Let’s be honest. Everyone knows that the wedding night is all about being on the dance floor and having a blast with your friends and family. And one of the hard parts of planning for this portion of the evening is giving your band or DJ the song choices you want to hear that night. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind and help you through the process of selecting your songs.
Have a Dance Party
One of my close friends, who is a music fanatic, decided to have a dance party at their house to go through song choices that they thought they would want to hear at their wedding. If they played the song and you couldn’t dance to it, they took it off the list. What a fun way to narrow down ideas!
There are so many first dance songs out there to choose from, but what I recommend is to choose one that really speaks to you, even if it is not a typical first dance, love song. One of my best friends had her first dance with her husband to Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dreams Come True” which totally reflected their personalities and was one of their personal favorites. Make it your own!
So in all of the years I have been wedding planning I have had mixed thoughts on the dance lessons. Here is what I have ultimately decided on – if you are going to take dance lessons, just learn how to dance more than just swaying and turning in a constant circle. Maybe add a dip or spin in here or there, but learning a full on dance from start to finish is just tricky. And all you are thinking about at that moment is what step you are supposed to do and if you are going to mess it up instead of focusing on dancing with the person you just married. My two cents!
If you are going to dance with your mom or dad, I recommend choosing the song with your parent and making sure both of you are comfortable with it. Some couples even choose to do the dances as one parent dance where the bride and groom are on the dance floor at the same time with their mom and/or dad. Another way to make it a bit less awkward is to ask other father/daughter or mother/son pairs at the wedding to join you half way through the song.
Do Not Play List
This list is very important!! A lot of bands and DJs here the same songs (organized dance songs are typically on this list) but you need to think of songs that annoy you, make you think of an ex or just are terrible dance songs. Be sure to include all of these on your list and be specific with your band or DJ about those songs and if you will allow for requests.
Leave it to the Pros
When it comes down to it, I highly recommend making your lists of songs and then just leave it to the pros. They do this every weekend and know what the crowd wants at certain times. Don’t expect them to play straight from your playlist the entire time. Be open to their interpretation of the crowd. And hire the best! The band or DJ is not a place to skimp in your budget! Ask for references and check out reviews online!
"I always welcome song ideas from the bride and groom. When choosing music, it's a good idea to use popular songs that most people will know at your wedding. Most of the time if people don't know it they won't dance or they'll leave the floor.” - DJ Danny Walsh
Oh the dreaded question....Band or DJ?
They are both so different, yet both so similar. Do you want a show or a dance party or a show and a dance party? Or a brass band from Fenway Park or a dance club with disco balls and lighting? Decisions, decisions.
Although I do have a personal opinion, I never make the decision for my couples, but instead I ask them the following questions and give the following insights when faced with this dilemma.
What type of music do you listen to?
How much room does your venue have for dance floor and music?
Are you very particular about the songs you want to hear?
Do you have a list of music that is very atypical for a wedding?
Do you want to be able to hear any song you want at anytime, or possibly be limited?
Do you want to put on a show for your guests?
Pluses of a DJ
- They can play any song you want, at any time, and can download new songs quickly
- They can quickly read the crowd and play any requests (if you allow requests!)
- They can meet with you prior to the event, learn your playlist and customize it to your party
Minus of a DJ
- They can easily sway from your playlist (never to the do not play list of course!) if the crowd takes control and you could miss out on some favorite songs you wanted to hear
Pluses of a Band
- Puts on a show for your guests
- Play mostly dance songs with tons of energy and will interact with your guests
- Can be specific to your genre - jazz, brass band, African, top 40, 80s & 90s dance party, etc.
Minus of a Band
- Can be 2-3 times more expensive than a DJ
There are many differences between a band and a DJ and based off of your answers to the questions above and your take on the pluses and minuses of both, you need to make the best decision for you and your guests. And seeing that you have invited all of your guests to travel to Cape Cod for your beautiful wedding, you want to make sure that your guests have a night to remember!
Plan. Relax. Enjoy.
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