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For your wedding reception, you want everything to be perfect. You carefully select the food, take months deciding on the right decorations, and take great care in choosing the music selection. Now, you want the best DJ or band possible to ensure all your guests have a fabulous time. Whether choosing Jazz, Top-40, Jazz, Rock n Roll, or Salsa, you want a DJ or band that knows how to create magic with the music.

When evaluating potential bands and DJs, you need to decide if you want a DJ who only plays the music or if you want a Master of Ceremonies. If you decide you want an MC, the DJ would play music, make announcements, entertain guests, and keep everything moving according to schedule. No matter which type of DJ you prefer, you want someone who is charismatic but knows the right time to let it show. You also want a DJ who is friendly, diplomatic, and has the right level of energy. The DJ you choose should understand music and know how to transition from one genre seamlessly.

If you plan to go with a live band, you can choose from a DJ who only acts as the Master of Ceremony while the band plays your choice of music or simply go with a band. To choose an appropriate band, you need to have a good ear and listen to each band live if possible, and if not, with a demo tape or CD. If you do not have a good ear, ask a friend or family member who does to join you in your interview process.

Whether going with a DJ or live band, you want to have an in depth discussion to ensure they understand your wedding and reception style. For example, if you are having a formal wedding, you probably want traditional music such as the Fox Trot, Rumba, Waltz, and so on, whereas for an informal or themed wedding, you might prefer to go with Rock n Roll, Country Western, or fun songs like Monster Mash or the Chicken Dance.

The most important aspect of securing a DJ or band is the contract. Make sure that every aspect of what you want and what has been agreed to is captured in plain terminology. The information would include the location of the reception, start and finish time, agreed upon music style and specific songs, responsibilities and limitations, special needs such as additional outlets or permits, and so on. As long as everything agreed to have been put in the contract, and signed by both the bride and groom and the DJ or band, you have legal ground to stand on should something go wrong.

To ensure you get exactly what you want, ask many questions. Some that you should clarify up front and that should be stated in the contract include:
  1. How long have they been working as a DJ or playing in a band for weddings?
  2. How many musicians will be playing for the reception?
  3. How much is the deposit and when is the balance due?
  4. Are there any hidden charges for things like changing the music, adding another member, playing longer, etc.?
  5. Can the guests make requests?
  6. Will the guests be encouraged to get involved?
  7. Are they covered by insurance and if so, what all is covered?
  8. If choosing a band, will the members be the same at your reception from what you interviewed?
  9. What is the refund and cancellation policy?
  10. In case of an emergency, what happens? Is backup provided? Who has the responsibility for securing backup?
  11. How much time is required for set up and break down and are you paying for this time?
  12. When does the contract need to be executed?
  13. What will the DJ or band wear?
  14. What size stage is required?
  15. Will you be expected to provide food and drinks for the DJ or band?

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