Congratulations. You’re getting married and you want to make sure everything is perfect. The good news is that it’s getting easier to put together a ceremony and reception than ever before. There’s more choices and you can always steal great ideas from other weddings on Pinterest or YouTube.
If you’re doing a reception, you’re going to need some music and there’s 3 choices: A live band, DIY, or a DJ. The advantage of a DJ is that he won’t take band breaks and he can emcee your reception, read the crowd and play the music that gets everyone dancing. No matter how great your DIY playlist is, it’s not going to come close to having an experienced entertainer running the show. It’s like the difference between driving your old car somewhere or showing up in a limo.
The DJ can make or break a reception. It’s a good idea to chat with the actual performer and see if you like his/her personality and if they share your wedding vision. If you’re hiring a younger performer, make sure he knows how to play music for an older crowd. If the performer is still using CDs or is stuck in the 80s, check to see if he has current pop chart music. Once you’ve found your DJ, talk to them about how you want the evening to go and make sure he’s taking notes.
You can download a wedding planning sheet and give it to your DJ. You can also supply him with a song list. It is possible, however, to doom your party by coming up a list of what you think everyone likes or that you downloaded from some random website and forcing the DJ to play all of them. Think of songs that have special meaning for your friends, you and your partner, or even college songs that you share with your guests. You should also pick your first dance. It can be fast or slow, but something meaningful is usually the best choice. If your DJ has a bubble machine, you can get some great photos if he turns it on about halfway through the song.
Besides a first dance, you can also choose an optional mother/son dance, and/or a father/daughter dance . Your DJ can fade them out so you don’t lose your audience if the songs are too long. Some weddings still opt for a money dance as well. The DJ can set this up for you. He announces that it’s an ancient tradition and then gets the men to line up to dance with the bride and the women to dance with the groom. Usually the best man and maid of honor are nearby to collect the offerings. Your DJ should move into something else smoothly once the line disappears. This can be a fun tradition for a younger couple and most audiences enjoy doing it.
You can also pick the song you’d like for the cutting of the cake or let the DJ decide. Songs like “Chapel of Love” and “Wedding Song” are good choices. The same holds true for the garter and bouquet toss. Let your DJ know if you’re going to have him emcee these short ceremonies. “Girls just wanna have fun” is popular choice for the bouquet. “Love and marriage” is a good staple for the garter, but anything upbeat that fits the theme works.
Many weddings include toasts from the best man, maid of honor or immediate family. The DJ can announce the toast and create a fun intro for the person who is going to speak. Most people don’t think about where the microphone is supposed to go once they’ve spoken so the DJ can eliminate any awkwardness by being on hand to bring on the next toaster and handle the mike. Letting the DJ know the names of all the people in the wedding party is very beneficial for toasts and for introducing the wedding party if it’s a formal affair or there’s a lot of out of town guests.
Keep in mind that you probably know at least half of the guests at your wedding, but the DJ knows none of them. A little background on where your guests are coming from can be helpful to your entertainer. If a lot of your family is from New Orleans for example, a little zydeco is bound to delight your crowd. If you’ve got a bunch of college friends from A&M, the Aggie War Hymn will be a guaranteed hit.
A lot of DJs don’t have CD players anymore, so if your Aunt Jo wants to sing a song and decided to bring her karaoke tracks on something that’s not a flash drive, your DJ might need a little notice. Speaking of karaoke, it’s true that the Japanese tradition can kill a wedding reception, but if done subtly and minimally, it can kick your party up a few notches. If the DJ gets all the girls to sing “I will survive” together or all the men to do the “YMCA”, it’s reception magic!
Decide how you’d like to leave before the reception ends and let the DJ help you go out with a bang if that’s what you choose. You can stay until the last song, do a big chorus line finish to “New York, New York” or exit through the line of your wedding guests holding sparklers or throwing bird seed (no one does rice anymore). Having a clear cut plan makes for a smooth finish and will give the reception a nice professional ending.
If you’re in southeast Texas and need help finding a DJ feel free to call us at 281-412-5200 or visit our wedding page for more tips.