Do’s and Don’ts: How to Work with Your Wedding DJ

The Mix: Our blog series on everything from signature cocktails to DJ playlists.

Wedding Music Mix Tape

Having been to several, very different weddings lately, I’ve come to realize how important the music is to the wedding reception. The DJ and music selection can either keep guests dancing all night long or drive them to sneak out early. I recently talked with Jeff, a friend, newly-wed and former DJ who was more than happy to share a few do’s and don’ts when working with your DJ. Here’s what he had to say. 

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Before we get into how to work with your DJ, think carefully about the individual dances. I suggest not having too many (bride/groom, father of the bride/bride, mother of the groom/groom, best man/maid of honor, groomsmen/bridesmaids, grandparents, parents, etc), because people that are not participating get bored very quickly. I was once at a wedding where there was an hour of individual dances before the floor opened to everyone, and at least a third of the guests just left.

Knot the Groom Tip: Intersperse your individual dances instead of grouping them at the beginning of your reception party.

Keep your DJ, guests and music flowing with more helpful tips:

DO– start looking for your DJ at least six months in advance. Professional wedding DJs get booked quickly, and private DJs have all sorts of other commitments to contend with.

DON’T– book your DJ online or over the phone, much like you wouldn’t pick flowers from photos without meeting the florist. The music will help set the tone of the reception, and you want to know who you are paying to provide that tone.

DO– check with the venue about the availability of a PA (public address) system and microphones, and make sure you pass that information along to your DJ. If your venue will provide certain things, make sure your DJ knows not to bring them. If your venue will not provide anything, make sure you hire a DJ with access to everything they will need. If you have a wedding planner or event coordinator, put them in touch with the DJ and let them figure out the details.

DON’T– have one of your guests be the DJ or just use an MP3 player. DJing a wedding seems like an easy job, and in a lot of ways it is, but most DJs can feel the pulse of the party and act as a semi-authoritative figure. When a DJ takes a request, they can usually find a way to smoothly transition it into what is being played. Unless your guest has experience doing so, it can lead to awkward pauses, spikes in volume, and can ruin the mood of the reception. By just using an MP3 player, people can also play whatever they want or take over by plugging in their own music player. It may seem like a lot of money to pay a professional DJ, but it will be worth it when your reception goes smoothly and all your guests have fun.

Check back in a few weeks for more do’s and don’ts from a guy who’s been behind the turn table and down the aisle. 

Check it out:

  • Project Wedding has a great list of music for every step of your wedding, from ceremony to reception.
  • Add a little cool to your wedding playlist with these hip musical selections from Hi-Fi Weddings.
  • Send your guests home with your own customized playlist, wrapped in these creative wedding favors:

Cinderella CD Jacket and Label

  • Give the music lover in your life this sleek engraved CD case or use it to keep your own wedding mixes organized.

Silver Engraved CD Case

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