Sunday, February 12, 2006
Longtime local disc jockey Kip Strean is seeing a clear trend when it comes to music at weddings, particularly receptions: Couples are making the decisions.
"I've been in business for 27 years, and in the beginning, people asked you to pick the music," said Strean, owner of the Flyte Sound DJ service. "I've noticed in the past five years or so that people are really taking control of that."
It is a change that Strean, who works at weddings and functions across Routt County and in Craig, said he welcomes.
"I really like the couples who come in and know what they want," he said. "If they know what they want, you can pretty much set the stage for them - those are the best kinds of weddings."
Choosing music for a wedding can be a daunting task, from the ceremony to the reception. Jill Waldman, owner of The Main Event in Steamboat Springs, works to make that task easier for her customers.
"We do everything from hiring bands to finding venues and helping with decor and design," Waldman said.
Although deejays are a cheaper, more flexible option for receptions, Waldman said having live music during some part of the wedding day can improve the feel of the event.
"I recommend to my clients that they use some form of live music," Waldman said. "It just adds another dimension to the wedding and makes the day more special."
Waldman recalled a wedding she helped set up in the summer that had a trio of musicians playing a harp, flute and violin during the ceremony. The cost of about $1,200 to $1,400 was well worth it, she said.
"It added a lot to the wedding to have that," she said.
A popular choice is to have live music during the ceremony and cocktail hour and a DJ for the reception, Waldman said.
Live bands can cost from $2,000 to $20,000, she added, recommending local musicians Flashback, Sundog and the Steamboat Jazz Quartet as popular, affordable choices. Some local acts charge only a few hundred dollars.
Strean said he usually charges between $700 and $800 for a five-hour reception, a price that goes up by the hour and that he said is common among experienced deejays.
"A lot of inexperienced deejays have hit town as of late and are taking gigs for cheaper prices," he said.
Strean said one value of an experienced deejay is knowing how to please wedding reception crowds that can vary widely in age and musical taste.
"My formula has always been to try to please certain groups at certain times of the evening," Strean said. "Earlier in the evening you try to please the older folks, because they're the ones who are going to leave first."
Big Band songs and classic oldies are good early in a reception, he said.
"Then comes the garter and the bouquet, so you might go more towards rock 'n' roll," he said, adding that different receptions enjoy different kinds of music, such as country, rock or reggae.
The trick is getting to know the wedding couple beforehand, he said, and letting them make as many musical decisions as they like, especially about special songs such as a couple's first dance, a wedding party dance or a father/daughter dance.
"I like to meet with them and get a feel for what their taste in music is," Strean said. "I don't have an agenda."