Do You Really Need That Long DJ Playlist?
Imagine you just left your first meeting with the DJ you booked for your wedding. You are so excited! You and your fiance finally found the DJ who is the perfect fit your wedding vision. Now the fun begins! What is going to be your first dance song? What song will you dance with your father to? So many songs and so many choices.
As you start really thinking about your music, you are listening to various artists and genres. You first compile your own list of different songs you want played at your wedding. After talking to your future spouse, family, and friends, they too, suggest their personal favorites. Suddenly your song list is 3 pages long! You look at this list and think – these are great tunes, so it shouldn’t be a problem for my DJ to play them all.
You send in your playlist to your DJ expecting him to find it extremely helpful. One look at this playlist and your DJ thinks, OMG, it’s impossible to play all 80 songs in just three or four hours while fitting in your intros, first dance, toasts, parent dances, cake cutting, garter /bouquet toss, announcements and dedications… not to mention cooperating with the event manager to allow the meal service to flow smoothly and the photographer who needs to take group photos on the dance floor right after the meal. Ever see a review that complains that “the DJ didn’t play all of our songs.”?
Some songs on the list may not be very good dance songs, so they’ll need to be played during dinner. Some may be great dance songs, but with different tempos, from different genres, like Top 40, Hip Hop, Rock, 90s Pop, EDM and Country.. your well intentioned long list has done 3 things: 1) obligates the DJ to play your “must play” list, 2) denied an experienced DJ from selecting other music that he knows will pack the dance floor (but was not on the list), and 3) causes anyone from the wedding who has suggested a song on your list to wonder why it isn’t the next song… even if it doesn’t fit with the current genre keeping everyone dancing. DJs tend to think in “beats per minute” and they keep a crowd dancing with seamless mixing from one song to the next and selecting when it’s time to transition to a different type of music or tempo. They read the crowd and often have 3 or 4 songs in row lined up that will maintain the energy. It’s not as simple as just putting on something else, right when someone wants to hear it. Not when the DJ cares about the success of the event.
What happens if your DJ is playing the music on the list and no one is dancing? Would you rather have the DJ stick to the list or read the crowd and adapt the music to whatever will save the party and keep them all dancing? Like you, your DJ wants to see a packed dance floor with everyone having fun. You hired a pro DJ because of his expertise and musical knowledge. Brides read dozens of reviews saying “my guests danced all night”, and then feel obligated to control every song that same DJ can play. Seems silly to downgrade a proven expert to someone who just reads off a playlist.
The best way to avoid a large playlist that inhabits a good DJs musical abilities is to simply select fewer “must-play” songs. Having a smaller list still gives your DJ a good idea of where you and your guests are coming from musically. You can even write: Artists & Genres we like. An example would be “90’s Throwbacks”. By seeing that you like a certain era of music such as 90’s throwbacks, your DJ will think of a bunch of songs that are popular and work well together. Most importantly, a DO NOT playlist is way more helpful than a MUST PLAY. This guides the DJ in the direction that you do not want him to go near. Macarena anyone?
Selecting a DJ who is the perfect match for your wedding is definitely important. Trusting your DJ to choose songs that your crowd will love is also important.