I’ll never forget the feeling… it was a Tuesday afternoon in the summer of 2014… I opened up the Google Doc spreadsheet to compile the bride and groom’s requests for the upcoming weekend, and there they were: over 250 Dance Requests. Not only were there 250 of them, but 97 of them were marked as “Must Play” songs.
If this doesn’t seem crazy to you, let me explain…
Over the course of 3.5 hours of dancing, your DJ will typically play between 60-70 songs. This means that this particular couple had chosen approximately four times as many songs as would even be played at their wedding! And as for their 97 “Must Play” songs, how could I possible play more than half of their requested songs? We simply didn’t have enough time.
Not only this, but because they had so many “Must Plays,” I had no idea which songs truly were their favorites, and which they just liked a little bit more than their normal requests.
Let’s face it, nobody can have 97 favorite songs, it’s just not possible!
Needless to say, I as their DJ felt hamstrung all night with the overwhelming feeling that I didn’t have the freedom to do my job: to read the crowd and play the songs I know will go over really well with the people who are dancing at any given moment.
Let me put it simply: you wouldn’t give a professional artist a “Paint By Numbers” kit and ask him to paint a masterpiece for your to hang above your mantle. So don’t do this to your DJ.
Getting to this point, though, requires a great deal of trust between you and your DJ.
And maybe you’re reading that above sentence thinking to yourself, “But I couldn’t trust my DJ like that!!” Well, then you need to find a top quality DJ service (this is the part of the article where we make a shameless plug for Kaleidoscope Events and how awesome we are!!… okay, not back to the article).
Truly though, I can’t over-stress this enough. Find a DJ you can trust with choosing songs, emceeing, you’ll be glad you did.
So let’s assume that you’ve found your trusted DJ, how many songs should you give him?
Let’s go back to the metaphor we used earlier of the painter. We can agree, you wouldn’t give an renown painter a “Paint By Numbers” kit, but you would still likely give direction if you were commissioning a work of art for your home. You’d probably request that it be a scenery piece, or that it have a family member of yours in it, or that it be abstract. Maybe you’d tell him the general mood that you’d like it to be, or even what colors should be used, so that it will match the rest of your home. And, you NEED to do this. Because you probably have some unspoken expectations that need to be communicated, or else you’ll be sorely disappointed.
It’s no different with your Wedding DJ. Give direction. Give him/her an idea of your end result, where you’d like to end up, but also allow for the artistry and creativity that led you to choose him/her in the first place.
Allow me to be super specific. How many songs should you request? I suggest offering 20-30 requests, with 5-10 “Must Plays.” This will give your DJ a great picture of where you and your fiance are at musically. But, it’ll also allow for a ton of crowd-reading, guest requests, and spontaneity on your wedding day.
It turns out that the old saying is right in this instance, sometimes, less is more.
If you have an older crowd coming to your wedding and your worried about playing Top-40, click here for some insight on older crowds and Top-40.
To read more on how to keep your dance floor packed all night, click here.