their library for their wedding.
Apple Music makes it extremely easy to find new songs that are appropriately themed for your wedding and that all your guests will enjoy.
Google Play Music
Google Play Music is a less popular streaming service in comparison to Spotify and Apple Music.
Available on Android and IOS, the app has many of the functions common to streaming apps like discovery, radio, and browsing top charts. Google Play Music has a single listener and family plan. The single listener is $9.99/ month and the family plan is $14.99/ month.
If you already have a Google account, you can use your same login to access Google Play Music. You search the music that you like and add the music you like to your library. If you are listening to the radio, you can click the thumbs-up icon next to each song you like to include it.
The app has an option to download playlists and charts you enjoy; you can listen without WIFI or data usage. You can download playlists and specific songs but not your entire library.
The radio feature of Google Play Music is great for finding new music. The service toggles songs that they think you will like, as well as some seemingly random picks to get a better understanding of the music you enjoy. You have an unlimited number of likes and skips when using radio.
Google Play Music is a nice choice to use at your wedding if you would like to create a playlist to download. If the wedding venue you choose does not have Wifi and you are not on an unlimited data plan, you will want to be sure to download your music before the service.
Make sure to create a playlist that is plenty long so you do not run out of downloaded music before your reception ends. If you do, the playlist will simply start over from the beginning again.
Pandora is an awesome app for music discovery. As a radio service,
the app is based around finding songs that are similar to your existing music
preferences. Pandora is available on Android and IOS and offers a free and
subscription service at $4.99/ month.
strength is the emphasis on finding new music. Pandora creates radio stations
for you based on genres you like. As you listen to songs, you can click a
thumbs up button to indicate that you would like to hear more of that type of
song. If you click a thumbs down button, the song will never be played again.
create up to 100 radio stations on Pandora, ranging from Jazz to rap to pop to
Christmas to yes… weddings! Pandora is great for people who enjoy music but do
not know which specific artists and genres they want to listen to.
If you are going to use Pandora at your wedding, I strongly recommend that you pay for the subscription service.
If you opt for the free version, your music will be interrupted every few songs with a 30-second advertisement. The advertisements are often the same, so you do not want your guests to be stuck listening to the same ad over and over when they’re trying to dance.
The free version also only has a certain number of skips. You can only skip a few songs per hour. If you use all of your skips, you’ll have to wait until the next hour to use skips again.
Pandora will also stop playing after an hour to ask if you are still listening. If you are, you can click “yes” and it will resume playing, but this can get cumbersome if you are listening for a long time.
would like a curated radio station specific to your tastes but don’t want to
put too much effort into curating your wedding playlist, then Pandora is the
app for you. Make sure to sign up for the subscription and you will have
YouTube is already an extremely popular website for music streaming and music video viewing. YouTube Music is YouTube’s all-out music streaming service.
If you are familiar with YouTube, you should find YouTube Music a comforting and familiar platform. The app is available on Android and IOS, and features a free ad-supported version, a $10/ month subscription, and a premium $12/ month subscription.
YouTube Music is set up into three parts: Library, Hotlist, and Home. Your Library is where your saved songs, playlists, downloads, and recently listening to songs are.
You can easily add music to playlists which will be saved into your Library for listening later. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to search for songs inside of your Library like there is on other apps. This is a downside of YouTube Music, as you can spend hours in search of one song.
Hotlist tab of YouTube Music is the music that is trending. You are able to
watch the music videos along with the music. If you are a fan of watching while
you listen, YouTube music has every music video for their song library.
The Home feature is a great place to get recommendations for new music. As the page that is first when you open the app, it is full of suggestions and videos that are tailored to your tastes and your location.
When you first log in to the app, it will ask you questions about your music tastes and genres, as well as the genres you do not like. Your answers will be used heavily to curate your suggestions on your Home tab.
Music has a feature called Mixtape, where it takes a random selection of the
music you have liked along with other similar tracks. This playlist is another great way to find
new music, and to have a playlist that is tailored to you without doing the
work of putting it together.
YouTube Music is a great service, it also uses a lot of data due to the music
video feature. If your reception venue doesn’t have WIFI and you do not want to
use data, it is probably not a good idea to opt for YouTube Music.
has a monopoly on almost everything, and music is no different. Amazon’s
streaming service offers a free tier and subscription tier at $9.99/ month or
$7.99/ month if you are already an Amazon Prime subscriber. The app is
available on Android and IOS.
Amazon Music’s (check it outhere) free tier features radios and playlists that the listener can peruse. You will not be able to create your own playlist or “like” songs with the free version of Amazon Music. The playlists are sorted by genre and listening will be punctuated every few songs with an advertisement.
Music offers 2 million songs for the listener to choose from and create
playlists with. You will be able to curate a music library specific to your
tastes. The app will “learn” from the music you listen to most frequently and
give you suggestions for new songs, artists, and genres.
smart gear, Alexa, is also linked up to Amazon Music. You can use Alexa to play
specific songs at your request or ask Alexa to shuffle play a playlist or
Music has an easy to understand interface that is user-friendly. To listen offline,
you will have to download songs onto your phone from your library. This is easy
to do, but make sure you are in WIFI before downloading your songs as it could
take up a lot of your data.
Amazon Music is a good choice for your wedding if you already have a Prime subscription and are looking for a streaming service that offers a lot for less cost.
You can gain a lot of knowledge about genres of music and build your music library quickly and easily. Listen to songs you would like to play on your wedding day for the app to suggest more tracks that are of similar genre and sound.
are a lover of classical music, then IDAGIO is the music streaming service for you. Many of
the streaming services listed above offer classical music but in limited
quantity. If you’re looking for classical tunes to play during your wedding
ceremony or at the reception look no farther than IDAGIO.
Offered on Android and IOS, IDAGIO offers a 14-day free trial. After your free trial ends the service is $9.99/month.
IDAGIO interface is easy to understand and pleasant to look at. The app features new releases, playlists, and bookmarks for your favorite albums. There is also a Mood section if you are not sure what you want to listen to.
Mood is a section of curated playlists of classical music that have similar tones. Mood is an awesome way to learn about new music from a variety of composers.
IDAGIO offers more than a million classical songs and its catalog continues to grow at an impressive 20,000 new songs per week.
You can type in the composer, song, work, conductor, orchestra, soloist, and more to search in IDAGIO. This makes it very easy to look up tracks that are more difficult to find on conventional streaming services.
The app holds many different versions of the same classical hits, boasting 290 versions of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. You can even filter search results by period, ensemble, conductors, and instrument.
If you are a classical music lover and want to showcase some of your favorite tracks at your wedding than IDAGIO is the app for you.
Its varied search function, as well as large variety, makes the app a pleasure to browse through. One feature IDAGIO is missing is an algorithm to recommend tracks. If you are already quite familiar with the classical music you like, than this will not be a large issue for you.
One of the only apps on my list which is only available to IOS is TuneIn Radio is a streaming service for those who love a curated playlist to listen to. TuneIn Radio features a free and subscription tier, with subscriptions at an affordable $4.99/ month.
Radio outshines other radio apps because of its many features. The app allows
you to bookmark your favorite songs and albums, visit stations tailored to one
artist, and search stations by genre.
The interface is easy to use especially to those already used to the IOS. Unlike other radio apps, you can pause live streams for 30 seconds, record any station to listen to it later, and rewind and fast forward.
The app also lets you choose a song to wake you up in the mornings and can continue to play in the background as you use other apps.
TuneIn Radio offers over 300,000 stations to browse. You can favorite stations you like so you can quickly return to them again. Your liked stations will appear on your home screen.
If you would like a curated station just for you for your wedding, I recommend TuneIn Radio. You won’t have to put the time in to make a playlist, but you will have a personalized radio station for your big day.
Make sure to pay for the $4.99/ month subscription so you don’t have to listen to advertisements.
Napster has a great user-friendly interface and is available on both
Andrioid and IOS. Napster offers two subscription plans, one starting at $7.77/
month, and the other at $15.50/ month. Both options feature ad-free listening.
The former subscription comes with a seven-day free trial and the latter a
30-day free trial.
features 15 million tracks from artists across many genres. The search feature
allows the user to easily find songs and artists to enjoy. Songs that you enjoy
can be saved to your library and then made into playlists.
The social aspect of Napster is also a bonus. If you connect Napster to your Facebook, you can connect with Facebook friends and see what music they like.
You can browse their likes and Napster profile, which can be a good way to get song recommendations from friends. Most of Napster’s users come from inside the United States, and Napster’s users are small compared to those of Spotify or Apple Music.
is a great choice for wedding music if you would like to curate your own
playlist to play at your reception. Get recommendations from friends and
download the playlist of your choice with ease. With Napster, you can browse
new music easily and grow your music library.
Jango is a free music streaming service available on Android and IOS. The app is ad-sponsored, but only features one audio advertisement per day.
If you would like a streaming service that is free, then be sure to be using the app before your reception begins (press play when you’re getting ready with your bridesmaids or groomsmen!) so the one advertisement plays before your reception.
Radio has a large support of indie artists as well as your usual top 40s
tracks. The app allows the user to search stations by artist, genre, and songs.
Jango interface is a little cluttered as they include the lyrics, album art,
artist Twitter updates, and other icons all on the same screen.
listener can like, ban, and skip songs. If you ban a song, it will never be
played again. Songs that are liked will help the algorithm decide what songs to
play on the radio next. Because Jango is a lesser-used music streaming service,
there are some issues that can occur.
Songs that do not match the genre or mood of the playlist can sometimes appear on the station on accident. This can be a large gamble if you are using Jango at your wedding.
While playing songs that do not match is rare, it can definitely happen. You get what you pay (or don’t pay) for, so keep this in mind before signing up for this free music streaming service.
Who Should Be In Charge Of The Music?
Manning the iPod or phone at your wedding can be a big task! If you are choosing to play a playlist or radio station, ask someone who is already involved in the wedding party (groomsmen or bridesmaid) that you can trust to oversee the music.
This will be a simple task that they will not have to spend time attending to. Their job will simply be to press play on the playlist and intervene if there are any issues. As long as your playlist is plenty long enough, it should play all night without interruptions.
If your helper is willing, you can let them know that they can take song requests. This will make their job a little more difficult as they will have to stop dancing to type in a song recommendation every now and again.
If you already have a set playlist that you are happy with, then there is no need to open the floor to requests.
Remember to have the phone or iPod plugged in the entire time it is playing music. You don’t want your phone to die mid-reception.
Spend some time before your wedding getting well acquainted with the app you choose and make sure the person you do choose to man the app is also comfortable. Have fun and get ready to dance!
25 Things To Know Before Attending Your 1st Chinese Wedding
Chinese wedding customs differ greatly from Western traditions. There are many things to know before attending your first Chinese wedding to ensure you don’t stick out.
My wife is Taiwanese and when we were planning our wedding we really thought long and hard about how different it would be for my family flying in from the UK. I also had to keep an open mind as the groom!
Chinese weddings have long-standing traditions including the types of food served, traditional wedding invitations, and before and after wedding activities. Make sure you don’t wear red, as the bride will be wearing red that day and get your liver ready for many shots of baijiu.
So, if this is your first time as a guest at a Chinese wedding you’re in for a wonderful time, but there are some things you could know before you go!
Continue reading for our comprehensive list about 25 things to know before attending your very first Chinese wedding.
1. It’s a Celebratory
Like a Western wedding, this wedding is all about celebration! Unlike Western weddings however, it is purely celebratory. This means there is no legal paperwork involved. Vows are exchanged between the couple and paperwork is signed at a government office before the wedding. The legalization of marriage has already happened by the time you’re celebrating with the couple.
In Lea and my case, we had already been married the previous June in Hong Kong (for legal reasons), then had a big family wedding the following April in Taipei.
2. Two-day celebration
Most Chinese weddings are over two days. The first day the couple spends time with the groom’s family. Some couples choose to have separate celebrations with each side of the family, so two separate banquets will be held. The first with the groom’s family and the second with the bride’s.
3. Wedding Invitations
invitations will come to you in long red envelopes. The red envelopes are
similar to those given during Chinese New Year called hongbao.
4. “Double Happiness”
notice a character on the front of your wedding invitation envelope. This
character translates to “double happiness,” and is a wish for marital happiness
for the couple.
5. Lucky date
Couples will want to choose a lucky date to get married on. The bride and groom will consult a fortune teller to analyze the dates, days, and times both parties were born to determine the best dates.
Lea and I used this to our advantage and chose a date (April 4th) which would normally be considered unlucky. We reasoned that we were already officially married on June 5th!
6. Wedding location
The wedding and banquet are typically held in a large wedding banquet hall designated specifically for weddings. The groom’s family usually pays for the rental of the space.
7. Activities before the
before the wedding are just as important as the wedding and banquet in Chinese
culture. There is much tradition revolving the groom collecting the bride and
the bride moving from house to house. The tea ceremony is also an important
aspect of pre-wedding activities.
8. Groom Collecting the Bride
Before the wedding, the groom must go to the bride’s house to collect her. Once the groom arrives, he will be greeted by all of the brides’ bridesmaids.
As per tradition, the bridesmaids will taunt him and have to be convinced to hand the bride over. The groom will present the bridesmaids with envelopes full of money before they give the bride over. Once the bride is in the groom’s hands, they both bow to the bride’s parents and head over to the groom’s house.
9. Bride’s arrival at grooms house
the bride is collected, the bride and groom head to the groom’s house where the
tea ceremony will take place.
10. Tea Ceremony
The tea ceremony was traditionally a way to honor the groom’s family but now has moved to honor both families.
The bride and groom will serve tea to both families. The tea will be served to start with parents and then serving the rest of the family from oldest to youngest. Once each person takes a sip of tea, they offer the bride and groom an envelope with money and gold jewelry inside.
11. Wedding banquet
The wedding banquet lasts a minimum of two hours. The guests will dine in a large banquet hall and are either given assigned seats or can choose to sit where they please.
Like Western weddings, there is typically a master of ceremony who will announce the entrance of the bride and groom. From there, the typical wedding speeches are made along with a toast.
12. Wedding games
The wedding banquet is full of games for the bride and groom. Games, called naohun, are played and can sometimes get raunchy.
One popular game includes the bride being blindfolded and kissed on the cheek by all of the groomsmen. The bride will then have to guess who her husband is.
The bride will wear a traditional red dress on her wedding day called qipao. The groom will traditionally wear a long robe and a black jacket.
As a guest, you should avoid red at all costs. Do not wear white or black, as they are both associated with mourning. Try to find something to wear that is light pink, purple, orange, or yellow.
14. Wedding color themes
Popular wedding colors are red, gold, and white. Red symbolizes happiness and good luck while gold symbolizes wealth.
White used to be a taboo color at weddings because it is a color often associated with funerals. However due to Western influence, white has now become a more popular color during Chinese weddings.
15. Wedding gifts
It is customary to give money as a gift during Chinese weddings. The money, hongbao, is given to the couple when you sign into their wedding book.
The envelope is open and counted while you stand there so they can record the amount next to your name. The reason for this is not to be malicious. If money is recorded accurately, then the couple can make sure they return the favor and then some when it’s time for your wedding day.
Hongbao, red envelopes with cash, are typically gifted at weddings. Many people like to put a large sum of cash in the envelope purely to brag later. I can tell you that as a Westerner this was a little surprising as we generally don’t do this.
If you can’t manage a large amount, then be sure to choose an amount that is lucky. Sixes, eights, and nines are all lucky numbers in Chinese culture. Fill an envelope with the amount of cash according to those numbers and you’ll be golden.
weddings will often have flowers adorning the tables for decoration. Popular
flowers to use are lilies and orchids. Lilies symbolize a happy union and
orchids are said to symbolize love and wealth.
18. Food symbolism
The wedding banquet is made up of 5 to 10 courses with symbolic foods.
A whole fish will be served to symbolize abundance. Fish roe is served in soup or as a garnish as a symbol of fertility. Lotus seeds are often eaten as dessert as another symbol of fertility.
Peking duck is a lucky food because of its red appearance. The odds are that every dish or type of food you see on the table was chosen deliberately and for a symbolic reason.
At our wedding, we had to try to balance Chinese cultural traditions with dietary needs as some of my family are either vegetarian or vegan. Well done Lea for sorting that little lot out!
Baijiu, a strong sorghum wine is a common alcohol at weddings. Unlike most wines, baijiu is taken as a shot.
Get ready, because people will be taking a lot of shots. Particularly the bride and groom. Shots are poured generously so make sure you’re not the wedding guest who has to be carried out.
20. Changing outfits
Historically, affluent Chinese women on their wedding day would wear up to 50 different dresses on their wedding day.
While this extreme number of changes is no longer common practice, brides will often change dresses up to four times throughout her wedding.
At the typical wedding, the bride will wear a dress during the tea ceremony, change for the wedding, and then change once more for the banquet.
A wedding album will be prepared and set out at the wedding for guests to peruse through.
Unlike Western traditions, the wedding album is completed before the ceremony and will include no pictures of the ceremony. The photo album will be full of pictures of the couple taken around the city at romantic spots.
22. Lion Dance
Lions are good luck in Chinese culture. A dance called the Lion Dance is performed at a number of special occasions including wedding banquets.
In the dance, two performers will wear lion costumes. The dancers will mimic and dance as if they are lions. Along with the dancing is an accompaniment of drums and cymbals.
23. After the banquet
Close friends and family will be invited to the bridal chamber after the banquet ends where they will send their good wishes to the newly married couple.
The couple and their friends and family drink together. They also might each cut off a lock of hair to symbolize being as one.
24. Days after the wedding
days after the wedding, the bride will return to her family’s house for the
first time after being married. Because she is now a part of her husband’s
family, she is now a guest in her family’s house.
25. General Etiquette
Much wedding etiquette is common sense and similar to western etiquette. For example, make sure to leave the banquet promptly once it is finished. All weddinggoers will take a photo with the bride before they leave.
Gift the couple cash, check, or a gift card in a red envelope. Keep an open mind and don’t judge any traditions you see. Wedding culture and traditions go hundreds, if not thousands, of years back, so make sure you are respectful.
Have fun and make sure to congratulate the bride and groom!
How To Hide A Baby Bump In A Wedding Dress (Trimester 1-3)
Having a wedding is a huge event in everyone’s lives, and so is having a child. When these both happen at once, it can be an amazing but stressful time. For a variety of reasons, many women do not want to show off their baby bump, no matter how far along they are.
The best way to hide a baby bump in a wedding dress is to take the focus off of that area. By wearing a wedding dress that is loose and also diverts attention away from the bump are the two easiest things that you can do. It will vary greatly, depending on the body type and how far along you are.
While this may be simple for some, especially in the early stages of the pregnancy it will be a bit more difficult for others. By combining different methods and tailoring it to your situation, it can be accomplished, while still looking fabulous.
Before writing this article I consulted with both my sister-in-law and a close friend who were both pregnant on their wedding days but in different trimesters.
Why do people want to hide their baby bump?
Everyone has their reasons and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is your body and you have the right to choose what to show and not show. Actually, most women are often advised to keep the pregnancy to only close family in the first trimester.
Mom doesn’t want people touching her– Who likes to be touched without being asked? Not many people, and if you are pregnant even less so. Some people are very touchy and do not have personal boundaries. These people may be well-meaning such as your friends and family, but that doesn’t give carte blanche to touch you. Whenever possible, expecting moms should give themselves some space between others. This is for their health and the health of the baby.
She just doesn’t want people to know– Sometimes it can be inconvenient for everyone to know that someone is pregnant. This could be because of relationships, work discrimination, or even being pregnant because of unusual/unwanted situations. Everyone will find out when the moment is right for a woman to make an official announcement, take your time and let everyone know when you feel right.
The boss/co-workers don’t know yet- It is already tough enough being a woman in the workplace, even if you have the best job and boss. Sadly, there is always a fear that you might be seen as incapable to maintain your position in a company while pregnant or even encouraged to resign. These are not only horrible things but illegal. This also comes into play when seeking employment while pregnant. You don’t want to be passed over for a position because of your pregnancy. With social media, everything is online now future employers will be looking.
She doesn’t feel comfortable being pregnant- Everyone struggles with body image issues and some more than others. A mother could be struggling with this because of the baby bump. Even though maternity dresses and clothes are more fashionable than ever, they still have a stigma that they look frumpy and unattractive. If you or someone you know feels this way, there are people and places that can help in a positive and supportive way.
She is a surrogate– Surrogacy has enabled a lot of people and couples to successfully build a family of their own. This is an amazing opportunity for everyone involved. Though some are not as accepting of the idea of being a surrogate mother or getting a child from one. It could lead to an awkward situation and it just may be easier to hide the bump than have to explain to those that are not as open to the idea of surrogacy.
People are rude– Some mothers get tired and want to avoid inconsiderate people. People can gawk, claim that they are not pregnant, that they are just fat, or even have a thyroid issue. This is not what you want on your big day, as ignoring these looks doesn’t always work.
Mom is uncomfortable– This is a huge life-changing deal and sometimes the pregnancy isn’t a reason to celebrate. Unfortunately, if a pregnancy is unwanted/unexpected for reasons such as; they are no longer in the same relationship, mental, emotional, health or even financial struggles. It could be hard for the expecting mother and best not to have them agitated in a time that they need to be their healthiest, mentally and physically.
I am in my (1-3) Trimester. What should I wear?
This is the most common question that is asked, and to be honest, there is no answer that will fit everyone. Well, there there is, but wearing a muumuu is not going to look good on everyone. Everyone puts on different amounts of weight at varying times. This could even change from one pregnancy to the next.
Of course, some women don’t put on a lot of weight until after the first few months or at all. This might be you and shopping for a dress could be easier for you. But one of the hardest things to guess is, how much you will be when the wedding comes. Also, what will look good when you are at that weight. Here are some tips for hiding the bump while still looking amazing.
How do I find the right dress?
Go to a professional- While the internet is amazing it doesn’t allow you to try the dress on and get a feel for it. This could be the best choice if you don’t have a lot of options to shop around and try things on.
If you are in a small town where gossip flows, you may want to a neighboring town. Most good dress shops know how to help you in this situation. You could also make an appointment or visit a larger bridal salon, such as David’s. Bridal consultants at any major bridal store will be able to find dresses that will hide your baby bump.
Ask Around/Look Online– As you have read there are countless ways to hide your bump. Some are more flattering than others, you have to find what is right for you. By looking for someone with a similar build, it will be a helpful way to see how you may look in certain dresses. If you are having a dress fitting and have a friend that also pregnant, and further along they could try the dress on for you to see how it looks.
Get Customed Fitted- If you have the funds available, this option could be a right for you. Or if you do purchase one online make sure you go to a trusted seamstress or tailor.
Having on that is available, around the time of your wedding will also be handy. They can fix it to your body type as it changes if you have bought it far in advance which is most likely. It’s common to adjust a gown to fit a growing bump right before the wedding.
A few things to remember
Have a Plan- You want your special day to be fun and enjoyable. Worrying about your baby bump is not. So, have a plan and a back up one. Things will arise since you are pregnant and you should be ready for them. Depending on how far along make sure you plan accordingly and have some support.
Get a Support Team: It’s not easy being a bride, so it is a good idea to get a team around you to help. You are probably trying to hide the baby bump from one person or a certain group of people. Your bridesmaids and close friends could be a valuable asset. The biggest one will be your partner though. The groom will be able to get in the way and position himself around you so that the view is obscured from those ceratin people.
Comfort is Queen- Comfort is essential when it comes to choosing a maternity wedding dress. You always look your best when you truly feel your best. That confidence you have from feeling and looking great means everyone is looking at you and your significant other smiling faces and not your baby bump. Keeping baby news a secret is nothing new, but you should never put it ahead of yours and the babies well being.
Go Bigger- A wedding dress can take up to six months to get finished, four months on the short side. This means that you probably will do the fitting months in advance. Your stomach will still be growing and may grow quite a bit during this timeframe. So you will want to plan for this, generally, you add an inch for each month left. Then to be safe add one more size. This will make sure you fit in it and you can always alter it if need be.
Know Your Shape-You want to think of yourself as a shape if you need help figuring it out what you are, try asking a friend. If your body is an hourglass, you should pick a dress with wide shoulders and a cinched waistline. If you’re apple-shaped, choose a dress with waist detailing, this will add more shape. A pear-shaped woman should go for a long, empire line dress that skims your lower half. A lower neckline will flatter a bigger bust and halter neck style will give smaller busts a boost. These are just a few little things that could help you out. A professional would know these things, but these till give you some ideas to start with.
What am I going to wear?
The options are now endless options, but there are a few tried and true dresses/styles that are a good place to start. It may take a little more research and search but the right dress is out there for everyone. Try mixing and matching these ideas to get the optimum dress for your special day.
Flowing Dress– You may want to get something slightly flowing. Not a super full dress, but more empire rather than basque waisted. You probably don’t want a mermaid form-fitted dress. Remember to take into consideration your chest will grow as well, so when ordering a dress don’t take that area in too much.
A-Line– An A-line dress is another great choice, one that may have an empire bodice. This is a dress that is gathered under the breast area and flows then to the floor. The fabric is gathered and hides the stomach area. It helps to create a silhouette that can hide the bump.
Empire Waist- This waist style is a very common type of wedding dress style. It is often used in dresses that are also not made for maternity, so it wouldn’t be out of place.
A Slip– No, this is not the bed dress you are thinking about, though it is inspired by it. They are becoming very fashionable. They tend to have a lot of room and are very comfortable to wear. These can be easily tailored to your needs and altred in a small amount of time.
Blazer and Pants- While it is not the most conventional, it could be very flattering and look amazing on you. The pants could have an elastic waistline to give comfort and flexibility. The blazer is a great garment to hide the baby bump while still being chic.
Colors and Prints- Shopping for a dress with a floral print or a busy pattern can confuse the eye, and make it difficult to tell the shape of the body underneath. Dark colors also have a slimming effect. You want to stay away from bright colors because they attack the eye and tend to show lines.
Underwear/ Spanx- Comfort always starts with the undergarments and why not have them be functional as well. These also could be able to hide your baby bump. Spanx or a good pair of leggings, that can make your tummy look slimmer while you’re wearing your dress can hide a lot. Unfortunately, it might be a bit uncomfortable for some, but they should not be too tight or suffocating.
Accentuate other body parts- With the right accents, you could draw the eye away from the abdomen. A deep v-neck will create a long appearance and draw the eye up and away from the waistline. Cap sleeves and bared back dresses also create a focal point far away from the bump.
Accessorize- Now you want to keep it simple with this one so as not to draw attention. But with a strategically placed bouquet or handbag, it could assist in hiding any evidence of your bump. Also, think about necklaces or other jewelry that could draw attention from your midsection. Remember your partner is the best accessory to hide your bump.
Let’s talk about shoes-You will be on your feet all day, and your feet will already be swelling from the pregnancy. If you are sitting down often to rest your feet, people may start to wonder. So, you will want a comfortable pair of shoes, that aren’t flat or have a very low heal. It could be a long day.
Other ways to avoid detection
Use Your Photographer- They will be around you most of the day and usually near you. Use them as a barrier, talk to them about your situation beforehand and work out a plan. They have seen it all before and may have some good ideas as well to help you.
Follow Tradition– It may seem a bit strange to some that you want to do this type of wedding, but it could really be for your advantage. There are some traditional dresses that are great at hiding baby bumps. This would allow you to keep your mind off the bump and enjoy your day.
Or Go Against-A less traditional or more informal ceremony, may better suit your circumstance. First off, you will have a lot more choices in clothing. Another positive is that you could choose a venue that allows you to hide the bump.
Elope – The ultimate way to keep your baby bump from certain people on your wedding day is not to have them there at all. Although perhaps not your dream wedding, you can always elope now and have that big family wedding after your bundle of joy has arrived.
For a complete guide on eloping to the wedding capital of the USA, check out my article on eloping to Las Vegas here.
How to Handle Awkward Situations.
You can blame on your diet- If the bump does happen to appear, and someone brings it up you can always say it was your diet. Planning a wedding and starting a life with someone is stressful, so you ate a little too much, it happens.
Have some fake champagne- Not drinking at a wedding is usually a red flag that someone is pregnant. You can keep a glass of ginger ale or sparkling apple cider easily accessible for toasting. The other option is to have a fake drink with a glass of real champagne. Just bring it to your lips and act like you took a sip.
Choose your menu wisely- Try to have your wedding menu so that none of the foods agitate you. If your wedding menu does include some of these foods you need to avoid them.
If they do notice that you are avoiding foods, the phrase “I’m too excited to eat!” works really well. If nausea arises, you can just tell your guests that it’s the excitement or emotion is overwhelming and just excuse yourself.
The Truth: Is It Better To Have A Band Or DJ At A Wedding?
The pros and cons of having a
DJ or band provide wedding music have been hotly contested for years. Each
option has its merits, but there is a clear front runner as far as reliability,
music selection, and cost.
DJs are the most effective choice to make for your wedding music. They generally cost less than bands, will have a diverse repertoire of music, require less space, and are more predictable. Some DJs will allow for song requests and can create a unique experience just for you and your spouse.
If you’re still unsure if a
DJ or band is best for you, continue reading for the full list of pros and cons.
The cost of a DJ depends on the length of your wedding reception, as almost all DJ’s have an hourly rate. If your reception is 4 hours, there are still a few factors that affect the DJ’s cost such as experience, quality, variety of music, and which state you’re getting married in.
No one wants a DJ who can only play one type of music, so doing background research on your DJ and reading reviews is a great way to start your search.
When searching for a DJ, have a budget in mind. You can spend as little as $200 on a hobbyist DJ and as much as $3,000 on a professional one.
Typically, DJs that cost between $200-$400 for a 4-hour reception are beginner DJs. They most likely have other jobs, and just enjoy DJing for fun. They may be looking to get more experience to transition into being a full-time DJ, but they are not there yet.
They will mostly not have a large library, and you will have to request songs beforehand. These DJ’s may have a set wedding playlist, so you will not be able to request any songs before or during the wedding. If you are allowed to request certain song choices before the wedding, it may come with a higher price. Make sure you clarify this beforehand
DJs that charge between $500-$700 are not full-time DJ’s but make a chunk of their living from their DJing. It is part-time work, and they are more advanced than beginners. Like beginner DJs, they will most likely have a wedding playlist, and may not take song recommendations or requests.
These DJs might have bundles you can choose from depending on what tone you want your wedding to have, and you will probably be able to requests songs you don’t want to have played that are on their playlist.
Many popular songs such as “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke are thrown onto playlists, but couples may not want it to play due to its controversial lyrics.
The most expensive DJs, in the $800-$2,000 range, are professionally trained, experienced, and full-time DJs. If you are looking for a music experience that is catered directly to you with no chances of messing up, then look for a DJ in this price range.
These DJs have the time to spend hours preparing for your wedding and can take song requests prior to the wedding. They will most likely have a wedding playlist but will also be able to edit it to your liking, adding and taking out songs as you’d like.
Cost of a live band
Wedding bands often cost much more than the average wedding DJ. This is because a band typically has multiple band members who each are being paid for their time, whereas a DJ is typically one performer. The average cost of a wedding band is $4,500, but prices vary depending on the number of musicians, the length of your reception, and the quality of the musicians.
Bands typically cost more than DJs for a number of reasons. Bands provide their own equipment, and it takes a lot of time and effort to move equipment from one space to another. It is also generally more exhausting to play an instrument/ sing for four hours than it is to DJ. Additional charges for time can really add up when you’re working with a live band.
However, not all bands do charge exuberant rates. I played in a wedding band for years where we only charged a small traveling fee and the bulk of the income went back into band equipment and I was paid in beer. Best job ever for a teenage guitarist! So, do shop around and ask friends.
Additional band services
Bands also provide extras for
the ceremony if asked. This can include sound equipment, lighting, and
projectors that can add to the overall cost.
If you want your wedding band to take song requests from the crowd or learn a specific song for your wedding day, you may encounter an additional charge. A wedding band typically has a set repertoire for weddings and cannot stray too far from their set.
Reducing costs for a band
If you’re set on having a
live band and would like to keep the costs down, there are a few things you can
do. You can request them for a shorter amount of time. If you want a long
reception but cannot foot the bill for musicians to play for four hours, then consider
having them play for the opener and then having a friend DJ with their computer
for the rest of the ceremony.
You can also consider hiring a band with fewer musicians. The fewer band members, the less people who need to get paid, and the less equipment they will have to bring. Bands during the off-wedding season are typically cheaper than the popular wedding months such as May and June, so consider getting married in an a-typical month on an a-typical day.
For more information on saving money by having an off-season wedding, check out my article on winter weddings here.
Questions to ask your DJ or Band
If you learn nothing else from this article, here are a few questions that will really help you get the best DJ or band for your wedding.
Have you done a wedding before?
How many hours is your set?
Can I choose all or some of the songs?
Do you take requests?
Can I veto these types of songs (give a list of inappropriate songs)?
How much space do you need to perform?
What happens if you or one of your band gets sick?
Do you like your job? (Check their personality/attitude)
Do you offer any special discount or offer for off-season dates?
The reliability of your DJ can (but doesn’t always) depend on the cost of your DJ. If you want peace of mind during your wedding ceremony and would like a memorable reception, it’s worthwhile looking into the reliability of your DJ. There are a few factors that point to a DJ that you won’t have to worry about during your special day.
Experienced DJs are typically more reliable. Sound mixing requires many hours of work and professional knowledge. If your DJ specializes in weddings, then you can be assured that they will perform well at your wedding. A big part of a DJ’s role is to set a certain tone for your guests. If they have done many weddings prior to yours, chances are they are well-versed in the kind of music and atmosphere wedding-goers enjoy.
Organization is an important skill for a DJ to have. Your DJ should seem well prepared and organized when you meet with them. A well-organized DJ will remember which songs you request them not to play and also remember to include any songs you request of them. They will need to get to the venue on time, bring all their equipment, and be ready to have enough content for the entire ceremony.
DJs also should have a nice personality. If you don’t like your DJ as a person when you meet, you probably should not choose them to DJ your wedding. The DJ will most likely talk to the audience and make a few announcements, or at the very least be setting the mood for all of your attendees. If the DJ has a good personality and appears to be having a blast playing at your wedding, their positive attitude will be infectious to your guests.
The risks in hiring a band
While wedding bands can be reliable, there is slightly more to worry about in terms of the wedding day. You can minimize the worry by hiring a band that specializes in weddings and has performed at many weddings before they perform at yours. If you decide to hire the local band who has never done a wedding gig before, you run the risk of them not being able to fill a four-hour set, becoming fatigued, or not being able to work the crowd.
Bands have more equipment to move than DJs. Add extra band members, and it’s easier to accidentally leave something behind. Every good band should have a checklist, but it may be easy for something to be left behind in the hustle of getting ready.
Band members may also fall
sick before your ceremony. While the same is true of a DJ, your DJ will not
need to use their voice the same way band members will. If the lead singer
falls sick, there is not much they can do to heal before your wedding day.
While there is more at risk
when working with a band, there are also many reliable wedding bands that will
have no issues at your wedding. Similar to DJs, if the band comes off as well
organized, you can feel more at ease when choosing them as your wedding
It is very important to like every band member as well. If there is even one with a bad attitude, they could sour your entire wedding day. Make sure the band members all seem to get along. You don’t want to fall victim to an inter-band dispute on your special day. Do your research, and make sure you are hiring a band that has great reviews.
Choice of Music
DJs will be able to provide a
greater variety of music on your wedding day. If you really enjoy a song, DJs
will be able to play it directly as you know it, while a band is only able to
do a recreation. DJs offer a greater variety of choice.
Most DJs will allow you to pick out a few songs that you need to hear. Many wedding packages come with around 5-10 songs you may request to put on your wedding playlist. While live bands may have a particular sound, DJs have the advantage of being able to play any music from any artist. Whether it be R&B, hip hop, country, pop, or folk, a DJ can play any genre or mood of music you’d like with just a simple song search.
If you love the sound and
energy of live music and do not care too much about your music choice than a
live band is for you. While you will be able to request songs, you will have to
request far in advance so the band can learn the song you’d like to be played.
Bands typically specialize in a certain type or genre of music. It is vitally important that you ask your band this before hiring them for your big day. You should also ask to see their song list. Most wedding bands play typical dancing music, however, there are other bands that play big band, funk, Motown, or Latin music.
Even bands that only play in a specific genre may be open to learning and playing different styles of music. However, be reasonable with your request. It is more likely that a folk band will play pop than a Latin band to play Motown.
Working the crowd
As my personal tip may have hinted at, it is important that your entertainment is able to work the crowd at your wedding.
An extremely important skill for a DJ is their ability to read the dance floor. A DJ may not be the best mixer and doesn’t have the best gear, but still shows the audience an amazing time. This is because they know how to read their audience.
Often, the ability to read the crowd comes with experience. Being able to understand a crowd and know what they like or don’t like means the DJ has to spend a considerable amount of time looking at the audience. This requires a fair amount of practice with their equipment.
Knowing where and what each button and knob does on their board and being able to find the controls with their fingers will allow them to keep their eyes on the dance floor. DJs should also have a well- organized playlist so they can quickly find songs.
You can find out about their ability to do this through reading reviews, talking to other couples who hired them or just attending a lot of weddings to scout out your own DJ.
Get an extrovert!
DJs that do well also look
like their having fun! A crowd never responds well to a DJ that is standing
unmoving and doesn’t appear to have fun. While the DJ doesn’t need to go wild,
it’s important that they look at ease and like they are enjoying their music.
Once a DJ is experienced, it should be relatively easy for them to work the crowd. Having performed for many weddings, your wedding DJ should go into the gig with background knowledge on what your crowd will and won’t jive with. Once they’re in there, the ability to react, have fun, and dance along with your weddinggoers will create a charming atmosphere.
A lively band
A live band must also be able to work the crowd. It is important that every band member is engaged and energetic. The lead singer cannot be the only person that looks like they’re having fun. Both experienced and inexperienced bands can do an awesome job of working for the crowd.
Bands should be able to play
a variety of music and adjust based on audience reaction. A couple of slow
songs are okay, but they should know to play upbeat dancing songs for most of
the reception. It is important that band members move along with their music
and look comfortable and confident on stage.
Bands that are specifically wedding performers should be pros at working a crowd. They must have jovial personalities that get your guests happy to dance along. Make sure your band has adequate experience before hiring them for the job.
Master of ceremonies
DJs can also double as master of the ceremonies (or emcee/MC). While the DJ is in charge of the music, the emcee must make announcements and move the ceremony forward.
Make sure the person you hire knows what you would like them to do. If you just hire a DJ, do not expect them to be emcee as well. Some DJs will emcee as well for an additional price, or you can hire a totally different emcee for your ceremony. The choice is up to you.
If you would like a high-energy, upbeat emcee than asking your DJ to be the master of ceremonies is the way to go. If you’d like a more conservative and traditional ceremony than it is important that your DJ is not your emcee.
If your DJ is also emcee,
keep in mind that they will not be able to move throughout the crowd. Sometimes
people like an emcee that is active in the audience, and this is not a good choice
if you wish your DJ to double as your emcee.
Band members can also serve
as emcee at your wedding for an additional cost. They will make announcements
and keep your wedding going at a nice pace. Make sure to ask the band if they
also are able to emcee. Do not just assume that this is the case.
Because bands have many members, it may be possible for your emcee to spend some time out with the audience. Usually, the emcee will be the band’s lead member, most likely the singer. Similar to DJs, only choose your band to emcee if you would like high energy and upbeat master of ceremony.
The reception is often the
guests’ favorite part of the wedding. Eating, drinking, singing, and dancing is
something almost everyone loves. If you’d like a high level of guest
involvement in your entertainment selection, make sure to voice this with your
Guest involvement can include singing, dancing, and music requests. A good DJ will have all the guests on their feet within a few minutes. It is also easy to sing along to what the DJ is playing as the DJ will play original versions of familiar and popular music.
Making music requests will be a little more difficult if you hire a DJ. Often a DJ comes with a set playlist and the music that you requested beforehand. If the song is not in the DJ’s playlist, it will be hard for them to look for it on the spot.
Discussing song requests
If guest involvement and ability to make song requests is something that is very important to you, then it’s probably best to stick with a live band over a DJ. Make sure, however, to hire a band that has a large set of songs and can play many popular songs by heart. This is something you can check out if you do a live audition.
Experienced bands will know
which songs are likely to be requested, and make sure to have a chat with your
band to ensure that they do indeed take song requests before you hire them.
Make sure you like the sound of your band and they provide a great dancing atmosphere. Live bands provide a great chance for audience participation. Make sure your band does not mind that your wedding-goers sing along with them (but to be honest, who would care?). Understand that it might be slightly harder for your guests to sing along to covers of songs if they are slower or faster than the original.
The most important thing to
keep in mind as far as guest involvement is to communicate your wants and needs
to the DJ or band beforehand. If you don’t ask them if requests are okay and
suddenly all of your wedding guests are requesting to hear “Come on Eileen,”
then you’re going to be dealing with some disgruntled performers.
DJ’s have a minimal amount of
equipment, and thus do not need much space to perform. Almost all wedding
reception venues will have enough space to host a DJ. Every DJ’s setup will
vary a little, but the standard corner set up will allow 12 feet forward and
around 9 feet along each wall.
While these measurements are
standard, any good and experienced DJ will be able to set up in the space
provided. DJs do not need a corner to set up and can work with smaller (but
realistic) spaces. Ask your venue where the DJ typically has set up in the past
and relay the information to your DJ so they know what to expect.
Bands need much more space
than DJs. Some people hire big bands for their weddings of 10 or more people.
If you are hiring a live band, make sure you have this in mind when you choose
your venue. You need to not only accommodate for each performer, but also for
their speakers and lighting stands. If a band is crammed in, they will not be
able to perform as well as they would like.
People typically allot 1.5 yards of space per band member and 2.5 yards of space for the drummer. Allow space for their speakers, PA, and lighting stands on the sides. Make sure there is enough space out front for the audience to dance without being on top of the band.
Ask the venue if they have had live bands perform there before. If they haven’t, make sure they think it would be feasible to have a band perform in that space. Also, remember that bands need electricity, so position the bands close to a power outlet or two.
Also, consider the need for a sound desk to control the sound of the band. My brother used to do this for the band I played in and it’s usually best at the back of the room to keep everything balanced. Ask your band and venue about their needs and facilities for the sound desk.
The overall experience of a
DJ vs a band can be quite different. DJs are definitely the most popular
option. A DJ offers a very “typical” wedding experience. DJs will play a
diverse variety of music that much of the crowd is familiar with and will
expect. DJs also encourage dancing, singing, and a decent amount of audience
Older guests at your wedding
may be transported back to their clubbing days as a twenty-something, and
everyone is sure to have a great time hearing their favorite songs. DJs can
sometimes provide smoke machines or other cool lighting effects, further
transporting your weddinggoers into the dancing mindset.
With a DJ, your reception
experience is sure to have a variety of popular music that everyone can enjoy.
You will be able to jam out to your favorite tunes with your best friends.
There is nothing comparable to a live band sound. The rich sound and energy of live music are intoxicating and rarer at the average wedding. Bands can provide an amazing and one of a kind atmosphere for your special day.
Old and young alike will have
fun both watching and listening to live performers and may even be able to make
song requests. Experienced bands will really know how to get your audience on
your feet, leading to an incredible night.
DJs and wedding bands have pros and cons that should be weighed carefully in order to ensure your perfect wedding night. While both are great options that will provide unforgettable experiences, we choose DJs as the better option for a number of reasons.
DJs are more cost-effective, have a variety of music, are more reliable, and require much less space. While bands can be a great option, they generally are harder to organize, come with more variables, are much more costly, and play a smaller variety of music.
While these factors are very compelling, I do recognize that nothing beats the sound of a great live band. If you have the time, money, and patience of working with a live band for your wedding reception then you are sure to have a night to remember. Keep in mind, however, that DJs are more commonly seen during weddings for a reason, and a good seasoned DJ is not going to disappoint.