I'm working with a bride who has turned over the responsibility of planning music for her wedding and reception to the groom. What a wonderful way for the groom to participate in their wedding. Here are a few guidelines to offer your groom if he is taking over this responsibility. Or for you, if you are the one planning the music.
For the ceremony-an organist or pianist is essential-for both the processional and recessional. Keyboard performers who are familiar with weddings know which songs to play. The addition of a solo performer is very nice, especially if he or she is a close friend or family member. The music for your wedding ceremony will basically take care of itself. You must be concerned with the performer's attire. Make sure they know the style of your wedding. That means (most often)dark suits for men and tea length dresses for women. Also, make sure they are part of the rehearsal and have a timeline to follow for your wedding day.
For your reception you have considerably more options. A band, DJ, orchestra, string instruments, and pianist, are a few. With all of these options, I suggest you meet the performers. Also, look at a clip or listen to a demo of their music. Almost all musicians have a website with video of their music, or a demo cd. When you have made your selection-prepare a "must play" list, a "do not play" list, and a list of songs for important moments during your reception. Here is a list of those moments: First dance as husband and wife. Use a song that has special meaning to you as a couple. Second dance is with your father, and your step-father or new father-in-law cuts in. I suggest a song that you and your father both love. A couple of songs I've used before are: "Isn't She Lovely," by Stevie Wonder. And "What a Wonderful World," by Louis Armstrong. Then the music changes for the groom and his mother to dance. Again, select a song that has meaning and is well liked by all. At this point the dance floor has opened up.
Please make sure that your performers know what type of attire to wear, and that they have a timeline to follow during your reception. A tip about DJ's: Order a table and tablecloth for your DJ. Otherwise you may end up with an orange cloth with black promo lettering about the DJ's business. I've never had this happen to me, but I've seen it at other receptions. When you book the DJ, let he or she know you are providing those things, and you require their use during your reception.
Don't forget to put someone in charge of all of your performer's final payments, and you may include a tip if you like. Also, plan on feeding all performers. I suggest a boxed meal that they may eat during a break.
The most environmentally friendly option for all of your music would be to use only the "unplugged" variety. But, I realize that as a reception gets rolling the chatter gets a little loud, and your music may get lost in the noise. And even though your ceremony is a very quiet time, if your venue is large the music gets lost there also. This is always a dilema. I suggest reducing your carbon footprint as much as possible in a more realistic manner.
Unplugged music works best in a small venue with a small number of guests. For a charming chapel wedding, or cosy home wedding I would suggest string instruments, a single pianist, a solo performer-all without the use of microphones and speakers.