(3 Months to 4 Month before the Wedding)
The disc jockey is playing our song! Before you meet with the disc jockey, you and your beau need to decide what type of music you want to be played at your wedding. Usually the DJ has to come up with about 60 songs at your wedding, which covers about four hours of the wedding reception about 15 music selections per hour.
If you've chosen the right disc jockey, the disc jockey will meet with you one on one to review the music selections you want him/her to play at your wedding. It is recommended that the bride and groom provide about 40% of the music selections, 30% should be music selections chosen by the bridal party and wedding guests and the remaining 30% of music is music the DJ's, like to play or promote. How the disc jockey programs the selections is generally dependent on the equipment he/she uses whether requested music can be played ad hoc on the spot or has to be all programmed beforehand.
The wedding couple should discuss the type of music they want to be played beforehand. They should also consult with family members and friends that are music lovers to get their take of what music selections should be added to the repertoire. The wedding couple should meet with the wedding disc jockey one and one. It is common for the disc jockey to meet in your home, but sometimes they suggest to meet in their studio or a place somewhere in between from where they live and you live, maybe at a coffee shop, pub bar, or a quiet spot at a country club. They might bring along a device to play some music snippets.
You need to come to an agreement on how the disc jockey is to handle the wedding. Are you expecting the disc jockey to be more of a mood DJ or a dance DJ. What type of music do you want for your wedding? Some of the choices are 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, aught's, acoustic, big band, classic rock, classical, and country. Other choice's include dance, folk, funk, gospel, hop hop, Jazz, Latin, Motown, oldies, orchestra. Finally there's pop, punk, rock, r&b, soul, strings, world, and sometimes DJ's can include marching band (include fight and alma mater) of the school or schools that the bride and groom attended or of their favorite school to root for.
It's important to try and meet with your wedding disc jockey a number of times. The first meeting is to set up a game plan on the type of music you want at your wedding and to give the disc jockey some music selections and from some of your guests. You might want to review specific selections for specific moments at your wedding reception. Do you want selection songs for the bride and groom introduction, at the best man's toast, the cake cutting ceremony, the first dance, the bride and father dance, the groom and mother dance, the bouquet throw, and the grand finale when the bride and groom leave the reception. At some weddings there might be the dollar dance, where wedding guests get a 30 second dance with the bride and leave her with some honeymoon money.
A couple of follow up meetings should occur, one to finalize the wedding music selection and another to scope out the wedding reception venue, so the disc jockey can figure out where all his equipment should be stationed. The wedding couple and disc jockey should review the equipment that is planned to be used at the wedding with the reception locations wedding coordinator so there is no problems using the equipment at the venue. Usually these days DJ's have intelligent lighting systems, might have different pieces of equipment such as party lights, uplighting, plasma TV's, screens, projectors, and some subwoofer speakers that can provide sound to a large area or even outdoors. Gone are the days of disco light strobes and revolving mirrored disco ball.
A true professional will spend a minimum of 10-20 hours preparing for your wedding. This includes going over your plans (consultations), music purchasing and editing, setting up and tearing down equipment, working with other vendors, etc. In other words, what you pay a disc jockey for at your wedding is more than the DJ's playing the wedding itself.
Most good disc jockeys have a song list from 5,000 to 10,000 songs. In this day and age most disc jockeys get their music downloaded through paid subscription services through companies such as www.promoonly.com or www.tophitusa.com . The good disc jockeys are usually knowledgeable of the current top of the chart music and the music has been downloaded and available in their song list. If the disc jockey is up to date you should hear equipment names like Crown, Denon, Electrovoice, JDL, and QSC. Usually they have a wireless microphone. If there is live music at the wedding reception hall, make sure the disc jockey is not stationed too near the live musicians, the disc jockey's equipment might screech at times.
As you meet with the disc jockey make sure he/she comes professionally dressed, find out how much setup time the disc jockey needs to set up and test their equipment. Come up with a backup plan if their appears to be problems with equipment or if the disc jockey were to get sick. Also get contact numbers, try to get a business card from the disc jockey and inform him he can advertise wedding guests picking up his/her business card at mid break.
Part of the duties of the disc jockey is to meet with the bride and groom and to source the music. If the disc jockey doesn't make the time to meet for your special day, find another wedding disc jockey who will. Always make contact with the disc jockey a week before an appointment, hopefully they are a fun personality, they make a professional delivery, and they are comfortable to deal with.
Remember, the disc jockey music is geared to the wedding couple and the wedding couple should not gear their selections to the wedding guests. The wedding music should put the couple in a good mood and a good frame of mind and add to their special day. See you on the other side!