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smiling bride

What you’ll find here:

Tons of unique and modern wedding song ideas that aren’t overplayed as well as different versions of the ones that are!

Don’t allow your wedding reception to be a cookie-cutter affair!  Customize your cocktail hour and dinner music!  Dance music should be left up to the DJ as much as possible so he can “read the crowd” and switch it up as needed.  If you want to dictate a lot of the music selections, be sure to hire an ego-free DJ that will work with you to make it uniquely yours! 

Since August is our busiest booking month of the year, I’ve been having  A LOT of conversations with potential clients.  These discussions can get pretty deep when talking about must play lists, getting people dancing, etc.  Here’s one I’ve been hit with quite often lately…

Scenario:

A Bride calls in to see if we might be the right service for her.   She then tells me that she recently saw a DJ (NOT OUR COMPANY) at a wedding that would play songs, and there was no rhyme or reason to it.  He would play a great song and pack the dance floor, and the next song would make guests leave it.  She wanted to make sure that didn’t happen to her.  Her solution:  Create a must play list to cover the dancing portion.  This will help protect her from a ‘bad dj’.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE:  She wants to choose ALL of her dancing songs, or nearly all of them.  I am not talking about normal-sized must play lists here.

Why this isn’t necessarily such a good idea:

I’m the first one to say that we’ll honor your must plays, as well as your do not plays.  And we really, truly will.  No matter what.  We are one of the few that say we’ll play it or avoid it, and do.

The problem with the scenario above is that the bride is most likely creating exactly what she wants to avoid.  Unless the DJ had a really tricky crowd or it really was a bad DJ (both do exist), there is a great chance that the DJ was working with a bride’s must play list.  If you give us a lengthy must play list… you are predicting what will work for your wedding.  Must play means we have to play it NO MATTER WHAT.  If it isn’t working, we’ve lost all control to do something about it.

Well, great wedding DJs know that if they play this song, these other songs go with it.  Unfortunately, those songs might not be on your must play list.  So now he has to search through it to find the next best thing, if it exists.  This makes it seem like there is no rhyme or reason to what a DJ plays.  You have taken away his ‘tools’, flexibility, and a lot of his best mixes.  His ability to bridge the gap between different genres.   With no prior experience DJ’ing weddings, and no ability to read your own crowd on the night of and respond to what they are saying, you’ve now attempted to DJ your own.

Imagine if we could walk into weddings every single weekend with only 50 dance songs that were sure to work (average based on a 6 hour wedding).  Well, first of all, there would be no difference between good DJs and bad.  And people wouldn’t aspire to become DJs, because it wouldn’t be challenging.  When in fact, it is one of the most challenging and exciting jobs you could have.  Part of the thrill of being a DJ, is knowing that you were directly responsible for giving people one of the best parties of their lives, and packing dance floors.

When you’re a wedding DJ, you have a different crowd every weekend.  You really do “read the crowd”.  And believe it or not, a good DJ doesn’t play the same stuff at every wedding.  Of course, a lot of the really sweet hits that are sure to make people dance are certainly played.   Because they work.

It’s the filler stuff that makes the difference.

The stuff that you play as a result of a really good conversation with the bride and groom, to understand what they want.

The stuff you play to support the things they want, because you know of some other things that mix well with it.

The stuff you play that you haven’t played in awhile, but your gut tells you it will work ‘if they just danced to that other song’.

The stuff you know to play because it gets the guests pumped for one of the must play songs.

The stuff you pull out of nowhere because you’re so damn good at your job and do it so often, you’ve got a bigger tool box than DJs that don’t. 

And the stuff that has people saying, “WOW!  You are an amazing DJ.  You’re the best DJ I’ve ever seen at a wedding”!

A great wedding DJ will have such a thorough conversation with you to know what you want,…there’s no way they’ll hit on the songs you don’t want (for those that worry about the cheesy stuff).

The moral of the story:  Hire a DJ that has the right stuff, cares enough to find out what you like, has a proven and verifiable track record of getting people dancing AND provide him with the flexibility to read your crowd.   This will ensure that your wedding is what you’re afraid it won’t be.  And sometimes a crowd really is so tricky, that your DJ needs the extra stuff that you’ve taken away.

With all of this said, some brides and grooms care more about listening to their own soundtrack than getting people dancing.  If that’s the case, it’s an entirely different conversation.  We don’t insert our expectations into your night.  If you want to hear your stuff regardless of the results, we respect that.

Before I get the backlash of brides that say they picked all of their own music and it worked…I’ll admit, we’ve had some weddings where a bride and groom picked all of their own dance songs, it freaked us out, and it worked!   There’s a chance it may have sounded more fluid if we had access to songs we thought would mix better with some of the other song choices, but it worked!

Yet we have had more weddings where a bride and groom walked up to us and said, “just do whatever”, after the must play list was failing to achieve results.  Or, receptions that we just didn’t feel were as good as they could have been, had we had access to all of our tools and favorite mixes.  Unfortunately, by this time, we have to RESCUE the party, or never had the opportunity to.  As with anything else in life, it’s better to be proactive than reactive.  What you’re essentially doing is gambling with your dancing.  And with what we’ve seen after servicing thousands of weddings, the odds AREN’T necessarily in your favor.

Stay tuned for Part 2:   How to pick all of your own music in a PROACTIVE way.  For brides and grooms that are really picky about music.

Our wedding grand entrance was the most exciting moment of the day.  I’m sure all brides will agree that the feeling is indescribable. 

While the grand entrance will always be extremely powerful left untouched, it’s always fun to plus it +

1)  If your dance floor is in the perfect spot in the room, have your DJ invite all of your guests out there and form two lines, or a horseshoe.  Whatever works best.  I believe that a crowd gets more energy when they are close together, so the applause will be nuts!  Your bridal party can be introduced and then join them, while you and your groom can go into the middle and do your first dance.  Talk about a GRAND moment!

2)  After your first dance is finished, your DJ can invite all of your guests out there to share in a special dance together. 

3)  Your DJ could then ask everyone to remain on the dance floor for a group pic!  Those shots are great, and there is no better way to remember every one that shared in your big day!

Timing is crucial here!  You may want to move toasts to the latter part of dinner.  I’m sure your best man and maid won’t have a problem with the extra time to down a couple of drinks!

Stay tuned for more fun ideas!  Our goal is to give our brides as many options as possible, and allow them to pick what suits them best.  No two A Bride’s DJ weddings are alike, and we plan to keep it that way!

Diana 🙂

It’s a fun time of year to get married, especially if you are incorporating Halloween into your theme!

Here are some cool grand entrance ideas for those weddings (ignore images if you’re sensitive to them…I’m just trying to put the full song out there):

Beetlejuice by Danny Elfman

Goblin by Profondo Rosso

Saw Theme Song by Zepp

or, on a lighter note…

The Corpse Bride

Let me know if you have anything better!  We have several brides getting married this next month that would be DYING to hear em’.  Ha ha.

😮  Diana

Hello favorite brides!

I’ve made some mental notes to share some things with you after recent conversations, so here goes…

Pay attention to the little details:

1)  Lighting.  Women are more likely to dance in the dark.  For many women, it’s a REALLY big deal to get all dressed up.  They feel a bit vulnerable, and it’s important to think of their comfort.   Be sure you’ve scheduled your wedding during a time that allows for dim lighting, especially if there are a ton of windows in the banquet room you’ve chosen.

2)  Cocktail music.  Change it up!   Upbeat music IS okay during cocktails!  Your guests have listened to Frank Sinatra and Jazz at EVERY SINGLE wedding they’ve ever been to.  If you love the classics, that’s ok!  Just try and sprinkle in some modern day classy tunes as well, such as Jack Johnson, Adele, Michael Buble, etc.  If you don’t want your wedding to be JUST like every one else’s…you’ll have to make some changes.  The good news is:  Subtle and easy changes make an ENORMOUS difference!  (If you’re already A Bride’s DJ client, you know where to find some fun recommendations!)

3)  Keep em’ together.  Energy passes faster in crowds.  While things like balconies, beautiful grounds, etc. are fancy touches that WOW, be sure that your guests are all in one spot once the dancing starts.  Keep the bar in the room, if possible.

4)  Trim those dances!  I’m a sap for special dances just as much as the next girl, but let’s face it…4 minutes is a really long time to watch someone dance with their dad.  The emotional WOW happens in the first couple of minutes, doesn’t it?  Ask your DJ to fade songs out a little early. 

5)  Tickle the senses!  Ever feel like your life is groundhog day?  Go to work, get home, clean the house, wake up, do it all over again.  The last thing you want is for your guests to include your wedding in that list.  Go to work, get home, go to a wedding that is exactly what you expect.  Yikes!  Not what we’re aiming for, is it?  Use that imagination you’ve been given!  And if you don’t have one, ask us!  We’ll get you excited about the plans!

I know there were a million more things that I wanted to tell you, but that’s all I can think of for now.  Let us know if we can help! 

Diana Cusic  🙂

This isn’t going to fall well on all ears… especially if you’ve already incorporated this into your wedding.  Allow me to apologize in advance.

Do not ask your guests to write their requests on the back of their response card.

Do the math.  If you have 200 guests and they each make a request, your DJ will have a list of 200 songs to play.  Most of their requests will be a dance song, and only about 50 dance songs can be played in a 6 hour wedding.  And you DEFINITELY DON’T WANT to get stuck with a list of 200 first dance songs!  Talk about slowin’ down the night!

So rather than ‘honoring’ your guests by allowing them to take part of your big day, you’ve now completely ignored their wishes because your DJ would never have time to get to all of their requests.  There’s nothing special in THAT. 

Besides, your non-dancers are having influence over your playlist, too. 

While the thought behind this idea is that guests will request only the songs that they will dance to, unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.  We see it time and again at weddings.  Guests walk up, anxiously request a song…and then run back to their seat to sit and enjoy it.

Alternative:  If you really dig this idea, and can’t restrain yourself…put up a list of the top wedding hits on www.surveymonkey.com and create a poll.  Allow your guests to rate their favorite DANCE SONGS, and ask your DJ to incorporate the top 10-20 rated songs into the night (depending on how long your reception is and how many requests of your own you’ll have).  You can email the list to your attendees, and watch the results with delight!  (But don’t allow write ins!)

You’ll find this list at http://www.discjockeys.com/top_200.php.  (We have our own list on our client-exclusive site, and it looks a bit different.  If you’re a client of ours, please check that out instead!)

This will allow your guests to ‘rate’ the songs they like from a list of already proven stuff, yet they won’t feel alienated when their ‘original thought’ wasn’t played on the night of your wedding.  And believe me…they will be hounding the dj for ‘their song’.  Even if their song is an awful request, they feel a sense of entitlement because they wrote it on that cute little response card and sent it by mail. 

With all of this said, we do think it’s important to honor your guests in any way possible.  Find out the first dance song for your grandparents, special aunts and uncles, etc., and ask your DJ to play it for a slow set or anniversary dance.  But be careful of how many people you ask.  If your party is thumpin’, you won’t want your DJ to slow it down TOO often.  Try to restrict the list to those closest to you. 

Good luck!

Diana 🙂

5 quick ways that you can protect yourself when hiring wedding vendors:

1)  Ask for references FOR BRIDES AND GROOMS, and see how quickly they respond.  A busy wedding vendor will have plenty of brides and grooms to share!  We’ve found that many so-called busy wedding DJs that applied for a job…just plain ole’ dropped off the face of the earth when asked for references.  Thank God we asked!

2)  Call the references!  I know it’s uncomfortable…but it’s necessary.  This is a great way to find out if the vendor you’re about to hire meets YOUR CRITERIA. 

3)  NEVER pay your vendors off super early, unless you’re absolutely positive you’ve found a good one.  We get SEVERAL phone calls from brides searching for a DJ last minute because their DJ cancelled.  Not only are they trying to find a new DJ, but they are also stuck with the bill.  Of course, one can only hope that the DJ is going to give you your money back, but who wants to run that risk unnecessarily?  (Standard procedure is to pay off vendors 1 – 2 weeks early).

4)  It’s logical to have a decent web presence, a contract and some sort of planning tools.  If the vendor you’re thinking of using doesn’t seem to have any of these handy, or it takes awhile to receive it…consider jumping ship!  It’s a sure sign that they aren’t busy doing what you’re asking them to do… serving weddings!

5)  Make sure the deposit is ‘a fraction’ of the total price.  Quality vendors will ALWAYS ask for a deposit to secure the date, however, asking for a $500 deposit for a $700 service is totally off kilter.

I should specify that this should be the standard for services such as DJs, photographers and videographers.  There are so many types of services that you might hire, and I can’t possibly think of each one when writing this post.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…it is SO important for a bride to take a virtual tour through her upcoming day, and figure out ways to enhance the guest experience. Most brides spend a ton of time on the foo foo details, and little to no time on the whole ‘guest experience’ part.

Picture Disney World.  Disney World employs people called “Imagineers” who have the sole job of imagining new and creative ways to invent things that WOW people.

How can you do the same with your wedding day?  Especially with so little time on your hands?

All you need is 1 day, a clear mind (uggghhh…I know), and all of the creativity you can muster.  Here are a few questions and ideas to get your gears turning:

  • What can you give your guests as they arrive to the ceremony, so they won’t be uncomfortable, or bored to tears while they wait for the BIG entrance?  How can you lighten up your program?  If allowed, why not slip a little treat in there?  Why not include a funny or sentimental story?  Or copies of programs from grandparents’ weddings?  Pictures of other relatives’ weddings?
  • Are you willing to DANCE back down the aisle to a fun song?  Can you hand your guests some sort of fun gift as you greet them?  Something that says, “WE’RE GOING TO PARTY!
  • Speaking of greetings…why not have something really cool for your guest arrival to the reception?  A few signature drinks to choose from with funny or exotic names?  A funny joke on the back of the placecards?
  • And I know some brides will cringe at this one…why not spray paint a few of those peg games and have them on the table for your guests?  When I say spray paint…I mean customize them to match your colors, and so they won’t look tacky…and add some bling!
  • How about having your DJ say something special and/ or funny about each of your bridal party members as he introduces them?  (You script it, of course.)

Those are just a few quick ideas to get your gears turning.  What’s right for one, may not be right for all…so grab a pen and start scribbling.  Remember those brainstorming sessions you do in those boring meetings at work?  No idea is a bad one!  Just keep writing until you have nothing left.  You’ll be amazed at the ideas you’ll come up with!

Want more ideas?  Give us a call!—-Diana Cusic 🙂