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Music & Entertainment: Ceremony Music, Reception Music, Entertainment, Photo Booths & More!
May 24, 2016

I like to think of Music & Entertainment for a Wedding Day as planning for the PARTY!  While there are many musical decisions to consider for your wedding ceremony, many of the music and entertainment decisions will surround your wedding reception.  Your Wedding Day will be the ultimate celebration of the love you share and the commitment you have made to each other.  We’ve reached out to local Central Minnesota wedding professionals to discuss details on planning the perfect ceremony music, reception music, entertainment, photo booths and more to reflect the celebration you envision.


Ceremony Music:

Central Minnesota Pianist Sharon Planer of Pianist for Parties has a plethora of suggestions for couples getting started with the planning process for ceremony music!  If you are looking for live music for your wedding ceremony, Sharon has provided the following recommendations:

  • Ask your venue to provide you with ceremony and reception musicians that they recommend.
  • Get word-of-mouth recommendations from people you trust.
  • Find online reviews of the musicians to hear what other people have experienced when hiring their musicians.
Pianist for Parties, Sharon Planer

Pianist for Parties, Sharon Planer

Sharon Planer, Central Minnesota Pianist and wedding ceremony music expert has also provided a number of additional details to consider when planning for your ceremony music:

“Do you have a particular style or theme for your wedding day?  Consider music that will reflect your style or theme.

Do you wish to incorporate certain religious components into your Ceremony?  Look for songs that might accomplish this.

Do you wish to include cultural songs? Music is a wonderful way to celebrate the bringing together of different cultural backgrounds

If you need inspiration for song ideas, there are many song resources online. I have posted some song lists on my web site at http://pianistforparties.com/songs/

Do you need help in planning your music? I have some great planning tips on my web site at http://pianistforparties.com/planning-your-wedding-music/.

Are there particular songs that represent your love? Those songs might be perfect for certain parts of your wedding!

Listen to the music of the musicians you are considering.

Call, email or meet in person with the musicians. Evaluate how they respond to you. Are you comfortable with the way they communicate? Do they inspire you to be excited about your music? Do they seem personally interested in listening to YOUR ideas? Your musician's personality matters!  You want to feel comfortable with them and know that they understand you.  Once you find musicians that you 'click' with, the music planning will be fun!

When you find the musicians that you want, make sure they provide a contract. Read the fine print.

Reach out to your Musician. You can benefit from our experience. We are there to help guide you through the experience of planning your wedding music.”

So what music is currently trending for ceremonies?  Jeremy Wheeler, owner of Flamingo Event Services shares that, “Ceremony music is all about your own personality.  From modern secular music to traditional music, to custom mixes to add your own flair - it's all in play for your ceremony.  I like to tell my couples the only "rule" for your day is that you say "I Do", the rest is all details to create your vision.”

Larry Rowe, owner of Impressions Mobile Music, shares a few ideas on what he’s currently seeing, “Christina Perri – A Thousand Years, The Piano Guys version is Hot.  Be it a wedding ritual, or the entrance of the bride.  Many newlyweds have expressed their interest to me in instrumental versions of various popular songs.  Definitely less traditional, more modern.  For those really hip/edgy… Check out Ronald Jenkees – Canon In D.”


Reception Music & Entertainment:

Planning for your reception music and entertainment may be an extension of your ceremony music planning.  Your wedding reception is likely to be one of the most memorable parts of your wedding day, for your wedding guests.  Professional, well-planned music and entertainment will help ensure that your wedding day memories are positive ones for both your guests, and you.

Here are some great recommendations on getting started with the music and entertainment planning process:

Larry Rowe, owner of Impressions Mobile Music suggests you, “Read the reviews, view pictures of their set up, and make sure you understand not all DJ’s are the same.  A select few of us do go out to workshops and seminars to make sure you are getting the best service.  As an Entertainer/Emcee, experience DOES matter!”

Kevin Dyer, owner of Dyer Soundworks shares his suggestions, “1st - Every couple seems to have a DJ horror story from a wedding they attended. Don’t let that happen to you. 2nd - Good preplanning makes for a great event. 3rd - many DJ companies rely on relatively young, semi-trained individuals who don’t get paid much - if your key interest is low price - buyer beware! 4th - How good is the gear - they should see and hear it before they make a decision. 5th - The event center - they see the good ones and the bad ones - ask for a referral. 6th - does your prospective DJ listen to you or just try to talk and sell you? Arm twisting should be a red flag.”

Jeremy Wheeler, owner of Flamingo Event Services encourages you to, “Base your research and your decision on something other than just pricing.  Meet with your entertainer - not just the company - remember that your entertainer will have more to do with the overall success of your event than any other vendor that day.”

Wedding Dance celebration with Flamingo Event Services

Wedding Dance celebration with Flamingo Event Services

What are these music and entertainment professionals currently seeing for wedding reception music?

For social hour and dinner music, Sharon Planer, Pianist for Parties shares that, “Elegant and romantic solo piano music for the Wedding Dinner is definitely popular! The music is not intrusive it creates the perfect musical atmosphere for dining.”

Moving on to the wedding dance, Jeremy Wheeler, owner of Flamingo Event Services explains, “Guests love to dance to music that is familiar to them.  Weddings are the most musically diverse events that we play.  Any given night you'll find everything from 50's, to Polkas, Disco to 80's Hair Bands - and everything in between.”

Kevin Dyer, owner of Dyer Soundworks indicates he’s seeing a rise in, “A trend to the old rat pack and upbeat jazz genres. Also more vocal tunes instead of all instrumental. We blend genres and decades to appeal to all guests.”

Larry Rowe, owner of Impressions Mobile Music shares, “Central Minnesota still loves their line dances.  From the Wobble to Cotton Eyed Joe, with even the Macarena seemingly coming out of retirement by requests.”

Kevin Dyer of Dyer Soundworks getting organized behind the scenes.

Kevin Dyer of Dyer Soundworks getting organized behind the scenes.

In the age of DIY, doing your own music for your ceremony and/or reception may be something you consider at some point, especially from a cost saving standpoint.  However, most professionals who work in the wedding industry have heard horror stories from couples who have walked down the DIY path for music entertainment.  Here are a few words of caution from the professionals:

“We say that a couple hires a DJ to professionally mange their event. We add that weddings are very expensive and people remember the bride, the food and the dance. Don’t risk the investment by trying to save a few dollars.” Kevin Dyer, Dyer Soundworks

“Besides that it's harder than it looks, weddings have a lot of formalities, and a lot of "moving parts".  You only get one chance to make your day everything you dreamed it would be, why chance it by not choosing a professional?” Jeremy Wheeler, Flamingo Event Services

“An IPod Dj Reception won’t be able to create the energy, nor allow for spontaneous moments to blossom.  The Reception is one of the most memorable moments of the day itself, having the right tools (DJ/Emcee) in place will ensure your celebration is one to be remembered!” Larry Rowe, Impressions Mobile Music

“DIY wedding music can certainly work in certain circumstances but can become a frustrating experience. Are you relying on the help of friends and relatives? If they are also guests at your wedding, chances are you do not want them to be overly stressed with responsibilities. What are your backup plans if they are late, don't show, are not well prepared, have equipment failure, etc.?       

There are thousands of decisions that need to be made when planning a wedding. Music is one of them! The wedding planning experience can quickly become overwhelming. Hiring a professional musician will give you peace of mind. A professional musician will be able to guide you through the music planning process and can take care of all the details for you. If you do not have a clue as to how to select your music, your musician knows how to help you select music that is just right for your style of wedding. You will benefit from your musicians experience and professionalism. When hiring a professional musician you can relax knowing that your musicians will create the perfect setting for your wonderful wedding!” Sharon Planer, Pianist for Parties


Photo Booths:

Photo booths have become and still are a popular feature of wedding receptions in Central Minnesota.  Photo booths provide fun entertainment for your guests, capture entertaining memories of your guests, and oftentimes provide a memorable keepsake for your guests to take home.  Whether you’re looking for entertainment during social hour or for later in the evening, a photo booth might be just what you’re looking for.  Jeremy Wheeler, owner of Flamingo Event Services shares, “I encourage couples to consider hiring a photo booth rather than doing traditional table favors.  Guests love taking and sharing their photo strips, and they create a keepsake that shows your guests in a completely different light than the pictures your professional photographer will capture.”

Photo Booth by Flamingo Event Services

Photo Booth by Flamingo Event Services

Let’s take a few moments to get to know a few of the experienced wedding professionals in Central Minnesota:

Sharon Planer, Pianist for Parties states, “I am passionate about creating a beautiful musical setting with my live piano music!”  When asked what makes her unique or stand out from competition, Sharon explains, “I make the time and effort to get to know my couples and what they are looking for in their music for the wedding.  I am very conscientious about connecting ahead of time with the Officiant, Wedding Planner and Venue Coordinator. I want to make sure my music flows smoothly with the other aspects of the wedding.  Communication is key!”

Kevin Dyer shares a little about their style at Dyer Soundworks, “Our style is to manage a couples event in a professional manner (public speaking experience, weddings are dignified affairs, facilitating not dominating an event) with the music the couple has selected for their guests to enjoy, with our input. Our specialty is a deep knowledge of decades of music so we can not only have a couples favorite songs but can also pull up tunes that appeal to the diverse ages and personalities of the guests. We also strive to create unique reception/dinner playlists. Many DJ’s just play oldies for this but we go across most all genres and generations. The reception music sets the stage for the evening and in my opinion most DJ’s overlook this very important part of the event. Last a DJ needs to facilitate and manage the event - not dominate the event, play comedian or forget that this is the couples show!”  When asked what maker Dyer Soundworks stand out from competition, Kevin answers, “Audio gear quality, premium microphones, knowledge of music and years of public speaking and event management experience. Perhaps most important - customer service - the ability to listen and understand what our couples want.”

Jeremy Wheeler, owner of Flamingo Event Services shares, “Our specialty of course is weddings...we put our focus on not just the music, but your whole event.  We believe guiding your guests through your reception, and working with your other vendors as your master of ceremonies is just as important as the soundtrack for your big day.”

Larry Rowe shares about their specialties at Impressions Mobile Music, “Our specialty is creating an event that all will enjoy.  As couples get ready to celebrate such an important day… we want to ensure that all that are attending from the grandparents to the two year olds are having a wonderful time.  As a multi-op DJ Service we have many different styles and personalities to blend with the right crowd.”  While explaining what makes Impressions Mobile Music stand out from competition, Larry provides some helpful information as well as a little humor, “I think what makes me stand out from our competition is the fact that not only are we a full time DJ Entertainer, our customer service and attention to detail to create the wedding day of the newlyweds vision is what we do.  We certainly know that each wedding is as unique as the couple themselves, and we want to tell their love story musically.  Others may say it’s my goatee…”

Impressions Mobile Music getting the party started!

Impressions Mobile Music getting the party started!

It’s obvious that these musicians and entertainers are top notch in the Wedding Music & Entertainment Industry!  We are thrilled to have their knowledge, experience, and wonderful personalities as part of our Central Minnesota Wedding Association membership.  As you begin your music and entertainment search and planning process, please keep our professional members in mind:

Beautiful Day DJ’s

Dyer Soundworks

Flamingo Event Services

Impressions Mobile Music

Old School Photo Booths

Pianist for Parties

Prime Time DJ