A banging wedding reception playlist full of crowd pleasers and timeless bangers is the perfect way to make sure everyone's up on their feet at your wedding reception. Choosing between a live band and a wedding DJ is an important decision; if you opt for the latter, then there are several things your wedding DJ wants you to know.
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be on the other side of the decks, away from all the tipsy dancing and singing along? A wedding reception can look very different from inside the DJ booth, and from learning how to hire the perfect DJ to asking your guests for song requests, there are a few things that you, as a nearlywed couple, need to bear in mind.
The 5 Things Your Wedding DJ Wants You To Know
We spoke to industry professional Simon Clarke from Hampshire Event DJs for some expert insight and top tips on what wedding DJs wish couples knew ahead of their wedding reception.
1. How to Choose a Wedding DJ
The first step in planning the musical entertainment for your wedding reception is choosing between a live band or a wedding DJ, or both. Once you've made this decision, you can start investigating individual bands and DJs to find the perfect fit for you.
Musical preferences can vary greatly, so it's very important to do your research and find a DJ who understands your taste in music. Simon advises "Decide what kind of evening you want and then find a DJ with online reviews to compliment your expectations. Ignore sponsored posts online and look for DJs recommended by Google organically (this is usually based on the strength of their reviews)."
Once you've found a DJ who aligns with your musical vision, it's time to take the next steps. Simon clarifies "When you do find a DJ you like the look of arrange an online consultation and ask to see examples of their recent work - not photos or videos, but actually logs from their laptops of recent parties.
"Don’t ask them to send you one as this is their intellectual property and is essentially what sets them apart from other DJs. Previous playlists will give an indication of what they play most nights and whether it fits in with what you generally do (and don’t) want to hear."
2. Remember the Importance of Your DJ
Being a professional DJ involves much much more than simply making playlists. Your wedding DJ will be investing a large amount of time and effort into your wedding reception and is, as Simon says, "responsible for up to 40% of your day."
Figuring out where the task of booking a DJ fits in the wedding planning process may not be clear, but Simon advises to "secure yours once you’ve booked the venue, registrar, photographer and dress. Most will only ask for a small deposit."
3. Look Beyond a Venue's Preferred Suppliers
Many wedding venues will offer nearlywed couples a list of preferred suppliers to help them make their choices by showing them local and reliable suppliers. While this is an incredibly useful service, couples should remember that they still have the option to look beyond these lists.
Simon says "A venue often has many reasons why they recommend DJs. The quality of the experience you will receive isn’t always at the top of the list. Always ask why they recommend them and check those reasons against your priorities."
Not only is it important to check out reviews from venues and previous customers, but a wedding DJ's colleagues can also be a useful source of information. Simon points out. "Wedding photographers are a great source of independent opinions as they usually get to see DJs in action and know first-hand what they are like to work with."
4. Include an Option for Song Requests on Your RSVPs
A wedding RSVP is a great opportunity to ask your guests any essential information that you'll need to know when planning your wedding ceremony, e.g. whether they have any dietary requirements or which parts of the ceremony they'll be able to attend, if not all. It's also the perfect place to include some space for any song requests, which you can then pass on to your DJ ahead of time.
This will really help to get the party going at your reception, as well as protecting your DJ from any slightly tipsy over-enthusiastic aunties or uncles desperate to sing along to 'Sweet Caroline'.
Simon offers some further advice: "Use your language carefully when asking guests for requests. Asking them to suggest a song the DJ “might” play is better than promising the DJ “will" play it as it gives you the option to veto anything you don’t like or has obviously been suggested as an inappropriate joke at your expense.
"Make sure the DJ is fully aware of anything you have banned so it doesn’t accidentally make it into the party on the night."
5. Give Guidance
Are you a pop princess/prince? A funk follower? Perhaps rock and roll is more your speed, or maybe you're even a die-hard fan of one artist in particular (Little Monster, Barb, Directioner... the list goes on and on!). Whatever your preferences are, if there are any particular songs or artists essential to your wedding playlist, you must let your DJ know.
Simon says "Most DJs have years of experience but don’t have a crystal ball. Ultimately if we don’t know what you do and don’t like then it sometimes makes it harder for us to give you a brilliant night.
"Get yourself in the right mood to think about the music you want. You will select different songs sober at 10am on a Monday than you will at 7pm of a Friday night halfway through a gin. It's always good to give DJs the flexibility to have some input. If you don’t feel you can trust them to do their job then its easier all round if you book one you feel you can!"
Not sure which songs to include throughout your wedding day? Check out our ultimate list of wedding day songs that will give you some inspiration for each part of your wedding day.