To wedding DJ or not wedding DJ
Ugh. Another decision. And this time, it’s a big one.
It’s true -- you do need ninja-like patience when it takes months to decide something like closest matching magentas. And there should definitely be an award for remaining civil during all group discussions on seating arrangements.
But entrusting someone to provide a soundtrack to the most important party you’ll ever throw? That’s next level.
Don’t fret. DSD wants to help. Here is a five-point checklist to ensure your special day has far more guests saying “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” than “Wake Me Up.”
Sounds like Wedding DJ 101, but you’d be surprised how many people believe that perfect song selection comes from osmosis. Unless you want your playlist to be the equivalent of plain instant oatmeal, talk to your DJ like they’re your bestie after a breakup. Tell them all of your “must plays,” definite “must not plays,” along with specific expectations/desired vibes for each section of the day. If they get annoyed, they’re not right for the job.
Have a game plan for what kind of music is needed for each part of the day that needs music. Do you want music before/during the ceremony? Is it going to take more than one set up? Is there a live music component? What should be playing while that cake is being cut? Having the DJ share a “music cue” timeline with your coordinator will ensure that things run as smoothly as possible.
3) Meet and greet
Always meet your DJ in person before hiring. Not that you’ll be able to glean that much about someone after an hour-long meeting at Starbucks. But it should be enough to give you a rough idea of what you’re getting. And it should go a long way to letting you know if their style matches yours. Whether you want the mime, the game show host, or something in between, if you can’t stand them for an hour, imagine how you’ll feel after seven.
4) Just say no
This is somewhat sacrilegious for me to say (as a DJ of 15+ years), but maybe you don’t actually need a DJ. Hiring live musicians or a local band is always an option. Different logistics are involved, and it typically means you’re dealing with even more people, but it brings a completely different vibe to the day. And as long as they can work out details ahead of time, a DJ/live band combo can sometimes provide the best of both worlds.
5) It’s my party
Bottom line: This is YOUR day. And hopefully, the only time you’ll be going through this much trouble (and cash) to publicly declare your love for another human. So don’t be too eager to please everyone. Sure, you don’t want grandma to suffer through too many booty jams, or your college friends to feel like they’re in an elevator at a retirement home. But the right professional should not only be able to please everyone, but customize the day with a soundtrack perfectly tailored to you both.
Scott McDonald is a writer, on-air personality and consultant with 15 years of experience in the San Diego music scene. He has interviewed hundreds of artists, from the legendary to the underground, for print and television. Follow McDonald and his melodic musings on Twitter @eight24_ or Instagram @scotteight24. Send your music musts to email@example.com.