Some tips for a successful wedding reception from a DJ's point of view. Part 1 - Pre-Planning
Some tips for a successful wedding reception from a DJ's point of view.
I am not a full blown event planner, but I can offer some solid tips and thoughts based on the years of experience I have from being the Musical Host at hundreds of reception. In this Blog Post I want to focus on the following: Pre-planning, Event Flow, & Communication. This will probably be broken up into several shorter Blogs over the next few months. After each topic I will also list how I am structured to help and provide assistance with the main topics.
The truth is the day of or even the week before your bog event can be one of the busiest and more stressful times. One of the best ways to reduce that tension is to plan in advance. In regards to musical selections at your reception let's look at some of the key pieces of information you probably already know by the time you involve the DJ:
- Estimate of the number of attendees
- Length you want your event to last
- Your music preferences
- Possible music preferences for your family or guests
Simply put, the first two are important because they help your DJ determine how much equipment they need to bring for sound reinforcement and help them provide an estimate to you. The second two should help them start putting together a potential playlist at least mentally based on these genres. Your preferences are certainly important for obvious reasons; but, it is also important to consider the tastes of your guests as well. While it is certainly your day and the focus remains on you, if you do not consider your guests you risk decreasing their enjoyment at your event.
About a month before the reception you should try to have chosen or at least narrowed down the music selections for the following key events:
- Grand Entrance: This can be one song for the entire wedding party or split between 1 song for the wedding party and another unique selection for the Bride and Groom. Since it usually takes 15 seconds or less per couple to be introduced, you need to keep that in mind when making your selection.
- First Dance: The all-important first dance as husband and wife. What we are seeing as a wonderful trend is to select 1 or 2 more songs specifically for you and your husband / wife and ask them to be played later in the evening and request the DJ to call you back out to the floor for another spotlighted
dance together. This gives the photographer and guest additional opportunities to see you dance together and allows for more than one meaningful song to be played for you both to enjoy.
Other Key "Room Focus" Music Selection Events:
- Cake Cutting
- Wedding Party Dance
- Boquuet Toss
- Garter Removal
- Garter Toss
- Anniversary Dance
- Brides Dance with her Father (image on the right)
- Grooms Dance with his Mother
How we help with pre-planning
All of our clients receive access to our on-line planning portal. Some of the tools the planning portal provides are worksheets and timelines. Our Wedding Worksheet has different sections asking for important information about the aspects of that area. You can get a better idea by looking at our help guide here on our client login page here:
It may seem like a great idea to provide your DJ Service with a huge list of songs for your reception for your guests to hear during cocktail hour (while you're getting pictures taken), during dinner, and for the open part of the evening. It has been my experience that this could impact the enjoyment of your guests. Not everyone at your wedding may share your exact tastes in music. It also leaves little room for your guests to request music they want to hear. Nor does all music lend itself well to different parts of the nght. for example you do not want a popular dance song played during the cocktail hour or dinner when everyone is eating.
Trust your DJ
You are paying for a professional DJ Service. Let them show you what you are paying for. Your DJ should work with you on getting a little information about music you like, music your friends like, general age range of your guests, etc... demographics that can help him put together an ensemble of music for your guests to enjoy. Your guests will remember the quality of your musical entertainment and the enjoyment they had listening to the musical selection.
When we work with our brides and grooms; we encourage them to provide between 5 - 15 songs they definitelytwant to hear throughout the evening and let us rely on experience to keep their guests happy. We start during cocktail hour. Using a wide selection of music appropriate for light-hearted cheerful background sounds; we can tell which guests might enjoy what types of music (slight head bobbing, lip syncing, toe tapping, etc... there are all kind of signs an experience DJ knows to look for to tell if the guests are enjoying the music. We encourage couples to let their guests make requests, but trust us to determine the appropriate times to play the selections and if a song works with the crowd and the atmosphere. You have enough aspects of the day to be concerned with; let us help take some of the stress away.
Stay Tuned for the next entry we will touch more on reception timelines.