An article written by Tony Winyard for the “Wedding Ideas” magazine
Think of all the weddings and other events you’ve attended over the past few years and take a minute to see what are the first few things about each of those occasions that comes to mind? Maybe repeat this exercise with your friends and ask them the same question. For many people, the thing they will remember most is whether they enjoyed it, and that is very often dictated by the quality of the entertainment that was on offer. Great entertainment makes the flowers smell sweeter the room look brighter and the food taste better. Poor entertainment turns a wedding into an expensive dinner party when the guests leave early and the ending of a beautiful day turns into a damp squib.
One way to help ensure you have a great night is to work with your entertainment rather than have them working for you. What I mean by that is, that the better they know you and you know them, the more reassured you’ll be, and the better informed they’ll be, which all aids in creating an exceptional occasion.
If you’re not planning on either meeting your band/DJ before the wedding or at least speaking by Skype or phone you are missing an opportunity to greatly influence your wedding for the better. This planning meeting is where you can discuss the timings, the music and let them know how you visualise your day. Because they have a far greater chance of delivering your dream if they know what it is! Don’t leave them guessing what you want, let them know. Have a relaxed chat over a coffee or beer and talk about your favourite music, about the radio stations you listen to, tell them of which years you were at uni/college, (because for most people their favourite music tends to be from those halcyon days). Additionally mention the songs, artists and genres you dislike, the things that make you cringe. This is extremely valuable information because the last thing your DJ wants to do is play a song you can’t stand.
Tell them of any songs that were played at family funerals that could arouse sad emotions that you’d rather avoid, especially if those were fairly recent.
I regularly meet with all the couples I work with prior to the wedding for a planning meeting to discuss all of this and more, and because of this I never encounter the infamous and legendary “Bridezilla” and my feeling is that this is because the brides I work with aren’t anxious in the lead up to the wedding and have peace of mind that their entertainment is in good hands, and it’s hard to put a price on peace of mind.
Step down (just a little)
If you are thinking of giving your DJ a massive list of exactly what music they should play (and even worse in the order they should be played!) this screams out that you have next to zero confidence that they will deliver what you want and it also begs the question why are you booking them? You may as well as have the tracks on an iPod!
A guideline of what you like and dislike helps enormously but a 10-page manual of what must be played will strangle the party into submission. How can you possibly predict exactly what the atmosphere will be like at 9pm and at 10pm etc.? Do you really know just which songs will get both sets of family and friends on the dancefloor? And also which songs will make them sit down? Some songs work really well early in the night, while others are more effective towards the end, if this isn’t something you do week in week out is this something that you are likely to know? While there are songs that can set the dancefloor alight at some weddings and yet completely kill the vibe at other weddings.
The Pre-Planned Playlist
I am often asked by friends if I will put together a playlist for them for their party and I always refuse because even though I have DJ’ed at over 2,000 weddings I can not see into the future and do not know what direction the event will go in.
The way to get the best result is if you have confidence that your DJ or band will deliver a great performance and you aid them with a guideline of what you like and dislike and ensure that somebody (ideally a staff member at the venue) looks after them in terms of refreshments, as you want them thinking about what will make your guests dance and not have their concentration wavering on famished glances over at the buffet or bar because they are starving or dehydrated!
A good DJ will feed on the atmosphere in the room and lead your guests on an amazing musical journey that creates the perfect momentum ending in a final crescendo with all your guests hugging you before they leave exclaiming they have never been to such a fantastic wedding; which is exactly how you planned it.