Have you ever been at a wedding where everyone’s dancing and having a great time and then the DJ decides to turn left instead of right? The dance floor is abandoned, and everyone makes a beeline for the bar because for some reason “Sexy Back” by J.T. was followed by Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.”
Finding that perfect mix of danceable favorites and just-right slow jams should be the job of your DJ, and you have to able to trust that person to keep the party going. I’ve been told by more than a few people that the music, and subsequently the DJ, is what makes or breaks a good reception.
The delicious food you just paid a few thousand for is gone with an hour, but the DJ is there all night, making sure your guests are up and having fun. So you want to make sure you choose someone that’s going to mesh with your tastes, your guests’ tastes and adds a little bit of themselves. Afterall, they probably know more than you.
I asked our DJ, Brian Hartmann, of Rock and Rhythm DJ Entertainment, what he suggests looking for when picking a DJ. He stressed using references and experience as a place start.
“The key to finding a DJ is to ask a lot of questions,” Hartmann said. “Interview the DJ to find out if the DJ’s personality and style matches what you’re looking for. Find out about their experience, ask them about the best and worst weddings they’ve worked at, ask for (and check) references from couples that have previously used the DJ.”
Because we aren’t from York, we used websites like WeddingWire.com to look at reviews and find references. Once you narrow it down, interview the DJ and find one that you are comfortable with.
“The more you trust the DJ and his/her judgement the better your event will be because they will be better able to read the crowd and be able to react to what they are responding to,” Hartmann said.
Christian and I have VERY different taste in music. Think Weezer vs. Notorious B.I.G. Seriously. While rap and hip-hop are more danceable, I’d also like to include some of my music in the reception, though most indie music isn’t really conducive to cutting loose.
While Christian was looking for a DJ, he asked several how to incorporate our eclectic tastes of music into a reception. In one email, a DJ responded that he had never heard of any of the “weird” music I listened to. Needless to say, that was the end of that.
When I asked Hartmann how to make our different musical tastes jive, he said that it’s important for the DJ to use those differences to make the reception unique and “put the couple’s stamp on it.”
“The DJ should be able to work with you and give you suggestions based on his/her experience,” he said. “If you really must hear ‘Do The Bartman’ or ‘Yellow Submarine’ because that was your favorite song when you were 5, work with your DJ to find a way to get that on for you. The first fast dance of the reception might not be the best place for it.”
While I’m well aware my love for The Shins won’t translate to a wedding reception, I still wanted to be sure I wasn’t stretching too far by trying to play some indie music. Hartmann said he would never tell a bride to avoid an entire genre and that he has successfully played pretty much every type of music at a reception.
“The key is to think about the guests when you make your requests. You might have the hippest and coolest taste in music, but if you’re the only one on the dance floor even you won’t have a good time,” he said.
My worst fear.
“This is not to say you try to go mainstream with all of the music. You can still put your mark on the music by adding your preferred flavors, but don’t forget about your guests. Ultimately, there’s more of them then you.”
Next week: Lace makes a comeback in a big way. Wedding dress trends for 2013.
Coming up: Look for more tips on how to make your wedding rock, including dance floor logistics and more.