An eclectic popular music song list enhances any event

Wedding reception entertainment represents a major wedding cost for most couples getting married. After they choose a venue and caterer, booking the band or disc jockey and selecting the evening's emcee become priority items on any wedding planner or couple's wedding planning checklist. The bandleader or disc jockey may also serve as emcee. But announcing toasts and timing wedding songs, introducing the bridal party and the first dance, and keeping all ages on the dance floor require more than a static popular music song list or a repertory of standard dance songs. Lively and entertaining dinner dance emcees possess magnetic personality, social sophistication, and the ability to manage an all-night crowd. But before this star steps up to the stage, critical logistics must be confirmed in advance with the venue, checked and rechecked with the caterer, and managed behind the scenes to make the evening's entertainment run as if by magic. Like wedding planning and wedding catering, the wedding music booking agent's job is highly specialized, demanding musical knowledge, technical skill, and social finesse. It isn't for amateurs, and there's more to it than the music.

Photo courtesy Kiet Do

Booking Agents Know Popular Music, Wedding Songs, and Dance Songs of Every Era

Booking bands and disc jockeys, vetting emcees, and managing logistics for a wedding reception dinner dance require hiring an experienced booking agent months before the event. The best booking agents are professional musicians with the proven ability to manage others: popular music is their passion, but handling people with finesse is their forte. Selecting a song list with something for every guest isn't easy. Knowing dance songs from every era, suggesting wedding song selections to suit every taste, and helping clients audition bands, evaluate disc jockeys, and interview emcees are only part of the booking agent's job. Keeping couples on track, treating wedding planners like colleagues, and handling problems as they arise are equally important tasks, requiring extraordinary agility, ability, and authority. Like the wedding planner and the wedding caterer, the booking agent operates a complicated machine with many moving parts. Knowing the basics of the wedding entertainment business, understanding the options for music at their event, and working efficiently with the booking agent hired for their wedding are vital for any couple or wedding planner orchestrating a wedding reception dinner dance.

Photo courtesy Kiet Do

Course Video Tutorial: 'A Booking Agent Teaches Wedding Music and Wedding Entertainment' (29:25)

Joel Nelson, the owner of Joel Nelson Productions, is a professional musician, booking agent, and entertainment producer with 30 years of experience in the wedding business. He and his musicians perform popular music of every style, from ethnic to Broadway, hip-hop, and rock, for wedding events throughout Northern California. His encyclopedic knowledge of wedding songs, dance songs, and song list selections makes him a sought-after resource for wedding planners, couples getting married, and multi-generational clients. His discipline, dependability, and power to handle every client and crowd make him a perfect partner for the busy wedding planner who doesn't have time to micromanage. In this course video tutorial, Joel teaches Members the structure, process, and principles of the wedding entertainment business while describing the steps necessary to design and commission a winning wedding reception entertainment package for an evening every guest will remember.

Joel Nelson, Entertainment Booking Agent

Learn 12 essential elements of designing and commissioning wedding reception entertainment:

  • When to hire a booking agent for your wedding reception
  • How to budget and negotiate flexible payment terms
  • Auditioning bands, disc jockeys, and emcees
  • Variety bands, specialty bands, and ethnic music styles
  • How the musicians' itinerary differs from the wedding planner timeline
  • How to keep the evening on schedule and the couple on track
  • What the emcee needs to know before announcing the first toast
  • How a good emcee manages disruptive guests diplomatically
  • The power supply formula for lighting and sound
  • The stage-size formula for disc jockeys and bands
  • How to arrange the room to keep the musicians connected with the crowd
  • How to select a song list that makes everybody want to dance

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