The Wedding of Your Dreams
By Jason Walsh
A disc jockey can
make or break a wedding reception much more than any other vendor.
Why? When you look back at the weddings you have attended, do you
remember what you specifically ate for dinner, dessert, or during the
cocktail hour? Or, do you instead generally remember if you and the
other guests had a fun time?
I can personally attest to the later scenario for the 15-20 weddings I
have attended as a wedding guest. When it comes down to it, the
entertainment is usually responsible for 50-60% of the total time spent at
your reception, yet couples sometimes worry more about their wedding cake
than the DJ they choose. The average price tag for a wedding in our
area is close to $30k, so it amazes me how many talented deejays I know
are told "I'm sorry, we just can't afford to hire you" and instead they
opt to rent a powered speaker and hook it up to their iPod and just let
the pre-programmed music play for the next 5 hours.
After you've enjoy your drinks
and finger sandwiches during your cocktail hour, and the tasty surf and
turf dinner, what do you expect your guests to do next? Do you
expect that they will want to dance to the songs you have mixed on your
iPod, in the exact order you listed them? Do you want to be running
to your MP3 player to switch to a more popular song because no one was
dancing to the selection you had programmed to play at 9:35pm?
Programming music in an exciting and interactive manner for a wedding is
an art that takes many years to master and should be left in the capable
hands of a professional DJ.
"Interactive" in this sense
doesn't mean line dances or conga lines, but rather the ability to read a
crowd and know exactly what songs will or will not keep your guests
dancing. You can never predict what will happen at a wedding that
would change the mood (good or bad) and require an immediate change of
plans or a fade out and fade in to a new song. I have had to make
spilt-second musical and emcee decisions after medical emergencies on the
dance floor, a potentially bad situation between a bride's father and
step-father, and countless drunken guests who ask me to give them a
microphone to "just say a few words" without the knowledge of the bride or
groom (remember, just say no!).
When you are spending thousands
of dollars on your meal, maybe up to $5,000 on a great photographer,
possibly another $2,000 or more on a videographer, why would you skimp on
the one thing that will ensure your guests leave happy and your
photographer and videographer have something exciting to capture?
Allow me to give you a
perspective from the DJ's point-of-view... I have been a disc jockey for
over 15 years and have entertained at over 500 events, the majority have
been wedding receptions. At many of my client meetings, I spend a
great deal of time counseling brides and grooms about the music choices
they make (or should at least consider). Sometimes I look at a list
and say "this is a perfect mix, that should work fine," (you can
never truly predict a crowd's reaction to a set of music) but other times
I have to intervene as a professional and provide some musical education
to my clients. I do this not to be mean or nasty, but rather to make
them aware at the types of songs their parents, grandparents, aunts and
uncles may enjoy dancing to and give insight to the hundreds of successful
receptions that have come before theirs.
I've reviewed request lists that
look more like the play-list for a high school prom and less like a
play-list for a group of mixed-aged family, friends, co-workers, and
neighbors. If, after my advice the couple still wants to have a
evening of nothing but "hair rock" bands from the '80's or 4 hours of
current hip-hop music, I defer to the client's personal preference.
And on occasion, I have respectfully declined a contact because my style
just did not match the style of the client and accepting the job would be
a disservice to myself and the couple.
Just because you or a family
member has a great digital camera, you're probably still going to hire a
professional photographer. And just because your grandmother makes a
great lasagna, you probably are still going to hire a professional
caterer. So, as a small word of advice, if you want the wedding of
your dreams, make sure you hire a professional disc jockey that you and
your fiancé/fiancée feel comfortable with... it WILL save your
wedding reception, and you will live happily ever after!
BADJA ARTICLES ARCHIVE PAGE