Regular readers of this blog may remember that there are a few posts on here about my life as a DJ. As we head towards Easter, this year’s crop of brides and grooms are stirring into action. Having booked the venue, etc, some time ago, it’s about now that they start to think about the details.
According to the wedding industry, or at least the websites, magazines and other sources of advice, planning the big day is a great idea. To a very great extent I agree, but as I have written here before, it is very difficult to plan exactly how the evening’s music should flow.
I remember one wedding last year where the bride and groom got a DJ mate to produce half a dozen mix CDs. My job was to play them in the right order.
Of course, the evening was a disaster.
Not only was the timing out (Rule 1: All weddings run late), but the music and the crowd did not connect.
For more than one other wedding, I am sent, usually a few days beforehand, a playlist compiled by the bride or groom (and just occasionally both). This will have all their favourite songs on it and my instruction is to “Play these”.
Of course, the evening is a disaster – for the same reason.
A slightly better planning technique is to recognise that the DJ’s job is to “read” the crowd and play the right song at the right time. So a short list of half a dozen favourite artists and songs, sent to me to me beforehand with a request to include them in the evening is great.
Then there are the lists of banned records.
Please will someone tell the bride that no-one plays the Birdie Song. I don’t need to be told not to play it. However, it can be useful if I know that “Lady In Red” was played at Auntie Ethels’ funeral last week, so please don’t play it tonight. (Most wedding DJs will probably welcome the excuse not to play it this week.)
However, I reserve the greatest opprobrium for those whose planning takes no account of the realities of time. Recently I received a detailed, timed running order for an entire evening (not actually for a wedding, this time). There is to be arrival and mingling time, the buffet, a live music set, speeches and (eventually), the disco. I’ll be playing for about 2 and a quarter hours, (but remember Rule 1).
So when do I play the 9 hours of music on their list?
My hints to this summer’s brides and grooms, wherever your evening reception is going to be.
- Find a DJ who can actually do his or her job (so that should rule out a million bedroom wannabees)
- Give them some guidance about favourite songs (about half a dozen REALLY favourite songs)
- Let them do their job of keeping ALL of your guests entertained.
From my (far too) many years of experience, over-planning your wedding reception can prove even more of a disaster than under-planning it.
… so please give up any thoughts of controlling every last moment.
Phew! At the last moment, I managed to get back onto my “Giving Up” theme.