All you need to know about wedding ceremony music

Photo of SSE Founder, Jay R Rich - 13 planning tips for Cleveland weddings

Quick Tips That Will Help A Lot when Planning Cleveland Weddings

We interviewed the founder of Selective Sound Entertainment, Jeremy “Jay R” Rich, to ask him questions we knew would help couples planning Cleveland Weddings. Watch all or only the ones you need the answers to the most.

What Can Lead To Regrettable Wedding Entertainment?

Research your wedding DJ’s or live music, look for value and not just the cheapest price, and making sure to meet your potential partner first are three key tips to having less regrets when securing a wedding entertainer in Cleveland.

When Can Lighting Ruin a Cleveland Wedding Reception?

Lighting can hurt the look you desire for your wedding instead of helping if you select a vendor that doesn’t have a true background in lighting. Understanding the effects of color and how light changes spaces for photography are a few other things to consider before choosing a lighting vendor for your Cleveland wedding.

What Can Sound Amplification Do to a Wedding?

With the proper sound amplification at a wedding, you can ensure that your ceremony vows will be heard. In addition to that crucial service, a sound engineer can make sure nervous people know what they are doing with the microphones and there is always extra equipment in case something happens. This is especially important for those summer or fall Cleveland weddings.

What are couples biggest regrets years after their wedding?

The last thing we want to see are couples regretting the choices they’ve made for their wedding even if they aren’t our clients. Because we’ve been in the industry for so long, we’ve heard all the pains of couples who wished they had made difference decisions. One of the most frequent regrets is not buying videography in some form for their wedding. Likewise, sometimes the vendors they ended up with weren’t the best fit for them in reality. These issues and more are possibly avoidable as long as you do your best to educate yourself before hand.

Why is talking about your wedding budget important?

If you’re planning your wedding right, you should get everyone on the same page when it comes to your budget as soon as possible. If you get everyone involved together and set your priorities before you hire anyone, you’ll have a much higher chance for less stress. We’ve seen this time and time again when helping to plan Cleveland weddings.

What Wedding Couples Don’t Know about Lighting

Here’s what couples should know about lighting for their wedding…
1. There’s more to lighting design than uplighting.
2. The venue makes a big difference for lighting.
3. There are lots of lighting options possible, you just have to ask questions.

Where is Lighting the Most Impactful for a Wedding?

There are ways to get the most impact for your money when it comes to lighting options at weddings. Make sure to ask your lighting professional what will stand out the most. You should also concentrate on the areas that will be seen most often (especially in photos).

Should you add lighting to your wedding?

To determine if and what lighting options would be best for you, we think you should figure out a few things. Make sure you and your light professional know your venue well (even if that means taking a site visit). Determine what mood you want your guests to have at different times of the event. These tips and more have always resulted in better events from our experience working with clients in Cleveland.

What You Don’t Know About The Cost of Wedding Lighting

In order to be prepared for purchasing lighting for your wedding, ask your lighting provider to show you examples of what they’ve done in the same venue you will be having yours at. Make sure you know the overall effect you want to have and develop your expectations before you go into your first wedding lighting meeting. In our years of providing lighting for Cleveland weddings, this strategy has always benefited couples.

What We Wish Couples Knew About Lighting Design

There are a number of things we wish couples in Cleveland knew about wedding lighting before they even met us for an appointment. For instance, most don’t know just how much more pervasive lighting is on the guest experience over decor. That said, lighting can really bring out the best in decor if done right. There are a number of ways lighting can impact your wedding day, and we’d be excited to show you how!

How can wedding lighting impact guest emotions?

Colors affect the moods and emotions of people and lighting has the opportunity to wash a whole room in the colors of your choice. With a wedding lighting designer, LED lights can produce thousands of options. You can even change the colors of the room at different strategic times to get the feelings you want. We’ve had the chance to design spaces in Cleveland as well as many other parts of Northeast Ohio. With lighting, we have been able to bring couples’ visions to life time and time again.

What do Cleveland couples overlook the most?

There are a number of options that get overlooked frequently by couples planning wedding receptions. Videography is frequently overlooked and is also the number one regret from couples that pass on it. Don’t have regrets when planning your Cleveland wedding by making sure you are working with industry veteran professionals.

Live Music Tips for Cleveland Weddings

We believe live music can elevate both a wedding ceremony and reception. DJs, MCs, and Live Bands can work together very well so you get the best of all they can offer. Overall, live music can heighten the look, sound and emotions for your Cleveland wedding. We’d love to show you how!


We hope these 13 tips will help you plan your wedding reception with less stress and more knowledge. If you want to ask your own questions of Jay R, you can reach him here.

Up-close picture of harpist strumming live wedding music

We Love Live Wedding Music!

Some people might be surprised by our love of live music for weddings. With over 31 years of DJ experience in Cleveland Ohio, we have a reputation for providing the right music at the right time. The thing is, there is a reason we are called “Selective Sound Entertainment” and not “Selective Sound DJ’s”. We know there are times when live music is simply better for an event. If someone tells you a DJ is always better for a wedding they are simply wrong. Every event is different and requires different things. We recently wrote a blog post about when you should hire a DJ and when you should have a band (and times where both work together beautifully!). Not only is band vs. DJ not a real fight, they’re also not your only options for live entertainment for weddings.

Ceremonies – It’s Not Just A Party

There are many more suppliers focused on providing services for your wedding reception than the actual wedding ceremony itself. That makes sense too because outside of a couple and a officiant, you don’t need more parts to get married. While that’s true, there are logistical issues and specific visions that come into play that make enhancing your ceremony something worth considering.

Ceremony Sound Systems

picture of simplified sound system

Simplified sound systems that look good and sound great

There aren’t many regrets we hear about often when families talk to us about the weddings they’ve attended. Most of your attendees are happy to have been invited and don’t have anything to complain about. The only concern we consistently hear, in regards to the ceremony, is they wish they could have actually heard it. Some venues offer breathtaking views in picturesque settings…but when it comes to sound…you’re out of luck. That’s one more reason why working with professionals who ask the right questions and who have actually worked in most of the venues here in Cleveland are valuable resources.

Sound systems have greatly changed  over the last decade and are no longer eye-sores. These compact pieces of technology ensure everyone gets to truly enjoy your special day with you; they not only get to see you but they can hear you. The best part is that they are so simplified in appearance they will never take away from you or the beauty of the venue you have chosen.

Ceremony Music Goes Live

The beginning of any event is what sets the tone for the rest of the night. If you’re looking to elevate the experience to something magical, live music can’t be beat. Live music is something people experience far less so it can immediately create a wow factor. If you really want to raise the bar, create a fantasy vision, or just simply impress your guests, then wowing them as they enter the ceremony is a must! Your venue can do a lot of the wowing for you but the music should complement the scale you’ve chosen. Ensembles, such as trios and quartets, are popular in movies and television shows depicting weddings because the sound and feeling produced is a statement! Live ceremony music feels more grand because an artist is present for the event and is inherently more captivating than a computer and speakers.

There’s also a more traditional feeling with live music and traditions are a big part of ceremonies. We have a Live ceremony musicwho perform at weddings and can create the team that matches your ideas. From traditional groupings including acoustic guitars, cellos, and violins to various keyboard and piano options. All you have to do is tell us what feeling you are looking to have and we can make it happen.

Memorable and Unique

While there are many options that allow you to elegantly elevate a ceremony with cohesive artists, sometimes you’re looking for something that people will be talking about for years. There are a few categories of show-stopping (and appropriate) live ceremony entertainers.

Wedding Harpists

Selective Sound Live Music Wedding Entertainment

Violin and harp gives a fairy-tale feel to any wedding

One theme is “fairytale” which pretty much means you want a harpist! Is there an instrument that evokes a classic (and classy) ceremony better than a harp? We don’t think so! The most elegant instrument can also be pretty economic and flexible because it has a big sound that is often as rich sounding as a group of artists without the same sized footprint (ideal for challenging spaces and outdoors).

Ethnic Live Music Goes Big

Want to incorporate a festive sound with ties to specific ethnic backgrounds? We have options! Consider a bagpiper. If your wedding ceremony had bagpipes at the right moments, do you think people would ever forget those moments? Bagpipes have a long tradition of being used in weddings and they produce a sound you can actually feel when performed live. Want a celebratory sound steeped in tradition? A Mariachi band is another live music option that changes the whole dynamic of an event. You can’t help but have a smile on your face as these groups play while dressed in their signature suits.

The Keys To Elegance

violinist and keyboardist practicing for wedding

A piano and violin duet can make for a beautiful entrance to your wedding ceremony

A piano can take any song, be it classical or modern, and refine it to a state of elegance. There’s a reason so many venues have pianos in them, they’re ideal for live events (especially wedding ceremonies). While not every venue accommodates a piano, keyboard and sound systems can give you a similar feel with greater flexibility in placement. Whichever version of this instrument makes the most sense for your needs, a pianist can make a huge difference in a ceremony as a soloist or as part of a group.

Reception Entertainment – Live Bands

Live music can be put together in many different combinations as long as you have the pool of artists to make it happen. Cocktail hours, for example, can really benefit from acoustic sets from soloists. The same performers from your ceremony can also transform arrangements and make them more appropriate for a cocktail hour. What matters the most, is having a clear vision of what you want. With a clear vision, you can then rely on passionate, and experienced, wedding entertainment professionals to make the vision come true.

The most requested live music option we get is for live wedding reception bands. Bands come in all shapes and sizes with different strengths and weaknesses. As an entertainment company, we commit to being upfront with you about what’s possible, on budget, and what will work best. We’ve put together our own band after a long time of listening to what most in Northeast Ohio want from a live wedding party band. Versatility, classiness, and the ability to really rock when you want them to are the best traits in a wedding band. Rock The House Live was put together just for that reason. Take a look!

Dream Big – We Have The Answers

We are sincerely focused on putting together the right team for your wedding. In order to do so, we listen to you describe your vision. Then, we use our experience to choose from our deep range of talent to create a perfect combination for your special day. Many times we can utilize performers for the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception which results in unique entertainment at prices less than you might have thought. Consult with us about your vision as we ask you the right questions to bring out ideas you might not have thought you had! Bottom line – we’re not a one-size fits all DJ company…we’re Cleveland’s wedding entertainment experts ready to show you the time of your life.

Contact us today to discuss your vision.


Picture of figurines dancing with an ipod

The Consequences of DIY

Ever since the iPod was released, blogs and wedding magazines  have posted DIY, money saving wedding tips. They are 100% correct that creating an iTunes playlist is less expensive than paying for a professional DJ. However, they really miss the point of why experienced wedding DJ’s are hired in the first place. If all you want is background sounds, articles like this one are correct. Just borrow equipment from generous friends (if you’re that lucky to have ones with speakers and wiring), queue up your playlist, press play and walk away. We are not disparaging that option.

We always want to do our due diligence when it comes to educating couples on the consequences of certain decisions. As long as your are armed with information, you can decide where your priorities are for each aspect of your wedding.  With that said, it’s hard for us to choke back the passion we have for wedding entertainment! We work hard to provide a lot of value for what we do and believe entertainment is a significant part of a wedding reception. To help us educate more objectively, we’ve asked a few of our favorite Cleveland wedding professionals to weigh in on this topic.

Covesa Gragg, Owner

Covesa Kelly Events 

Hire an experienced Cleveland DJ

An experienced wedding DJ is worth every penny

Q: What would be your biggest fear if you found out the couple at the wedding you were working on decided to try to DJ their own wedding?

A: Timing. Do they have enough music for the duration? Is the music family friendly? Do they have all AV and technical components necessary to play the music?

Q: Have you ever been to a wedding without professional entertainment that ran just as smooth as when pros are there?

A: No

Q: How do DJs compliment, enhance, and collaborate with what you do at a wedding?

A: They help keep the energy high. They keep guests informed of what’s going on. They can help bridge the gaps if things are off track (catering, waiting for bridal party etc)

Q: What would you want couples to know if they were considering an ipod playlist instead of a professional DJ for their wedding?

A: You’ve spent all this money, just hire the DJ. It’s just not worth the risk.

Sara Fouts, Staff Photographer

Making the Moment

Be sure your Cleveland DJ is experienced with weddings

There is a difference between a DJ and an experienced wedding DJ

Q: What would be your biggest fear if you found out the couple at the wedding you were working on decided to try to DJ their own wedding?

A: While I would understand why someone would choose to try to DJ their own wedding, my biggest concern would be the extra stress the couple would experience with someone who isn’t familiar with DJing weddings. I would also be concerned that the DJ wouldn’t be experienced in communicating with the photographer. There have been multiple occasions where we told the DJ (who was a friend helping out the couple) we were leaving the room to use the restroom. Because they were inexperienced, they initiated events anyways and we weren’t present to capture them.

Q: Have you ever been to a wedding without professional entertainment that ran just as smooth as when pros are there?

A: No

Q: How do DJs compliment, enhance, and collaborate with what you do at a wedding?

A: DJs allow us as photographers to set-up for reception events at appropriate times. They ensure we are present and ready to capture events before they begin. To me, ensuring that the photographer is present and ready to capture before an event begins is a factor that separates professional DJs from non-professional DJs. DJs also help us have more fun! They do so much more than play music.  They read the crowd’s energy and direct it through an entertaining flow that enhances everyone’s experience at your event. We love working with DJs who love their job!

Riki Schmigel, Catering Sales Manager

A Taste of Excellence

Your Cleveland DJ plays the key role of timing during the wedding reception

The DJ plays the key role of timing during the reception

Q: What would be your biggest fear if you found out the couple at the wedding you were working on decided to try to DJ their own wedding?

A: Technical malfunctions that disrupt the flow/schedule of the evening. There also wouldn’t be a master of ceremonies to help keep things moving. i.e. transition from cocktails to dinner, speeches, cake cutting.

Q: Have you ever been to a wedding without professional entertainment that ran just as smooth as when pros are there?

A: I have catered very casual weddings that DIY their music and it has been a beautiful occasion. Typically the more traditional things like The Grand Introduction and Dances do not take place at these events.

Q: How do DJs compliment, enhance, and collaborate with what you do at a wedding?

A: DJs help to keep the timing of the event for us. This is important because we cook our food on-site and rely heavily on a timeline to time our meals.

Q: What would you want couples to know if they were considering an ipod playlist instead of a professional DJ for their wedding?

A: DJs help inspire guests to dance and be involved with the important activities of a wedding – for example cutting the cake. Sometimes without some energetic encouragement you won’t have people dancing at the wedding.

Robert Drago, Photographer

RAD  (Photography)

Wedding DJ's produce the feel of the reception

The DJ can make the reception exciting or drab; make sure they are experienced!

Q: What would be your biggest fear if you found out the couple at the wedding you were working on decided to try to DJ their own wedding?

A: As a photographer, I look forward to the reception because I know it’s taken care of and I can sit back and do my job. A large percentage of my job is coordinating and organizing throughout the day. However, when the reception starts, it’s the DJ’s show. So if I were to photograph a wedding without a trained DJ I would be very nervous and anxious about how the evening will go.

Q: Have you ever been to a wedding without professional entertainment that ran just as smooth as when pros are there?

A: Fortunately, in the last 15 years, I can only think of two occasions that a couple decided not to have a DJ. Both very small events. In both occasions, the timeline for the reception did not go smoothly and there were things missed throughout the night.

Q: How do DJs compliment, enhance, and collaborate with what you do at a wedding?

A: DJ’s are the wedding coordinators of receptions. The amount of time that is put into a reception schedule should never be overlooked. The entire feel of the reception is produced by the DJ. Every event is elevated when you have someone with experience. It can really bring the party to the next level.

Q: What would you want couples to know if they were considering an ipod playlist instead of a professional DJ for their wedding?

A: Do you like having a party with dead air and awkward silence? If so, fire up that iPod and enjoy your evening.

Diana Elizabeth, Floral Designer

Diana Elizabeth Designs 

Cleveland wedding professionals highly recommend using a DJ

Wedding professionals highly recommend using a DJ

Q: What would be your biggest fear if you found out the couple at the wedding you were working on decided to try to DJ their own wedding?

A: It would not be as smooth as they planned.

Q: Have you ever been to a wedding without professional entertainment that ran just as smooth as when pros are there?

A: Yes I have and it was confusing. The dinner music was not right and then their laptop shut down mid reception. They had to reboot and there was dead silence for a few minutes. TRUE STORY!

Q: How do DJs compliment, enhance, and collaborate with what you do at a wedding?

A: Vibe

Q: What would you want couples to know if they were considering an ipod playlist instead of a professional DJ for their wedding?

A: I just wouldn’t recommend it.

So there you have it. Five experienced wedding professionals who have seen it all with very similar answers. In short, you CAN DJ your own wedding with an ipod or iPhone. It is possible. You can also act as your own plumber, electrician, or even doctor but…you probably don’t. The reason is that when a professional is hired, you get the results you want without regret. As long as you know what you’re getting yourself into, the decision is all yours!

If DJing your own wedding sounds stressful, then perhaps an Emcee is the way to go. We have an Emcee who will make sure your event runs smoothly. Skip the stress…email an experienced DJ who will ensure you get the wedding of your dreams!


A wedding band posing for picture outside

Perception, Reality and Myths of Wedding Entertainment

A wedding reception without entertainment is a bleak idea. When guests look back on your big day, they’ll likely not remember details including your vows, centerpieces, or ice luge. Those features are important but they’re mostly only important to you. Looking back, guests will remember how happy you were on your big day and how much fun they had. Entertainment is the pulse of the experience you’ll be giving your guests and the decision to who provides it will set the tone. Wedding entertainment can come in many forms but the two most dominate are DJ’s and live bands.

When Bands Are The Right Choice

Live band on a stage

A live band can bring a lot of energy and fun to any event.

There’s just something about live music, right? The feeling of being in a room with musicians creating music right in front of you brings a different level of enjoyment for those who appreciate the difference. The best live bands have a style all their own which is how they create strong bonds with their fans. Bands are focused on being true to who they are as artists.  Because of this, they’re exceptional when their theme matches the theme of an event. Themes such as “Roaring 20s” or ones with a heavy emphasis on ethnic traditions pair well with live bands who share those sensibilities. What bands lack in flexibility they make up for in authenticity.

Entertainment Myths

Smiling DJ

Ask your DJ questions to make sure they can fulfill your visions.

The barrier to entry to become a DJ is smaller than that of a band. Bands require more investments in time and money and the team dynamic is also a crucible. Because of this, the myth of the “cheesy wedding DJ” is pervasive because…they’re out there. This myth is based in some fact because there are more wedding DJ’s than there are wedding bands. They negatively color how many see a profession that makes a huge impact on people’e most important days. This is why it’s important to compare apples with apples.

When you are evaluating between professional mobile DJ’s and professional wedding bands there are distinct advantages and disadvantages by their vary natures. When you’re exposed to tasteful DJ’s who double as or partner with Masters of Ceremony one of the biggest wedding entertainment myths disappear. There are DJ’s who are every bit as classy as live bands.

When it comes to bands, one myth we’ve heard many times is that bands are too loud for guests. We understand where this comes from. Some bands focus mostly on playing in bars or clubs where loud is the point.  Unfortunately, these bands apply a one-size-fits-all method to sound amplification and it just doesn’t work for weddings. If you compare those bands to a professional DJ, you’ll find the band lacking in control over decibels. The reality is, professional bands who focus on private events and wedding entertainment know how to provide an elegant evening of dancing.

What DJ’s Have Over Bands

Do you want a DJ for your wedding entertainment?

DJ’s can typically play any song you desire while a band will have limitations.

There are a number of ways DJ’s are different than bands but chief among them is flexibility. Bands have a style and they know the songs they know. DJ’s have access to any song imaginable and the skill to arrange them in a manner that segues coherently. If you need to include a song that is unique and means something special to you, is not a very well-known track, and/or is from a specific ethnic place, DJ’s have access to and can incorporate those songs into the night appropriately.

Another big difference is cost. While DJ’s and Bands swing wildly in both directions when it comes to pricing, the averages between the two usually result in bands costing couples more. Besides their specialized skill-sets and demands for gigs outside of weddings, bands simply have more people to pay. In addition, they often require additional labor to set up and tear down equipment as well as sound designers. As an example, Selective Sound Entertainment could provide wedding entertainment in addition to full room lighting and a photo booth for the same cost as most wedding bands.

Another area where we see the majority of bands (and there are exceptions in our market) have difficulties over DJ’s is work centered around being a Master of Ceremony. Some bands don’t offer this vital service because they feel it’s a different skill than dance floor entertainment…and it is. That’s why our teams have years of training in both skill sets because it’s a requisite of what we provide.

Best of Both Worlds

Band on stage for wedding entertainment

Pairing an experienced wedding DJ with an awesome band will make your special day unforgettable!

All this said, you can always have everything you want when it comes to wedding entertainment…for a price! We have our own party band, Party band, which was specifically put together for special events. After years of hearing the DJ v. Band debate, our family of companies decided to put together an option that includes the best of everything. We offer clients our MC/DJ services to handle breaks, introductions, formalities, and they get our coordinating services out of it as well. There isn’t any discount, but we do all the work coordinating with the band and all the vendors. This way, clients get the best of both worlds.

When you hire both, you have the ability to have the exact style of music you love for your reception. With both, you have the energy of live music, an organized evening, as well as an array or popular songs to dance to so everyone is happy. We offer a Party band which comes with our MC/DJ team who work and train together to create a unified complimentary experience for guests.

As long as you know the truth of the benefits and challenges of one form of entertainment over another, you can make an informed decision. We’ve been in business a long time while holding a stellar reputation because we ask the right questions before you sign to see if we are a good fit for each other. Our mission is for you to get the best wedding entertainment you can get and provide that to you if we’re right for you.

Let us know if we can help!

Rock The House Live Party Band




How wedding ceremony music is changing the outcome of ceremonies

Check this upbeat ceremony favorite..

As a Cleveland wedding DJ and special event production company, we have a full range of capabilities. We are also Cleveland, Ohio’s premier full service wedding entertainment company.  Our DJ’s, or sound technicians, are extensively trained.  With Selective Sound entertainment, we can play pre-programmed and customized music. We can also play an array of live wedding ceremony instrument choices.  Either way, our DJ’s will always have you covered. Selective Sound Entertainment’s initial advice is to take advantage of our highly reliable wireless lapel microphones during the wedding ceremony. This way everyone at the ceremony can hear what is going on. Consequently this tends to be the number one complaint from guests.

First and foremost, we, at Selective Sound Entertainment, take extreme pride in helping couples achieve the perfect music choices. What we’ve noticed is that more clients are conducting ceremonies on location now. Therefore they want an easy way to have someone provide music under those circumstances. For this type of wedding, we can provide a wide array of live music choices. We also offer highly skilled sound technicians who can play a customized mix of music. They will strategically fade the music in and out at the just the right times. This is a popular choice among couples seeking a Cleveland wedding DJ.

Fun and upbeat Trio


We Help Select Wedding Ceremony Music That Will Set Your Occasion Apart

Take a moment to think about all of the weddings you have been to and what the music during the ceremony was like. Has the repetition at other weddings left you bored at times? What if you strayed away from the norm and featured a popular tune? Would that make the wedding ceremony more personal and unique? You certainly want your guests to enjoy themselves and pay attention. Therefore music choices are a great way to keep them plugged in to your moment!

Elevating the wedding ceremony by spicing up the music selections has become more prevalent since 2017. As experts in the business, we know how to achieve this outcome. You can rely on our DJ’s to play the right mix of upbeat yet classic songs. This will keep your guests engaged with your ceremony.

These videos and renditions are great examples to check out if you’re wanting to change up your wedding ceremony.