To gather all the information I need, I send out my SUPER FUN CHECKLIST about two or three weeks before the big day. The SUPER FUN CHECKLIST is super fun! What is it? It's a questionnaire and the answers are sent back to my DJ fortress of solitude. And as you fill it out, it will guide you through the process of choosing all the music for your epic celebration, much like a spirit animal might guide you through the forest to a magical cave full of amazing snacks.
"We haven't planned a wedding before. How should we start preparing to make our music selections?"
Imagine this scenario...
You are throwing a dinner party for all your favorite people. What are you celebrating? Being in epic love.
Do you want that celebration to be dreamy, relaxed, peaceful? Romantic, happy, fun? Upbeat, energetic, wild? Maybe all of those things at different times throughout the night. You can control your loyal subjects' emotions through music, and sometimes you want your guests to feel like they are hanging out at a great coffee house, and other times you want them to dance their little asses off.
Break the whole evening up into four parts:
- The Ceremony
- Cocktails and Mingling Time
- Dinner Time
- Party Time
1. The Ceremony
- Pre-ceremony music can be playing as your guests are arriving. This is a great time to set the mood for your ceremony. How to you want it to feel? Think of some songs or artists or genres that embody that theme or emotion.
- Ceremony songs ought to be attractive-- maybe consider songs that are special to you and your fiance. The typical ceremony can be broken up into a few parts that can all have their own individual songs if you wish, or one song can be played long enough for more than one of these ceremony traditions:
- Seating of the Mothers/Grandmothers
- Officiant, Groom, and Groomsmen
- Bridesmaids (Or bridesmaids and groomsmen can walk together)
- Special song for the Bride
- Any special songs during the ceremony for unity rituals, like a Unity Candle or maybe something totally metal like "Hell's Bells" by AC/DC and u guys sacrifice a dove to satan or whatever-- anything goes, for real nothing is sacred anymore and this is an alternate reality and donald trump is actually our real president
- Recessional song: this is usually upbeat and super fun and I play this after y'all kiss and the officiant introduces you as "Mr. & Mrs."
2. Cocktails and Mingling Time
After the ceremony, people who haven't seen each other in forever will want to grab a beer or margarita and catch up with friends and family that have all come together. Meanwhile, the bride and groom and other special people will be taking post-ceremony pictures, if that's what you want. You're newlyweds! Get some photos! Everybody else chills. What do you want them to listen to?
Since this part of the evening is kinda separated from Dinnertime, you can give it its own "theme." Maybe you choose 100% hipster romance like Bon Iver and B0RNS and Lana Del Rey. Maybe it's all 90's, all Motown, or just all sing-along songs? If there's some significance to your playlist that you want the guests to understand, your DJ (that's me) could get on the mic and say "Ok, everybody, the music we're going to hear for the next half hour is the soundtrack to the bride and groom's favorite movie, ________________," or something like that to explain your playlist to the guests.
It's almost time to eat, but we aren't going to eat without the Bride and Groom. First, we get you guys in the room with a Grand Introduction. See this blog post about that.
There are other reception traditions that often happen around dinner. These are the most common ones, and by the way they are totally optional:
first dance of the bride and groom
bride dances with her father
groom dances with his mother
toasts and speeches
During dinner, you have another opportunity to entertain your guests with whatever playlist you want. Choose the energy level wisely: you might put people to sleep if too many slow songs are played. I suggest a big mix of lots of genres you like, lots of different generations, so there's something for everybody to enjoy.
4. Party Time
After dinner, everybody is ready to drink and dance and CELEBRATE! Choose fun, energetic music that will satisfy your diverse crowd, and sprinkle in a few slow songs for the lovers.
Sometimes a crowd of friends will have "that one song," and it's something that unites all of them. Maybe your particular group of friends has a special song that you know will get everybody out on the dance floor. Like a song you used to all sing together at sleepovers. Maybe you all danced drunkenly around a bonfire to this specific song. Play it!
I also suggest choosing a final song for your guests. The last song they will dance to before we call it quits.
And finally, choose a slow-dance song for just you and your new husband.
Keep in mind that I do this every weekend for all kinds of crowds. You might not have any go-to songs on the tip of your tongue for any random situation, but I do! So, YOU don't have to choose every single song. Most importantly, tell me what kind of themes you have, explain the energy level you want for each of those four parts of the evening, and tell me the artists and genres you like. Tell me what you DON'T like. And I'll take it from there.
The SUPER FUN CHECKLIST will show you the way, and all of your answers will be sent to me so I can prep your playlist. If you hit any roadblocks and you just can't come up with a good song for any scenario, give me a call or shoot me a text.
XOXO DJ Cale