Choosing The Right Music For Your Wedding Reception

Choosing the music for your Wedding Disco in Norwich

OK, so this is my first blog post, ever. No, really. You’ll need to bear with me whilst I get into the swing of things, but please do check back regularly to see if I ever make it to my second post!

Choosing a subject for my first post was tricky. There are so many topics regarding discos and DJing that I could never get through it all. I have to start somewhere and here it is: Choosing the music at your wedding reception. This is always a conversation I have with Brides & Grooms and it can be a contentious topic. It really is tempting to want to control the music for the evening, but there are many reasons why this might be a bad idea.

Now before I get started properly, I need to get something out of the way. You’ll see the word Disco used a lot on this site and in both this and future blog posts. I’m going to level with you, I hate the word! It just screams of gold waistcoats, oversized sunglasses and chest wigs. I have never actually met anyone who sports all three, but I am sure somebody out there does.

Every time I use the word disco, I cringe and a little piece of me dies inside (see, it just happened now). Unfortunately the cold hard fact is that people search for it on Google and that means I need to smother my website in it. In fact Google doesn’t even recognise the phrase “DJ” as a search term in its own right. Maybe it is trying to tell me something… So if like me, you hate the word, please accept my apologies. When people search for something different I will thoroughly enjoy expelling it from my vocabulary!

So, let’s get started on choosing the music for the DISCO (aargh) at your Wedding Reception.

Back To Basics: Why Are You Booking A DJ?

You’ll see a lot of mobile disco websites out there making a big point of the fact that they will play whatever music you want at your wedding. In truth, I am no different. If you come to me and you want your favourite song on repeat all night, fine. That’s your call. I do feel however that I would not be doing my job as a DJ properly if I didn’t tell you what a terrible idea I think it is before we agree to it.

The main job of the DJ is to play the right music at the right time so as many people as possible are on the dance floor having a good time. No matter what you think, it really is no easy task. At a Wedding you usually have a huge mix of people with varying ages, tastes, opinions. It is impossible to please everyone all the time.

When I started my mobile disco business, I thought I was going to be the coolest DJ in town. I have pretty good taste in music and know loads of great music that is a little off the beaten track. I soon learned that good taste is a very small part of what makes a good wedding reception. The truth is that (in most cases) you need to play music that people know well, that works on the dancefloor and can cross the generation gap. Some tracks just work and others just don’t. Even though I am pretty good at spotting the good ones and the clangers now, sometimes I still play a new track that I have been excited about playing and it totally clears the dancefloor, despite me being certain that it was going to be one of my top new floor-fillers.

There is only one real way to find out what works and that is to play it and see. You do this over and over again until you build up a whole catalogue of tried and tested tracks in a wide range of genres that work on the dancefloor at any given time and for any particular crowd type. It is a bit like a musical flow chart: “If track ‘A’ works, play track ‘B’ unless the crowd is mostly under 40 in which case play track ‘C’. It goes on like this throughout the night from track to track, from genre to genre, changing direction depending on crowd response.

Take all of the equipment out of the equation for a minute. It is this experience of actually testing music in a live situation that is most valuable to you at your wedding reception. It doesn’t matter how good your taste in music is, you simply cannot do it without trial and error and if you choose all of the music yourself, you are taking a huge gamble on the success of your evening. All that hard work, money and time spent on what should have been an evening of fantastic memories becomes your guests watching the clock until the taxis arrive.

Now, don’t get me wrong I am in no way saying don’t get involved in the music selection process – it is your night and it it should have a personal feel to it, but rather than focus on what you think is good, focus on music that means something to you and your guests.

Adding value to the music selection process

No matter how good at reading a crowd the DJ is nobody can read minds. It is your life experiences and the knowledge of your guests that can really add value to the process and improve the success of your wedding disco.

Start by breaking down your guests into segments. At your reception, you will probably have a mix of people that come from different parts and times in your life. As an example, they might (in the main) fall into the following categories:

  • Bride & Groom
  • Bride’s Family
  • Groom’s Family
  • General Friends
  • Work Friends
  • Uni Friends
  • School Friends

Begin thinking of music that might mean something to each individual group. Is there a song that always gets played at family gatherings? Is there a song that Uncle Eric always dances to when he is drunk? Which tracks were favourites at your school? Which songs stick in your mind from when you met your partner? Did/do you and your friends love to sing along to a particular track when you went/go out on the town?

It is all these little memory moments that make your evening special. If you think of just a couple of tracks that will appeal to each segment you can offer something to everyone that will keep your evening personal whilst allowing the DJ to give you the benefit of their experience. Not only that, but having these tracks as a guideline for the DJ will give them some fantastic insight into the tastes of your guests and help them do an even better job.

Of course if 80% of your guests are friends you met whilst working in an underground techno club in Berlin, it might be a good idea to use this as a starting point!

The bottom line is that you should choose your DJ wisely and trust them to do their best for you. Help them rather than battle with them over music choices. Work with them and you’ll have an evening that will leave you and your guests reminiscing for years to come.

To discuss your wedding disco call me on 01603 280 782 and we can have a chat about any ideas that you might already have.

All the best,

Rob Kane.

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