If so, what kind of music should you choose?
rebecca clay rehearsal dinner band
Credit: Kayla Barker

Although music is an essential element in setting the tone of your entire wedding, many couples forget to ask their bandleader or DJ an important question: Should we play music during dinner? According to Alicia Fritz, a wedding planner and the founder of A Day in May Events, every bride and groom should seriously consider it. "Think about the times you've been at a restaurant with live music, and how much it added to the ambiance," she says. "Music encourages community, and that's what dinner is all about!"

This doesn't mean you should blast your favorite hip-hop tunes at top volume during dinner, though. Appropriate music choice is key to creating a relaxed, welcoming, and conversational atmosphere for your friends and family. Sammy J. Kudmani, the chief planner, emcee, and entertainment officer of the band KUDMANI, says the set list shouldn't distract guests or intrude on their conversations. "We recommend a recorded mix of jazz classics played at a three out of ten volume, so the tunes are just noticeable. We also play recorded music from our bride and groom's request list during dinner, if it fits the mood and theme." In addition to jazz, Fritz suggests playing instrumentals, soft vocal tunes, and romantic classics during dinner. "And always keep an eye on the how loud it feels in the room. If guests are talking, you may need to turn the sound up slightly, so people can hear it!" she adds.

Even though music boosts the mood of the reception, some couples may not have the funds for an extra hour of live music. In this case, Fritz says you should compile a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music, then play it through a speaker system. It may not sound as impressive as live music, but guests will appreciate entertainment in any form. Some couples also choose to hire a string trio or quartet to perform during dinner, especially if they're already bringing them in to playing during the ceremony and cocktail hour, Fritz explains. You may be able to find a great local group that fits into your budget.

Before you book your band for an extra hour of playing time, Kudmani says you should make sure they're able to adjust their noise level. "If the band doesn't have a professional sound engineer to mix and control the levels of each instrument, the sound may be too loud and irritate guests," he says. "Should couples decide to have live music during dinner, I would strongly recommend that they make sure the band is capable of providing the right mix of songs at the right volume." It's also smart to double-check that the venue's acoustics can handle live music during dinner.


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