There are two essentials to a successful reception, food and fun. Your guests will always remember the food and whether they had a good time. Therefore, the DJ should not be on the DIY list. A good DJ will keep the flow of your party moving.
So why is the DJ so important? They are the public face of the party and master of ceremonies. They provide the sound equipment, set it up, bring spare gear for emergencies, and have the experience to run it well. This is not something you want uncle Burt to handle on your big day.
As master of ceremonies, they announce what is happening and direct your guests to important events. They announce the wedding party when it arrives, the best man and maid of honor, then the bride and groom. No one likes to stand in the never-ending line for buffet food. The DJ can dismiss tables in an orderly way so guests can enjoy socializing while waiting for their turn for food. Then they can announce the toasts, cake cutting and first dance, father daughter dance, and the garter and bouquet toss. They are the guide for your guests to the party you have planned.
Once the formalities are taken care of, they fade into the background as they manage the ebb and flow of a successful dance floor. For example, an IPOD with all upbeat music will exhaust even the healthiest guest in 25 minutes. Managing the playlist and juggling guest requests to keep the dance floor full and energetic while avoiding having it empty like cockroaches when the lights come on is essential. A good DJ will have clean edits of song requests, so guests are not bombarded with foul words and other colorful phrases.
What about the RSVP song request trend? Right now, it is popular to ask your guests for a guest song request with their RSVP. This is both good and bad. The good part is getting an idea of what your guests want to hear early. Bad because your guests’ favorite song may change daily, and what they sent in with the RSVP may not be their favorite three months later.
Another drawback is if everyone sends in slow ballads and love songs. These may work at the cocktail hour but will not pick up the energy for the dance time. Next, there will be more requests than there is time to play them. A four-hour reception will use 60 songs, and if you have 150 to 200 guests, then there is not enough time to play them all. Last, get these requests to your DJ two to three weeks in advance of your reception. Handing him a stack the day of the wedding will not give him enough time to sort them into a good party flow.
Murphy’s law can strike at any time. And when one of those unexpected events happens, like a guest turns an ankle on the dance floor, the DJ is there to communicate with the behind the scenes staff. The DJ can work with the wedding planner and catering staff to keep the guests on track. If the caterer is ready to serve, your DJ is there to make the announcement. If your photos are running behind, the DJ can let guests know and help adjust the timeline.
Your DJ knows how to communicate with your guests to provide the perfect ebb and flow for your reception. Providing them with a short list of 5 to 10 favorite songs 2 to 3 weeks in advance of your wedding is a great idea. Dictating the whole reception music list will handcuff your DJ from using his experience to keep the dancing rocking. It will also alienate him from your guests and make them feel left out because they can not make any song requests. A good DJ can juggle song requests with the suggested song list provided by the wedding couple.
Do you hate line dances and mixers? Even if you may get nauseous over one more chicken dance, a well-timed line dance can pack your floor. Line dances give your single guests an opportunity to get up and dance without the awkwardness of asking someone they do not know to dance. All the aunts and closet John Travolta’s can jump up and get electric as they slide across the dance floor. Don’t eliminate line dance, just moderate and look at the ones that will create a memorable evening.
At the end of the day you want your guests to say they had the best time ever. That your DJ really did a great job helping them party on. When you set your budget, plan for food and fun for a successful reception. You can DIY your gown, your cake, your flowers and it will all work fine. Be sure to hire a DJ to keep your party flowing.
Thank you to this wonderful panel of Experts. Need help? You can find contact information for each expert below.