Beautiful Music

Crafting the Perfect Wedding Playlist
By: Staci Nichols – Revolution Weddings

Hire a Wedding Entertainer You Can Trust

This can not be over-stated enough. Opt to meet in person with the bands and DJs you are considering. Don’t be too busy for this one. It’s well worth making time for. Use caution with online bidding sites that just give you a DJ or band’s price (“bid”) and a brief paragraph of information.
Furthermore, an in-person meeting gives you so many more clues than a phone or skype appointment. Some singers will walk in and instantly feel like old friends, laughing at your jokes and finishing your sentences. This is the person you want-hire the entertainer who “gets” you the best so you can be comfortable that his/her dance floor choices will be up your alley.
Also, take the time to share yourself with the entertainer you hire. If you don’t give the band “your story,” they won’t have a chance to put 100% of what they are capable of into your reception. A playlist or music set can be more personalized, more tailored the more the entertainer knows.

Decide Up Front on the Goal of your Playlist

Are you hoping for a raging all-nighter? Will this be a daytime “no dance” reception? Start with your purpose in order to ideally craft your playlist. Many times, engaged couples struggle between two competing influences: maximum dancing vs. showcasing their music tastes.
Yes, everyone of us has some wacky favorite jams. Every couple has some “inside joke” songs from their dating era. It can be very challenging for a wedding entertainer to throw those songs into the mix though and still deliver a packed dance floor. If the goal is to maximize the dancing, you might have to sit through a few songs you don’t love in order for the DJ or band to get the crowd going. On the other hand, if your preference is sticking to your playlist (whether people are dancing to your choices or not), it is likely that there will be less dancing.

Limit Your “Must Plays” to 10-12 Songs Max

If you decide on “maximum dancing” as your priority, be aware that only about 17 songs fit into an hour. Your wedding entertainer will not be able to play a three-page playlist. Even a one-page playlist reduces the “space” they need to work the crowd and transition in and out of sets. Limiting your “must plays” doesn’t mean that you can’t still give your DJ a list of “play if you can” songs. Also, equally important, take the time to make a “do not play” list.

Choose Music that Creates the Right Energy

Symphony music during dinner might lull your guests to sleep instead of priming them to get up and dance. If half of your guests are over 50 (statistics show the average wedding guest is in their 50s), instructing your band not to play anything older than 1990 might alienate a lot of people who were hoping to squeeze in a few dances. If there will be children present, opt for PG-13 versions of songs. If you absolutely must have an off-the-wall request played, tell the DJ or singer the story behind the song to help give it context, meaning fewer guests will feel alienated. For example, tell the DJ this Irish jig at your Indian wedding is from a music festival you and your fiance went to while on a trip to Ireland. Now knowing the context, your guests can laugh and smile along with you instead of scratching their heads in confusion and reaching for the car keys!
Your preferences + the expertise of a trustworthy, professional wedding and event entertainer = a wedding playlist that’s just right!
10 Unepected Questions to Ask Prospective Wedding Entertainers

  1. How will you prepare for my wedding? (What will your planning process be for my wedding?)
  2. Do you have any uncut video footage of a recent wedding performance I can see?
  3. Have you had wedding-specific training (such as a MarBecca MCing or Make It Grand workshop)?
  4. What do you do for professional development?
  5. What is Plan B if my DJ/band leader gets in a bad car accident on the way to my wedding?
  6. Do you offer a money-back guarantee? If not, why? Is it written in the contract? \
  7. What is your philosophy on getting a crowd like mine (Bilingual? Same-sex? Some old guests, some young guests?) to dance?
  8. What kind of microphone do you have for my ceremony officiant, if applicable? (An omni-directional lapel or lavalier microphone is ideal as it will be invisible in your photos, be hands-free for your officiant, and pick up not just the officiant but also you and your fiance repeating your vows.)
  9. What genres of music are your forte? What genres are you least familiar with?
  10. If applicable, will the band takes breaks? How long? How ofen? Will it be silent during those breaks?


About the Writer: Staci Nichols, owner of Revolution Weddings, is a DJ, officiant and bridal style consultant. She writes the wedding column for the mobile DJ industry’s leading publication, Mobile Beat and is a guest expert blogger for Wed Loft. Her wedding know-how has also appeared on Offbeat Bride, Wedding Planner Magazine, the Gig Masters’ wedding blog, and Brides Without Borders.


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