Guest Post by DJ Kurtis Cross
You’ve done the tough part… venue, guest list, catering, florist, gown and decor. But what about the party?! Once you’ve hired the right professional DJ (See my article on how to choose the right DJ) , it’s time to think music. While I may be biased as a professional DJ of 20+years, I believe MUSIC is the key to any great wedding celebration. Think about it lame music = a wedding where no one dances & guests leave early. On the other hand, great music from a great DJ = a celebration where the fun never stops. If you’d like to experience the latter, consider this, your blueprint for the your wedding celebration’s soundtrack… complete with an energetic dance floor and the party of a lifetime.
So where do you find the right soundtrack? I’d say the first rule is to keep in mind that this is YOUR day. Your input is essential to the success of your reception. While you’ve taken the time to find the right professional DJ, the work is not done just yet. In fact, I would not leave it solely up to the DJ to create the reception you want. So be sure to communicate your wants, ideas & vision with your DJ. Do you picture a huge dance party where traditions and customs take a back seat? Will it be tough to get your guests on the dance floor? Providing this insight to your DJ is important so expectation are clear. Your DJ should take the time to get to know you.
Here are additional ideas, suggestions & inspiration for creating your wedding soundtrack…
Where Do You Find Musical Inspiration? - You know best, your musical likes/dislikes and what will likely get your guest dancing. What’s on your iPod, Spotify or YouTube playlist? Take a moment to jot down your faves so that your DJ will include these tracks into your music program. If you are looking for a jump start, we’ll provide a goldmine of song suggestions in just a bit.
Let the DJ be a DJ - While your input is key, you’ll also want to remember that your DJ has the experience of weddings past, to draw on. His/her experience will serve as an excellent source of suggestions and ideas for creating your wedding celebration. Your DJ knows which song selections work well as well as those that can clear the dance floor. Don’t be afraid to yield some control to the DJ.
Requests via RSVP Card - One way to include your guests in on the fun is to invite a song request (notice “request is NOT plural) via your RSVP card. You’ve invited your guests because you’d like to share this day and, of course, the FUN, with them. Welcoming their request allows them to take part in building that fun.
# For Requests - Another great way to involve your guests is to create a unique hashtag for requests. Share the hashtag on your wedding website and get the ideas going in advance of the big day.
Aim To Include Everyone - You’ll likely have a core group of guests in your age range with guest ages ranging younger & older. Don’t forget about the guests who may not want to sweat it out to today’s hit music. Include some tunes from yesteryear for your older guests, along with something fun for your younger guests.
What Will People Dance To? There are distinct differences between music people love to LISTEN to and music you’ll DANCE to. Consider commuting some of your “must plays” that are not truly fun dance songs, to your cocktail or dinner hour. You’ll still hear them, without risking an empty dance floor.
Be Clear On Your “Must Plays” & “Do Not Plays” - A professional DJ will appreciate knowing your absolute favorite songs and those songs that you absolutely do not want to hear. You may not want to make these lists super lengthy, but still present them to your DJ so that there are no surprises on your wedding day.
Do The Math - People generally begin to appreciate music in their teen years. So, if you’re 32, go back 19 years and research music that was popular during that time. It’s always fun to include a “Retro” set of music from your school days.
Don't Overdo It - Yes, you should submit requests to your DJ. But, let's do more math here...
60 minutes in an hour
~ 3-4 minutes per song
~ 28 songs per hour
If you've set aside 2 hours for dancing, you'll get 30-36 songs for dancing. No need to submit a request list of 100 songs, leaving the DJ with no wiggle room for requests or their own additions. Be realistic about time and narrow your list to the absolute must plays, to allow requests and the DJ's intuition.
•What song was popular when you first met? Be sure to add that to your list.
•Parent Dances - It’s always a great idea to consider your parent’s input on the song that they’d like to share with you for the parent dances.
•Entrance Songs - When your bridal party is introduced, an energetic song (that everyone knows) is one way to set the tone for the remainder of your reception.
Hopefully, you’ve gotten some great ideas and a starting point for finding the perfect soundtrack to your wedding day. Now, I promised a “cheat” sheet of song ideas so here goes…
Find The Most Requested Songs From The 2017 Wedding Season (Including First Dance Songs, Parent Dances, Ceremony Songs, Bouquet/Garter Songs & Hitlists From The 60’s - 10”s) On My Website.