Wedding Wednesday: Tunes

We are music people. The only time I think I've given you a peek into this other passion of mine was in this "What's under your bed" post from last year. I revealed that there are about 10 CD cases full of live recordings dating back to the 1960s under my bed. We will travel great distances and endure some pretty interesting conditions for great music.

Wait in line for hours to ensure our caravan of friends can camp together in the middle of a field lacking in shade, water, and basic necessities? Why not?

The genre of music we like has a lot of improvisation. A song is never played the same way twice. We're never eager for a new studio album to be released (though we usually buy them to support our favorite artists), but are extremely excited to see each concert's setlist develop (people often report setlist updates by text or Twitter).

Drink wine out of a bag with a stranger while listening to New Orleans funk on a mountaintop in West Virginia?
Yes, please.

We love live music so much that when we first started talking about our wedding, we were positive that we'd have a live band playing the entire night.

Then, I started thinking about how we can cite specific versions of specific songs as our favorites. I started to think about how talented some of the bands we like are and how hard they are to cover. Not to say there aren't some great bands in our area, but I had my doubts about them doing justice to songs that hold memories for us.

Walk around the parking lots outside our favorite venue dressed as said venue? Hilarious!
Bonus points to anyone who knows the nick name for that venue.

We decided that we needed a DJ. I scoured Wedding Wire (a site where brides review their vendors), checked wedding blogs for Charlottesville weddings to see who still more brides used at their weddings, and polled friends on Facebook and Twitter (Jen on the Edge suggested a little hometown band called the Dave Matthews Band, but I hear they're taking a year off). I emailed back and forth with a few folks and set up one meeting with Derek Tobler, the one I thought would be a top choice.

Going into the meeting, I just wanted to make sure Derek was okay with playing our music. I didn't need him to like our music or be overly familiar with it. I just wanted him to be okay with playing some live versions of the songs that were really, really important to use (our entrance song and our first dance song). When he told us that he was in a band when he lived in California (I believe he was in the horn section), we were pleased. He wasn't just a fan of music, he was a musician. When he told us he had seen our favorite band a few times in the 90s and was happy to play live versions, we were overjoyed. We left that meeting smiling like someone had just handed us puppies and ice cream cones.

Now, we still wanted some live music at the wedding and we decided that we'd hire musicians for our ceremony and cocktail hour. That piece is still being developed, but we're really excited for what we have planned. More on that next time.

When I asked advice about bands vs. DJs online, I was surprised by how passionate some people are on the issue. Where do you stand? If you're married, did you have a band or a DJ at your reception? Why?


  1. We had a DJ - it worked out well because we were able to put together some must play songs, while still allowing guests to make their requests.  If our budget had been much larger, I would have loved a band - or even had both, like we did at our Jr Prom :)

  2. As you know we just had a lunch at a nice place. Our budget was so tight that music was out of the question. A close friend played the organ at the church for which we were very grateful. I'm happy for you that the DJ is such a good fit and hope you find the perfect musicians as well. Good luck!

  3. Derek DJ'ed our wedding!! He is the best. I still call him one of the best choices we made during the entire wedding planning. He is awesome and kept everyone on the dance floor all night.

  4. We had a DJ and I really liked him. He was really good at what he did and was a lot of fun.  We really approached the reception as a giant party and he fit that perfectly. He even managed to get some of the groomsmen to dance (who had sworn they wouldn't!).

  5. Sounds like y'all settled on a good choice!  We had a string quartet (some friends) do our reception and cocktail hour, then the Charlottesville Swing Orchestra for the reception (with an iPod for breaks).  We really liked them!  We tried out several bands using Sam Hill Bands (in Richmond I think).  In general I don't like bands with female lead singers, but the gals in the CSO were really good.  I can go either way band vs DJ, so long as the DJ steers very clear of YMCA, Electric Slide, We Are Family, Brick House, etc etc etc... Why oh why do they think people like that music?!

  6. Hey there! I'm so glad you are going to use those shoe clips for your bridesmaids. That really is such a great way to tie everything together!! I can't wait to see how it all turns out.
    PS. If you got DMB to play at your reception I would officially crash your wedding :)


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