Tips For Your Wedding DJ

You and your fiancé have your favorite songs, you know what you both like and you want your wedding DJ to know that too. Makes sense. But how do you get the music you want and the songs you love at your reception without micromanaging or giving your DJ a tour of your extensive CD collection? We consulted our DJ Manager, Dave Kellner, for tips on how to get the most out of your DJ and your reception music. And now, we’ve compiled a guide for you.

A closeup of a bride dancing with someone on her wedding day

1. Hit Play

After hiring a wedding DJ, one of the crucial decisions you'll make is curating a playlist of songs you love and establishing a do-not-play list. According to Kellner, selecting around 10 to 15 songs for your wedding DJ list of songs is recommended, keeping it within a maximum of 30 songs. This way, you give the DJ an understanding of your musical preferences and the ambiance you desire for your reception. Simultaneously, it allows the DJ the flexibility to leverage their expertise and gauge the crowd's response.

Kellner advises against solely relying on your playlist or imposing an extensive do-not-play list on the DJ. Such constraints may hinder their ability to read the crowd and create an engaging and unforgettable atmosphere on the dance floor.

Instead, prioritize adding the songs you genuinely love to your playlist while reserving the do-not-play list for songs you're tired of or uncertain about. If you feel indifferent or okay about a particular song, there's no need to include it on either list. Trusting your DJ to do their job and read the room is key, ensuring they can curate a dynamic and enjoyable experience for you and your guests.

By balancing your preferred songs and granting the DJ creative freedom, you can create a vibrant and personalized soundtrack for your wedding reception, ensuring a memorable and joyous celebration.

2. Slow Down to Pump Up

Slow dances create momentum, Kellner says. Although it may seem like a break in your dance party, slow dances are a comfortable point for new dancers to enter the floor. Why don’t your guests flock to the dance floor for classic dance songs or your all-time favorite jam?

Often they are afraid of looking or feeling silly by showing off their moves in a faster song. But, slow dancing is more comfortable for most people and doesn’t require an excessive amount of skill. Even those who claim to have two left feet can usually pull of a slow dance or two.

These songs are key, Kellner says, to getting people out on the dance floor. Once your guests are on the dance floor and enjoying themselves, they are more likely to stay for “Shut Up and Dance” or “Don’t Stop Believing”. With this method in mind, include a few slow songs on your playlist so that your DJ knows what slow songs to go to and what your style is for those slower dances.

3. Dance Fever

Group dances can be a point of concern in your playlist. Kellner advises that you only put them on your do not play list if you’re truly sick of them and do not want to “Cupid Shuffle,” “Cha Cha Slide” or “Electric Slide” in your wedding attire. However, he also says that they eliminate fear or discomfort for people who are not inclined to dance, by allowing them to dance along easily. The group dance classics are staple songs for getting many people out on the dance floor, which is something to consider before disregarding them.

Although it can be tempting to give your guests free reign, Kellner suggests to let your DJ decide on requests. Accepting all requests has its dangers – the Pokémon theme song, that annoying song from the awkward middle school years, you get the idea. Instead, let your DJ accept requests as they see fit with your vision for your dance. Trust your DJ’s experience and expertise. However, before you restrain your crazy relatives from making any requests, remember that when people request a song they are basically saying they will dance to this song. And often, they will bring their friends onto the floor too, so requests can be utilized to pack the floor.

To involve your guests in the reception music, use songs in lieu of clinking glasses. Instead of simply ringing their glasses, individuals or groups have to sing a song with the word love in it to get the newlyweds to kiss. Think “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley, “What’s Love Got to Do With It” by Tina Turner, “Love Story” by Taylor Swift, or a Lion King favorite “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”. Have your guests sit or stand in a specific place to perform their a capella love song, which will give the guests notice of a song that they might join in on.

4. Dance the Night Away

The father-daughter dance, mother-son dance and the first dance are all special moments in your reception. Kellner says, as a rule of thumb, to pick a song for each that has significance for that relationship. He says to pick a song that reminds you of your S.O. for the first dance. For the father-daughter and mother-son dances, let the parent pick each song.

Encourage them to pick a song that reminds them of their daughter and son, or a special moment in their child’s life. This is a huge opportunity for the parent to create a really special moment for them and their child during their reception, and they will feel honored to get to participate in the planning and song selection.

For father-daughter dances, people often bookend the song with a slower piece, and have a minute or so of a faster, fun or silly song in the middle to keep the guests on their toes and entertained. Most of all, Kellner says, pick a song that is meaningful but don’t overthink it. It’s important, but it will be special no matter what and as long as you are pleased with the song, you will be happy with the memories created and moments captured.

5. Here Comes the Bride

The processional song is an important part of every wedding. Lighter, more rhythmic songs are replacing organ pipes – think “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. And, while “Canon in D” is by far the most popular and long-lasting aisle song, instrumental covers of popular hits are also becoming big for processional pieces.

Kellner says current pieces include “A Thousand Years” by the Piano Guys, which is a cover of Christina Perri’s 2011 version, or anything by Vitamin String Quartet, which is an orchestral group that does string instrumental renditions of popular songs.

Wedding DJ List Of Songs

Curating the perfect wedding DJ list of songs is an exciting and important task that sets the tone for your special day. Choosing a diverse selection of songs that reflect your taste and resonate with your guests is essential.

From timeless classics to current hits, your DJ can create a playlist that keeps everyone dancing and ensures a memorable celebration. Discussing your musical preferences and sharing a list of must-play songs with your wedding DJ allows them to craft a playlist tailored to your unique style and desired atmosphere.

By collaborating with your DJ and incorporating a mix of genres and eras, you can create a dynamic and unforgettable soundtrack that keeps the dance floor buzzing all night.

How Long Does a DJ Stay At a Wedding? 

The duration of a DJ's presence at a wedding can vary depending on the couple's preferences and the specific event schedule. Typically, a DJ stays at a wedding for around 4 to 6 hours.

This timeframe allows them to cover the key moments of the reception, such as the grand entrance, special dances, toasts, and open dance floor sessions. However, some couples may opt to have the DJ stay longer to provide entertainment throughout the entire celebration.

It's essential to communicate your desired timeline with your DJ to ensure they can accommodate your needs and help create an unforgettable experience that keeps the party going.


Wedding Reception Timeline For DJs

A well-organized DJ wedding timeline is essential for a memorable and seamless reception experience. Here's an outline to help you plan the perfect flow of your evening:

  1. Grand Entrance: Coordinate with the wedding party to ensure a smooth entrance.
  2. Dinner Background Music: Select a curated playlist of soft and soothing tunes to enhance the dining atmosphere.
  3. Special Moments: Choose a meaningful song that represents your love story, a sentimental track for you and your parents, and a soothing song for cake cutting.
  4. Party Mode: Transition to upbeat and dance-worthy tracks to ignite the dance floor with classic favorites and popular hits.
  5. Surprise Elements: Coordinate any surprise performances or interactive activities with the DJ to create excitement and engagement.
  6. Farewell: Plan the final moments of the reception, such as a farewell dance or a send-off song and discuss the desired tone and emotions for the closing of the celebration.

Remember, working closely with your DJ and sharing your vision and preferences will help them curate a personalized wedding reception timeline that ensures an unforgettable night of celebration.