Did you have a good holiday weekend?? We missed you while we were away! But, not to worry, we are getting a little fun up in here today! I always like days on the blog when we talk to the pros, especially the fun ones like the DJs. We have Bryan George, a wedding DJ in the DC-area, to go over the must-ask questions that you need to discuss with your DJ before your wedding.  If you are having a DJ at your wedding or thinking about it, then today’s post is for you. It is jam-packed with advice that I would have never thought about before! Guess that’s why they call ‘em wedding pros, right?  Take it away, Bryan

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Photo Credit: Sarah Culver from Christine and Stephen’s wedding

Where do we start?

There are a lot of great DJs out there. But when searching for your wedding DJ, it’s important to hire the one that’s right for you. While every couple’s needs and wants will vary, some of the criteria you’ll use to select your DJ are things all couples want. Namely, reliability and reputation. To sift through the clutter, it’s good to visit wedding websites (theknot, weddingwire, etc.) and blogs (United With Love, etc.) to see what people are saying about your DJ. Check to see if they’ve won awards and how many reviews they have. The number of reviews a DJ has is a great indicator of proven performance over a long period of time. What is just as, if not more important than quantity is quality. The quality of the reviews will help you get a feel for your DJs personality, professionalism, and reputation.

Once you’ve got your short list, you’ll want to consider your DJs style, genre specialties, and equipment capabilities. I find that most of our clients are looking for a modest DJ that will use the microphone only for introductions and announcements. Ask your DJ what their approach is before telling them what you’re looking for. This will give you a good sense of the DJ’s true personality and comfort zone.

Think about what type of music you want your guests to dance to at the wedding. Heavy on the 80s? Do you want to hear a lot of Top 40? Or perhaps you’ll have a lot of Motown and Oldies fans attending. Any DJ you interview should be well-versed in these, but every DJ has a couple particular genres that they’re experts in. The last thing you’ll want to consider is the equipment your DJ will be using. If you’re looking to have your DJ provide music for your ceremony and/or cocktail hour, be sure your DJ is equipped with wireless speakers, hands-free lapel microphones, and anything else you might need.

What’s your style?

DJs all have different styles, and it is important to know your DJ’s style upfront to ensure that it meshes with your style and the style you envision for your wedding. In the DJ community, there are widely considered to be three personality types (High Profile, Moderate, Low Profile). For example, I would describe my approach as Low Profile. I’m very comfortable on the microphone, and I’m more than happy to make any introductions. When doing something like bridal party introductions, it’s important to be upbeat and engaging without being cheesy and over the top.

How do we create playlists?

If you aren’t very musically inclined, it is easy to find creating a playlist (or “do not play” list) daunting. Ultimately, it’s all about communication with your DJ. The more you communicate your needs, thoughts, and feelings about the music, the easier it is for your DJ to execute your vision. I always encourage my clients to be as involved in the music selection process as they desire to be. I’ve worked with couples that were very hands on when it came to the music, and I’ve worked with couples that know the mood they want to strike but are having trouble putting it down on paper.

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Photo Credit: Sarah Culver from Christine and Stephen’s wedding

What about “must” and “do not” play lists?

When thinking about your “Must Play” list, think about your favorite songs and perhaps songs that have a personal meaning for you and your fiance. For dance music ideas, one great resource is your guests! Via your wedding website, you can request that guests post any song requests. A couple weeks before the wedding, your DJ can go through that list with you and offer any additional suggestions.

When it comes to your “Do Not Play” list, you should check with your DJ to be sure it’s not necessary to list songs like The Macarena, YMCA, Mambo No. 5, The Chicken Dance, etc. It’s our policy to only play songs like these if the client specifically requests them to be played. Your DJ should verify with you if you want any of these types of songs incorporated into your evening. Songs I recommend you include on your “Must Play” and “Do Not Play” lists are songs you may or may not want to hear, but are frequently played at weddings. There’s a group of songs that through the decades have become wedding staples. I consider a lot of them to be GREAT songs. I mean, there’s a reason they’re played so much, and that reason is that they’re classics and appeal to mainstream audiences. The type of songs I’m talking about are ones like Celebration, Don’t Stop Believin’, Shout, Love Shack, Brick House, etc. Because we want your wedding to be a one of a kind experience, our DJs dig deeper to give you classic dance sets that don’t sound like every other wedding you’ve been to.

What about electricity?

It’s very common for clients to require music services for more than just the reception. Providing wireless speakers for outdoor ceremonies and cocktail hours is a common occurrence. With all the details you’re forced to think about when planning a wedding, one thing that’s often overlooked is electricity in the area where your ceremony and cocktail hour are being held. For example, if your ceremony and reception are at a vineyard in Virginia, your DJ should be able to provide music and microphones for those areas without the need of an electrical outlet or extension cords. Whether you’re having your wedding at a vineyard or one of Washington, DC’s many historical houses with many different rooms and outdoor areas (Meridian House, Decatur House, Dumbarton House…just to name a few), we offer speakers that are completely wireless and battery powered for such occasions. This means our speakers work literally anywhere, and your ceremony won’t suffer from unsightly extension cords and speaker wire.

Will you help us select songs for introductions?

Of course! It’s all about the tone you want to strike. For example, when it comes to bridal party introductions, some couples aren’t very comfortable in the spotlight and don’t feel it necessary to strut their stuff when they enter the room. The flip side of that coin is that it’s very common for couples to have their bridal party dance their way into the room. When thinking of your bridal party introduction song, first decide what you want the mood to be like. From there, I recommend looking for a song that is fun and has a strong beat. I always like songs that have a long intro, without any lyrics to begin with. This allows the bridal party to come in with some energy, and guests can clearly hear the names being introduced because the DJ isn’t competing with the lyrics of the song.

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Thanks you so much, Bryan! If you are in the market for a DJ for your Washington, DC area wedding, be sure to check out Bryan’s website.

In the meantime, check out our inspiration galleries and advice page for even more from the Washington DC area pros who make it all happen.

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