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Choosing the Perfect Songs for your Wedding Reception

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Classic songs never get old, hit songs often have a short buzz before fizzling out, while the rest have no buzz at all.

Being a DJ almost exclusively hired for wedding receptions for the past decade I have witnessed various song trends; seeing what is commonly requested and which song choices make a night memorable for each stage of the night. The list has been compiled to serve as a guide or give a general idea of the songs you want at each special moment to provide the sound and more importantly, the feel you want.

Entry of the Groomsmen and the Bridal Party

The songs chosen for the introduction and entry of both parties signify the real start to your night and set the tone for what is to come. Commonly songs chosen for the entry of each party are big, fun, upbeat and serve as your grand entrance - think the spectacle of a WWE wrestlers entrance without the testosterone. Great examples include:

  • Beyoncé - Crazy In Love

  • Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling

  • Black Eyed Peas - Lets Get it Started

  • Bruno Mars - Marry You

  • Chris Brown - Forever

  • Florence and the Machine - Dog Days are Over

  • Kool & The Gang - Celebration

  • Michael Jackson - The Way You Make Me Feel

  • Queen - Crazy Little Thing Called Love

  • Survivor - Eye of the Tiger

  • U2 - Beautiful Day

If you wish to have your own song as a Bride and Groom, try to find a song that represents you and your partner best. If for example you two are heavily into 80’s rock, ACDC - Thunderstruck could be a perfect fit. Additionally, your song should be a higher tempo than that of the Groomsmen and Bridal party as you two are the big event.

The Cutting of the Cake

The cutting of the cake is often the first formality of the night as husband and wife in front of friends and family. The following is a list of light touching music to display the significance of the bond you two have with each other for all attending;

  • Alicia Keys - If I Ain't Got You

  • Billie Joel - Just The Way You Are

  • Jason Maraz - I'm Yours

  • Jack Johnson - Better Together

  • Marvin Gaye - How Sweet It Is

  • Queen - Best Friend

Your First Dance

Your first dance as husband and wife is a moment in time to remember forever. It is a chance to show your partner how deeply you feel for them while your friends and family watch on emotionally in awe. Songs chosen for the first dance are heavy, loving and emotional; the significance of the event takes away any sappiness that could potentially be associated with these songs;

  • Coldplay - Magic

  • Lifehouse - You and Me

  • Lonestar - Amazed

  • Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars

  • K-Ci & Jojo - All My Life

  • Faith Hill - Breathe

  • Shania Train - You're Still The One

  • Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You

Bride & Father and Groom & Mother dance songs that often follow a first dance should also be touching but not more so than your first dance.

The Dance Floor

It's party time! Your guests have been sitting waiting very patiently until now, itching to get on the dance-floor. The dance-floor needs to be fun, high energy and more silly as the night goes. This is the moment of the night you want everyone to enjoy themselves and truly loosen up after all of the formalities of the night. Usually dance-floors have a mix of the latest top 40 hits and classic party songs such as:

  • Abba - Dancing Queen

  • ACDC - You Shook Me All Night Long

  • B52s - Love Shack

  • Backstreet Boys - Backstreet's Back

  • Beyoncé - Crazy In Love

  • Bon Jovi - Livin On A Prayer

  • Cyndi Lauper - Girl's Just Wanna Have Fun

  • Jackson 5 - Blame It On The Boogie

  • Kenny Loggins - Footloose

  • Los Del Rio - Macarena

  • Madonna - Like A Prayer

  • Mc Hammer - Can't Touch This

  • Rick Springfield - Jessie's Girl

  • Bob Seger - Old Time Rock & Roll

  • Sir Mix Alot - Baby Got Back

  • The Knack - My Sharona

  • Tina Turner - Nutbush

  • Toni Basil - Hey Mickey

  • John Travolta & Newton John - Grease Megamix

  • Whitney Houston - I Wanna Dance With Somebody

  • Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl

  • Vanilla Ice - Ice Ice Baby

  • Village People - YMCA

Garter/Bouquet Toss

The fun continues with the Garter/Bouquet toss. In this case the more silly the song the better;

  • Beyoncé - Single Ladies

  • Cyndi Lauper - Girl's Just Wanna Have Fun

  • Dixie Cups - Chapel of Love

  • Def Leopard - Pour Some Sugar On Me

  • Kelis - Milkshake

  • LMFAO - Sexy and I Know It

  • Right Said Fred - I'm Too Sexy

  • Survivor - Eye of the Tiger

  • Weather Girls - Its Raining Men

Last Song of The Night

The last song of the night marks the close to your special day. Couples often have a farewell circle or arch where they can see their guests for the last time before going off into the night. These closing songs are either sentimental or finish the night in an upbeat manner;

  • Billy Joel - Piano Man

  • Don McLean - American Pie

  • Kenny Logins - The Gambler

  • The Rembrandts - I'll Be There For You

Hopefully this guide can help you choose the perfect songs for the closing chapter of your big day. Remember which moods are important for your formalities and the type of songs that will provide the emotional impact to make your reception unforgettable.

28 Questions You Need to Ask Your Wedding DJ

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"Your event, is your event."

Although not the most profound of statements, it is one that can often be forgotten and if forgotten can add an unneeded element of risk to your night. You owe it to yourself to determine exactly what you are in for when hiring the DJ service in question and if they can make your event theunforgettable, jaw-dropping beautiful night it needs to be.

Asking for a consultation with your DJ service should not be an issue for a professional DJ service, if they are unwilling, you should consider looking elsewhere. To help you in the consultation process, I have compiled a list of every question I have encountered as an experienced wedding DJ to help gauge their professionalism, honesty, reliability and quality;

The Fundamentals

  1. Are you available for our event date?

  2. What is your pricing policy? what is included in the cost of my event?

  3. Are there any other services you provide? (eg dancefloor lighting, smoke machines, photo-booths etc.)

  4. Do you offer a written contract?

  5. Are you insured with Public Liability Cover?

The DJ

  1. How long have you been operating as a professional DJ?

  2. Is there an event type you typically DJ for?

  3. Are you able to meet in person before we hire you?

  4. Will you play longer than the agreed time if required?

  5. What music would you recommend and suggestions do you have for our night?

  6. Are we able to requests songs and are you adaptable to changes throughout the night?

  7. Are you able to play music for a wide demographic of people?

  8. Are you able to dress professionally for our event?

  9. How early can you set up before the event?

  10. Are you able to run party games?

  11. Can you MC for my event?

  12. Will you need dinner provided to you on the night?

  13. Do you take breaks?

  14. What would happen if you were suddenly unable to attend our event?

  15. Can you provide me with a list of recent clients that I can contact for references?

  16. Can I visit you at a performance?

Music/Equipment

  1. What safeguards do you have in place given your equipment failed?

  2. May I see your song list?

  3. How do you keep your music collection up to date?

  4. How big is your music catalog?

  5. Do you have a microphone/wireless microphone?

  6. Do you have dance-floor lighting?

  7. What is the equipment that you use? Do you have backup if it is to fail?

...and that's the list! Making sure you have asked all questions that are relevant to your night is the best way to ensure it goes just as you had imagined. If you have any other questions you would like to contribute for others please provide them in the comment section below.

4 Easy Steps to get the DJ your Wedding Deserves

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It's your big night. Your friends, family, their partners and even your drunk uncle from Hobart are there to celebrate your big day. You stroll out onto the dance floor for your first dance together as a couple, it’s beautiful, the song that was played while you first met plays as you dance holding each other tightly. The song slowly fades as everyone cheers, the DJ your cousin Dazz recommended winks your way and mouths "trust me".

"Don't break my heart, my achey break heart" booms through the speakers and in seconds his song choice has destroyed the atmosphere and left a bad taste for all attending and killed any motivation they previously had of wanting to join the dance floor.

Choosing the right DJ for your wedding is essential to ensure your reception has the atmosphere you desire and the dance floor continually full throughout the night.

 

1. Clarify your expectations.

Before trawling through the internet forums and search engines, attending wedding fairs or interrogating your friends, evaluate how you would like your reception to unfold.

Here are some key considerations:

  • The age groups present

  • Your taste in music

  • How much you are willing to spend

  • How outgoing you would like your DJ and ultimately your dance floor to be

  • If you need the DJ to MC your event

  • How hands on you want to be with the music selections

  • If there are any special considerations you have for the night

 

2. Research, research, research.

Now with your clear goal in mind it is time to begin the information trawl. Talk to everybody about everything about your expectations and take on board their suggestions.

Friends and family are obvious go-tos for this information but do not be afraid to contact others who have hired their services in the past. Organisations often display testimonials on their web-page with the contact information of those who have provided it. Alternatively, do not be afraid to ask an organisation for a previous client's details for an honest evaluation of their services.

However, do be weary of asking an organisation directly about the quality of their services as they will likely state they provide an excellent service and can handle any event. 

REMEMBER! THEY ARE TRYING TO MAKE A SALE!

Instead try to find evidence of their work if possible through testimonials, pictures and video of previous events. Try to find evidence of events that closely resemble the day you wish to have and see if they meet your expectations.

 

3. Contact and meet up with your best picks.

Generally, your gut feeling about an organisation or DJ is a good guide. However, to ensure your night is destined to be an unforgettable success request a meeting with your DJ.

The meeting will allow you to get a feeling for the DJ and have a conversation between you and your DJ to provide you with their expert knowledge, clarify expectations and ultimately determine if they are a good fit.

 

4. Pick the DJ for your event.

The step is easy as it sounds, ring them up and organise the event and relax by knowing you've gone through a thorough process selecting your DJ and not left your event to risk.

Also finally, remember to post your thoughts about the event afterward as a testimonial to help others who are going to be going through the same stress as you!