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Music mistakes to avoid

Wedding guests are usually anxious to head to the reception, where they can let loose and party. Music is an essential component of a lively and fun wedding reception, and there are some musical miscues couples should look to avoid to ensure the music is not memorable for all the wrong reasons.

• Blocks of silence: Nothing makes time seem interminable more than silence. Always have a constant flow of music to avoid awkward silences. This includes the time guests are waiting prior to the ceremony as well as when they're entering the cocktail hour. Music will help everyone feel comfortable, and it creates a pleasing atmosphere, so make sure music plays throughout the festivities.

• Second-guessing a professional: In an effort to curb costs, some couples provide their own playlists via an mp3 player or a streaming service for the music. This is often a mistake. Hiring a professional means you will not have to worry about managing music on top of your many other wedding day responsibilities. A band or deejay usually also serves as the emcee for the event, announcing key moments of the reception as well as getting guests up on the dance floor.

• Playing only one type of music: Playing too many songs from one genre of music will alienate some of the guests who simply are not interested in that type of music. Professional deejays or performers know how to offer a great mix that will appeal to the masses, and they are often well worth the cost. Try to span different decades and genres to keep as many of your guests on the dance floor as possible.

• Failure to make a song list: Some songs you may feel are essential to the wedding and others may be on a do-not-play list and are associated with negative memories. Band leaders and deejays are not mind readers. Give your band leader or deejay ample time to review your requests so that he or she has time to find a song that may not be in his or her collection.

• Dancing to long songs: Pay attention to a song's length, and choose spotlight dance songs wisely. Remember that guests will be watching you dance with parents or each other, and a five-minute song can seem neverending while others are waiting around. Avoid very long songs, as the mix of music should be upbeat. The wedding isn't the time to play "American Pie" by Don McClean, Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" or Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird."

• Inappropriate lyrics and volume: Keep the music at an acceptable volume, and avoid songs with suggestive language or curse words that are inappropriate in a family setting.

Music is a key element of any good party, including a wedding reception, and it's essential that couples take steps to avoid any musical miscues.

Maryland Pennysaver