Requests: A Musical Request Triangle
It’s a year away from the date of your wedding and you just booked a great DJ who is the perfect fit for you and your fiance. As months go by, you think of songs that you love and would want played at your wedding. You make an on-going playlist and by the time you are finished you have already chosen 60 songs! There are “must-play” songs that you have designated for formalities such as father-daughter dance, mother-son dance and your first as a married couple, but what about the other fifty something songs on your list? Is that too many… or not enough?
Most receptions are typically four to five hours long with an hour for cocktails when you are off taking pictures and probably won’t even be there, then roughly two hours dedicated to dinner and the remaining time for the after-dinner “fast” dancing. If you do the math, songs are usually about four minutes long, which means only about fifteen songs can be played in an hour. Sixty songs would be the same as picking four hours worth of music.. provided there are no announcements or interruptions. The music you’ll select is based on your own preferences, without any input from the DJ or any consideration for the musical tastes of your guests. Before serving up such a long list to your DJ… ask yourself: Will everyone at your wedding know and enjoy all of the songs you have chosen? Will your playlist keep everyone (all age groups) at your reception dancing until the last song? Is your playlist full of songs that are both danceable and widely recognizable.. rather than obscure album cuts and indie groups you followed in college?
Think of the music played at your wedding as coming from a musical request triangle having three equally important sides. One side (1/3) can be requests from you and your fiance, (the bride and the groom), this allows you to personalize your reception with your favorites. The second side (1/3) should be drawn from requests from your guests and the last side (1/3) should be choices decided and added by the DJ, based on keeping the dance floor full and making sure you and all your guests are having fun. When all 3 sides are balanced correctly, the songs played at your wedding will reflect the styles and tastes of you, your new spouse and everyone else in attendance. There is no harm in telling the DJ all your favorite songs and artists, as long as you leave the DJ enough flexibility to play the best songs from your list, read the crowd and add the best audience requests and personal choices to keep the dance floor full and make everyone happy. Sometimes certain requests are not appropriate for your function and having a DJ who will play the good ones and filter out the bad ones is equally important to a successful reception.
Knowing and accepting that all your guests might not enjoy the same music that you do is vital. More importantly, giving flexibility to your DJ to read the crowd and adjust the music accordingly is far better than having him just play from a list a list of personal favorites that might not work for everyone. Ultimately your reception will be a greater success if you trust your DJ to play a balance of music drawn from all 3 sides of the musical request triangle!